In most parts of the United States, it’s Girl Scout Cookie sale time. I know it is here in Austin and that sparked a memory for me: my first lesson in customer appreciation.
One Girl Scout Cookie season, when I was all dolled up in my Brownie uniform and selling cookies, my dad decided he was going to teach me the value of saying “thank you.” Despite my whining about it, he had me write a thank you note which he stapled my school picture to and made a million photocopies of. Every time I delivered an order of Girl Scout Cookies to a customer, the cookies came complete with my thank you note and picture.
My dad isn’t in marketing or fundraising but he knows how important it is to say thank you. Looking back at that lesson, while wearing my marketing and fundraising hats, I can tell you what made those thank you notes so good.
- They existed. As I told him in my loud and probably obnoxious whines, no other girl in my troop had to do this. That though was exactly the point. I was getting an advantage with my customers by just having thank you notes in the first place. (See Kivi’s 2010 blog post “10 Donations. 3 Thank-Yous. 7 Failures to Communicate.” to understand just how much this will set you apart.)
- They were prompt. My customers didn’t have to wait for their thank you, it came right with the product. Instantaneous might not always be possible, but prompt should be.
- They were personal. Not only were they handwritten, albeit photocopied, but they included my toothless little smile on them. I gave my customers a real-life Girl Scout to connect with instead of just a plain, boring generic note on letterhead. (Note: In the perfect world, I probably would have written an individualized note to each customer. However, in the interest of my little seven year old hands, I’m sure glad Dad didn’t ask me to do that. Since you are a pro fundraiser though, I wouldn’t try to skate by with the photocopied version if I were you.)
- They continued the relationship. My little letter ended with something along the lines of “see you next cookie season!” letting all my customers know that this wasn’t a one-season-sale. I was a serious Girl Scout Cookie seller and I looked forward to continuing our cookie relationship next time.
As we know, customers and donors are, in some ways, very similar, especially in that they appreciate your appreciation. To help you show your gratitude, here’s a free on-demand webinar all about saying thank you.
Don’t let my seven year old self show you up when it comes to being appreciative.
Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!