Gratitude is the core of a customer-focused culture of communication. Being grateful is an opportunity for you to acknowledge how an individual feels about how they have contributed to something you care about, not about the gift itself.
Whenever there is a transfer of trust between donors and charities or buyers and sellers, the exchange of money is the validation of that trust. Gratitude acknowledges that you've received that trust, and will be a responsible steward of it.
Culture Matters, and it Shows
A generous friend belongs to a giving club. A giving club is a like-minded group that meets quarterly to hear brief presentations from three nominated charities. It’s not only an opportunity to be philanthropic; it’s a social event.
After the presentations, the giving group votes to select a charity to which each donates $100.
If there are 100 individuals in attendance, the selected charity will receive $10,000; enough to have a short-term, but significant impact in a local nonprofit agency.
Of the four charities that receive donations from this giving group every year, how many do you think to take the time to acknowledge the gifts of the individual donors?
At last check, the current percentage of charities who acknowledge the donor’s gift is 50%. Gratitude appears to be an afterthought. What does this say about the culture of philanthropy in these organizations?
How did you feel the last time you received a thank-you note? When was the last time you received an acknowledgment of a gift or donation?
If you are on staff or a board member of a nonprofit when was the last time you sent a thank you note, or acknowledged a gift from a donor? Expressing gratitude isn’t an activity exclusively reserved for the donor relations staff.
If you have loyal customers, what do you do to show your appreciation in a believable and authentic manner?
Gratitude: A Business Differentiator
This insight has application to the business sector: As a business owner, when was the last time you thanked your clients for working with you or buying your products and services?
When a customer remembers how you made her feel and that you're grateful for their business, it drives loyalty and affinity for your company. Loyalty leads to referrals; referrals lead to new business
It's not always what you say; it's often how you say it. Consider that all communications are donor communications. Actions speak louder than words.
Being grateful is a principle that acknowledges to your supporters that their gifts are meaningful. Gratefulness recognizes that the gift is important and will make a difference.
Gratefulness is a cultural practice.
Gratefulness is a sacred trust: people choose to support organizations whose purpose upholds the values they hold most important, and whose mission in which they believe. Gratefulness is a character quality and part of your brand personality.
An intentionally designed process for expressing gratefulness in a meaningful way will enhance those relationships. Design it, build it into your day-to-day activity, and gratitude will become an irreplaceable part of your culture.
Always seek opportunities to be grateful. Never pass up an opportunity to say thank you and engage a donor or a customer at a deeper level.