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Hooking a Donor in 37 Words or Less

Updated: May 17, 2022

Good donor stewardship takes a personal touch. It stabilizes your donor revenue and is the best and dare I say only way to motivate a donor to give more.

A handwritten note is a great place to start, and there’s a recipe for writing one that will give you the strongest results.

Efficiently using only 37 handwritten words, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley’s Individual Philanthropy Officer Sara Johnson wrote me the most extraordinarily impactful note this week. If there were a stewardship bakeoff, her recipe would win top prize.

“Thank you for supporting us these past three years and for your commitment to basic needs such as food and housing. We anticipate the extraordinarily high need for food will remain at this level for some time.”

This note signals back to me that:

  • Second Harvest knows I’ve been a loyal donor for three years;

  • it articulates the impact of my gift along with Second Harvest’s mission; and

  • it expresses the need for my support in the future.

It’s also warmly written because we have established a relationship. The preprinted card shows a photo and first names of a family who now has good food on their table–my personal impact–thanks to donors like me.

And even though I made my donation six months ago, Sara’s note this week reminded me of the important work Second Harvest is doing, and my role in it, all year long.

P.S. My first donation to Second Harvest three years ago was $250. And now I’m a major gift donor. I wonder how that happened?

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