An Open Letter To Charities: Say “Thank You”

Just Say Thank You

Thank Yous Are Extinct

One of my favorite little joys in life is having the means to give to causes that move me. I am not a huge contributor, but I give what I can and sometimes I push that envelope. I am passionate. I am empathetic, I’ve even been called an Empath, so emotions move me differently than the average person. I love to give. I love to support children, equine therapy, animals, empower women, provide clean water to villages, gift animals to families and many other types of good in this world.

But, recently, after giving to one of my favorite charities, I got a letter acknowledging my gift (which was about $250) and after a brief, “you’ve changed lives” I was asked to contribute more. Conveniently, there was a prepaid envelope inside my so-called thank you letter. This is common practice, but let me explain what it says to me and why it angers me so:

  • Nobody taught you how to say thank you properly. Thank you, is just thank you. It’s not asking for business, or for furthering your cause. Someone has done something extraordinary for you and your organization. Just say thank you. Tell me what this means to someone far around the world. Validate the sacrifice I may have just made to help others besides me and mine.
  • You are not using my gift properly. You are spending all of my money on sending out letters that simply ask for more money. That was not my intention. I did not give to promote your marketing, I gave to help people. I want my gift to go to the family you promised I would help. I immediately think, “how much did the printing of this envelope cost?”, and then, “And the postage to send it?”
  • You are screaming, “your gift was not good enough! I see your wimpy $250 gift, but you should do better!”  Uh, no, that was a huge gift to me. Just say thank you. Make me feel good about doing the deed, don’t make me feel bad.

Don’t mistake my words, obviously you have to ask for money. Clearly, you must send out letters to do so. Maybe you see the combo thanks/oh-by-the-way-your-gift-was-not-enough letter saves you money. Maybe. Maybe it saves you money, but it tells me to go give somewhere else.

If anyone out there reading this is on a board of directors for a charity, please, print this and take to your next meeting. Email it to your contributions staff. Find another way. Email me, call me and I will gladly give my time to help you craft thank you notes that make your benefactors want to continue to donate. Then, you can use your marketing funds to expand your giving base.

Just say thank you. Please? I love my causes, but I hate to have giver’s remorse. It kinda ruins the spirit of it all, don’t ya think? And by the way, “You’re Welcome.”