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A Great Ask Event Ruined by a Slow Thank You

A friend and client sent me this email last week:

“I am a development director so am particularly sensitive to these things, but I have to say I was appalled yesterday to received a long typed thank you yesterday for a small donation I gave 10 weeks ago at a fundraising breakfast.

“I went to the breakfast at the behest of two friends who serve on the board of directors.  I also know another board member and the executive director, who gave a fabulous short speech at the event.

“The event was packed with enthusiastic people.  All was done just right, except for the follow-up.

“Why not have thank you envelopes pre-addressed ahead of time so the table captains can quickly jot a note after the event?

“Why not call everybody who attended, say thank you, what did you learn, and how would you like to get involved?

“My donation was miniscule.  What these people don’t know about me, however, is that if I don’t spend it all ahead of time I stand to inherit a nice chunk of change in the next couple of decades.

“They don’t need to spend a lot of time thanking me, but an impersonal 10 weeks later is abysmal.

What can we learn from this? So many of us are using “ask events” successfully. These types of events are becoming more and more frequent. They can be wonderful fundraising tools.

But a 10-week old thank you? This is how to drive your donors away – and FAST!

Just think of all the work that went in to the ask event. And how little work went into the followup.  Isn’t that like so much of what we do in fundraising?

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  • Greg

    Priorities for limited resources have to be established in some way – possibly the size of your gift put you in a second or third tier of follow up that led to an impersonal and untimely acknowledgement. Lets hope they put everything they had into following up with donors that showed greater interest in their cause.