Do You Say Thank You Enough?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Board Development, Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership, Staff Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Say Thank You Enough?

Do You Say Thank You Enough?

Fundraiser’s Almanac: January

I once read that organizations should thank their donors seven times. How do you even do that?

OK, so the acknowledgement letter is 1. The Executive Director signs a personal note on the acknowledgement letter – that’s 2 (sort of). We list them in the annual report – that’s 3. Um. Uh. Yeah.

In December, I wrote about calling donors (See Plan Ahead to Say Thank You), and I even went so far as to suggest that board directors call donors from a board meeting. I still think that’s a good idea, and that January board meetings provide the right timing and opportunity.

What will you be doing this year to say thank you to your donors? Can you make it to seven? Are you planning ahead? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Write a special letter to be sent in addition to the acknowledgement letter. Perhaps this is from a board director or a member of the staff not named Executive Director. Write it longhand, perhaps in a card.
  • Share organizational news BEFORE it becomes public, especially news that is related to a known interest of theirs.
  • Invite individual donors (not “the membership”) to special events in a more personal way.
  • Take a photo of them (on a field trip or at an event) with your smart phone. Print it and mail it to them.
  • Record a short video of you saying thank you. Post it on YouTube, and send the donor a link to view it.
  • Connect them (introduce them) to people they would enjoy meeting.
  • Seek out their advice on matters of strategic importance.
  • Personally take them a copy of the newly minted strategic plan to share over coffee.

Please help me add to this list by listing some of your ideas here. All comments will be posted and shared.

 

Also, several weeks ago I referenced another blog by Chris Brogan in which he described a beginning of the year exercise involving three words. You can find his post here (Three Words for 2015). And I promised to share mine. Here they are:

Visibility: This word is a reminder that in 2015, I have a business goal of devoting more intentional energy on marketing – on being more visible. I’d like to build interaction with this blog. I am adding to the number of conferences where I will be presenting seminars and workshops. And I’m getting help developing a new social media strategy. Wish me luck!

Relevance: This word just keeps coming up. It crosses over from my professional life to my personal life. Relevance, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. Stressing it here is a reminder that sometimes it’s more important to provide tools and encouragement instead of answers and opinions. I don’t choose what’s relevant – you do.

Generosity: It’s tempting to see this as a fundraiser would (because that’s what I am), but what I mean here is generosity of spirit, of attention, of praise, and of time.

What would your three words be?

Cheers,

-da

Photo credit: Courtesy of Walt Kaesler.

 

PS: For 2015, I am creating a week-by-week guide to organizing a fundraising program. My ambition is to provide strategic ideas for approaching your work more so than providing some kind of overlay to what you might be doing already. Some of the ideas might work for you now; others might work later in the year. Some might not be relevant for you at all. If these posts offer you some fresh ideas, if they provoke your thinking about getting your work done, if they pull you out of reactive mode and into proactive mode – if they do these things, writing them will have been worthwhile.

Please give me feedback along the way. What works for you? What doesn’t? What twist did you employ? What were your results?

Here were the four topics for January: