It Is a Time of Thanks and to Celebrate Giving!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. I agree with iconic weatherman Willard Scott who says, "Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside."
Great food, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the fellowship of family and friends, and a little football. I avoid any shopping frenzy that day or the days to follow — to me the holiday is a chance to rest and, yes, to truly contemplate those things that I am grateful for.
Like donors! Thanksgiving provides us a wonderful opportunity to reach out and let donors know how important they are to us — and to share with them the impact that they're making. And when we say donors, we include your key volunteers because we know that they are donors, as well. And be sure to include your staff.
Here are five ways to maximize this holiday, showing those closest to your organization how much you appreciate them:
- Thanksgiving cards: You can always purchase these, but the most effective (and often the most cost-effective) is to print your own. Where possible, take the opportunity to involve those you serve in the design, imagery and language. If you have a large constituency, you can send a Thanksgiving email or postcard broadly and a card more narrowly. Most effective is when that card has a personal signature and even better yet a handwritten message.
- Phone calls: We always encourage clients to call their boards, key volunteers and key donors the week of Thanksgiving. Just a brief message of thanks — no business! Ask them about their plans, etc. You will even learn some things about them that you did not know.
- Social media: Use this opportunity to share messages and images of thanks through your social-media channels.
- Special outreach: As you look at your best friends whom you will be reaching out to, be alert to special circumstances such as people who may not have family (or family nearby) or who may have health issues. If they are local, the delivery of some goodies can make a big impact. Likewise, to mail an appropriate treat can really brighten someone's day. Items that reflect your mission or are made by those you serve can also be very meaningful.
- Special events: If you have staff, donors or volunteers in a central location, then a holiday meal or open house can be a nice way to say thanks. If you already have holiday-themed programs scheduled, invite your board, volunteers and other donors.
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Take time today to be sure that you are maximizing this opportunity to deepen relationships with your donors and other key friends!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.