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Kudos to ASAE Foundation

I wrote here recently about my positive experience with donating to ASAE’s Foundation. Following my donation I received not one, not two, but three separate snail-mail communications from ASAE. One was my printed receipt (since it’s a tax deductible donation) and the other two were personal, hand written notes from Peter O’Neill (chairman of the Foundation) and Susan Robertson (president of the Foundation).

I would characterize my donation as modest. So it was hardly incumbent upon Susan and Peter to write a thank you note to me. But it’s polite, it’s appropriate, and you can bet that it will increase my likelihood of donating in the future.

Ask yourself: How are you acknowledging your members, donors, and even simply buyers of your association’s products and services? In this world of high tech, high touch becomes increasingly important.

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8 Comments on "Kudos to ASAE Foundation"

Cynthia D'Amour - 29 November 2010 Reply

Totally agree. I got the notes too. Made me smile - and feel good about the donation.

Wes Trochlil - 29 November 2010 Reply

Hand-written notes are so exceedingly rare that to receive one almost always brings a smile to my face.

Garry Polmateer - 30 November 2010 Reply

Wes, Great blog and reminder that sometimes simpler is better. With negative feedback so easy to give out, a little praise is rare to see! Garry

Wes Trochlil - 30 November 2010 Reply

Good point, Garry, so much easier to be negative. Another reason notes like this stand out.

Reid - 30 November 2010 Reply

Yeah but is that how you want non-profits to spend their scarce resources? (Or maybe ASAE is different and they can afford triple effort.) Just asking.

Wes Trochlil - 30 November 2010 Reply

Fair question, Reid. Let's do the math. The first letter (confirmation of donation and receipt) is essentially required, so let's discount that. Second handwritten note comes from a volunteer, so the cost is postage ($0.42) and printing of card/envelope (let's generously say $1, though it's likely less than that). So total cost for first handwritten card is $1.50 (rounding). Second card is the same, only add in five minutes of overhead to ASAE because that was written by a staff member. Let's make that $10 in overhead. So total cost to ASAE is $13. All this for a $100 donation. But wait, that's only for THIS donation. When we calculate the lifetime value of my contributions, that $100 will likely become several thousand. Without those notes, my LTV might be $100. Yes, nonprofits have scarce resources. And maybe three letters is overkill. But I think ASAE (and all nonprofits) are better to fault to the side of over-thanking than under-thanking, wouldn't you agree?

Scott Oser - 30 November 2010 Reply

I have to agree with Wes on this one. Members/donors are the life blood of any organization and all associations/non-profits need to do what they can to retain them. Personally I think what ASAE did was great and obviously made Wes feel better about the organization making him that much more likely to donate in the future. If they did not communicate with Wes, say by simply sending him a receipt for his donation in the mail, I am almost positive they would have lost his future donations and therefore would have had to spend even more resources to either get him back or to recruit someone else to donate. The old saying that it is always cheaper to retain a member than to recruit a new one is true not just for financial resources but for human resources as well.

Wes Trochlil - 30 November 2010 Reply

>>> it is always cheaper to retain a member than to recruit a new one Indeed.

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