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Tax time: opportunity versus obligation

Your donors are the driving force behind all that your charity achieves. So, as the end of financial year approaches, don’t get caught and send an uninspiring, ‘anonymous’ tax receipt to your donors.

Approach this year’s tax receipt letter as if it were the most important communication of the year – because when it comes to donor retention, this letter and/or email is one of the most important.

Yes, saying “Thank You” – and doing it well – will help to keep your regular givers donating. Let your donors know how important they are.

(See our article Thank You: say it often, say it right.)

A couple of pointers:

Keep your message consistent. Only talk about the programs that your donors have contributed directly to. Otherwise they’ll be confused as to where their donation dollar went.

Come from an attitude of gratitude. People love to be flattered. Make your donor the hero. Assume they are going to keep making that regular gift and thank them in advance. Tell them how their gifts in the coming year will make a critical difference.

Pack in those emotional triggers. Remember, heart trumps mind. People love to read stories, not data. Engage your donor in a story; make it about a single person.

Make sure your letter or email contains clear contact details for the donor. Don’t hide them away in the fear that a donor may call to cancel. And make sure you have exceptional donor service in place at every potential point of contact.

And a final comment. Have a box on your home page that lets donors know when they can expect to receive their tax receipts. But like your letter/email to come, make the message shine and make your donor the hero.

“Your tax receipt for the 2016/17 financial year will be sent to you mid July. The children that you have helped this year think you’re amazing … And so do we!”

So let’s make this year’s letter a winner. Start now on your tax receipt mailing and let your donors know loud and clear that their gifts are making the world a better place.

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