Before I became a Blackbaudian, I managed a program for Share Our Strength called Great American Bake Sale, a national campaign that mobilizes individuals to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their community. Bake Sale falls into the independent fundraising event category, so individuals are giving of their time and resources to plan, bake and host the entire event.
Our biggest challenge was connecting with our bake sale organizers and forming relationship with these dedicated individuals because we were rarely able to attend their event. It was important to me that Bake Sale organizers not only felt connected to the organization and that their bake sale was part of a large national effort, but I also wanted organizers to know that they we appreciated their hard work and support. So, I instituted a strict thank you card policy.
For bake sales that raised $500 or more, which is a pretty big feat since cookies usually sold for $1, we would send the organizer a hand written thank you card. Every week, we were all responsible for writing thank you cards.
One day, a co-worker was shocked that as the program director I was spending my time writing thank you cards. She said, “I could have an intern do the cards.” I responded by sharing that these cards may seem trivial, but I wanted my team to understand that this was an important activity. If they see me taking the time to write thank you cards then they’ll make sure they find time to do their cards. A simple thank you goes a long way to making someone feel appreciated, which will help ensure their return the following year.
There are easier and faster ways to thank people, but I had a feeling that these cards would make a difference. They were a cheap way to make someone feel special. Well, I had no idea that my cards would make me feel good. Then it happened. A bake sale organizer took a picture of their handwritten thank you card, posted it as twitpic on twitter.
When I saw the tweet in my feed, I almost fell out of my chair. The bake sale organizer was so proud of their bake sale and grateful for a simple card that they twitted about it. My simple thank you inspired another simple thank you and we all felt love and appreciation. The lesson here is never underestimate the power of saying thank you.
How are you saying thank you? Do you have a great thank you story to share?