Moving Beyond the Check Box

The process is mapped out and system in place to ensure that a thank you letter is generated and sent out within two days of receiving every donation. Check.

What does that feel like to the receiver of the letter? It feels like a form letter was generated using mail merge. The end. There is no warm fuzzy with a form letter. While some letters go beyond the standard language of the thank you and include a wonderful story about the impact of the organization’s work in the community, it still feels “formy.”

Any call to action or next step beyond the transactional feel of the donation may look something like this:

“We look forward to hearing from you. Check our website for upcoming events.”


“Find the details about what we are doing at our website.”

The entry point is a website, and searching it to see what is going on. There is no human engagement there. What could be possible if processes and systems were put in place that honoring every person making any type of donation authentically? That moves beyond transactional steps and into the realm of relationships, a space where all the joy and energy lives. If your community benefit organization receives thousands of donations, then you have an army of community members already committed to the work you are doing. Put that army to joyful work in the gratitude brigade!

What might that look like?

Add a step to call the donor, aka engaged community member.

  • If you don’t know this person: Start from a place of gratitude for the donation, and ask your fellow community member to share what led them to make the donation. What interests him in your organization’s work on behalf of the community? What excites him about the community?
  • If you do know this person: Start from a place of gratitude for the donation. Ask her to share something exciting/good/awesome going on in her life. There will be plenty of time to share what excites you about the community, and the work your organization does to benefit it and your fellow community members.

For either scenario, it may feel a bit different to go off of the script you’ve been using. But it is liberating; no longer do you need to have at the ready the latest data and stats on YOUR programs and YOUR services. If you simply take the time to get to know that person, you will absolutely connect more deeply to that individual. You may learn about other gifts and passions that individual has, and would love to share.

Are you willing to test the waters with a different approach?

Leave a reply

+ 6 = nine