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Attitude of Gratitude

“Attitude of Gratitude” is a very familiar adage.  You may be asking yourself, “Where have I heard that phrase before?”  The answer probably is that you have heard this many times and in a variety of situations, likely from a motivational speaker, from your boss, maybe even from your grandmother.

The catchy phrase was used by Zig Ziglar who was a renowned salesman, author and motivational speaker.  Throughout the decades this phrase continues to reappear even in the current 21st Century. Those three words are a beacon for savvy relationship building.

Now our question should be, “Should I be using the attitude of gratitude as a more prominent standard for my gift planning donor stewardship?”  Let’s answer, “YES,” and explore some ideas to launch that goal.

Helping to get traction for your attitude of gratitude, here are some approaches to consider.  Some of these you may already have in place; if so, good for you!

Use print marketing to show gratitude

Be creative and forward with your thank you message.  Make this message memorable with a personalized touch, possibly a child’s drawing, a puppy’s paw print, a scholarship student’s words, a picture of individuals receiving a warm meal or a parent grateful for a child’s medical treatment.  Some ideal times to send a handwritten gratitude note could be following a donation, on the anniversary of their first donation and do not forget your Giving Day campaign.  For a team approach, including board members and volunteers in writing thank you notes spreads the gratitude network.  Hopefully, you are already acknowledging donors in your annual report, newsletters and also e-communications to highlight the impact of their generosity.

Use emails for expressing gratitude

Hopefully your nonprofit frequently distributes donor eblasts and enewsletters as a most successful gratitude mechanism.  Emails can be efficient and effective for you and welcomed by your donors.  Carefully craft the subject line to focus on gratitude to encourage opening the enewsletter.  This sets the theme for a message of thanks.  Make it as personal as possible.  Your attitude of gratitude will resonate.  Your genuine appreciation will warm your donors’ hearts and it will be remembered!

Use your website to feature gratitude

To make your website even more engaging try adding a “thanks” section.  Highlight donors, volunteers, employees, thoughtful friends and their gifts of all types.  With their permissions to be featured, you are sharing how special they are to your organization’s mission.  Even those wishing to remain anonymous can be added with emphasis on the gift rather than the person.  Having this type of fresh positive content on your website encourages donors’ frequent visits and makes it even more relevant for your constituents.

Use social media to share gratitude

Of course your nonprofit likely already has social media active with followers.  This is an ideal platform for your attitude of gratitude.  Acquire donors’ permissions for acknowledging generous gifts of time and sponsorships on social media. Highlight your posts with, “Because of you” or “Thanks to your generosity” messages.  Another idea, video your smiling thank you message and post that.  It is affirmed that showing your mission’s impact is by far the most captivating way you can use social media to thank donors.  Share how donated funds were used and of course sincerely thank your donors for helping make a difference.

Use events to highlight gratitude

Plan an annual thank you event.  Keep the time together friendly and relational.  Inexpensive ideas could include events like an ice cream social on the lawn of your nonprofit or a bring your own picnic at a park.  Maybe a casual icebreaker game is a good idea to make everyone feel special.  Also, consider adding a volunteer appreciation gathering to your annual events list; they are priceless!  Another tip to consider is sending or delivering in person a thank you package.  For example, this is especially relevant if you are hosting a bicycling or running fundraising event.  Deliver a branded t-shirt, banner or cap.  Here is a creative thank you gift to follow up on events or milestones in your mission: create photo books by gathering your impactful, funny, heartwarming mission photos.  Make them into an electronic book or even have a book printed for your donors.  This is both impactful and memorable!  For a more one-on-one thank you event, invite dedicated supporters and community partners to coffee or lunch just to show appreciation.  Also, do not forget to extend special personal invitations to donors for your upcoming events.

Create a Gratitude Campaign

To elevate your attitude of gratitude, consider adding a focused Gratitude Campaign to your annual outreach plan.  It can be so meaningful to reach out with personal phone calls just to say thanks.  One-on-one contacts will endear you and your mission to your donors.  You may want to include your Gratitude Campaign with your campaign donor surveys as they are popular and promote responses to a donor’s favorite nonprofit.  Both your survey’s opening and closing comments can be filled with thanks, maybe using the “because of you” phrase.  With a few questions based on “you are special to us” and “how can we serve you better” wording, your donors will feel valued if they see you incorporating their feedback.  Your Gratitude Campaign surveys can also be integrated to piggy-back into your donor enewsletters and website.

Along with you, Crescendo is majoring in gratitude.  We are grateful to you as you lead your nonprofit in their worthy mission.  Your philanthropy leadership is helping make our world a much better place for us all!

Have you garnered at least one new useful attitude of gratitude idea from these suggestions?  Do you have your gratitude tips to share with us?  Add your ideas in the comment box below.  We enjoy hearing from you!

Sandra Henningsen

By Sandra Henningsen
Assistant Vice President, Integrated Marketing, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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