I was confused, because I had just gotten a copy of that appeal letter in the mail a week earlier. What on Earth were they sending me now?
The letter said (in short) “thanks for writing our appeal! Here’s a one year membership for you and your family. Keep an eye out for the X and Y exhibits. I think your kids will really enjoy them.” Notice the personalized reference to my kids?
Amazing. That is how you build lifelong loyalty with your volunteers (and donors.)
Let them know you appreciate them in a real, sincere way. The standard form acknowledgment letter is not good enough.
The next time they ask me for something am I going to say no? Absolutely not!
Even if I have a full schedule, I will find a way.
What if they want more than just a letter next time? What if they need help with a newsletter, or even a case statement for a coming campaign?
Time was, I would have said no.
I’d be glad to help.
A little honest appreciation goes a long way – especially if it’s unexpected, and unasked for.
Over the years I’ve written for several local non-profits, and offered to write for many more. Now? I write exclusively for two.
Why only two?
First, my time is important. Every hour I work for free (no matter how good the cause) is an hour that doesn’t put food on my family’s table.
Second, they’re both causes I care about – but so are many others in the area.
Third, they both respect and appreciate my work. Think that’s ‘no big deal?’
I once wrote a letter for an organization and never even got a thank you – through mail or email. I had to send an email verifying they received my draft – to which I got a very belated reply to the effect of “Whoops! So sorry. Things have been crazy around here…” Clearly.
Another agency (a great cause of personal interest to me) wanted to funnel me through an interview process with their volunteer coordinator first! Ummmmm….no. That’s not how it works.
I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency to think gratitude shouldn’t have an impact on generosity. After all, your clients need help regardless of how well you thank your donors.
The reality is, if you don’t appreciate your donors, someone else will.
The world is full of need. No one can satisfy it all, or help everyone who needs it. If your cause doesn’t make your donors feel good, they’ll find one that does.
It doesn’t take much to build loyalty in your donors. A note, a phone call. Some personal, sincere sign of appreciation.
Value them, sincerely show them you value them, and they’re yours.
How do you make your donors feel valued?