Thank Donors Quickly, Tell them of the Impact

How long to say thank you?

The clear priority of most donors on what we’ll call “integrity” and “human relations” makes it evident that timely receipting and warm thanks for donations are essential. A ministry that takes 10 days to mail a receipt runs the risk of a donor perceiving a breakdown in MIQs (“most important qualities”), integrity, and human relations: it’s a sign of poor management that the receipting takes so long, and it’s rude to boot.

Donors may be giving sacrificially; this possibility needs to be sincerely acknowledged. Affirm the donor’s decision to give in the context of the impact of her gift — the positive results attained through her contribution, the lives touched, the advances accomplished. Since we know that donors are sensitive to their gifts being used in the way they were intended (about 75% would quit giving if they feel violated in this way), don’t send a generic thank-you letter with a receipt, but rather a thank-you letter that references the appeal that the donor responded to, the specific project to which she contributed.

75% would quit giving if their gifts were not used as intended.

What donors are saying…
“…Whatever the giving is for, be sure that is what it is used for, and not to better the life of the preacher or for the individual — but to better the organization and what it was designated for.”

* Like what you just read and want to learn more? Check out, The Disappearing Donor: Where Your Ministry’s Lapsed Givers Went, and Why .


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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2 Responses to Thank Donors Quickly, Tell them of the Impact

  1. GivingThree says:

    Just wanted to add that if nonprofits wish to practice what are considered to be the professional ethical standards for the sector, a failure to send a prompt acknowledgement/receipt would be in conflict with standard 15 of the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards as well as item 5 of the Donor Bill of Rights.

    Regarding the quick-stat, not using funds as designated by a donor would be in conflict with ethical standard 14 as well as Donor Bill of Rights item 4.

    AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards

    Donor Bill of Rights

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