Sight­savers Ire­land: The most sin­cere thank you ever written

Exhibited by
Reinier Spruit
June 11, 2020
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

If a donor passes away, how should a charity respond? When Sightsavers Ireland were faced with this question they responded by exhibiting first-class donor care. The supporter care team contacted their donors’ daughter to express their sympathies on learning of their passing, and inform her of the difference her parents had made to the lives of blind people in the developing world. It’s a superb example of how to treat donors and their families.


It happens a lot that, as an organisation, you are in contact with relatives of a donor who passed away. Your administration needs to be updated. It’s never something someone is looking forward to. 

But to avoid unnecessary pain on one side, and cost on the other, it needs to be done. And above all, it’s an excellent indicator of how donor focused you as an organisation really are. Do you make it an administrative process or an experience people will not easily forget? 

Well very recently, Sightsavers Ireland chose to go above and beyond the administrative basics and deliver this example of truly excellent, emotive, supportive donor care.

Wim Desmedt of Sightsavers Ireland explains: Michael, our Fundraising and Supporter Care Coordinator, joined the organisation on the 21st of April this year, about a month before this conversation took place. He had no experience in fundraising, but had worked in call centres for many years. When I gave him his first induction via Skype, I insisted that ‘Sightsavers has to be purposeful’ for its donors. We must make it clear to people what their impact is through the donations they make. We had an interesting discussion about how he, as a customer care officer, could play a prominent role in this.

The email conversation below followed a notification from the daughter of a regular donor to report that her father had died. The death notice was used by Michael to help our donor's daughter understand the impact her parents made through their gifts. Something she didn't know until then!”

Special characteristics

The donor’s name has been changed. The rest of the email is the original message that was sent by Michael:

Influence / impact

A brilliant email, right? It’s wonderful to see that, as a donor at Sightsavers Ireland, you are not just a number in a database. You get the feeling that you are both appreciated and taken seriously. Not to mention, the organisation lives up to the mission it has promised to its donors. This type of communication contributes to the satisfaction, commitment and trust of your supporters.

Unsurprisingly, the donor’s daughter was very impressed. She has just discovered how greatly her parents’ donations were valued by the organisation they supported. Here is her response:

This thank you was sent by the Irish branch of Sightsavers.
Sightsavers Ireland work to eliminate avoidable blindness and promote the rights of people with disabilities.