This week I celebrated completing my first year of trading as a company of one. The Fundraising Expert is one year old!

The move from Director of a consultancy business to a one-woman band was the best decision for me. And I’ve had more work than I can shake a stick at over these past twelve months.

So, lots to be thankful for.

Thank you for making it happen

It’s been a brilliant first year. I’ve worked with some fantastic causes this year, including the addiction charity, the Recovery Course, Mission Rwentobo, a UK charity supporting Hope Community Clinic in Uganda, Women in Prison who help women who are in the criminal justice system and Stepping Stones DS, a charity supporting children and young people with Down Syndrome in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and the Trussell Trust, a charity many of you will be familiar with.

So, to mark the moment, I decided to splash out on a personalised cake. To be honest, a ‘Happy birthday to my business’ cake felt a little self-indulgent at first. But it was a meaningful way to mark the moment – and be thankful.

I’m grateful to the many charities I’ve worked with over this time. I’m also thankful to all the behind-the-scenes people who helped me start my new venture. People like Sam from Indigo Creative, who got me set up with branding and marketing, Andy from Bybrook Web Design, who helped set me up with a website and my accountant, who does all the boring (but essential) stuff that doesn’t interest me much.

And thank you to the many other friends and family members who have encouraged and supported me to get the Fundraising Expert up and running. You know who you are.

Charity fundraising and the all-important thank you

As a charity consultant, I talk a lot about being thankful. In fact, it’s something I seem to be talking about all the time at the moment. Brilliant thanking isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes excellent fundraising sense. Research data from philanthropy and psychology are clear: thank your donors, and they will give again.

Tips for brilliant thanking

So how can we thank brilliantly? Here are the fabulous four of fundraising thanking:

  1. Be donor-centric. The best fundraising thank you letters and emails do not say much about the organisation. Instead, they focus on the donor – and the difference their support makes to the lives of those the charity exists to help. Do not tell them about the wonderful things you, the organisation, have been doing. Tell them about the wonderful work that they are making happen through their kindness.
  2. Be personal. There is nothing worse than a generic thank you letter. I received a shockingly generic email thank you this week from a charity I give a monthly gift to. Big turn-off.
  3. Be creative. Pick up the phone and call them to say thank you. Better still, ask a trustee, volunteer or service user to do this for you.  Handwrite the envelope and use a stamp. Ask a service user to write a card. Send a one-minute video clip saying thank you.
  4. Thank without agenda. Whether you are writing to a trust, a company or an individual supporter, thank without agenda. Don’t use the opportunity to slip in a sneaky ask. Say thank you, and say it from the heart.

A fundraising thank you to die for

And to close off, here is an example of a lovely thank you email I received from an Irish charity I support. This thank you email is super simple but also brilliantly impactful. And for me as a donor, I read this and wanted to give again.

charity consultant