OK, lots of great questions have streamed in on what’s “ailing” your campaign – but the one problem area that surfaces over and over by more and more candidates and campaign managers is…FUNDRAISING.
I feel your pain. And I’m working on a new prescription or two…including a new book dedicated specifically on how to write effective direct mail fundraising letters and emails.
In the meantime, Jeff Brooks at TrueSense Marketing has some additional advice on the proper way(s) to thank your donors. After all, it’s far better to work on keeping existing donors than getting new ones, right?
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While “manners” are often used as an excuse to be rude – as in, “You inferior person, you’re holding your knife wrong!” – normal, commonsense manners can really help you do a good job of thanking your donors.
Clarification takes a look at polite thanking of donors at What Would Miss Manners Say? Thank You.
Miss Manners would advise:
- Always address your friend by their given name. A thank you is not a form letter.
- Include a specific description of the gift your friend gave you. A thank you should be personal, and show the giver that you know them.
- Describe how you’ll use the gift; let the giver know why you loved the gift so much,
- Use “I.” The letter is coming from you; not from “we.”
- Do not be rude and describe how you could’ve used more.
- Do not solicit your next gift.
I agree you should not use your thank-you message to solicit a gift, but you absolutely should make it easy to give another gift — include a reply coupon and a return envelope. Remember, it feels good to give, and for many donors, it feels best while you’re being reminded of the power and importance of your giving.
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Now who’s gonna argue with Miss Manners?
As an example, I once sent out a donation request for funds to help defend my non-profit organization from a lawsuit filed by the Nevada Secretary of State over a bogus campaign reporting requirement.
Every donor – even the $5 one – received a personal, handwritten “thank you” card from me (just get a box of blank ones from your local office supply store or WalMart). Here’s the simple message I wrote:
“Bob, I want to thank you for your $250 donation towards our fight with Ross Miller! – Chuck.”
That’s it….and it covers all of Miss Manners’ bases.
I also included my business card with contact info in the envelope – but I did not include a reply envelope and coupon as Jeff suggests. I wanted it to be a simple, straight-forward sincere message of gratitude.
You do as you see appropriate.
Now, for large campaigns and small donations…yes, you’ll probably want to have a thank-you FORM LETTER sent out. And can include a reply envelope and coupon.
But for major donors I highly recommend an old-fashioned, hand-written thank you CARD. Hardly anyone ever sends those any longer, so they’ll really stand out in the recipient’s pile of mail.
And it means the next time you DO send a new fundraising request, you’re more likely to receive an additional donation…and maybe even a BIGGER one!
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
In political fundraising, the key isn’t in telling donors how you’re going to vote if elected. It’s in telling them how you’re going to get enough votes to GET elected.