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Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Thank Them Even If They Don’t Support Your Organization. By Rewarding Philanthropy, We Increase Philanthropy.

December 5th, 2013 by Karen Climer

Last week, the Orlando Business Journal included the annual philanthropy supplement.  It had lists of the most philanthropic businesses based on corporate giving and volunteer hours.  It includes the names of the people within these companies responsible for giving and volunteering.  If you are not from Orlando, your city may have a similar publication or list.

What can you do with this list?  Some organizations will add these companies and people to their mailing list to receive all mail from the organization. (Please don’t do that).  Others will send a one-time generic solicitation letter to all of these companies. (Don’t do that either)  So what should you do with the list?

These companies are the most generous companies in town.  If we want to see more generosity, we have to recognize generosity.  (By the way, that’s not just true of generosity.  If you want to see someone repeat any behavior, recognize and reward them for that behavior.)

I would send a handwritten note.  Not an email, a handwritten note!  Thank them for their generosity.  Thank them for being a leader and inspiring philanthropy in others.  Thank them for making Central Florida a better place to live.

Yes, thank them even if they don’t support your organization.  Yes, even if your organization does not meet their giving criteria and they will never support your organization.  (Thank you notes aren’t about you.  It’s about them.)  If you live and work in the community, you are still benefiting from their generosity.

Do not ask for a gift.  Do not invite them to learn more about your organization. (If it’s on your stationary, they know how to get in touch with you if they want to.)  This is not about you.  This is about genuinely thanking these businesses for what they do for the community.

P.S. The list of philanthropic organizations ranked by dollar amount was originally published in the November 15 issue of OBJ.  It includes interviews with the giving officers at some of the companies.  You can use that information to personalize your thank note even more.

Another P.S. Don’t forget to share the list with the director of your volunteer program.  There is a list of the businesses that volunteer the most and has the volunteer contact person.

Posted in Acknowledgment, Cultivation

One Response

  1. Lynn

    GREAT IDEA! You know by know how much I love thank you notes… but this goes above and beyond. Companies who give should be thanked regardless whether it is to “your’ charity or not.

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