As non-profit professionals, we know that dedicated supporters and volunteers are the lifeblood to our charitable organizations. It’s so important not to let their role be taken for granted, and let’s be honest, it’s not unknown for the those of us within a busy nonprofit to innocently overlook the everyday significance of the non-paid assistance.
The longevity of any non-profit’s contributions (time, treasure, talent, or otherwise) will depend, in part, on saying a regular thank you before the next please.
With so many amazing causes out there, going the extra-mile when it comes to displaying gratitude could be the difference between prompting more action and going headfirst into the virtual trash can of nonprofit engagement.
But how can your “thank you” stand out from a crowd?
Consider creating a special “Nonprofit Supporter Spotlight” on your website, social media, or newsletter where the stories of everyday supporters are told as a special, “Thank You.”
A nonprofit supporter spotlight could include, but isn’t limited-to:
- Board members
Showcase the individual by highlighting their:
- Back-story – Who are they, what do they do, where are they from?
- Commitment – What is their role within your charity? How long have they been involved?
- Interests – What do they enjoy? What are some fun facts about them?
Doing this is a great way to personalize your non-profit and further community connections, all while giving your supporters a public “kudos” for their dedication.
Keep in mind that not everyone loves to be the center of attention, but everyone loves to feel appreciated. It is important to ask the individual for permission before sharing their story. Even if they opt-out of the opportunity, just asking them to be in your nonprofit supporter spotlight will surely make them feel special.
In this digital day and age, sharing stories that promote human-connection is more important than ever. When you share the story of a supporter, you are not only giving them the opportunity to be praised by the public, you are giving them the chance to share their passion for your mission to the world.
Get Creative with Who Could Be in Your Nonprofit Supporter Spotlight
Stories are everywhere and everyone loves to connect to a good story. Storytelling is one of the most effective forms of communication and creating connection.
Consider who you could seek out that may be unexpected or undervalued. While it’s important to highlight and thank the Board Chair (we all know how incredibly important they are) also think about highlighting the person who has volunteered at the front desk for 10 years and brings fresh-baked cookies for the staff every week. In other words, think about profiling or rewarding someone you feel is already giving a lot but may be a little overlooked or could use an overdue pat on the back.
Look for people you know may have unexpected backgrounds. Perhaps their day job is of great contrast to their volunteer work. Perhaps you could profile someone who has retired but maybe had an exciting professional life history.
The main benefit of a thank you campaign or Nonprofit Supporter Spotlight online is that it will boost and fortify the supporter’s enthusiasm. Passion is infectious and showing gratitude will work magic behind the scenes and on the streets for your non-profit. While saying thank you regularly can’t be quantified in dollars, it works as a force magnifier for the effectiveness of any future campaign.
Four Ways to Say Thank-You Effectively with a Nonprofit Supporter Spotlight
1. Conduct a short interview with the supporter to be posted on your social media pages. Hearing from the supporter in their own words is very effective. This will generate engagement with the supporter’s friends and family if shared. (Check out this post on interview techniques for a beginner’s guide to interviewing.)
2. A supporter of the month panel on your website or in your newsletter. Show a photo and post a few fun facts about the supporter that makes them unique. Make sure to link this virtually so that the person being thanked can share on their social media for added exposure as well!
3. See if you can get a local business to offer a free meal or a complimentary package each month. The presentation of which can be made into a feel-good article for the local paper, bringing in free publicity for your nonprofit and the business who chooses to generously participate.
4. Publicly present an award, gift, or certificate at your next in-person or online event. The person receiving recognition could invite their family or friends to attend, thus, growing your reach.
Putting the thank you before the next please is a win-win situation for all involved and unlike typical campaigns that highlight the non-profit, a campaign that highlights the people working behind-the-scenes could be a refreshing and rewarding new perspective.
Overall, a short piece publicly thanking a supporter is a free and highly effective way of demonstrating gratitude, generating engagement, and reaching the eyes of a wide variety of supporters. Ultimately, pausing to acknowledge what your nonprofit has been given, is a wise way of getting your nonprofit what it wants in the future and keeping supporters empowered and encouraged.