Thank You Email Best Practices | WidgetMakr.com

WidgetMakr provides many opportunities to thank donors for their contributions. Campaigns can use auto-generated email messages to thank donors. They also serve to confirm that donors’ contributions processed successfully. Thank you messages are also a great opportunity to connect with your supporters. Use them to let them know that they are appreciated and encourage them to engage in the campaign in other ways.

Why send auto-generated thank you emails?

Donors expect thanks for their contributions. In the era of online shopping, consumers are accustomed to receiving email confirmations of their purchases. Nonprofits are even required by law to provide donors with receipts for their donations. While political campaigns are not held to the same rule, the courtesy is still expected.

Thank you emails also provide a unique messaging opportunity. They reach a targeted audience – supporters who are already dedicated enough to financially invest in your campaign. Maintaining contact with these supporters is critical.

Thank you emails also tend to have higher open rates and click through rates as compared to other types of email communications. Hub Spot found that their own thank you emails saw twice the open and click through rates of generic marketing emails. Campaigns should make the most of the messaging opportunity provided by thank you emails.

Thank you email basics

1. Personalize the greeting.
When a donor opens an email, they read the greeting first. Always make an effort to personalize the message. Avoid a generic “dear donor” or “dear friend” salutation. Fundraisers should also consider thanking donors for their specific contribution amount. For example, an email could read “thank you for your $25 contribution” or “your donation of $50 is greatly appreciated.” In WidgetMakr, it is easy to personalize auto-generated emails using short code. For instructions, see “Step 3: Thank You Messaging” in this WidgetMakr guide.

2. Repeat the “thank you”. 
Because the purpose of this email is to thank the donor, consider saying thanks more than once. The email should not appear to be a marketing message. Emphasizing your gratitude will make your purpose clear. For ideas on how to write a sincere thank you message, pay attention to your own inbox. What messages are other political campaigns or nonprofits sending you after you make a donation? What are retailers saying after an online purchase?

3. Describe how the donation is used.
Fundraisers should also try to give donors a tangible sense of how their contributions will aid the campaign effort. You could tell the donor that their contribution will fund an ad to inform voters about the candidate’s policy positions. Or maybe it funds a bus tour that allows the candidate to interact with voters.

4. Remind donors that political donations are not tax deductible.
Finally, it is helpful to remind donors that gifts made to political campaigns or 501(c)(4) organizations are not tax-deductible. Due to confusing tax laws, many donors mistakenly think they can deduct donations made to political campaigns, PACs and 501(c)(4) organizations from their state or federal income taxes.

How to engage donors through thank you emails

Donors have proven themselves to be among your strongest supporters by financially investing in your campaign. You can use thank you messages to keep them engaged!

1. Include links to social media.
Thank you messages are great opportunities to share links to your social media pages or website. These platforms help supporters stay informed about the campaign and its activities. Of course, when donors “like” your Facebook page or share your posts, the campaign benefits from increased social media visibility.

2. Ask donors questions.
Follow-up surveys can also be helpful tools. They allow campaigns to gain insight into what issues their supporters consider most important. It might also be useful to include an open-ended comment field, so supporters can share their concerns and ideas. The information collected may even prove useful for future messaging and fundraising efforts.

3. Include events and volunteer opportunities.
Consider including upcoming events or volunteer opportunities in your thank you emails. Donors are strong supporters who are more likely than average email recipients to have an interest in, and ultimately attend, an event. Volunteering is also a great way for low dollar contributors to stay involved in the campaign, even if they cannot afford to make another contribution.

4. Consider asking for another donation.
A campaign might even consider making a soft ask for a second (or third) donation. While potentially effective, use this strategy with caution. Although fundraising should not be a central message, the email could include a link to the donation page. If your campaign has a recurring donation program, a thank you email could be a good opportunity to encourage donors to continue supporting the campaign on a regular basis.

When an auto-generated email isn’t enough

Finally, while auto-generated thank you emails are a great standard practice, they are not always enough. Generous donors appreciate hand-written thank you notes or phone calls from key campaign staffers. To see your largest donations during a certain period in WidgetMakr, from a widget page, set a date range and then sort by “amount.” Once your campaign determines what’s classified as a major gift, make sure to flag these donations in your database so that you follow-up appropriately.