Showing appreciation for our supporters is one of the most powerful things we can do to strengthen our communities and ensure our organizations’ long-term success.
Your success rests on these words. Take them seriously, live and breathe them, make them the first item on every list, put them on a special plaque, set them to music, and tattoo them on your heart. Then ask yourself, "Do I thank our loving supporters enough?"
You can’t thank us enough.
Thank us now. Sooner is better than later and later is better than never.
Thank us the first time we donate. Our first donation is like a job interview. We’re still checking you out and seeing how we feel about supporting you. We may have given a donation because a friend recommended you. We were wowed by your story and the exciting ways you change the world, but if we don’t hear back from you we’re moving on. If you want new donors to hire your cause full-time, be sure to thank them within 24 hours!
Thank us the fiftieth time we donate. “Thank you” is the lifeblood of your organization. It’s 10 times easier to make us feel that our participation and identification with your cause are appreciated and special than it is to find new supporters to replace us.
Volunteers get all fuzzy when you thank them. They also come back to volunteer more regularly, and feel good about their work when you share how much their work means to you.
Thank your event chairs. These people put in a lot of work! Volunteer event organizers are giving you a lot of time and likely also leveraging their own networks on your behalf to make their events special. They show you a lot of love, so show it right back.
Thank your professional staff. Staff know how things get done. They work to build the relationships and programs needed to get the work done. Make sure the team knows how much they matter and that you recognize the unique talent and drive they bring to the table. "Thanks team!"
Donors like to be thanked. Let them know you appreciate their financial support and that their commitment to your cause is even more critical. The trains wouldn’t run at all without them."You all rule, you’re rockstars! Thank you!"
Press who cover and report on your work may not expect a thank you, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about them. A personal thank you to a reporter could be the start of a long-term relationship with a valuable press contact.
Thank your board members. You need their leadership, wisdom, and relationships. Show them you value them!
Thank your partner organizations.
Do you work with any outside consultants, designers, software providers, or other support staff? You depend on them. Showing them some love and letting your support rep know you appreciate their efforts is a good way to ensure they’ll go the extra-mile for you in a pinch.
Thank everyone, and then some.
Sayin’ it right
Go public. Thank supporters publicly. We may not need our name on the building, but it’s nice to be recognized for our work before the community of our peers who are also passionate about the cause.
Say thank you out of the blue.
Seek out opportunities to say thank you.
Thank supporters who draw attention to your work. Even if you just notice someone tweeting a link to one of your organization’s blog posts, thanking them personally can easily deepen the relationship or even win you a new supporter.
Thank us just because.
Knock our socks off
Personalize your thank yous as much as possible. We expect to see our names in your thank you note, but that’s only a starting point. Your thank you might be addressed to Dear us, but we still know a form-letter when we see it.
Hand-written thank yous rock! If you don’t have time to write everyone a hand written note, putting a short hand-written post-it note on your formal printed donation thank you letters can add a personal touch.
Here are few creative thank you ideas from organizations who have made thank yous a priority
- DonorsChoose has a set of guidelines for student thank-you letters to encourage teachers whose projects are funded on the DonorsChoose site to work with their students to thank donors creatively.
- Epic Change once created a video of students holding up cards with supporters names, painted a classroom wall with the Twitter names of donors who contributed to the building costs, and recently sent out a creative set of thank you cards to community members recognizing the value of their participation.
- For it’s 5th birthday, charity:water and it's staff made over 200 videos for specific supporters and released them on a special YouTube channel. The staff spent the day writing personal thank you notes and calling people to thank them individually. Despite it’s size, showing gratitude personally.
How many ways can you say Thank You?
What opportunities are you taking to thank your community? How can you thank them creatively to make them smile?