1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    When mum died, rather than flowers at the funeral, we asked for donations to a named charity.

    Including tax relief, we were able to send them over £500.
    I wrote the letter, explaining the circumstances, but asked if they would send any thanks or acknowledgement to my dad, care of my address - I just felt that a letter in his name would mean a lot to him; help him come to terms with his loss.

    This morning I received what looked like a standard reply - addressed to me.
    Maybe I am doing them a dis-service, maybe there is another letter in the post to dad.

    The charity? Alzheimers Society.:(
  2. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Oh Helen - let's hope your dad has received a better letter eh?
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I have always been told that acknowledgements of Charitable Donations included a list of all donors, so they could be thanked individually.

    The amounts they had donated were never revealed.
  4. Tash

    Tash Registered User

    Jan 8, 2007
    London, UK
    Dear Helen,

    Not my area of expertise unfortunately, but I have passed this on to our Supporter Care team to follow up.

    Best wishes
  5. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Thanks Tash,
    Have had some interesting conversations recently. Another supporter sent a cheque for a large amount and got back a standard letter - they wont donate again, nor leave anything as part of will.
    Must admit that my feelings are the same

    If individuals are not made to feel valued when they donate money, and time to the Alzheimers Society - and that includes on TP - then the Society is losing potential income for the future.

  6. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Helen....I found your post interesting.

    We too asked for donations in lieu of flowers which was sent to charity.......

    we had absolutely no acknowledgement at all

    Charity? the local branch of the Alzheimers Society.

    An acknowledgement was made in the monthly newsletter along with others.....I felt rather disappointed.

    In contrast after a donation had been sent to cancer research following my dad's death 2 years previously I received a very warm letter of thanks from them
  7. WilliamWatt

    WilliamWatt Registered User

    Sep 24, 2007
    Thank you for your feedback

    I have read your views regarding the Society's donation thanking process and although I am glad that you have taken the time to let us know your thoughts, I am sad that we have not provided the level of service you expected.


    I have looked into why your father was not thanked following your original letter and I can only apologise that this was not done straight away. A letter has now been sent (Friday).

    With regard to standar letters, the Supporter Care team are involved in a scheme with other leading charity's where letters and response rates are tested to ensure that a good level of service is provided.

    Our letters are in fact personalised both in address and content. For example; for in-memoriam letters we express (where possible) either the relationship of the deceased or name and offer our condolences.

    The rest of the letter then goes on to give facts about dementia and detail how your donation might be used, and finally closing once again offering further condolences.

    The Supporter Care team are a very small team within the organisation as we try to spend as little as possible on administration costs. I'm afraid it isn't possible for us to write personal letters to each individual donor, as much as we would like to.

    The Society's main operating principle is to ensure that People with Dementia are always at the Centre of everything we do and this I think is the core reason why many people choose to support us.

    We do have a process for recording donor's thoughts and comments. These are recorded and quarterly passed to our Fundraising management team for review.

    I would urge anyone who feels let down by our admin process to contact me. I would be happy to listen to or discuss any ideas with you on how we could improve our service.

    With regard to having a list of donors stated on the acknoweldgment letter, this is something we used to do, however, as it is impossible for us to know when all donations are recieved we no longer do this automatically. This is available upon request at any time by the next of kin. I will look into this being stated in the in-memoriam letter, so thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    Please note that all donors are thanked for their own personal contribution where possible.

    Mel, I can only apologise regarding your post about not being thanked at all. I am very sorry to hear this, unfortunately branch thank you's are dealt with directly by the branch in question. If you would like me to follow this up for you, please e-mail me: wwatt@alzheimers.org.uk and I will see if I can get any info for you.

    Once again thank you all for your comments. Its really good for me to hear your opinions and take ideas from you on how we can make our processes better.

    I would be happy to discuss this or any other issue you might have either on this forum or directly to me via e-mail: wwatt@alzheimers.org.uk or by calling the Supporter Care line: 0845 306 0898

    Warmest Regards

    William Watt
  8. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Thank you Tash for taking the time to read and forward my post, and William for taking the time to respond here. I have today received your letter of apology.

    I do understand what you are saying, and appreciate that administration costs should be kept to a minimum, but if three supporters have been deterred from future donations because of the impersonal response that they have received, then how many more feel the same, and how much revenue is being lost?

    Bereavement is a difficult time; when sufferers and carers lives have been ravaged by dementia, one tries to find sense and meaning and worth in the situation. For my dad and I, the belief that mum's illness and death may help other sufferers, helped. To receive a standard letter - barely personalised - sort of just made mum another statistic.

    As a matter of interest - on average, how many donations, in memorium, are received daily?

  9. alirob

    alirob Registered User

    Mar 11, 2007
    My 17 year old son recently cycled the Coast to Coast cycle route and raised money for the local branch of the AS which cared for his grandmother and has had incredibly appreciative thank you letters. They really were grateful!
  10. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    With regards to donations

    At our local Branch, monies received instead of flowers, wedding anniversary - no presents donations to local Branch, fund raising etc., Everyone who donate are sent out personal letters. When my Grandaughter did a research "Who knew about A.D. Dementia at her School and then gave a talk to her year and raised £100 for us, the letters where sent out. I know it does mean so much to people to get acknowledgement but most important it shows that we really do appreciate peoples support and in quite a few instances we have been asked to donate the money to Projects that we do in our Area. We cannot afford to upset anyone and I know it is extra work from the Society but with out the donations we can not do the work, research etc. Christine
  11. WilliamWatt

    WilliamWatt Registered User

    Sep 24, 2007
    Hi Helen,

    it's very difficult to gauge how different people feel about the responses to our letters. We do receive letters of thanks from some of our donors with further donations in response to our in memoriam letters.
    We certainly realise that it is a difficult time and I feel we do address this in our in memoriam letters. We clearly offer our sincere condolences, we personally address the relationship between the deceased and donor where possible, we thank for thinking of the Society at what must be a difficult time, if the donation is a collection we offer our thanks to everyone who donated and we go on to say where these donations might help to improve other people affected by dementia.

    I cant stress enough how a good relationship with our donors is paramount to enabling us to help more people affected by dementia and I am very grateful for your views as it certainly gives me something to think about, I would very much like to hear any suggestions you might have about how we can make our letters more personal. I will of course discuss with my team this thread and how we can use the feedback constructively in our thanking process.

    On average we receive about 60 donations a day (not including appeals) of which about 50 are thanked personally by the team. Around half of these are in memoriam letters.

    We also deal with the Society’s membership scheme (sending out welcome packs, renewals etc) enter all transactions onto our database, answer the Supporter Care hotline, update the database following appeals, take credit card donations, send out Event information packs as well as many other tasks. I hope this gives you a brief outline of what the Supporter Care Team does

    As always I am happy to personally discuss this or any other matter further.

    Warm Regards

    William Watt

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