Thanks for Nothing

Admit it, you’ve done this:

Year-end fundraising is over. Everyone is exhausted. Now all that’s left is the thank you email. How to segment? Oh wait, you think, why segment at all? Send it to everyone! The people who actually gave will be thanked and the other deadbeats who didn’t give? Maybe they’ll feel guilty that they weren’t in on the party and give next year.

Don’t ever do this again.

My in-box was deluged last week with thank you emails from organizations i am 100% certain i did not support. It makes me think less of those organizations and it’s annoying.

Here’s why:

  • It’s sloppy. It signals a lack of care and concern for the people who did donate.
  • It probably backfires, at least with some. It certainly screams ‘you don’t know who i am,’ which is never a good thing for a fundraiser to scream.

I polled some of my smarter, better-looking colleagues in the biz, and here’s what they had to say:

Jim Shapiro: “I just had a client do the exact same thing. He said he hoped those who didn’t give would be motivated to give. He hasn’t received a single new gift. There are a few things to consider. 1) the giving season is over. 2) do one thing well – in this case thank. 3) know your audience. Thanking those people that didn’t make a donation doesn’t make sense.”

Marc Pittman: “So odd. When I receive them, it strikes me at how out of touch the nonprofit really is.”

So take it from us — stop doing it!