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Thank you letters for Christmas donations


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35 replies to this topic

#1 Hollycoddle

Posted 10 December 2019 - 11:37 PM

I work for a national charity organisation that supports children, young people and families. Every year at Christmas we do food hampers and gifts for clients in our particular program. We solicit donations via social media and we also have regulars who donate every year as well as public service departments (we are in Canberra) who do giving trees. You wouldn't believe what a generous response we get.

This year our manager has suggested we get some of the recipients to do thank-you letters to pass onto some of the donors. Donors have not asked for this, it has come from inside the organisation. This doesn't sit well with me. The people we give to thank us and we pass that on to donors at the time of collecting the goods. For those people who may donate for selfish reasons it smacks of virtue signalling but I believe most people give out of the true goodness of their hearts and would not be expecting or needing direct thanks from the recipient. I think it's automatically implied that recipients are thankful. I also believe it's demeaning for the clients to be asked to do this.

I'm thinking of raising this with our team in an effort toward us not having clients do this. It's a good work team but my concerns could be received either way. What do you think?

Edited by Hollycoddle, 10 December 2019 - 11:40 PM.


#2 SeaPrincess

Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:02 AM

I wouldn’t. I donate to a local charity, and there is an expectation of anonymity from the recipients. One of the things they do, and which we contribute to, is specific Christmas gifts for children. We are told boy/girl and the age, but as a donor, I’d feel very uncomfortable receiving a thank you for that.

I think it would be okay to let people know that if they want to write a letter, it will be passed on, but I wouldn’t ask for it.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 11 December 2019 - 12:03 AM.


#3 Ellie bean

Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:05 AM

I think it’s demeaning to the recipient to ask them to do this. I don’t think donors expect it- a thank you from the organisation is enough.

#4 MooGuru

Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:09 AM

View PostEllie bean, on 11 December 2019 - 12:05 AM, said:

I think it’s demeaning to the recipient to ask them to do this. I don’t think donors expect it- a thank you from the organisation is enough.

Second this.

#5 Hollycoddle

Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:22 AM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 11 December 2019 - 12:02 AM, said:

I wouldn’t. I donate to a local charity, and there is an expectation of anonymity from the recipients. One of the things they do, and which we contribute to, is specific Christmas gifts for children. We are told boy/girl and the age, but as a donor, I’d feel very uncomfortable receiving a thank you for that.

The recipient wouldn't be expected to put their name on the letter/card. I still think it's too much to ask though.

We also send out tags with age and gender. This year about 1500 were sent out to donors. I would never deny a child a gift at Christmas but it makes me hyperventilate to think of the amount of stuff that is. Quite a bit of which we end up being asked to take to the tip a few months later when it's broken/past its use. I wish our society would move past this obsession with consuming. Alas it's not likely to happen anytime soon but on a micro scale I've moved away from giving people stuff and do experience gifts instead.  

But as you were lol, consumerism is a whole other thread and definitely NOT one for 1.30am!

Edited by Hollycoddle, 11 December 2019 - 12:28 AM.


#6 Hollycoddle

Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:28 AM

Thanks for the late-night replies :)

#7 Caribou

Posted 11 December 2019 - 02:56 AM

From memory world vision used to send out thank you notes from the children you give regular donations to, the expectation that you get to watch the child grow up and the profess their gratitude for your donations.

I wonder if manager is thinking of this. It doesn’t sit right with me. Some Recipients would want to do this but not all. I would just find it easier to suggest to any recipient to ‘pay it forward’ when they’re able.

We should be able to receive and give without attachments in the conditions you speak of in your OP.

#8 TrixieBelden

Posted 11 December 2019 - 05:33 AM

I actively avoid charities that do this.  It’s desperately unpleasant. If one of the charities I donate to started doing this I’d switch to another similar charity.

I’d also remove ‘virtue signalling’ from your vocabulary. It’s a nasty and contemptuous phrase typically used by mean-spirited people who wouldn’t put their hand in their pocket to help anyone and can only infer unpleasant reasons for others to do so.  Using it suggests you have contempt for some of your donors who, regardless of their reason for donating, are at least donating.

#9 Hollycoddle

Posted 11 December 2019 - 06:51 AM

View PostTrixieBelden, on 11 December 2019 - 05:33 AM, said:


I’d also remove ‘virtue signalling’ from your vocabulary. It’s a nasty and contemptuous phrase typically used by mean-spirited people who wouldn’t put their hand in their pocket to help anyone and can only infer unpleasant reasons for others to do so.  Using it suggests you have contempt for some of your donors who, regardless of their reason for donating, are at least donating.

It isn't me who is mean-spirited, it's actually a thing. I remember a thread a while back where someone posted of a situation where a family donated a gift to an impoverished child and insisted on having their own child attend to watch the opening of the gift. You see virtue signalling all the time on social media. And if you you reread my post you will note that I did say I believe the majority of people give to charity out of true generosity.

#10 SM3s Fight Song

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:03 AM

View PostEllie bean, on 11 December 2019 - 12:05 AM, said:

I think it’s demeaning to the recipient to ask them to do this. I don’t think donors expect it- a thank you from the organisation is enough.

Ditto.  A thank you from the organisation great, a letter from the recipient would make me think twice about giving to that organisation again because I'd be worried about the recipient and what they might have felt having to give thanks like that.

#11 IamtheMumma

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:07 AM

As someone who donates, it is nice to get feedback but I'm happy for that to come from the organisation not the recipient. If I'm getting something from it, other than a thanks for donating, it isn't giving.  

As someone who has utilised welfare services, it is another demeaning hoop to jump through. I'd do it because needs must but it would increase my feelings of failure and vulnerability.

I vote no. Giving is supposed to be private and doesn't require an emotional pound of flesh from the recipient. It is supposed to be given while the recipient maintains their dignity.

#12 born.a.girl

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:10 AM

Ye gods no.  I'm in the position I'm in partly through good fortune.  I'd me mortified if I got a letter of thankyou for something like that, that I gave. It's a minuscule effort to even the scales a little.

#13 Sweet.Pea

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:40 AM

I think if you aren't having trouble with getting donations, then what is the point?

Once you've donated, that's it. The gift goes to a recipient, they feel grateful, you feel happy. End of story.

#14 seayork2002

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:41 AM

I would explain to the person who suggested it is that they have rocks on their head if they thought that it was a good idea, as politely as possible

#15 123Tree

Posted 11 December 2019 - 07:52 AM

Across Australia in all demographics there are also people who have poor literacy or may be English second language. These people will be twice as uncomfortable with the suggestion.

#16 Beanette

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:08 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 11 December 2019 - 07:10 AM, said:

Ye gods no.  I'm in the position I'm in partly through good fortune.  I'd me mortified if I got a letter of thankyou for something like that, that I gave. It's a minuscule effort to even the scales a little.

I donated lots of DS' old baby clothes to St Kilda Mums and they sent me a thank you card! Such a nice gesture but totally unexpected. I would rather they saved the costs of the card and stamp to use towards doing more good.

I think the act of giving should be enough, donors shouldn't need an extra pat on the back (and from the sounds of your post OP, they don't want one!)

#17 seayork2002

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:14 AM

View PostBeanette, on 11 December 2019 - 08:08 AM, said:

I donated lots of DS' old baby clothes to St Kilda Mums and they sent me a thank you card! Such a nice gesture but totally unexpected. I would rather they saved the costs of the card and stamp to use towards doing more good.

I think the act of giving should be enough, donors shouldn't need an extra pat on the back (and from the sounds of your post OP, they don't want one!)

This, plus I am not sure about anyone else but I feeling inundated as it it with constant emails, real estate sales leaflet in my letter box,  screen ads popping up, email surveys, info I get on a 50 apps the school uses etc.

When I donate to charity no offense to them but leave me alone I do not want another bit of information sent to me, well meaning as it may well be, I donate because I want to.

#18 Soontobegran

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:22 AM

I deplore the Instagram 'look at me, I am amazing' posts but I would make a bet that these are not coming from those who regularly donate to charity because they have good intentions and can do so.

Thank you responses are unnecessary and not required for all but the formerly mentioned type.

Edited by Soontobegran, 11 December 2019 - 08:24 AM.


#19 born.a.girl

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:22 AM

View PostBeanette, on 11 December 2019 - 08:08 AM, said:

I donated lots of DS' old baby clothes to St Kilda Mums and they sent me a thank you card! Such a nice gesture but totally unexpected. I would rather they saved the costs of the card and stamp to use towards doing more good.

I think the act of giving should be enough, donors shouldn't need an extra pat on the back (and from the sounds of your post OP, they don't want one!)

Yes, one from the organisation is a bit different from one procured from the recipient, but I agree with you.  If I choose to give it, I don't need a thankyou.

#20 Schmig

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:34 AM

As someone who donates to these types of support programs I would be very upset to hear that recipients had been asked to personally thank donors. It is hard enough for people. This is demeaning and unkind.

#21 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:43 AM

I would also be upset if recipients were asked for thanks.

The absolute most I would be comfortable with (and it would have to be done without any “coaching” ) would be if there are any unsolicited written or verbal thanks that they be quoted anonymously (with permission) on the website.  



#22 Holidayromp

Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:46 AM

Nope definitely not.  It seems like they are seeking justification for their action.

It would be sh*tty enough being on the receiving end of getting assistance and being reminded you have to rely on handouts to give your kids some sort of Christmas without having to write a letter.

No just no.

#23 lizzzard

Posted 11 December 2019 - 09:03 AM

I suspect the person who suggested this probably didn’t consider some of the unintended downsides.

OP maybe you could brainstorming the benefits and risks/drawbacks... I suspect a thoughtful discussion will lead to the idea being dropped.

#24 CallMeFeral

Posted 11 December 2019 - 09:55 AM

You're right OP, it's a terrible idea. Demeaning to the recipients, and potentially uncomfortable for the donors too, who would be aware of this.
A heartfelt thank you from the organisation could be suggested as a substitute? Something drawing together any comments or thanks from recipients, or some detail on recipients (unidentified obviously) that makes it more personal. Not that this is necessary, but whoever thinks letters from recipients is a good idea might be more swayed if a substitute is offered.

#25 TrixieBelden

Posted 11 December 2019 - 09:56 AM

View PostHollycoddle, on 11 December 2019 - 06:51 AM, said:



It isn't me who is mean-spirited, it's actually a thing. I remember a thread a while back where someone posted of a situation where a family donated a gift to an impoverished child and insisted on having their own child attend to watch the opening of the gift. You see virtue signalling all the time on social media. And if you you reread my post you will note that I did say I believe the majority of people give to charity out of true generosity.

If I heard you using such a nasty phrase to describe your donors, who have done nothing but donate and who are not driving this silly request, it would be the last time your charity received a donation from me.

There is an unpleasant smugness and contempt in your attitude to some of your donors. Everyone gets something from donating, everyone.  Whether a good feeling at having done the right thing or a thank you. Just as you benefit from working for a charity.

There are no saints.




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