There seems to be some confusion I believe as the etiquette a nonprofit should exercise when a donor requests “no publicity.” What the donor is in effect saying is that they do not want their name plastered in a newsletter or in the newspaper exclaiming the dollar amount given so they will be branded on everyone else’s future “hit list.” If a gift is given obviously the donor feels some connection or maybe felt some connection but it is up to the nonprofit to make sure that donor stays connected!
With this said, the words “no publicity” do not in any way excuse you or your organization from saying “thank you” or acknowledging at least the receipt of the check unless the donor specifically states this as a condition of the gift.
Likewise, if you are worried about sending something in writing then pick up the telephone and call the donor and thank him or her on the phone and ask them if you could take them to lunch. If they decline that is perfectly fine but you need to at least make an effort!
It is amazing to me that for whatever reason good manners and logical thinking seem to escape many in the nonprofit arena. Surprisingly, I find that the biggest violators of this simple etiquette are the larger nonprofits that should know better but for whatever reason remain clueless.
Remember a donor ignored will be someone else’s donor in the end!
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.