Best Response So Far to End of Year Gifts

After taking a year off, I’ve done it again: I gave $25 year-end gifts to 20 national nonprofits that I had not previously supported so that I can see what kind of donor communications I get throughout the course of year. I’ve called this the “What I Got When I Gave” experiment, but you might remember it as the “Only a third of nonprofits followed up or said thank you after the email receipt” experiment from previous years.

This time, I gave 10 of the gifts by cashing in credit card miles with Capital One. They cover the processing fees, so nonprofits get the full $25, which is nice. Those gifts are processed by Network for Good, which means that it will likely be a month before the charities know about the gift. I’m willing to cut them some slack until February because of that.

But the other ten were given directly through the nonprofit’s website. Thus my expectations for this second group are a bit higher, since that’s where they explicitly ask that we donate.

The award for best response so far goes to the Wilderness Society. On January 5, I received this email:

Wilderness Society End of Year Thank You Email

Here’s what I like about it:

  • Specifically references a year-end gift to remind me that, yeah, I did give them some money last week.
  • Gives me credit for making good work possible (“Thanks to you, we’ll have critical resources to protect the wild. . . Your donation and your voice will make a difference.”)
  • Commits to sharing results (“We will be reporting on our progress in the coming months.”)
  • Gives me other things to do, if I want (connect on Facebook, take action, read the blog, etc.)
  • Treats me as one of the team (” . . . your continuing participation as a member of The Wilderness Society community.)

Bravo, Wilderness Society! This is actually one of three emails I have received from them. On January 4, it was a campfire recipe, on the 5th, it was this email, and on the 6th, it was about the “my wilderness” contest. We’ll see what comes next.

I’ll report more results from other nonprofits as they come in (or don’t). I’ll also share some interesting notes from the end-of-year donation process itself, including some good landing pages and thank you pages. And yes, I’ll name names again this year if I don’t hear anything at all (but not until mid-February).



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  • Mary Cahalane

    Love this experiment, Kivi! Thank you!

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  • Vickey

    Kivi, we use NFG for our online giving portal, and get an email from them every time someone donates. So¬† waiting until mid-February to evaluate responses is pretty generous. There’s no reason why a non-profit should experience delays in knowing who gave what when.

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