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Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

How One Organization Can Improve Their Memorial Thank You Card

October 29th, 2014 by Karen Climer

The benefit of sending fundraising material to me (or to any of the people who save their mail for me) is that you get a free analysis of your work.  Today, we’re looking at a from Hospice of the Comforter.  It was a 4″ x 5.5″ greeting card, which makes it a little friendlier and more personal than a letter.Hospice thank you

The effect of the personal card is lost when I read the first sentence.  It says, “On behalf of the Florida Hospital Foundation, we are excited to welcome Hospice of the Comforter to the Florida Hospital family.”  Huh?  What does that have to do with my gift?!  The background is that Hospice of the Comforter used to be independent, but is  now part of Florida Hospital.  But I’m over here trying to find a meaningful way to cope with the death of a loved one.  I’m not exactly concerned with the business side of the hospital and hospice.  I’d recommend deleting the first paragraph entirely.  The second paragraph makes a much better opening sentence.

The third paragraph is fine.  It mentions the name of the deceased so I know Hospice knows my intention.  I might include something that said Hospice would notify the deceased’s family.  That’s a big concern among donors.  They want to be sure the family knows, so I would be sure to mention that somewhere.

The fourth paragraph is interesting.  I love the first sentence, “Your tax receipt will arrive soon, but we couldn’t wait to say ‘thank you!'”  It lets me know that I’ll get another thank you.  It’s conversational.  I like it.

The last sentence says, “Please continue to keep our patients and their families in your prayers.”  Seriously?  I just lost a loved one.  A better choice might have been, “During this difficult time, we will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers.”  Come on Hospice!  It’s not all about you!

Memorial letters are difficult because they are about death.  In some cases, the donor just lost someone very dear to them.  In other cases, they have never met the deceased, but know the someone else in the family.  If every there was a time for a non-institutional, non-sterile, yes-we-are-real-people-too letter, this is it.

In terms of thank you notes, this one is not bad.  A few minor tweaks will make it better.

What about you?  What did you think of the thank you note?  Feel free to share your comments below.

Posted in Acknowledgment, Donor-Centered

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