Want to find the perfect donation response? Look in Wikipedia

I like Wikipedia – its just about the best example of the power of crowd-sourcing information on the web.

An organisation like that should be good with words, and they’ve just given me one of the best examples of a “thank you” for donations that I’ve seen. Simple, clear and pushes all the right buttons.

Thanking your donors is a no-brainer, but pitching the thank you is an art in itself. That’s why I like this so much:

“You are amazing, thank you so much for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation!

This is how we pay our bills — it’s people like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars.

My favourite donation last year was five pounds from a little girl in England, who had persuaded her parents to let her donate her allowance.

It’s people like you, joining with that girl, who make it possible for Wikipedia to continue providing free, easy access to unbiased information, for everyone around the world.

For everyone who helps pay for it, and for those who can’t afford to help. Thank you so much.

I know it’s easy to ignore our appeals, and I’m glad that you didn’t. From me, and from the tens of thousands of volunteers who write Wikipedia: thank you for helping us make the world a better place. We will use your money carefully, and I thank you for your trust in us.

Thanks,

Sue Gardner
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director”

This is just about the perfect donation response. I’m not suggesting you copy it direct, but copy the structure and you won’t go far wrong.

To illustrate, I’ll annotate:

You are amazing, thank you so much for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation! (Remind them who they donated to, and say something nice and informal)

This is how we pay our bills — it’s people like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars. (Then tell them how their donation makes a difference. NB – the only thing they fall down on is the use of “dollars” instead of “pounds” – more user-based personalisation would have made it feel more personally written to me.)

My favourite donation last year was five pounds from a little girl in England, who had persuaded her parents to let her donate her allowance. It’s people like you, joining with that girl, who make it possible for Wikipedia to continue providing free, easy access to unbiased information, for everyone around the world. (The little girl is a really human touch – she is clearly and ideal role model donor. You have just made the donor feel like they are just like her. They now feel good about themselves! And have they sussed the personalisation thing here? – “England”)

For everyone who helps pay for it, and for those who can’t afford to help. Thank you so much. (They may not have donated much, but you understand why and appreciate it as much as a big donation)

I know it’s easy to ignore our appeals, and I’m glad that you didn’t. (They thought about ignoring it, but didn’t. You’re making them feel good about that choice so that when they think about ignoring you next time, they don’t)

From me, and from the tens of thousands of volunteers who write Wikipedia: thank you for helping us make the world a better place. We will use your money carefully, and I thank you for your trust in us. (You won’t waste their money – they have bought something reliable and there’s no need for buyer’s regret. Notice how the tone suggests that you are doing this because you personally owe them for their sacrifice. Perfect!)


Thanks,

Sue Gardner
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director (I am a human being not an organisation, I actually feel the things I just said)

If you are writing a thank you, you could do a lot worse than follow this template.

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