Thoughtful holiday gifts are followed by heartfelt Thank You cards. We were taught how to thank Aunt Edna for the new pajamas, but it’s unlikely we were coached on the best way to thank funders who respond positively to our grant requests. Not only are well-directed thank-you communications polite, they help build an ongoing relationship to support future funding. While a Thank You note is nice, there are even more effective strategies. Consider these five additional approaches.
Thank You #1: Acknowledge the grant in a public manner.
A private response should be combined with public acknowledgements. News releases are common and should be part of your strategy. Another option is to post your gratitude on the funder’s Facebook/Social Media pages. Share a short description of the good work that will now be possible because of the grant.
Thank You #2: Put it in writing.
Include an acknowledgement of the funder’s involvement in printed materials and, if feasible, at the location where the funds are being used. For example, if you received funds for your food pantry to purchase a freezer, post a sign letting people know you are now able to distribute frozen food as a result of a generous donation by your funder.
Thank You #3: Share your success stories.
Make it a point to routinely communicate with your funder to let them know how their grant is impacting your clients. Don’t bother them with minutiae, but share any major events and publicity with them. If you produce a newsletter, add the funder to your mailing list.
Thank You #4: Invite them to the party.
If you hold any special events, invite your funder. Whether they attend or not, the gesture will build the relationship. If they do show up, during the event be sure to acknowledge how their funds made a difference to your organization and those you serve. Assign a staff person to be sure the funder's representatives receive VIP treatment at the event.
Thank You #5: Create a Thank You from your clients.
Develop one or more Thank You messages from your clients, and encourage them to forward as appropriate to the funder. Messages may include impact stories, personal anecdotes, or any other evidence of the positive benefits resulting from the funder’s support. These can be sent in written form, posted on your website, and/or posted on the funder’s Facebook/Social Media pages.
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Photo Credit: StepChange MoneyAware