How many emails did you get today? Probably more than you can count. How many text messages? Again, likely more than you can count. How many hand written cards? Even counting your birthday, you are lucky if you receive even 10 cards a year.
Cards are a great, simple, and inexpensive way to stand out. I know of a donor once who complained of never hearing from the charity where she had given $5000. The problem? The charity had only sent her eThanks, eNewsletters, eVites to donor events. She had literally never registered that there were any other communications. You can buy cards at any dollar store - they are that affordable.
Location, location, location
When is the last time you printed off an email and stuck it on your shelf or on your fridge? A card is a thank you that is more likely to stay around the donor's house for a while, long after that email has been read and deleted.
Short and sweet
You don't need to write a novel. A good card can be a quick note of thanks - just one or two sentences with your signature and your business card. Let's face it, having your business card hanging around someone's house isn't so bad either!
You be you
A great card can be distinctive. Whether it is a postcard with an image of people participating in the work your charity does or a classic card with a piece of art that reflects your organization, cards can help underscore your organization and your work.
Put your stamp on it
Please, please, please - if you are going to go to the trouble of doing cards, use a real stamp, not an indicia from the office postage machine. The stamp is a warm, human touch and costs the same.
Some things never change
For many charities, a large cohort of their donors tend to be age 60+. This is a generation that grew up with thank you cards and letters as a way of showing appreciation and connection. Why not speak the language of your donors when expressing thanks?
Tried, tested and true
Research shows that donors who feel appreciated are more likely to give. By communicating thanks to your donors in more than one way, you increase the chances that the donors feel that their gift had impact.
For all these reasons, cards are a great, simple way to make a splash without breaking the bank.
Ann Rosenfield is a working fundraiser and the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews.