If you’re at the beginning of a capital campaign, you may think that it’ll be a while before you have to start thanking people. But you’d be flat wrong!
One of the hallmarks of capital campaign fundraising is that in order to raise a lot of money, you have to engage and involve people in the early planning stages of your project. Once they are involved, they will be much more likely to give (and give more generously) than if they hadn’t been involved.
This “involvement yields investment” strategy has been well documented.
A study by the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund found that those who volunteer for a cause donate ten times more money than non-volunteers. And fully two thirds of the people who volunteer for a charity also give to that charity.
Appreciated Volunteers Contribute More — Much More
But engaging people only works if they feel good about having been involved. To help and then not to be acknowledged for your participation, or to be acknowledged in a halfhearted way, may well sour the relationship rather than strengthening it.
Here are three important thanking skills that, if you get in the habit of doing them consistently and throughout your campaign, will work wonders in setting you up for success.
1. Thank people specifically for what they do.
It’s almost impossible to thank people well if you haven’t really paid attention the specific ways in which they’ve helped.
To thank someone in a general way for their help is one thing. But to notice something positive and remarkable they added and then to mention that when you thank them is far more powerful.
Here’s a standard, generic thank you sentence.
Thank you, Sue, for attending our campaign planning meeting last week. I so appreciate your participation.
It’s not offensive. It just doesn’t hit any special notes.
Now look at this one:
Susan, you really got us on the right track last week. I was cheering inside when you talked about how we should have the courage of our convictions. I think you moved the entire group forward. I can’t thank you enough.
See? The difference between a generic thank you and a thank you that highlights something specific the person did is like night and day.
2. Thank people early and often.
Thanking does not have to be fancy or elaborate. But it does have to be authentic and genuine and timely.
The thanking mechanism should reflect both your style and the volunteer’s. For some people, a simple text message of thanks is the perfect approach. If texting is the way you often hear from them, by all means, text your thanks.
If handwritten notes are your style, you might want to combine a brief and immediate text with a personal note.
Regarding personal, handwritten notes — some people are good at these and some people simply aren’t. If your handwriting stinks and you can never find the right words for your notes, don’t do them. Find other ways to express your appreciation.
Try a phone call. Leave a message. Send an email. Or, if the situation warrants it, drop off some posies.
3. Create an appreciation feedback loop.
There is never too much appreciation. Get into the habit of telling people that you appreciate them. Appreciate your staff members and your board members and your volunteers and donors and your consultants.
You’ll find that when get in the habit of letting people know how much you appreciate their help, you’ll start to notice more the many ways in which they do help. And the more you notice, the better you will feel about them.
And of course, the better you feel about them, the more engaged they will become, the more effective they will be and the better they will feel about you.
Start Now — Build the Appreciation Habit
Appreciating people needn’t take much time. It needn’t cost any money at all. But it does take awareness.
To be good at thanking people, you’ve got to start paying close attention to the good things they do, the positive contributions they make. It’s easy to notice a big check that arrives in the mail.
It takes practice to notice the small things people do to help. The phone calls they make, they doors they open, the new ideas they share, the simple fact that they show up. But when you learn to pay attention to the small things, you’ll find that they add up to something big.
And, when you notice and appreciate the many people who help you in the early stages of your campaign, they’ll be more than happy to help in many more ways as the campaign moves forward.Thank people specifically for what they do. More #fundraising tips for showing appreciation: Click To Tweet