A sweet and simple thank-you

Posted on October 10, 2012


Did your mom make you write thank-you notes? Mine did. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me from birthday parties to baby showers and followed me into my fundraising days.

After all these years of giving and receiving thank-yous, I like the simple ones best. Nothing better than a personal note (see an example in my post Straight to the Heart).

Thank-yous are important. But some nonprofits go beyond a note. They thank their donors with stuff — plaques, crystal awards, and framed certificates with brass plates. Some trinkets light up, others share an inspirational quote. All of them collect dust.

While I appreciate the thought behind these thank-you items, simpler is better. Skip the expensive trophies and bulky thank-you stuff — I don’t have anywhere to put it.

Unless, of course, it’s chocolate. This summer, Greenhouse Scholars surprised me with a sweet twist on thank-you stuff:

Greenhouse Scholars thank-you chocolate

That’s right. Three chocolate bars (I didn’t share).

What’s great about these bars, besides the fact that they were delicious, is that they share a more about the mission of the organization. The Tellabs Foundation sponsored three students, and the wrappers on each bar featured information about each one. For example, the ingredients list for one student included “leadership, relentlessness, accountability, community and 100% potential.”

So, with a relatively low-cost gift, Greenhouse Scholars was able to thank, educate and treat me. Clever and tasty.

Every donor is different. Sometimes a vase, proclamation or statuette is exactly the right way to say thanks.

But before you order thousands of dollars worth of promotional gifts, go back to basics. Remember what mom taught you, and keep it sweet and simple.