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How long does it take a charity to thank donors?

How long it takes a charity to say thank you? Well, it can take quite a while. (In related news, did you know May 23 was world turtle day?)

In my previous post, I described how I inadvertently contributed to a number of charities on the same day about a month earlier.   The responses ranged from delightful to confusing. Some thank yous were quick, some were slow and at that point, several charities had yet to respond.

Three more letters have arrived in the last two days – we’re at the six weeks mark now.  Bad news first – what I thought was going to be a thank-you letter was actually a newsletter with a donation request.  Ouch!

The other two letters were actual thank you letters.  One was a complete boilerplate, the kind where the signature is preprinted.  The second letter at least had a signature.

The timing here really has me wondering.  The hand-written notes appeared a month before the prefab letters.  It seems paradoxical, but apparently a personal note is much quicker to write than a generic, unpersonalized thank-you note.

This little experiment has proved to me just how important thank-you letters really are.  I feel like if I didn’t give again to some of these charities, they wouldn’t notice.

Fundraising guru Jeff Brooks summarizes saying thank you – “Be prompt” and “Be personal” top the list.  I tell charities to say thank you right away – unless you don’t care about the gift, then take as much time as you want!  My dear friends and charitable colleagues, think about what kind of message you want to send to your donors.

jeff brooks on how to thank donors

p.s. the turtle is an Eastern box turtle, from www.ecology.com.  I’m sure he’d send a thank you letter right away!

 

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