By Guest Blogger and Media Maven
Claire “Voyant” Meyerhoff

Here at Non Profit Marketing, we love to talk about — and show you — examples of things that work well. And we love stories.

Your communications materials are an extension of your organization, your services, and your clients, and in some cases, they are the only connection you’ll ever have with a donor. They take all shapes and forms. It could be a letter, a phone call, a website, an e-mail, a newsletter, an e-mail newsletter or the big-enchilada of all . . .

. . . the Thank You Letter.

So here’s my story:

The other day, I was thinking about an old friend who died fourteen years ago. Gino DeMarco was a truly wonderful guy, who at age 34, lost his life in a commercial airline crash. In his honor, his mother Doris DeMarco and his brother Chris DeMarco set up a scholarship at Gino’s alma mater, Holy Cross High School in Flushing, New York.

I was thinking about Gino, recalled the fund, but couldn’t remember if I’d ever donated. Feeling guilty, I went online, found the website, and in moments had made a donation of $100. Their website made it so easy and I had no problem donating to the specific fund, the Gino DeMarco Memorial Scholarship.

Two or three days later, I got a manila envelope in the mail from Holy Cross, with a thank-you letter inside.

And there was something else. A nice certificate that said; “Holy Cross High School presents this certificate to Claire Meyerhoff in recognition of outstanding support to the 2009-2009 Annual Fund; The Gino Demarco ’78 Scholarship Fund.”

I couldn’t remember EVER getting a certificate for a donation, so I called the school to find out more. I spoke with Susan Fields, the Advancement Director, and she told me they send certificates for donations of $100 or higher.

“People love to have something with their name on it,” said Susan. “We’ve been doing it for years and our annual fund continues to grow every year. You could send donors a pen or another gift, but I think people just seem to like something that’s personalized.”

Also, on the letter, was a cc to Gino’s brother, Chris DeMarco, and Chris’s address. From a donor’s perspective, that made me realize two things: the school is closely tied to their people and they were including me in their circle.

Since I’m in the business of nonprofit communication, I look at these things differently than most donors. I think, “why does this work?”

It works because donors want to feel like their gift is greatly appreciated and to feel personally connected to the organization’s good work. It seems a personalized certificate manages to do both.

Published On: November 24, 2008|Categories: Fundraising|