Say Thank You
Two little words…
The words thank you are often overlooked in the busy hustle and bustle of the modern campaign. But, when used effectively and appropriately, a simple thank you can carry great power.
Appreciation and common courtesy are extremely effective tools of motivation. In what seems like an social evolution toward increasingly curt and even rude interactions (perhaps instigated by increased digital communication), the value of genuine appreciation does not go unnoticed.
Philosophy of gratitude
Embrace a philosophy of gratitude in your campaign. After all, politics is the art of leadership and managing human relationships.
Be sure to use the power of the thank you when interacting with staff, volunteers, voters, and donors.
Especially donors. Fundraising and saying thank you should be inseparable. You can’t run your race alone. From the moment you kick off your fundraising push with your Christmas Card List, to the several days after election day, you’ll be asking people to do things for you – and you need to show them you care.
When writing on this very topic several years ago in Campaigns and Elections, professional fundraiser Todd Meredith highlighted the importance of a gratitude founded fundraising approach:
“Each of us has a psychological need to feel wanted and recognized and if your campaign can remember that and build a program emphasizing that philosophy, you’ll see fundraising miracles happen.”
Guidelines for saying Thank You
Your recognition/gratitude for a gift should be:
- Build saying thank you into your campaign’s systems and culture
- No matter how lavish or modest the gift, all donors should receive acknowledgment
- Say thank you no later than X days after receiving a gift
- Tailor your thank you with as many specifics about the donor, gift, and context as possible
- Good record keeping is key
- Find creative ways to put a personal/individual touch on your thank you
- Focused on cultivation
- Saying thank you is about cultivating a relationship with each donor
- Cultivation should be appropriate for the gift’s context and the donor
- Different types of acknowledgment for different types of donors
- Goal is to strengthen and build not only a financial relationship, but a personal one
Candidates who embrace gratitude in their campaigns and “harness its power” end up “surrounded by a dedicated heartfelt army of friends that stick by [their] side.”