When Saying “Thank You”, Don’t Stop with your Donors

by Apr 21, 2022

You are on top of your thank you’s. After every donation, each individual donor receives a thank you email describing how grateful you are for their support and the impact their gift will have. Major donors receive personalized handwritten notes and occasionally are even given a small gift as a token of appreciation. After all, without the goodheartedness of these donors, your organization wouldn’t be able to continue its programs, serve the community, and achieve its mission. You are truly grateful for their generosity and you ensure that they know it.

Building this culture of gratitude with your supporters is quite an achievement and is integral to raising the funds needed to pursue your mission. However, your donors are only one group of stakeholders whose generosity should be met with regular gratitude. We are often so focused on stewarding our donors that we forget to thank those who keep our organization operating on a day-to-day basis: our staff, volunteers, and board members. Ask yourself, when was the last time these individuals received a heartfelt “thank you” for their commitment to your organization? 

Aside from simply being a kind action, regularly thanking your team will have a number of positive benefits for your organization. Hearing that their hard work is appreciated and making a real impact will ensure that each member of your team feels valued. In turn, it will create a positive culture where people enjoy coming to work or volunteer and are motivated to consistently produce high-quality work. It will also increase your satisfaction and retention rates, allowing you to cultivate and retain a strong, skilled team. This sense of community and passion will ultimately lead you quicker and farther down the path toward mission achievement.

We all know how hectic it can be working within the nonprofit sector when we always seem to be lacking capacity and resources. Luckily, thanking your team doesn’t have to be a time consuming task. Setting a goal for yourself can help you create a simple strategy and hold you accountable. You want your thank you to be authentic and positive, so set a reasonable goal that won’t make it feel like a burden. Verbally give out one thank you a day, send out thank you cards around a holiday or on birthdays, or set aside one hour a month to generate thank you notes or emails. Find what works for you and have fun with it. Expressing your gratitude won’t just make your team feel good, but it will make you feel good as well.

When you express your gratitude, be spirited and genuine. Tell the individual how amazing they are and how appreciative you are of their efforts. They chose to dedicate their time to your mission and that’s an admirable thing to do. Make sure they know that. Tell them what their impact is within your organization or the community you serve. Find meaning in the smallest tasks. If someone completed a tedious task like organizing your donor database, let them know how that will contribute to generating more donations that ultimately impact more lives. Don’t let it go unnoticed if someone went above and beyond. It certainly deserves recognition and a thank you. Think about the most impactful way to say thank you to each individual or group. It could be a shoutout during a team meeting, a sticky note on their desk, a verbal thanks, or an e-card.

Thanking your team can easily fall to the wayside throughout our busy days, but it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. So start now. Set your goal. Add it to your to-do list. Thank the next team member you speak to. We promise it will help take your organization from great to extraordinary.