In his blog post two weeks ago, “Are you loyal to your loyal donors?” my colleague Steve Murphy provided a very tangible and fundamental post on being loyal to your most loyal donors. If you missed it, I would strongly encourage you to go back and read it and share it with your colleagues, your boss and even your board. The organizations that take the time to recognize gifts properly, steward strategically and pay attention to detail will stand out and will further the giving cycle.
Speaking of paying attention to detail and standing out, I recently received a thank you letter in the mail acknowledging my wife and my annual support to an organization over the past calendar year. It was nicely written highlighting the accomplishments of the year, the impact the organization is making in the community and the bold program goals for 2017, but in the valediction the signature of the author was missing. Yes, you got that right the letter was not signed…. THEY OMITTED A SIGNATURE!
I couldn’t help but take a deep breath, then have a nervous laugh, took a deep breath again and then I found myself really annoyed. This is my profession and a detail such as this cannot be neglected. I absolutely understand we make mistakes (wrong addresses, ink that doesn’t dry on the letter, etc…) but this is one you just don’t forget to do. I was more worried for the organization than the letter to me. I don’t want this to hurt their stewardship efforts and I will respectfully share my concern with them and offer the appropriate suggested follow up to the donors.
Steve posed the question in his post – “Do they even know that I value their mission and consider them one of my top three charitable interests?” Getting an unsigned letter further signified the importance of Steve’s question. As development professionals we need to find this answer out. We need to dig a little harder to know who the donor is and where the organization falls in their priorities. We need to pay attention to detail, ask our colleagues to double check our work, slow down and spend as much time on the thank you letter as we do on the appeal letter or on the special event invitation we are producing.
Details matter and sloppy development work results in unhappy investors. Unhappy investors equate to lost money…and lost money is a hit to the mission.
by: Tim Kennedy, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions