One of the best times to feature matching gifts is in acknowledgement emails to donors. For these messages, form letters are your friends.
Install an automated process to change a name here and a few phrases there and voila! You can reach thousands of people with personalized messages in the blink of an eye. There is no need to stray from the form email, unless you have too much time to twiddle your thumbs, but realize that the form of a form email goes beyond a series of universally applicable sentences. There is a physical structure to an email that you can use to better call your donor to take action to seek out a matching gift.
The best way to understand acknowledgement letters is to pick their structure apart. We’ll do that, and then run through the various types of acknowledgement letters.
Take a look at this acknowledgement letter from Piedmont Healthcare:
Piedmont Healthcare Foundation’s Acknowledgement Email to Donors
What should you emulate? They open with a thank you. An acknowledgment letter is a thank you, and, while you can do more than just thank a donor, gratefulness needs to be your main objective. This person donated money to your cause, so your job is to let that person know that his money is both appreciated and put to work in positive ways. Make the person feel good and he just might donate again.
How do you move beyond merely thanking a donor? How do you urge the donor to seek a matching gift in an urgent but polite manner?
Notice the Double Your Donation box as well as the blue text. Those are two locations to click in order to be taken to a destination where donors can discover if their companies have matching gift programs as well as access the necessary company specific forms, guidelines, and instructions.
Donors Arrive on Piedmont Healthcare’s Matching Gift Page on Double the Donation’s Servers
The graphic in Piedmont Healthcare’s email is especially powerful because it does a plethora of work. It’s eye-catching, a clickable link, and incorporates both text and Piedmont Healthcare’s logo such that you know what you’re looking at. Unlike text, graphics grab the reader’s attention instantly.
If you don’t have visuals, you can either create your own or, if you’re a Double the Donation client, we have a host of premade images to choose from, such as:
Next to Piedmont Healthcare’s graphic, the wording of the text banner, “Make Your Donation Go Twice as Far,” is key, and Piedmont Healthcare nailed it. The text begins with an active verb and suggests that the donor take steps to do even more good. It’s simple, to the point, and with no annoying signifiers such as exclamation points or distracting color schemes.
Under the text banner is additional text that informs about matching gifts:
‘Did you know that many companies match donations made by their employees to our organization?’
This creates another opportunity for the reader to both notice and learn about matching gifts. The message is simple and precise.
Piedmont Healthcare closes the email with a receipt summary and then performs a simple sign off. That’s it. Keep the email short, sweet, and to the point.
Realize that every part of an email can do work, from the text to the physical layout of the objects on the screen. Never underestimate the psychological impact of little, subconscious triggers such as well-arranged content and syntactically sound sentences. Those parts of an email work best when they work together.
The above email from Piedmont Healthcare is an example of a thank you note from a nonprofit to a donor. The donor has yet to seek out a matching gift.
When you send a thank you email, you should do as Piedmont does. They use the email to both thank the donor and to ask the donor to pursue a matching gift. Many donors are either not aware of matching gift programs or need a little push to get them to use their company’s program. Play smart and ask for what you want.