Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Saying Thank You - Good Manners and Good Business

As children, we were taught to say "thank you" when someone does something nice for us.  In ten years of writing grants and working at nonprofits, one thing I often see is ineffective or insincere appreciation extended to donors.

Donors aren't just piggy banks, but many donors I know feel that way after they have provided funding to a nonprofit.  Some donor organizations don't want recognition publicly, but everyone likes to hear that they made a difference.

Sure, you may have filled out the interim and final reports, you may have posted the donor's name on your website, or even added their logo to vehicles or packaging (usually at their request, as part of the terms of the grant), but that can be impersonal. 

Someone in your organization needs to sit down and send a personal "thank you" to the organization.  It doesn't have to be a flowery speech, just a heartfelt expression of your gratitude.  Something as simple as "On behalf of the entire (organization name) I would like to express our gratitude for your assistance in providing (whatever the award was for) to our organization.  We have a fine mission, a clear vision of what we want to accomplish, and great results, as detailed in our final report.  But, none of it would be possible without the support of (name of organization).  We are able to make a difference because of you and we sincerely thank you for your contribution." 

Try to address it to a real person.  You should have a contact name within the organization, but even if you don't (and in todays wired world, that is a possibility), look up the ED's name, or a Board member on the grants committee, and try to address the thank you accordingly. Email it, snail mail it,  but send it. 

Every one likes to hear "thank you" so say it well, often, and sincerely. They could have picked another donee, but they chose you.  Let them know you appreciate it.


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