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Inspiration through Appreciation: The Power of Thank You!

By October 17, 2012April 25th, 2014Donor Engagement, Guest Post

This week I’m sharing a Guest Post by marketing consultant Lisa DiOrio. Read on for a great example of inspired donor appreciation.

 So much effort often goes into an event or a fundraising campaign, that it’s easy to run out of steam right in front of that all important finish line. That is, before one of the most important tasks has been completed — showing appreciation for your supporters, volunteers, and donors.

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I work with a local food pantry that runs an annual community barbeque to raise funds and awareness for the organization. After a local restaurant owner generously donated all the food for the BBQ last year, we sent him a thank you card loaded with photos taken at the event and a personal note informing him of the tremendous benefit he provided for the pantry. He was so touched by the card that he committed to sponsor the event every year! 

Total cost of the card: 93 cents. 
Total funds raised as a result of this event: more than $2,000!

A well crafted “thank you” can deepen relationships, help a supporter understand their impact, and even educate them to better attract additional support. The challenge is making this happen without taxing your organization’s most precious resource: time!

Here are a few guidelines I use to get the most out of a post-event or campaign “thank you.”

Make it Real
A thank you should always be something you can hold in your hand. A phone call, text, or email will certainly put a smile on someone’s face, but a personal note, card, or keepsake will often be kept in a place of honor! 

Make it Personal
As much as possible, let the supporter know how they specifically made a difference. Refer to them by name. Refer to something unique that they brought to your organization. The bottom line: show that you noticed them.

Make it Graphic
A picture paints a thousand words! Take lots of pictures of events or of day-to-day operations and include these images as part of your thank you. Use a story to give a specific example of how the event or funds made a difference. Not only will you add to the “feel good” experience, but you’ll be educating your supporters with compelling stories they can pass on to others.

Make Technology Your Friend
Thank you’s should not be an afterthought. They should be a part of the plan. I work with an online system called Send Out Cards to send highly personal, customized thank you notes. The system includes a contact management system, and will address, stuff, stamp, and send real cards in the mail (this is a huge time saver). I personalize each card with a note and my photos get printed right on the card. I can schedule cards to arrive in a timely fashion right after the event.

Investing the time and effort to show the people who’ve been generous with your organization how much their generosity is appreciated will sow the seeds for future giving, and can be accomplished as a seamless part of your planning.


Lisa DiOrio is a marketing consultant who works with for-profit and non-profit organizations to help them create long-term relationships with their clients and supporters. She can be reached at lisa.diorio@gmail.com.

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