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The importance of saying thank youRobin Clarke

by Robin Clarke, Training Officer

17.12.2018


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The importance of saying thank you

There’s been much talk in recent weeks within the sector about the importance of saying thank you. HOME’s Training Officer Robin Clarke explains why voicing our gratitude to donors and potential donors is a vital part of our door-to-door fundraising programme.

When someone says ‘thank you’ to another it is the power of kindness in motion: an
expression of human kindness in return for an act of human kindness. At HOME, we hold
this elemental significance of ‘thank you’ dear, it goes to the very core of our values of
decency, integrity, warmth and honesty.

Also, when we hear a genuine ‘thank you’ from someone for something we have said or
done, it will always warm our hearts. It tells us that others appreciate us, respect us, and
value us. It appeals to the basic human need for recognition.

Accordingly, we want to ensure that ‘thank you’ plays a leading role in all our conversations
with the general public. We constantly encourage our fundraisers to practice “thank you” in
all its many forms, to the point where it simply becomes second nature to them all.

When to say ‘thank you’

Rapidata recently shared a blog on UK Fundraising which asked (and answered) the
question: when is it the right time to give thanks to charity supporters? My response is:
“Always and often.”

We need to thank people for simply paying us the courtesy of listening (even if they listen
for a few seconds only and ask us to leave); we need to thank people for showing interest,
asking questions, and/or acknowledging the legitimacy of what we do.

We need, especially, to thank people when they do indeed take that amazing step of signing
up for a regular gift; and we need to continuously thank people for their support for as long
as they are able to keep that support going.

Thanking isn’t just about improving the supporter experience, it benefits charities

We take pride in the fact that our approach benefits our charity clients. When someone
signs up for a regular gift, we combine our heartfelt “thank you” with one or more further
examples of the massive impact which that gift will bring about when continued for a year,
five years, or preferably even longer.

In other words, our ‘thank you’ not only makes newly recruited supporters feel thoroughly
appreciated and part of the team, it also consolidates their mind-set towards long-term
giving.

Importantly also, it locks in with the paramount need for our fundraisers to work hard to
secure opt-ins from each new supporter, thus enabling charities to maintain and grow their
supporter relationships over the long-term.

Thanking our fundraisers too

As well as thanking donors, we must never forget to thank and recognise our fundraisers for
the amazing work they do day in and day out.

Having been a door-to-door fundraiser myself for seven years, I’m familiar with how hard
the job can be. It not only requires accurate knowledge, a genuine passion for the cause and
consistent dedication to the professional standards we set ourselves – it also requires a
massive amount of indefatigable character.

When friends ask me how my job in fundraising compares with the other jobs in my career
of over 50 years, I always say that I loved my 15 years in aviation, and I loved my 25 years in
project management, but my last 13 years in charity fundraising have easily been the best of
the lot.

Nothing has ever matched the wonderful feeling of signing up a complete stranger, and
nothing ever compared with the sense of helping to make the world a better place.

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