I was chatting with L.W. Robbins’ Lynn Edmonds, DMANF’s Jill Murphy and my daughter by the pool at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., the day before the official start of the Leadership Summit last month. The weather was perfect, the location gorgeous, the water warm and inviting. I thought, “Can this day get any more pleasant?”
Then ASPCA’s Jo Sullivan showed up, and it did. I introduced Jo to my daughter as the woman responsible for those TV spots that make us weep. You know … the ones that go something like: “I know how to sit. I know how to fetch. I know I’m a good dog. What I don’t know is how I wound up here.” (Oh, ouch.)
I joked with Jo about how she and her commercials were the undoing of more than a few slavishly perfected eyeliner applications and she asked, “Yeah, you cried, but did you donate?”
“Jo, I’m a monthly giver,” I assured her.
Her face lit up and, without missing a beat, she said, “Oh, you are? Oh, thank you.”
It was sincere. It was personal. It possibly was the most powerful thank-you I’ve ever received. And it made me feel really good, like the relative pittance I have taken out of my bank account automatically every month really can make a difference.
Fundraisers talk a lot about the “thank you.” We write about it a lot in the pages of FS. And we all know how important it is. But it never hit me so hard and so close to home as when Jo said it that day, with her huge, toothy smile punctuating each syllable.
Of course, you can’t thank each and every one of your donors in person. But you can ask yourself, “Do our thank-you notes address the donor personally? Do they engage her? Do they make her feel good? And important? Do they smile?