Thank-you letters to donors waste money, says philanthropist

Melanie Edge tells IoF convention those giving money should have the option not to receive a reply

Charity thank-you letters
Charity thank-you letters

Charities waste money on too many thank-you letters, a philanthropist told delegates at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention on Monday.

Melanie Edge, who was speaking with three other philanthropists about their experiences of working with charities, said thank-you letters were "a bit overdone".

She said: "It’s just postage that’s costing somebody money," she said. "We’d like to be able to put an X in a box to say ‘I don’t want a thank-you letter’."

Edge, an author, said that she liked to have hands-on experience with the charities she gave money to.

"It’s that feeling of being taken on a journey with them and being involved at all stages," she said. "So we know what they’re achieving and we feel a part of that. That makes us more inclined to give more."

Terence O’Rourke, who is chair of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said he had encountered some bad fundraising practice.

"I’ve come across a lot of organisations that say ‘give us some money, now thank you very much and go away’," he said.

He said charities should instead approach potential donors with specific projects or programmes they thought that person would want to be associated with.

See our round-up of news and views from this year's convention

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