Welcome to the homepage for the Great Acknowledgment Swap 2011!
It has been wonderful receiving emails from around the world, representing fundraising on all levels, from a one person NGO to the largest fundraising machine. I received over 480 individual files, with some containing as many as 10 letters within, a truly remarkable level of contributions! It is wonderful and truly inspirational that we all show our gratitude for our donors, volunteers, board members in such extraordinary ways. I have found some commonalities among the letters that I would like to tell you about. The trend is definitely moving toward a separate receipt with a nice thank you message and an acknowledgment that follows. This is a trend I believe should be standard practice, helping the donors greatly because they can keep the receipt for tax purposes and then be thanked again in the more custom and often more time consuming acknowledgment. Another trend I am seeing is that the letters are becoming more brief and direct (yippee!). Whether we like to think so or not, most of our carefully crafted, custom written, overly approved acknowledgments end up in a trash can. It's painful to admit but true. When I used to write acknowledgments full time, I used to hope for the donor that kept them in a special box by their bedside cherishing all of the time and effort that went into each and every word; in reality, its just not the case. So now I strive to make my letters meaningful and succinct without pulling my hair out debating a word for twenty minutes (been there, done that). The other point of intrigue for me was to look at the closing salutation to donors, the most popular one by far was "sincerely" but the one I liked the best was "ever forward".
Below I have posted the letters in three categories for ease of organization, although I believe that we can learn a great deal from organizations different from our own. There are letters grouped by education encompassing K-12 through higher education, including professional schools, Healthcare including hospital foundations and others, and Non-Profits, encompassing organizations large and small.
I hope you benefit, as I do from reading the inspiring ways in which we communicate with our supporters and I also hope these letters serve as personal Thesauruses for you the nest time you need to write an acknowledgment letter. Please feel free to comment on my blog, send me an email or share your stories with me. If you have any questions, please contact me anytime, thank you so much for your time and contributions. I look forward to The Great Acknowledgment Swap of 2012!