flickr: SOCIALisBETTERHow to Write Thank-YouEmails That   Inspire                    @    Your guide to  e-gratitude glory...
Your Network for Good Webinar Speaker Today:                 Lisa Sargent,      Donor Communications Specialist        Lis...
How to Write Thank-You Emails That Inspire:            What We‟ll Cover TodayI. The proof, the theory (groan!), the mantra...
The thinking behind the thanking: theory and proof                                                             Why bother?...
The thinking behind the thanking: theory and proof   So, why bother sending an email thank you at all?   4 things we know,...
The thinking behind the                                                      ♬ ♫ ♬ “I feel good... I                      ...
flickr: Foxtongue  Repeat:  I will write thank-you emails that  make my donors feel good!*                                ...
Who’s that knocking on my Inbox door? You have 2-5 seconds to tell             me, or I click the ‘delete’ button...      ...
Who’s that knocking on my Inbox door? You have 2-5 seconds to tell             me, or I click the ‘delete’ button...      ...
What’s in a name?                               Step 2. Make it personal. At a minimum, your email                        ...
litmus.com/blog says, “On average, 51.1% of readers spend less than 2 seconds looking at youremail.” And many use the prev...
ONE MORE THING ABOUT E-THANKYOU OPENERS...            If you start with a story, you must very quickly           say thank...
Step 4. Now tell me how my recently                                       received donation is helping/will help          ...
Where can I turn if I need help? Providing proper contact information points me in the rightdirection, gets the relationsh...
We’ve come this far together... Now don’t drop me in mid-email!                                                           ...
The voice at the top:                                                         Photo. ID’d. President. Nice.Step 7. Choose ...
Now what?!Harness e-gratitude’s secret powers!               Step 8. Harness email‟s 3 secret powers:                    ...
P.S. We love you. You. You. You! Yes, people read postscripts. In e-mails. Yes. Yes. Yes. (And click-throughs of 2 and 4 p...
The visuals of writing...                              Step 10. Attend to your format, images and alt-tags                ...
Real-life sample number one: Mercy Corps.                                                                                 ...
Real-life sample number two: charity:water.                                                                               ...
Real-life sample number three:                                         Wikimedia Foundation.                              ...
Real-life sample number four:                                                             NPCA                            ...
Real-life sample number five:                                         Mr. Holland‟s Opus Foundation    MHOPUS proves you d...
Real-life sample number five:                  Mr. Holland‟s Opus Foundation                    The Mr. Holland’s Opus Fou...
And now for your post-webinar homework assignments...                              Assignment #1: Be your donor.          ...
Thank you.                                                                           Thank you.                           ...
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How to Write Thank-You Emails That Inspire

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A step-by-step guide for nonprofit organizations looking to do a better job of thanking -- and retaining -- their online donors, from fundraising copywriter and donor communications specialist Lisa Sargent.

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How to Write Thank-You Emails That Inspire

  1. 1. flickr: SOCIALisBETTERHow to Write Thank-YouEmails That Inspire @ Your guide to e-gratitude glory.___________Network for Good Webinar March 21, 2012
  2. 2. Your Network for Good Webinar Speaker Today: Lisa Sargent, Donor Communications Specialist Lisa Sargent Communications www.lisasargent.com
  3. 3. How to Write Thank-You Emails That Inspire: What We‟ll Cover TodayI. The proof, the theory (groan!), the mantra • The thinking behind the thanking: short, sweet, surprisingII. The process: 10 steps to write your way to e-gratitude glory ① Who‟s knocking on my Inbox? Write proper sender & subject lines. ② What‟s in a name? Make it personal. ③ These two lines matter most: Aim for engaging openers. ④ Bring on the good stuff! Describe how I‟m helping/will help. ⑤ Where can I turn? Provide the right kind of contact info. flickr: Chelsea McNamara ⑥ Don‟t leave me hanging... Say when you‟ll be in touch next. ⑦ The voice at the top: Choose the right signatories and signatures. ⑧ Now what? Harness e-gratitude‟s biggest secret powers. ⑨ Postscript power: Use a P.S., how and why. ⑩ Love at first sight? Attend to format, images and alt-tags.III. The reality: E-mail samples, mundane and magnificent! • A guided tour through real-world email thank-yous Up next  Theory and proofHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  4. 4. The thinking behind the thanking: theory and proof Why bother? So, why bother sending an email thank you at all? 4 things we know: ① Online donor retention rates are in the pits. Only 11 out of every 100 donors acquired online in 2007 were still giving in 2010. Source: 2011 donorCentrics™ Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report ② Thank-yous are tops for donor retention: Professor Adrian Sargeant, et. al. say thank-yous “provide a promising means of fostering donor relationships and retaining donors.” Source: “Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’: The effect of an acknowledgment on donor relationships”, Sargeant, et. al. Up next  3. & 4.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  5. 5. The thinking behind the thanking: theory and proof So, why bother sending an email thank you at all? 4 things we know, cont’d: ③ Thank-yous make donors feel good: again, from Prof. Sargeant, saying thank you “enhances positive emotions and alleviates negative emotions.” (Think: old brain!) ④ Thanking makes people more likely to help (read as: give) again. Harvard said so! Source: “Why ‘thank you’ matters,” Harvard Program on Negotiation Up next  Your new gratitude mantraHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  6. 6. The thinking behind the ♬ ♫ ♬ “I feel good... I knew that I would, now...I thanking: mantra! feeeeeeel good... ♬ ♫ ♬ You say: “OK, OK, Lisa. Enough proof. Enoughtheory! What I want to know is: what kind of thank-yous should I write?” Here‟s my answer, in the form of your new gratitude mantra: “I will write thank-you emails that make my donors FEEL GOOD!” flickr: cliff1066™How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: speaker, Lisa Sargent
  7. 7. flickr: Foxtongue Repeat: I will write thank-you emails that make my donors feel good!* * Reason why: Feeling good taps into the egocentric amygdala (a.k.a. reptilian brain, ‘old brain,’ ‘lizard brain’). Besides, it’s the right thing to do. Saying thank you is good customer service AND just plain good manners. Up next  Now let‟s get writing!How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: speaker, Lisa Sargent
  8. 8. Who’s that knocking on my Inbox door? You have 2-5 seconds to tell me, or I click the ‘delete’ button... Step 1. Write proper email Sender and Subject lines. Actual examples from my Inbox: Sender DON’TS: Do not use Info, Donations, Webmaster, Friend, or other generic name as a Sender line. Sender Your ‘Sender’ or DOs: ‘From’ line must Do choose the clearly state who you are! bona fide name of your organization. Up next  Subject LinesHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  9. 9. Who’s that knocking on my Inbox door? You have 2-5 seconds to tell me, or I click the ‘delete’ button... Step 1. Write proper email Sender and Subject lines. Here‟s how (part 2): Subject Line Rule: Your subject line must state why you are emailing in 45 characters or less (including spaces). And frontload: mobile devices only display 1st 15-25 characters. BONUS: Use donor’s name in the subject line.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  10. 10. What’s in a name? Step 2. Make it personal. At a minimum, your email salutation should use the donor‟s name, spelledflickr: cote correctly. My favorites: simple, warm, no crazy punctuation. Formal punctuation: use of colon positions this as a ‘business’ transaction. BONUS TIP: Formal or casual? Think about how you want to address your new donors, and the tone you will set, and plan ahead when setting up donation page information fields. Lukewarm: using first AND last name gives this an impersonal, automated feel. Semicolon only makes it more stilted. Up next  Openers How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  11. 11. litmus.com/blog says, “On average, 51.1% of readers spend less than 2 seconds looking at youremail.” And many use the preview pane. What does this mean? The first two lines matter most!So... Step 3. Use an engaging opener. Pop quiz: which of the leads below would YOU rather read? Up next  One more thing about OpenersHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  12. 12. ONE MORE THING ABOUT E-THANKYOU OPENERS... If you start with a story, you must very quickly say thank you and include the donation amount. (You can always jump back into the story on the next several lines.) This slide with special thanks to Merchants Quay Ireland and their Head of Fundraising, Denisa Casement, for sharing their 2011 e-mail thank you, above. Up next  Step 4How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  13. 13. Step 4. Now tell me how my recently received donation is helping/will help change the world.* *Important: if I have given for a specific purpose or to a specific campaign, name it! More from the „mystery shopping‟ files.... Up next  Where can I turn?How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  14. 14. Where can I turn if I need help? Providing proper contact information points me in the rightdirection, gets the relationship off on the right foot, and puts a human face on yourorganization.Step 5. Provide non-generic contact information and links so I can getin touch with your organization if I need to.Not bad, but using a real person’sname would be nicer. One of mine... Up next  Tell me what‟s comingHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  15. 15. We’ve come this far together... Now don’t drop me in mid-email! flickr: jemasmith Step 6. Say when you‟ll be in touch with me next, and how. (e.g., your e-newsletter, tax receipt, direct mail welcome pack...tell me.) Only 1 organization (out of 12!) told me.Yay, Mercy Corps! Up next  The voice at the topHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  16. 16. The voice at the top: Photo. ID’d. President. Nice.Step 7. Choose your signatory (and signature) wisely. A proper signatory can be... • Your CEO or President (ID’d as such!) • A staff member if for a special campaign, e.g. someone ‘in the field’ “Oh, look! Here’s a nice • Bonus: photo is nice. Actual signature photo of the CEO and his is, too. ? Who are you? cat. What a kind face he has...” Real sig. ID’d. Nice. “The team”? The team persona is part of c:water’s identity, but to me, one person is better. Real CEO. Real animal lover. Nice. Up next  Now what? How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  17. 17. Now what?!Harness e-gratitude’s secret powers!  Step 8. Harness email‟s 3 secret powers: Interactivity, Immediacy and Instant Gratification. I’ve nearly finished reading your thank-you email. I’m feeling good about giving, and I’m thinking about you and your work. Right now. Why not keep the good feelings flowing? Send me to a video or resource on your website... to your blog... to Twitter or Facebook... No links  Links flickr: LOLren Up next  Openers How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  18. 18. P.S. We love you. You. You. You! Yes, people read postscripts. In e-mails. Yes. Yes. Yes. (And click-throughs of 2 and 4 percent are not unheard of: the P.S. is your last chance to sprinkle a little more donor- love.) Step 9. Use a P.S., a.k.a. postscript. What can you put in a P.S.? An invitation to watch a video or access a free resource or take a tour, an update to your story, your contact info (see previous slides for ideas)... And one final, fabulous thank-you, of course! Up next  The visuals of writingHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  19. 19. The visuals of writing... Step 10. Attend to your format, images and alt-tags for better readability. Seven tips: 1. View your e-mails with images off and images on, and create proper alt-tags to describe images and logos. 2. Write your email in Word first. Spellcheck, proof grammar andThis is an ‘alt-tag’, or readability stats (i.e., Flesch-Kincaid).alt-attribute: a short 3. In general, keep paragraphs and sentences short.block of text thatdescribes the image to 4. In general, use action verbs. And always, more „you‟ than „we.‟be rendered (which you 5. In general, use sans serif font online. 11 pt is good. 12 pt is better.can see is a logo, 6. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.bottom right) 7. In general, keep your message short & sweet. Below 300 words is a good target. Up next  Real-life samplesHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  20. 20. Real-life sample number one: Mercy Corps. Bonus points for P.S. ‘channel crossing’: Mercy followed up via direct mail with a thank you postcard, tax receipt and welcome pack.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  21. 21. Real-life sample number two: charity:water. OK, so this isn’t the email. It’s the redirect. But if you want to see how to tell a story in a thank-you message, you can’t get much better than this. Tax receipt arrived as promised, as did a beautiful follow-up thank- you email.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  22. 22. Real-life sample number three: Wikimedia Foundation. When Wikipedia went dark for a day, I gave, and received this beautiful thank you in return. Because it was from a ‘real-live person’, I replied to say how much I enjoyed the message. Sadly, Wikimedia’s Sue Gardner never responded... dimming gratitude’s warm glow.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  23. 23. Real-life sample number four: NPCA Note: a story about how I’m helping would be welcomed in this email, as would the opportunity to click to NPCA’s beautiful website for a video, or a resource (like a vacationer’s guide to parks, e.g.) – which could easily go in a postscript.How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  24. 24. Real-life sample number five: Mr. Holland‟s Opus Foundation MHOPUS proves you don’t have to deliver a fancy email to make donors feel loved. They also followed up with a second thank-you email that was every bit as beautiful. And check out the redirect... See next slideHow to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  25. 25. Real-life sample number five: Mr. Holland‟s Opus Foundation The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation proves you can deliver plenty of donor-love on a bootstrap budget, with its donor-centric redirect page, warm email thank-you (see previous slide) and follow-up thank you email that included a handwritten thank-you from a budding young musician. Bravo! Up next  homework (double groan!)How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  26. 26. And now for your post-webinar homework assignments... Assignment #1: Be your donor. Make a donation from your homepage, via an Internet search. Land there like a newbie. Use a new email account to do so. Take screen shots to track each step of the process, while asking these questions: 1. Homepage: Can I quickly and easily find the donate button? 2. Click the donate button: How does my donate page look?Assignment #2: 3. Fill it out: Are the fields easy to complete? Where am I redirected?Be someone else’s Does this make sense to me?donor. 4. Give: Am I redirected to a thank-you page? Inbox: Do I get a thank-Go ‘mystery you email? How do the Sender and Subject fields look?shopping’ and make 5. Open email. What do I see, images off? What do I see, images on?donations to your 6. Read email. How does it make me feel?competitors and to 7. Act on something. Does the email give me somewhere to click?other nonprofit 8. Finish reading. Do I know where to go if I have a question? Does itorganizations. Go to feel like a “real person” will reply?their homepages and 9. Ask a question. Does anyone reply?repeat steps 1-10 at 10. Wait for something. Do I know what‟s coming next? Does it arriveright. as promised? Up next  The last word...How to write thank-you emails that inspire, Network for Good Webinar 3/21/12: Lisa Sargent Communications
  27. 27. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (And all best wishes for your e-thanking success!) If you have questions or want to get in touch with Lisa Sargent, you can reach her: By email:flickr: woodleywonderworks lisa(at)lisasargent(dot)com By phone: 860-851-9755 On Twitter: @lisasargent2 Free case studies, articles and more... For free resources and to subscribe to The Loyalty Letter, Lisa‟s free e-newsletter for nonprofits, visit: www.lisasargent.com. Also visit Lisa‟s free thank you letter clinic on SOFII, with more samples, at http://www.sofii.org/showcase?hall=274&id=68.
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