By Molly Ritvo
[Written with synagogues in mind; applicable for all.]
How often do you give thanks to your members? When was the last time that you told them how grateful you are to have them as part of your community? A thank you for volunteering and a thank you for a contribution goes a long way in building community. Without being thanked, your members will stop donating and attending events. This simple stewardship and fundraising strategy is often forgotten in the synagogue world.
Below are some creative ways that you can thank your members:
- Write a thoughtful card, not a business letter. The best thank-you’s are warm and personal. They are not a dissertation or a form letter. State how your member’s gift is helping your organization. Think of sharing a gem of progress that shows why their support matters.
- Consider a video thank you message from your organization’s president. Send it out in your next weekly eblast.
- Make a web page highlighting all the wonderful events, speakers, services, and educational opportunities that member dues and donations made possible over the last year.
- Throw a thank you event. Maybe it’s just a breakfast, but a yearly event focused on thanking your community will be appreciated.
- Highlight a member in your monthly newsletter. Suggest that your members nominate someone who deserves to be thanked.
- Use social media. Tweet a thank you to a member. Or write on someone’s Facebook page.
- Take special time to acknowledge first time donors. Send first-time donors a “welcome” email series that thanks them, introduces your organization and provides other ways to be involved.
- Lastly, be timely. Arrange recognition soon after an achievement has been reached. Delaying until weeks or months diminishes the value of your gratitude.
Consider that acknowledgement is just as important to your organization as asking. As you begin to increase your thank yous, member engagement will follow. Don’t just wait for Thanksgiving or the High Holidays, start thanking your members now.
Molly Ritvo is Partnership Development & Digital Marketing Associate at Jvillage Network.