Quite plainly, one thing that is known for sure is that donors appreciate the fact that you get their name spelled correctly, especially when you are thanking them for past giving. When it comes time to thank them in your Annual Report or Impact Report, as I prefer to call it, how do you best do this?
Years ago, it was through what we called a “Proof Mailing”. However, for many groups, doing one of these mailings can be cost prohibitive. You need to obtain proofs from the printer, compile the lists, create a cover letter, and then mail. All of this equals time and money. Very rarely, in the past few years, have I seen “proof mailings” being done.
Here is what I recommend for a modern-day proofing process:
Develop your Annual Report/Impact Report giving level list. Some organizations list all of their donors in alphabetical order, others list their donors by giving levels, and some do a combination of the two or even more.
Once you develop this list, check the list and then check the list twice to be sure that you catch any inconsistencies or errors yourself.
Create a landing page on your website that is only visible to you internally and to those that have the “special” landing page link. This landing page is where you will “host” the Annual Report names.
Create a postcard and a series of emails that you will send to all of your donors listed in that report, directing them to the landing page so that they have an opportunity to check their giving level and name. Provide contact information for them to report inaccuracies and errors.
Set a deadline date for donors to respond and schedule your emails as a follow-up to your postcard.
Make any corrections needed. Hopefully, there are none.
This process provides you with an expeditious and modern-day way of proofing your Annual Report so that you may ensure the accuracy of your donor’s names BEFORE you have to beg for forgiveness. And, it also serves as an easy way to do some donor stewardship as well!
Here are some more resources you may want to check out: