Have You Tried Any of these Ways to Say Thank You to Your Supporters?

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This is the time of year to put a coat of “new paint” on your thank you letters. Have you tried any of these?
>send a greeting card instead of a business letter…make it friendly and personal;
>include photos of success stories related to the support;
>be transparent about the way the gift is being utilized (like a specific program);
>add an invite that does not ask for more $;
>toss out the old “On behalf of…”invite the donor to something special and tweet about it or chat it up on Facebook;
>share a highlight that informs the donor of how the support helped to creat positive change;
>have the thank you come from one who has really been helped by the support;
>share even seemingly insignificant progress;
>say thank you with a QR Code that links to a clip of you or your clients expressing gratitude.

Please feel free to share some of your creative thank yous with us.

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Amp up your QR Code

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The challenge:

Designing a piece that marries beautiful design with new technology.

The Solution:

Customized QR Codes

QR codes are quick response barcodes that you have seen on everything from products, to magazines to buildings.
The problem is the basic QR code is rather dull and does nothing to improve the look of your piece.

However, QR codes do not need to be basic or dull! You can include your logo, change the color or even add textures to the QR code so it fits in with the design of your piece.

Sample 1: The Brick Appeal

The customer wanted a QR code for their brick order form, but did not want to detract from their design. Rescigno’s was able to create a QR code that looked like it was made out of bricks.

Sample 2:  Stained Glass

The challenge was to create a QR code that followed the flowing lines of the stained glass window in the background, while still being able to be scanned.

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Reasons We Give

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Fundraising doesn’t always come easy. This is why it can be imperative to understand how to connect with your donors and recognize the reasons behind their giving to your cause.


It all starts with the availability of money a person has to give away. If donors don’t have it, they can’t give it. If they are able to give, this is usually where small donations come into play. With this being said, larger amounts of money to be donated are usually planned in advance.


Once a donor has given to your charity, this makes them more likely to give again. Giving is habit forming and if you follow up with a sincere “thank you” followed by another request it keeps your organization fresh in your donor’s mind.


An incentive to giving is in the urgency of your appeal. If your donor knows their gift is going to be put into use now, or their help is needed as soon as possible, they may be more willing to give.


Essentially, making your donors feel as if they belong to a community of people pushing for a particular cause helps to build lasting relationships.

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Are Annual Reports Still Necessary?

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You’re not required to do an annual report. But your organization can only benefit by having one.
The main purpose of an annual report is to highlight accomplishments. You don’t need a glossy 20 page document though.
If you are a small non-profit that would, in fact, not be a good use of your resources. Did you know you can produce a short, simple piece of 4-6 pages to send to your constituents? Include the following:

>Your Accomplishments – Don’t overwhelm your readers with a lot of text and statistics. Use pictures, short stories
and quotes. For example, an after school program could show pictures of kids engaged in activities that emphasize the work you are doing. Make sure to show results too.

>Your Financials – Include your revenue and expenses. Break them down by department, (program, administration, etc.) But keep it simple to understand by using a pie chart or bar graph.

>A donor List – Maybe just your major donors in the printed piece and all donors on the website. Group by giving levels.

>Say Thank You – In a brief introduction, have the Executive Director and/or Bd Chair thank all supporters (in the donor section also).

You DO NOT need to mail your AR to all supporters. Perhaps it gets mailed only to your major supporters. The annual report should go on the website where you can let everyone know it is available. You can include a special email announcement or mention the AR in your newsletter. Anyone who requests a hard copy, as many older supporters will, should be able to get one. Hard copies should also be available for prospects and other interested parties.

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Would You Give to Sweeney Todd?


“There was a barber and his wife, and she was beautiful…” These haunting lyrics from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” a macabre tragicomedy tell the tale of an English barber whose wife and daughter are unjustly taken from him.

Now there is a story that most people would be interested in. What happened to him? Why were his wife and daughter taken from him? How did he cope? Or did he?

Here is the point of introducing you to Sweeney: it’s a story that makes you feel empathetic, at least it did me. I wanted to help this misbegotten soul. So, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to be a storyteller, not a statistic giver, because when you put a single living creature, such as pitiable Todd, at the heart of your appeal (story), you engage; you invite the reader into the life of a person who needs help or is in the process of turning his or her life around.

Time and again, it’s stories that motivate gift giving, not statistics.

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