“When donors say, “the acknowledgement IS the recognition”, they are making a profound statement about what matters in their relationships with not-for-profits.”
~Penelope Burk

Like you, I recently compiled the financial information from 2022 needed for filing my income taxes. Lest I give away my age, suffice it to say this annual exercise has happened for a long time.

As part of that process, I gathered the gift receipt acknowledgement letters sent by the various nonprofits I had supported over the course of the year.

(Your nonprofit may send an immediate, and separate “thank you” letter. Certainly, it should.)

However, this year I had a real “Aha” moment. It occurred to me that these letters were the only piece of correspondence I kept from everything sent by any nonprofit during 2022. I had to—the IRS requires it. And now I was reading them again.

Which also makes them the only correspondence I read more than once.

What did they say? All of them said “thank you” while acknowledging the receipt and amount of the gift. Some included a way to make another gift. For the most part, there was no information about how my gift would be used, the importance of the nonprofit’s mission and why I should continue supporting it, or any other information that might increase my excitement or engagement.

What a missed opportunity.

How does your tax acknowledgement read? Does it appear to be a requirement adhered to with resentment? Or does it engage the donor sincerely in a way that creates excitement about supporting your mission?

Think of the tax acknowledgement not as a bookkeeping task. Instead, make it one more opportunity to deepen the relationship with your donor. On a letter they will keep. Forever.