Online acknowledgements

January 3, 2013

One would think that acknowledgements would be the simplest place to further a connection to your organization and the good work you do. Alas, that is perhaps not always the case. Consider these actual donation confirmation emails received last week.

Organization 1 arrived from tickets@spotlightmobile.com. The subject line was “Your purchase of annual membership.” The copy was mostly about receipts, process, and tax deductions. I was assigned a “sale ID number” and a temporary member ID.

Organization 2 arrived from payments@acceptiva.com. The subject was “Order Received.” The body of this email was set up like an invoice. There was no contribution copy. I was informed about the quantity and price of my “order” and my contact information was listed under “customer details.”

Organization 3 arrived from donorservices@mercycorps.org. The subject was “Thank you for your gift!” The body was a personalized letter that began with “Dear Becky.” I was thanked again, then invited to see what was accomplished in 2012… to check out their blog… to become a fan on facebook… and to call or email with any questions. It was signed (electronically) by an actual person.

Donor-centric thinking in every aspect of your program matters. In this case, when you equate a contribution to a retail purchase, you diminish the importance of the donor’s action, and you don’t set that person up to be receptive of future contribution requests.

Particularly when there are ample low-cost solutions that lead with the donor experience, retail software simply won’t provide heartfelt, personalized reinforcement of the value of a gift.