How to Say “Thank You” to Your Online Donors

As alumni volunteers, we know that the end of the fiscal year can be tough. That’s why this past June our team focused on helping our clients and prospects finish strong.

In the spirit of alumni love, we participated in each of our client school’s funds who have launched an app with us already this year. Their responses back were inspiring. Whether by mail, email or both, each school promptly responded.

Afterwards, we were able to take a look at the emails that we had received in exchange for our gifts. Customizing emails, providing contact information, and making a tie to the gift, were just a few of the distinguishing factors in these emails. From simple electronic receipts to detailed customized responses we received a large spectrum of auto responses. Some of these emails we really liked, while others left something to be desired.

Customizing Emails
•From examining the incoming emails, we noted that the most popular subject line was a simple “Thank You” as shown visually in the word cloud below, which highlights by text size the most used words in the subject lines from the emails we received.

• In some cases we received a boring “Receipt # Received by XYZ School.” Needless to say, this line is not nearly as engaging as a simple, but effective, subject line as the one below from St. Georges School:

•Make sure to mention the donor’s name in the email greeting (i.e. Dear EverTrue). Surprisingly, only a third of the automatic responses we recieved did so.

Provide Contact Information
• In case the donor has any questions following his donation, an effective thank you email should provide specific names and contacts in the development office for that donor to reach out to. Just half of the auto-response emails that landed in our inbox included both a point person and full contact information (email + phone).

Making a Tie to the Gift
• Tying a donation to its use is another important factor in the auto-response. In particular, we felt that The Winchendon School did an exceptional job of this:

Remember Your Stamps
Of course, for saying “thank you” a mail response can still be effective, particularly if it includes a nice handwritten note as well!

So remember to be aware of the auto-response emails your office sends after online donations. Test the emails within your office, and ask your donors for their feedback. Lastly, make sure that your email responses are legible across platforms and email providers.

Many thanks for the motivating responses and best of luck to all in the new fiscal year!

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