Why I resent not being thanked….

Ken Burnett contributed recently to a Third Sector article about donors being thanked, in response to a blogger who felt they shouldn’t – we know what side Ken would be on and rightly so. He sets the case out better than anyone.

It made me think about a recent experience I had with a donation I made on the spur of the moment and in response to a story that moved me. In 2008 an aid worker called Gayle Williams was murdered in Afghanistan. At the time I was struck that there was this kind woman doing her very best for people, whose kindness was then repaid by a small unrepresentative group who took her life. Having worked for UNICEF, I knew the sacrifice of workers in the field and decided to send a gift to the charity Serve Afghanistan, for whom she worked.

I found the website. No contact details, no donor friendly info, no form, no enquiry box, no donate now button, no names. Nothing. I was disappointed but nevertheless, thought they must be a small charity and I put these concerns to one side. I found the bank details and e-mail address (no human name) and duly made a gift. Nothing back. No e-mail. No letter. No phone call. Nothing.

I then sent another e-mail and asked them to confirm my gift and in that e-mail gave them some friendly advice as a fundraiser to help them understand that the experience I had, was not good. Nothing. I sent another e-mail. Nothing. I gave up and put it down to experience.

Two years on and the thank you debate surfaces again. And I revisit my experience. I resent my gift. I have no confidence it has done any good. I have no faith that anyone cared about it. I feel – cheated, disrespected, ignored. I don’t want flowers. I don’t want fawning. I do want some respect, some acknowledgement, some confidence. In short I wanted a thank you.

I am sure Serve Afghanistan does good work. But, I was not treated well – and I am telling you this. That’s why donors, wherever they are, who ever they are deserve the respect that a simple, polite, appropriate thank you gives. It’s not about size, resources or ability. It’s about attitude, respect, appreciation, humanity, decency.

Thank you. Simple isn’t it. Thank you.

Posted in Charity, Citizenship, Fundraising, Giving, Insight, Kindness, Stories and tagged , , , , .


  1. Thanks Stephen, any chance you could repeat that at my Fundraising Induction at the end of the month. Miss you mate and you efferrtless ability to bring the common sense of fundraising to life.

  2. Pingback: Are we communicating with donors intuitively or by default? « Imperfect

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