Reinforce the Donation Decision to Eliminate Donor Remorse

Beginner, Donor Communication

By Jeremy Reis

Donor remorse is a real phenomenon. You might find it odd, but some people do regret the donation they made. It can also impact monthly giving, someone makes a decision to give monthly, but then quits soon after. Reducing donor remorse will help keep your donors happy – and increase the likelihood of that important second gift.

To teach you about eliminating donor remorse, I’m going to pull an example for an email I received after registering for a conference.

For example, take this registration confirmation email from Tim Kachuriak for the NIO Summit:


Welcome to the elite.

Tim starts by reinforcing that you’re part of something unique, part of the “elite.” The choice of word is likely very purposeful: elite. Not club, or group, or team, but elite. Something that is superior to everything else. Your simply decision to register has already made you superior to other nonprofit marketers.

Keeping one line in a paragraph by itself naturally makes it more impactful. This is a common technique in writing an effective fundraising appeal. Make the main message stand out by letting it stand alone.

Your choice to attend the Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit puts you in a unique group of leaders and practitioners on the frontier of digital strategy. We are a community defined by commitment— commitment to relentless optimization and a refusal to accept adequacy in our work.

Tim defined who the elite are in the next paragraph.

The speakers we have planned for the Summit exemplify this culture. They are innovators and leaders who are genuinely excited to openly share their discoveries so you can do more good.

I am so honored to welcome you as a peer into the community we are forming around the NIO Summit.

It’s my mission that you walk out of the Summit with new confidence, inspiration, information and skills, along with a network of peers who share your commitment to innovation and optimization.

I’m going to send you a couple important emails within the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for those.

It’s great to have you in the community. Let me know if I can help you in any way, or answer any questions for you.



What are the lessons you can learn for reducing donor remorse at your nonprofit?

1. Show Gratitude Immediately

Tell your donor “thank you” and how special he/she is for giving. A donor receipt isn’t a thank-you note. Use a note of gratitude to tell your donor how he/she has joined a community of people who are fighting for a specific cause. Here are several creative ideas for you to show gratitude to your donors.

2. Tell the Donor an Impact Story

In your thank-you note, tell the donor an impact story of someone who’s life was changed by a donor like him/her. The impact story helps immediately reinforce it was a good decision to give.

3. Follow Up with How the Donation Was Used

As quickly as possible, tell the donor what you did with the donation. Send an email showing the impact the donor made and how his/her gift made a difference in a real person’s life.

4. Send a Hand Written Thank-You Note

Send a hand written thank-you note to the donor in the mail to show your gratitude. This is a great volunteer opportunity or way the board of directors can participate in the philanthropy process. The hand written note is rare so it will have an emotional impact on the donor.

Reducing donor remorse will have a noticeable positive impact on your donor file and your revenue.



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