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How do you say “Thank You?”

By: Rex Otey, PMA Director

Photo Courtesy of Jon Ashcroft (Flickr)

Early in the week I stumbled on an interesting article by Terry Axelrod, author of The Joy of Fundraising about finding creative ways to thank and recognize your donors. The article was full of good reminders such as the importance of the quick turnaround for your initial thank you letter and of using impactful stories and statistics to draw your donors closer to the action. Axelrod even touched on an issue I have been known to soapbox upon – that of thanking donors with no strings attached. In other words, leave your next appeal out of the thank you letter. Your donors will thank YOU for it.

The most significant take away from the Axelrod piece was not realized however until later in the week. Finding creative ways to thank and honor donors was there for all to see in black and white. But it was in hearing a real life example of creative, out-of-the-box thinking and a genuine desire to bring honor to deeply invested supporters that the “finding creative ways…” hit me.

At a North Carolina Planned Giving Council round table yesterday, I learned from Susan R. Gutterman, JD, the Endowment Director for the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro of a project that is underway to demonstrate deep gratitude, bring honor and to celebrate the important legacy of each member of their Legacy society. By using inexpensive talent from nearby universities, the Foundation is filming, recording and producing history through priceless stories and quotes from each society member. Pictures, anecdotes and quotes will be joined together in a leather-bound book that will be on display at the Foundation. Professional quality video segments from the sessions will be gifted to family members and a library of inspiring and motivating quotes and stories will be forever available for future newsletters, magazines, publicity (and, uh hem, future appeals). And it is all being done out of a sincere effort to show gratitude – and it’s being done on the cheap.

Now that is an example of using creativity to meaningfully and inexpensively thank your life line. What will you do this quarter to thank YOUR donors?

Rex Otey, Director