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Making Sure No Donor Gets the Same Thank-You Letter Twice
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy  ·  September 1, 2011  ·  Excerpt

Some organizations may have one thank-you letter to send to donors, but Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn., wants to be sure nobody gets the same letter twice.

Dorothy Thompson, assistant director for donor relations, says she is constantly tweaking the basic letter, building new ones from the interchangeable parts displayed below so she can find the most appropriate way to acknowledge each gift.

To make thank-you letters to annual-fund donors stand out, she looks for “benchmarks of overall excellence” to include, such as the average SAT scores of students in Trinity’s incoming freshman class and jumps in the number of applications.

To ensure that Trinity has enough options to keep donors from getting the same message over and over, Ms. Thompson says, she is constantly searching for good ideas she can copy from other institutions.

“I definitely try to see what other donor-relations people are doing and where there are ideas I can implement,” Ms. Thompson said.

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Our take
Attention to detail is a crucial aspect of any donor relations strategy - and perhaps just important is to keep an eye on the standards and best practices that have been successful at other institutions. The article linked to above features a few acknowledgement letter examples to review and borrow from, and it may be surprising to discover just how many nonprofit organizations are willing to share their tricks!

Contact us now to learn about the tools and methods Compass Pointe has researched for philanthropic organizations:

  • What are the best sources of acknowledgement letters and templates of other documents that might be useful as part of donor communications?
  • What is the best way to inventory and evaluate the donor relations pan currently in place at my organization?


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