Following up on the initial gift

Six weeks ago, I made first-time gifts online, of $25 each, to five different children’s hospitals. I documented the online giving process earlier, and now I want to describe what the five hospitals did (or didn’t do) after they got my gift. I won’t mention names here; I’ll call them “A” through “E”. (If you are a children’s hospital and want more details, or want to participate in this study, let me know).

From all five, I received an immediate, automatic email acknowledging my gift. Four of the five actually said “Thank you” while one called it a “purchase confirmation” (what did I purchase?). That hospital also sent a second email the next day with an attached PDF file of my gift receipt, with instructions to “Please review the receipt and store with your other tax receipts.” Still no “Thank you for your gift” and no invitation to do anything further. Only one of the five gave me my gift information, matching gift information and a suggestion that I pursue that with my employer. It also included a link back to the hospital website, though without any incentive to go there.

Only one of the five actually told me a story in the thank-you, and invited me to go to the website for more information on one of the children:

ACHF-TKU

Since the thank-you emails, I have received additional email from only three of the five. One sent an elaborate Thanksgiving e-card more recently, but still no invitation to give or take further action. One, affiliated with a university, sent me two alumni newsletters (they should know I’m not an alum) and a foundation newsletter, but no stories about children and no further invitations to take action. Only one has a vibrant email campaign. From them I have received eight email messages, spaced about once per week, with different stories and approaches.

(Eight in as many weeks is too much, you say? I disagree, especially at this time of year, but surely you agree that none is too few.)

In the mail, the follow-up has been just as disparate. I realize that many organizations have long lead times for their mail appeals (which is why they should have extra stock to use for new donors) and so I expect to have mail to report on for years to come. In fact, we should make arrangements in my will for someone to carry on this report, since I’m confident that I will continue to receive mail from these hospitals long after I’m feed to the worms.

I’ll report on mail next time.

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