Writing something to a donor? Here’s how to do it right.
Some people find writing easy. For others, every written communication takes real effort.
Which group do you fit into?
If you fit into group 2, as the leader of your organization, you’re stuck. Part of your job likely includes written communication with your donors. Thank-you notes. Personal emails. Updates. Program reviews.
You probably spend lots of time procrastinating these communications. And when you finally get to them, you don’t enjoy the process one bit.
Want some simple tips for carrying out these communications with confidence? For ensuring that your messages hit the spot and create the right sorts of feelings in their recipients?
(Group 1 - don’t tune out. These tips will significantly enhance your writing as well!)
Tip 1: Keep it Casual
You run an established, respected organization. It’s tempting to make sure your every communication reflects that. Formal, official language. Mission statement embedded in your text.
Here’s the problem, though: when you convey a feeling of formality, you’re… conveying a feeling of formality. When it comes to donor communications, you don’t want your readers to feel formally nodded at. You want them to feel personally appreciated and recognized. Like you’re sincerely connecting with them.
How do you keep your writing personal? Drop the structured mission statement. Stick with simple, everyday vocabulary. Write like you talk – that’s the best way to make your message feel genuine.
Yes, you might be mailing this thank-you note or update to hundreds of people. And yes, those people might know that. But you can still make them FEEL like they’re receiving a personal note from you. Warm, casual writing helps build that feeling.
Tip 2: Help Them Live the Magic
Stats, even the most impressive ones, are faceless, soulless. Instead, take a few sentences and paint a picture of what your donors’ money helped, or could help, facilitate:
“Your donation helped fund programs like the magnificent Melaveh Malka we held last month. I wish you could have seen it – a huge room filled with Jewish neshamos singing together, learning Torah with joy, holding onto the kedusha of Shabbos as long as they could. All because of your gift.”
Give details. Create a feeling. Let your donors experience the magic of what they’ve helped create - or what they can be a part of if they support your cause.
Tip 3: Remember Who it’s About
It’s your organization, isn’t it? So doesn’t that mean you need to talk about yourself? “We’ve grown x initiative to y dimensions.” “We’ve been able to take 100 more people into our program.”
Yes and no. You should definitely be stating these facts. But not in your own name.
“Your gift helped x initiative grow to y dimensions.” “You got 100 more people into our program with your generosity.”
Your goal here isn’t to make you look good. It’s to make your donors feel good. And part of that means giving them the credit, the accolades. When you write, stay donor-focused. Keep it about “you,” not about “us,” “our team,” or “our organization.”
So, going forward: make sure your donor communications are
- Casual (not formal)
- Descriptive (and emotional)
- Donor-focused (giving them the credit)
Make sure your notes have a warm, personal tone, bring your donor into an experience, and make them feel great about their generosity - or burning to start giving. That way, your writing will do more than communicate. It’ll help take your donor relationships to the next level.
Have a fabulous fundraising week,