A subtle, but very important tool in business is saying “Thank You”. Don’t underestimate the power of showing your appreciation and what it can do in terms of marketing and promotion.
Saying Thank You can build:
- Stronger Relationships.
Yet, it's one of those little things that we seem to forget to do.
The Cost-Value of Volunteers
Quite often Not For Profit organisations rely heavily on funding and donations. One vital donation is time. Volunteers donate their time and/or expertise to an important cause, however, to often this valuable resource is taken for granted as the cost-saving value is not directly measured. It’s human nature to undervalue things that are given to us for free or cheaply. The more we pay for a service or product the more likely we are to make good use of it and respect it.
Volunteers are donating their time, and that time has a value. It’s worth estimating what that cost is and adding it to the list of in-kind support that may have been contributed to your project. Consider also how much time staff are contributing in unpaid overtime and out of hours work.
It's really important for not for profits, charities and fundraisers, to place value on that volunteer’s time.
Acknowledging the Exchange.
The other thing that's important is that it's an exchange. They're giving you their time in return for skill set. I highly recommend that you create a position for volunteers, a job description, like it's a paid position. Take it really, really seriously, because if you do, your volunteers will too. It becomes a demonstrated experience that can be listed on resumes or LinkedIn.
It's important that we acknowledge that. The people that have gifted their time to us or done something unconditionally and given us something, they're the people we really, really need to say thank you to.
Thanks for the Money
Charities and Not For Profit organisations rely heavily on the generous support of sponsors. If you've had businesses that have sponsored your event, it needs to be more than just “thanks for the money, bye”. You want to maintain that relationship and say, “thank you, I really appreciated the contribution, and this is the impact that your contribution had.”
Too often we sell the sponsorship, and then once we've got their money we neglect them. Nobody likes that experience, do they? So, it's really important that we say thank you after the activity or the event to show that we appreciate that contribution, that donation in some areas that sponsors have made.
Thanks for the Business.
Everyone knows that the best form of advertising is word of mouth; the referral. We need to nurture that duck that lays us the golden egg, but once again, because it comes so freely, we don’t always give it the attention it deserves.
We can spend lots of money on putting ads into newspapers, doing Facebook advertising, doing television commercials, but we know the best marketing is word of mouth. We've got to remember not to neglect that and to put in some invested energy into that.
Personally, I like to use a resource called Send Out Cards. It is a direct sales product, however, I've used it for years and years, just as a client. I've never sold it as a business opportunity or money-making venture, I’ve purely used it as a service, and it's fantastic. It's one of the few in terms of direct sales businesses that I would highly recommend.
This fantastic program allows me to send personalised cards (and gifts) from the convenience of my computer, posted directly into the hands of my contact.
If someone gives me a referral, I send them a personalised card, mentioning the specific referral they made, along with a small gift of brownies. Regardless of whether I got a sale or not, I thank them for directing business to me. You want to be memorable, top of mind, so they remember you again next time the opportunity occurs for them to recommend someone. A personal card and gift is far more memorable and appreciated than a simple email. I use cards a lot to be able to touch people at a very personal level, and connect with them, to build rapport.
The Christmas Spirit
I remember a time when my Grandmother would hang rows of string on her wall. From it would hang all the beautiful Christmas cards she would receive from friends and family around the world. It’s a pity we don’t still maintain this tradition of exchanging simple thoughts of good will.
However, it’s a great time of year to consolidate all that someone has done and show your appreciation for them, especially if they are your clients or customers. I really encourage you to write Christmas cards, and send them to your clients, even if they're no longer clients saying, it was great doing business with you.” So start your year fresh, and start creating your Christmas Card list of those you want to remember and the end of the year.
I've got teenage boys, and it's really difficult to get words out of them at the best of times, or any kind of communication for that matter. Recently we were out together, I don’t recall what this person did for us, perhaps somebody handed us something, went out the way, or directed us. My son, not me, mind you, said thank you. I can remember the seeing the facial response of the person on the receiving end. Slightly taken aback by having such a young person be respectful and appreciative of something very, very small, yet it made an impact for that person, in that moment.
I made a point of saying to him, "I'm really proud of you. That was very respectful and very mature of you to do that."
It's those little things. Just those small acts that can actually invest like a bank. It's like loose change into a tin, keep adding into it, and some point you can draw against it. Keep providing small acts of appreciation, kindness and value. Later, you can ask something of that person (such as asking them to buy from your business) and they will have received so much value from you already, the asking won’t seem so great at all..
Our religious or cultural beliefs typically ask that we give thanks, to our gods, to the animals that gave their life or for those that toiled the land to bring us our bread. Both religion and law of attraction say if we give thanks, we attract it back into our world. If you want more business, make sure you thank the person that's given it to you, so it comes back again.
- Find ways to show appreciation to your volunteers
- Create job descriptions for your volunteers.
- Tell your sponsors how their contribution made an impact after an event.
- Create a mindset of gratitude.
- ignore referrals, make sure you reward them in a very personal way.
- Forget to say thank you for customer service.
- Lose your passion
- Give up on Christmas cards.
Do you need to sharpen your communication skills?
If you feel you need better outcomes, to be more productive and produce better results, I may be able to provide you with some refreshing new strategies.
You can book a time to chat. My goal is not to sell but to always give value. Promise.
About the Author:
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programmes, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.