How to Say Thank You


We’ve all had to send thank you letters, more than a few times in our lives! I remember distinctly as a child firmly believing I was ‘too busy’ to send a thank you letter, thinking that my relatives KNEW I was thankful, and I could confirm this when I say them next…Thankfully I’ve changed this attitude! The secret of the great thank-you note: if you do it right, the givers are actually happier giving to you than they were before they gave the gift. It’s not an obligation to give a gift any more—it’s a privilege! If you know that when you send a gift, you’ll be treated with a fun, gratifying note of thanks, you’re more likely to give again. I bet you can see where we’re going with this!

Too often, organizations treat their donors like I did when I was little; they wait 4 weeks to send them a thank you, if at all. What’s more that thank you isn’t personal, or enjoyable, it’s sent with a “I have to do this or I’m grounded” mentality and tone. Sending a generic thank you for fear that your donor might never repeat their act of generosity, and making that obvious, is actually far more likely to turn your donor off your organization.

So, how do we stop the perfunctory thank-yous and start sending GREAT thank-yous? Let’s make people happier than before they gifted their money or time. Let’s make them excited to give again.

1. Give a reactionary ‘gift’

Something huge has just happened! Your marketing strategy has resulted in someone giving you their time or money to support the cause your organization champions. So let’s give them something back in return, by offering a next step: “You can join our email list for [cool benefit, updates, etc.]!” or “We’re throwing this free event for new donors in your area” or “check out our website to see watch an awesome video on what you’re making possible. Remember, your donor is more likely to return if she feels a sincere connection to your organization. By making this reaction a short video, you can showcase your organization’s voice and personality, so that your donor remembers why she is so inspired by what you do. Not only that, but having more video content is proven to reach more people - check out our blog post on how and why!

2. They are individuals

Far more valuable than the gift they just gave you, is the individual themselves. The donation happens once. The donor could be around for life. So thank them… for being THEM! Make them feel like a hero - the kind of person who gives to important causes. That’s what they’re buying with their donation: confirming their identity as someone who not only cares, but cares enough to take action.

3. Please, sir, can I have some more?

“Thank you, Aunt Sally! All things said, this wasn’t a terrible gift. But I could really do with a bit more, truth be told! In fact, here are 10 ideas to get you started…” Thank-you notes should take the tone of pure gratitude, and make the donor feel utterly appreciated. DON’T ASK for more money yet! If you thank them with enthusiasm now, you can certainly offer more opportunities for them to help again in a month or two—and if you do your job right, they’ll be HAPPY to. Hold your horses, eager fundraiser. Don’t ask again just yet.

4. Simple, fun and comfortable

When writing the script to your ‘thank you’ video, keep your message simple and emotional - remember being complicated doesn’t make something better. And, get excited! The more enthusiastic you feel, the more likely it is that enthusiasm will come through. Your goal is to make your donors feel something. Make them care. The biggest thank-you killer is being boring. This means choosing a good spokesperson for your visual media - someone who is confident and comfortable on camera. This COULD be the CEO, the fundraising manager, an intern…maybe all those people are the same! Or maybe a professional actor might be the way to go?

5. Send it - fast!

Send a thank-you video within two days. Not an acknowledgement or a receipt. A REAL thank-you. Speed is important because the longer you wait, the more likely your donor will forget they donated, and the less sincere your thank-you seems. Speed matters. Set that thank you video up as your automatic email confirmation, that way as soon as they donate, they will receive a heartfelt, acknowledgement that is exciting, interesting, emotional and personal.

Even a little donation is an opportunity for a LIFETIME of support. You are starting a new relationship, which means it’s worth doing things you wouldn’t otherwise. Make your thank-you especially impactful, meaningful and memorable. Think about making a follow-up video to send them later: why did my donation matter? What did it accomplish? Why should I be hopeful and excited to contribute to create the future my donations are creating? Whose life was changed?

There are so many ways to use the power of video to reach your audience, in addition to just outlining your brand or making a general appeal. We at One Story have experience crafting visual media for all kinds of organizations for all kinds of purposes. The key to starting this process, is knowing what you want the video to achieve: outlining your cause, encouraging more donors, advertising an event, thanking donors, following up with current donors etc. Contact us today to discuss your video marketing needs and we can tailor to you, to ensure that your goals are accomplished and your story is heard.

View all blog posts