I get a lump in my throat when I think about the number of times I sat down and wrote “Dear Granny” on the top of a letter, card or postcard. We wrote each other letters for as long as I can remember and right up until she died.
When I read her letters, I could picture her blue eyes sparkling when she was trying to find the right phrase to make me smile, laugh out loud, or well up with tears. I imagined her chatting with her cats, Bumble and Bee, twiddling her Montblanc pen between her fingers, listening to Sinatra and wiping the sides of her Manhattan with her embroidered lacy handkerchief.
And when I wrote back to her, she inspired me to up my storytelling game. I longed to make her smile, laugh out loud and read the best parts to her cats, or use that lacy handkerchief to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye.
Every single time I sat down to write to my Granny Love, it was with a full heart, a healthy emotional range and a sense of purpose. And that’s exactly how we should write to our donors.
This #GivingTuesday, I challenge you to apply these principles to rewriting your thank you letters. All of them. Right now. I promise this is the best way to you’re your Giving Tuesday a success.
And from here on out, whenever you have a new appeal or campaign, write a new thank you letter. I also promise that you’ll remember why you love writing to donors. Thank you letters are such a delight to write and share! Even better, just last week at AFP Congress a woman admitted to me that she loved writing her thank yous because it was the ONLY piece of fundraising writing that didn’t have to go to her Director, the ED, the Comms people…
Fundraisers, this is our kingdom and you can rule it with #donorlove!
As a final thought, let me share with you how I would write a thank you letter to Granny. As a thank you for knitting my son this train sweater (photo below).
You’re amazing! Mason absolutely LOVES his new sweater. He wears it everywhere! He leaves it on a rumpled pile on his floor so that as soon as he steps out of his (new big boy bed…HOORAY!) he gets dressed (by himself now…HOORAY!), puts it on and struts downstairs. Here’s a photo of him from this morning at about 6AM already up and dressed and playing with his truck! Can’t wait to see you at the family bunfight in a few weeks and he’ll be certain to be wearing it. Thank you again for everything you do for our family. We cherish your creations almost as much as we cherish you, our beloved GG. XOXO.
I wrote TO her. Not ABOUT me. I wanted to make her feel part of this moment, feel all our love and all our feelings. I wanted to tell her and show her just how much we love and appreciate her.
Now, if this letter had been like your “tax receipt letter”, it would say: “On behalf of Mason’s warm arms and torso, and his brain as he develops his fine motor skills learning to use a zipper, this letter is to acknowledge receipt of a white truck sweater on November 11, 2015. A receipt for income tax purposes is enclosed…”
This Giving Tuesday, celebrate #donorlove. You’ll be invigorated and so will your donors!