Â * Open with an engaging lead. Starting with â€œthank youâ€ or â€œon behalf ofâ€ is predictable; avoid it. Like a good fundraising appeal, the goal is to draw your reader in.
Â·Â Beware the second paragraph pitfall. Paragraph No. 2 is where nonprofits often drift into â€œwe-speak.â€ We did this, our programs do that. Rephrase it. Remember, a thank you is all about â€œyouâ€ â€” and that means your donor.
Â·Â Focus on benefits. Itâ€™s not about the $200,000 machine you just bought, or the $5 million you spend on research, itâ€™s about hope for the future â€¦ saving lives â€¦ restoring dreams for tomorrow. Benefits rule.
Â·Â Include a contact. Give donors a real, live person to contact, instead of the ubiquitous email@example.com.
Â·Â Mention updates. Let donors know when they can expect a progress report â€” a quarterly newsletter, presidentâ€™s letter, etc. Then follow through.
Â·Â Avoid design tricks. A thank-you letter is a one-to-one correspondence. You wouldnâ€™t use boldface and italics and bullets in a personal letter, so donâ€™t do it in your thank you.
Â·Â Write for readability. And that means â€¦ a serif font for print, sans serif for e-mails. Short paragraphs. Avoid fancy words. Translate jargon.
Â·Â Consider your signor. A thank you should come from the top. Think CEO, president, etc. (Exceptions: you know the donor personally, or thereâ€™s a good case for another signor â€” e.g., special appeal.)
Â·Â Stay positive. This is not the place for doom and gloom. Strive to show donors all the good things their gifts are accomplishing.
Â·Â Cross channels. A postscript is a great spot to direct donor to your Web site â€” a new resource available there, videos, updates, etc.
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