How do you spell Acknowledg(e)ments?
Without donors enabling your mission, as you well know, the work doesn’t get done. That said: how, exactly, does that thanking happen? Donations come in, and you record their gifts, cash their checks and process their credit cards – that part makes sense.
But do you follow up with them, and say ‘thanks a whole bunch’? If so, what does it look like? Do you send out a 3×5 postcard for smaller gifts, and a big envelope with embossed letterhead for major gifts? Do you just send out an email? If the donation is a sustainer gift and associated with a pledge, do you thank the donor every month? If the donation was less than a dollar, do you pay for a stamp?
In Revolution Online, every client has a set of business rules defined, segmenting donations into different groups. Every organization handles things a little bit differently, but some common groupings might be:
- Pledge donations
- Tiny donations (amounts that you might not acknowledge)
- First gifts
- Gifts after long lapses
- Rare payment methods (Stocks, annuities, bequests, in kind donations, etc.)
- Gifts from High Touch/Major Donors/Celebrities
- Gifts from Foundations and Corporations
Note that some gifts might qualify for more than one acknowledgement segment – the order of the segmentation is important. A gift can only fall into one segment at a time – and we process the hierarchy from the top down. Hence a term you might hear working with your friends at ROI: Top Down Logic for segmentation.
When a batch gets finalized and locked, any gift that is not marked as do not acknowledge is up for consideration. The acknowledgement sweep, which is the regular process that a ROI programmer sets up to implement the segmentation rules, looks at all transactions in locked batches that are not already acknowledged. The logic determines which segment the gift should fall under.
That process then generates a large file with each gift grouped accordingly, which is then sent to the appropriate fulfillment person, who then generates the appropriate thank you based on the category. As each gift gets sorted, the transaction gets marked as acknowledged so the transaction isn’t thanked multiple times.