Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Please accept my deepest condolences

Your charity has received a gift in memory of a loved one from a donor. What is the opening line in your reply letter? The unimaginative 'Please accept my deepest condolences' or the equally bland 'Thank you for your kind donation.' Two completely different openings; neither of them particularly inspiring and each with their own pluses and minuses. Would you say there is a correct response?

A selection of thank you letters
I was fortunate to attend a seminar entitled Engaging bereaved donors last week organised by the Institute of Fundraising (London). Reaffirming, yet informative, the course was delivered by the ever-knowledgeable Kevin Kibble. The opening sentiment of the hypothetical reply letter was discussed and it's fair to say the opening gambit split the delegates 50:50. In the end, I found myself leaning more towards 'Thank you for your kind donation' especially after Kevin remarked, "First and foremost, this is a thank you letter for a donation." Of course, a well-crafted reply letter will offer expression of condolences as well, but later in the letter.

In Memoriam giving is an area of fundraising that interests me more and more. It is also an area of growth. Last month JustGiving reported a 32 per cent increase in In Memoriam donations from January to May compared to the same period last year.

In my opinion, many charities struggle to communicate with In Memoriam donors in a professional, appropriate and empathetic manner. Likewise, the ability to devise In Memoriam products that connect with In Memoriam donors are few and far between. Earlier this year, I posed a question on Twitter "What charities are offering engaging #TributeFund programmes in your opinion?I received a fantastic response. As you can see, opinion was mixed among respondents.

I'm convinced, more than ever, that medical research and palliative care charities are failing to realise the potential of Tribute Funds. Tribute Funds offer In Memoriam donors the opportunity to create a lasting tribute in memory of a loved one; and for the charity, a product that encourages engagement and commitment from one-time In Memoriam donors. The bereaved want to remember loved ones, not forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment