Appreciation challenge
As I was listening to Mike Robbins The Power of Appreciation audio CD recently, what stood out to me was the difference between true appreciation and just “saying thanks.” Appreciation is first a state of being, an “attitude of gratitude” and then secondly taking action.

While thank-you gifts, plaques or public acknowledgements have their place, the power of appreciation begins on a much more personal level. So today’s list of 5 ways of showing appreciation focus on this personal interaction.

1. Be Real. Genuineness wins out over slick any day of the week. Of course professionalism is a must, but don’t be afraid to let donors get to know you, as you get to know them.

2. Be Specific. When you write thank you notes, make phone calls or visits, be specific in your communications. How did their gift specifically help the cause? What specific talents or interests does the donor have that you can inquire about?

3. Listen. Most people donate to causes that they really care about. Take time to listen to their ideas, opinions and suggestions. Practice active listening – without interrupting or focusing on your own reply – and make notes about what they tell you in their donor record and notes to follow up when appropriate.

4. Respect their time. Simple rules of business (which are unfortunately often overlooked) apply to donor meetings and phone calls – be prepared, arrive on time and begin/end meetings on time. This applies to other forms of communication as well. Kivi Leroux Miller from Non Profit Marketing Tips says: “Make everything easy — from skimming your newsletter to contacting your office — or donors won’t do it.”

5. Reassure Them. Donors want to know that their money is going to make a difference in your cause. Ideally, they’d like to hear specific ways that donations help produce results on your mission. Jeff Brooks at Donor Power emphasizes the need for timely follow up to help reaffirm a donor’s decision to give.

So as you can see showing appreciation doesn’t have to be complex or cost anything at all. How do you see these principles currently at work with your donor relationships? What ways can they be put into greater action?

This article is part of the Appreciation series.

  1. The Appreciation Challenge by Sandra Sims
  2. 5 Ways to Show You Appreciate Your Donors by Sandra Sims
  3. Showing Appreciation to Board Members by Sandra Sims
  4. Volunteer Appreciation, Part I by Jim Berigan
  5. Volunteer Appreciation, Part II by Jim Berigan
  6. Interview with Mike Robbins: The Power of Appreciation for Non Profits by Sandra Sims

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Posted on 13 May 2008

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