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The Power of Thank You

There are so many ways to say thank you, but sometimes it seems like the most difficult task. Why is that? We know it's important – many of us learned this lesson from our parents when we were very young. Yet taking the time, finding the words to demonstrate our gratitude, and getting it out in a meaningful time frame – that is tough stuff.

Recently my sweet mother passed away, and we received hundreds of beautiful memorial gifts, flowers, and letters. These kind words and deeds warmed our hearts during a difficult time, but when it came time to write the thank you notes my siblings were more than happy to pass this task on to me. They said, “don’t you do that for a living?”

Have you ever had a similar experience at the office? Our bosses, our colleagues, our leadership, even our volunteers are more than willing to hand over this task to us. It might be because they aren't sure how to do it, they don't have time (or won’t make time) for it, or worse, they don't understand the power of an acknowledgment.

I understand the importance and have honed this craft over the past 20 years of writing thank you notes to donors. Writing acknowledgments that are personal, meaningful, and timely are critical to donor satisfaction and retention. But what do you do when you have 37,000 donors who give to your organization each year? How do you handle that quantity especially when you may be the only person responsible for this task? Or what if you're part of a large, decentralized organization and many people are responsible for this task?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions of our clients and friends. We have identified several concepts that we have utilized to great success. We analyze our donor pool to identify levels of giving and giving behaviors. We use this data to determine who should receive a personalized letter and who should get something more formulaic. We use multiple channels including postcards, email, and video.

If you are interested in learning more about how to operationalize your gratitude process, I hope you'll join us on March 12th for our webinar on Mastering Acknowledgements. We plan to share best practices and trends in acknowledgment writing, and we believe you will gain many insights that will help your organization.

Until then keep practicing gratitude daily!

P.S. Don’t forget – if you get stuck – check out the DRG acknowledgment swap for inspiration.

P.P.S. If you need another great resource, check out our friend, Jennifer Richwine’s, book With Gratitude – the Power of a Thank You Note.

This post was written by DRG Group member, Angie Joens.


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