Did you feel a slight shift in the atmosphere last Wednesday at 1pm Pacific? A wave of well-being that you couldn’t place? A yearning to thank your barista just a little bit more vociferously than usual?
That’s because right about then me, Shanon Doolittle, and about 250 of our closest friends were dishing about good gratitude. Good grief did we have fun!
Shanon always wows with her practical, yet totally inspired tips for donor love. The Goddess of Gratitude did not disappoint. (I wasn’t actually counting but I think 376 is a pretty good guestimate of how many ideas Shanon gave out during the webinar. All very doable, by the way.)
Want to hear a surprising thing Shanon said about writing a thank you note?
Don’t start with: “Thank you for…”
Nope, start with something zippier. You expect a thank you note to start with the words “Thank you.” The expected rarely dazzles a donor. (The Wordifierhas your back when it comes to finding better words, don’t you worry.)
In sifting through the data from our Wordifier research (the free tool that helps you amplify your words), I came across a startling–and depressing–discovery: Not all nonprofits are thanking their supporters!
Gasp. Sigh. Forehead slap. Yipes!
The word ‘thank’ (as in ‘Thank you’) showed up on 54.3% of the websites. ‘Thanks’ made an appearance on 34.6% of the sites.
If we’re being generous, that means that some form of gratitude shows up on 88.9% of nonprofit websites. But in perusing the raw data, it looks like organizations who use one of these words, also use the other, meaning organizations that loverize their donors double down on that love, i.e. some form of gratitude likely doesn’t show up on 88.9% of the websites, but rather a smaller number of websites.
That there are any nonprofits with gratitude-less websites hanging out on the interwebs should be a wake-up call to us all. Gratitude is free, bountiful and feels awesome to give and receive. Here’s a Language Lab podcast devoted to the amazingness that is gratitude.
When we gather the Wordifier data in future years, I want us to be living in a world free of gratitude-less websites.
Thank YOU, dear reader, for being awesome and amazing and doing the wonderful work you do to change the world!
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
Right, so, here’s the thing–we simply don’t show enough gratitude. By ‘we’, I mean pretty much all of us. Not just nonprofits. Many times in any given day I think, “Dang, I am grateful to that person/ organization/ company/ whatever for that bit of goodness they are putting out to the world.” But thinking it isn’t the same as saying it or showing it. As G. B. Stern said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”
Words of Gratitude come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s some inspiration!
In short, show gratitude whenever possible. So many people contribute to your nonprofit’s success–donors, volunteers, community supporters, etc. etc. Make sure they know how much you appreciate them. And remember that expressing gratitude not only makes the person you’re talking to feel good, it makes you feel good, too.
Last week Seattle nonprofits were gearing up for GiveBIG on May 2. There was a lot of pre-thanking going on, e.g. “Thanks in advance for supporting us on May 2!”
Of lesser importance but relevant to this post, last week was also my birthday so I’ve been thanking people left, right and center. (It was a really good birthday!)
All this thanking got me wondering: what does it really mean to thank someone?
The phrase “Thank you” comes from Old English. Over time, we shortened it from “I thank you” to simply “thank you”.
On balance, this isn’t a big deal. Language evolves. But when it comes to non profits and donor communications, by losing the ‘I’, we lose an opportunity to deepen our relationship with our supporters.
It’s easy to toss around “thanks” or “thx” or “TY” (twitter-speak for Thank You). Using the whole expression makes you think about what comes after with more intention.
I thank you for joining the fight to find a cure for cancer.
We thank you for joining the fight to find a cure for cancer.
Thank you for joining the fight to find a cure for cancer.
Very similar but very different. Simply by adding one little word (and therefore being clear about who is thanking whom and for what) you can create a deeper sense of connection to your organization and your cause.
Next time you thank someone for supporting your cause or volunteering or advocating or joining or anything else, try using the original phrase beginning with ‘I’ or ‘We’. How does it change the feeling of the sentence? How does it make the person on the receiving end feel?
I thank YOU for reading this post…and for making the world a better place every day!