On February 17, Eric Crammond from Andar Software hosted a webinar with Gary Goscenski from Perspectives Consulting, Send Better Thank You Letters, Get Larger Donations. Here's a recap of valuable takeaways presented by Gary.

Formatting the Thank You Letter

In a thank you letter, donors need to know the impact of their contribution, and they want to see the issue, the action and the result. Gary refers to issue, action, result as the big three, or I-A-R.

I-A-R can be combined to build a cohesive narrative, and it addresses the donor's need for specific information. It also is a roadmap for how best to explain what you do as an organization. Here's an example:

ISSUE What are our issues? Feeding our community's most vulnerable population
ACTION What are our actions? We will be able to bring in 50 new types of plants to our community because of your $250 donation.
RESULT What results should we share?  Each of these plants should be able to feed a family of four.

Download an example of a thank you letter using this format.

Collecting Essential Donor Data

A great place to collect essential donor data is on the pledge form. By collecting this information, you can personalize thank you letters and tailor them to a donor's specific interests. Below is a list of the types of data that you should be collecting:

•    Issues/causes that motivate donors to give
•    Partner agencies or programs they care about

Communication Preferences
•    The best method to communicate
•    Desired frequency of communication

Engagement Interest
•    Volunteering
•    Attending events

Thank You Letter Tips

Engage and Connect

We need to make sure that the thank you letter is more than thanking. It's an opportunity to ask the donor to volunteer, participate, or give again. Here's a great example from United Way of Central Iowa: 

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Be Timely

Research shows that donors want to hear from organizations more than once a year. In addition to your annual thank you letter, be sure to stay in touch with donors throughout the year with additional materials to thank them for their support.

Share Stories

Stories create connection with your donor, and are a great way to share your message. Here's a nice story shared by the United Way of Central Iowa: 

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Click here to watch the webinar recording, and download a Thank You Letter Example Following Perspectives' Best Practices.