As our friend, Mr. Scrooge says it….

“If I had drum, I’d have to bang it.

To add that little rumty, tumty touch

but since I left my drum at home, I simply have to say

Thank you very, very, very much.”

But is it enough to simply say thank you to our biggest donors – the Board of Directors?

How can we show our donors our heartfelt thanks without using their donated money to do it?

As we stop this week to “Give Thanks,” it seemed like a good time to ponder this ageless dilemma and offer some helpful tips from my collection of wisdom.

Simply say it!

I am part of a team that participated in a fundraising event this past weekend.  We have worked hard and our team captains have suffered tirelessly to keep us going.  We collected the money, purchased a  gift, but when it came time for the speech, our wonderful representative was too choked up to say anything more than “thank you”.  The entire room was crying.   The team captains could feel our gratitude to the bottom of their worn out shoes!!

Sometimes, saying it is enough.  Sometime, writing a note is enough.   Appreciation is felt – and can’t be felt if no one ever says it.

Gifts – real GIFTS!

Ok – not a fan.  I don’t think that most board members or any other donor wants another plaque or bobble head.  But there are times when you need to know what kind of things to buy.   A great “thank you” gift is to pay travel expenses for the annual retreat and putting a small gift in their room.  You do that once and your Board members will want to come back every year.

Thank You Reception

At Archbishop Williams High School, the students participated in the reception telling the donors how much they appreciated their support.  Having this type of reception is easy for a small group – like your Board of Directors.  If you can, have the Executive Director host it at their home.  It adds to the feeling of camaraderie plus keeps expenses low.

Electronic Thank-You’s

Creating something special for your board members – a wallpaper for their computer, a special card sent to their phone, a slideshow created especially for them – can be an inexpensive but practical way to say thank you. Read Mike Snusz’s “8 Ways You’re Probably Not Thanking Your Donors” for more ideas.

Keep it up!

When you go to the grocery store, does the clerk say, “Never mind – I thanked you last time!”  No – they say thank you every single time.  They know that you have a choice and you chose them.

Sam Walton of the Wal-Mart fame had a saying – “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody, by spending his money somewhere else.”

The same is true of your board members.  They can leave.

So be humble.  Involve your entire staff in your appreciation. Again, as Mr. Scrooge says it, “our unanimous attitude is one of lasting gratitude.”

In other words, thank you very, very, very much.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbi Stanley is manager of the Blackbaud client success team. As certified fundraising executive, Debbi has raised more than $15 million for nonprofit agencies and is a recognized expert in strategic, succession and resource development planning. During her nonprofit career, she served in many positions including development director for health and human services agencies and she was a successful consultant teaching nonprofits approaches to organizational development that properly leverage resources for project sustainability. Her expertise in situational leadership and her knowledge of funding strategies has helped hundreds of nonprofits do more for their communities. An avid fan, Debbi is blessed to have two sons who are great athletes at both forms of football – the American and the International version.

Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!