There is a story I remember from my childhood, about a little girl who needed to learn some manners. Every time she forgot to say Please or Thank you her mother pinned a letter to her dress, a letter P for Please and a letter Q for Thank you. After a while she was covered in letters, the only way she could get the letters removed was to say please and thank you. Eventually she remembers and ends up without any letters pined to her dress.
My first memory of receiving thanks for a donation was when my primary school set up to sponsor a child, we managed to raise enough money to donate from a school event to give to the charity. I remember a 20 minute phone call explaining what a difference it had made and to expect a letter to say how it had helped. I felt so proud about the donation we had made. Another memory I have of donating was sending off shoe boxes as part of a Christmas appeal, I always felt so sad at the fact that the shoe box I was packing might be the only gift that someone would receive that Christmas. I never remember if we heard back about how they liked their gifts, I expect we did have a response but it hasn’t stuck in my memory as much as that phone call.
As I write this you may have already figured out what I’m going to say next :
For every PLEASE there needs to be a THANK YOU
I was brought up to write thank you notes for birthday, Christmas and Easter presents. I was never very good at getting them done promptly. I always thought that people would feel or know that I loved the gift they had given me. Otherwise why would they have got it? There are times where I ponder if charities feel the same way , their supporters know that their donation makes a difference. The reality is that if you don’t tell them, how will anyone really know what impact it has made?
Being able to show where the money has gone towards gives a boost to what you can say, photos of the roof on the scout hut being re-made or seeing a well/pump being built gives satisfaction towards knowing how the money has helped. Something I’d love to do is to follow my donation through its journey. If my donation of £5 becomes ten books I’d like a photo of those ten books. A way to capture the moment with the words “You did that”. Letting donors know their value could be the difference between a one-off donation and a monthly direct debit.
That is all for now
P.S I am aware that many donations do receive a thank you, this is in response to many people asking ‘Where does my money go’ which got me thinking and blogging about the concept.