Creative Gratitude

Thank you to all who took part in the “Thank you, but no thank you” contest, AKA #BestTY. Wait, after all of my preaching about not opening with ‘thank you’, let me restate that first sentence. You deserve respect, gratitude and a pat on the back for taking part and supporting this contest. Whether you placed an entry, promoted it, or even thought about how you thank people, kudos to you.

This contest was about being different, getting creative and finding new and interesting ways to thank donors. Charities, non-profits, do-gooders and pretty much anyone was invited to share their best opening line for a donor thank you, on Twitter in 140 characters or less to boot. I was very happy and blown away by the response and support from everyone. If you were following along, hopefully, you picked up some good ideas.

Huge appreciation to our esteemed judges panel for all of their support. They were there along the way, giving advice, sharing the contest and ultimately making the very difficult decision about who should win!

Mary Cahalane
John Lepp
Ann Rosenfield
Brock Warner

So, the moment of truth. The winner of the contest is… Dignitas International for the inspiring entry below.

Why was this entry the most popular amongst our judges? It is personal, mentioning the date of the gift. It is focused on the donor. It is attention-grabbing. It draws you in right away. It talks about impact. It connects the decision to donate with that very same impact. All great traits of a great opening line for a donor thank you.

Congratulations Dignitas! Many members of their team jumped in on this thanking action.Your team wins a $25 Amex card and of course a review of an appeal or letter courtesy of the creative minds at Agents of Good. Agents, you really rock for providing this amazing prize!

A Special Judge’s Prize was provided by Ann Rosenfield for an entry she felt had to win something. Congratulations AC (@Connectwithcoop). For this entry below, you win a $10 Starbucks card – and thanks, Ann for providing this prize!


Other honourable mentions that resonated with the judges panel include:








Great work, all you thanking machines!

The 3 random winners of $10 Amazon gift cards just for having the courage to enter are:

Carmen Clayton (@Carmen_Clayton)
Beth Ann Locke (@fundraiserbeth)
Rekha (@rekhsy)

Next time you have to thank someone, do as these people did, and get creative. Your donors deserve it for supporting you.

I would love your feedback about this contest, whether you took part or not. Should we do this again? How can we make this contest even better and more appealing? How can we get 1,000 entries and get even more idea sharing happening?

Thank you, but no thank you

20130805-205446.jpg

Stop saying thank you to donors. Of course, I don’t mean that as it sounds. Showing appreciation for donations is one of the (if not the) most important things that happens after someone gives. All I’m saying is find another way to say it.

You are a bunch of creative people out there and I’m sure you can find some awesome alternatives. A simple thank you always has its place, but to get people’s attention, show them that you’ve taken some more time to think about showing gratitude.

So how about a contest?

I am looking for the best opening line for a thank you that doesn’t say “thank you” in it. Get creative, get fun, get quirky, but show your appreciation.

Starting as soon as this post is released, tweet your best opening line for a thank you email, letter, phonecall, fax, or stone tablet message to #BestTY and the best one wins, it’s that simple.

Just don’t say thank you.

The contest will close Saturday, August 17th at midnight, EST, and the winner will be announced shortly after. The best ones will be Storified, along with the announcement of the winner, and captured here in a future post.

The judges for this contest will be me and these four amazing fundraising type people:

  • Mary Cahalane, Director of Development at Charter Oak Cultural Center and fundraising wizard, as her blog Hands-on Fundraising will show you.
  • John Lepp, Partner at Agents of Good, standing up against bad fundraising everywhere, and mega-zealot about treating donors right.
  • Ann Rosenfield, Executive Director of the WoodGreen Foundation, and her hands are insured for $1 million because she is a handwritten note legend.
  • Brock Warner, Donor Programs Officer at War Child Canada and recent entrant into the blog world with iamafundraiser, much to the delight of…well…everyone!
  • Supreme appreciation to these excellent friends for supporting this – I know they are all big advocates of showing ‘donor love’.

    So what’s up for grabs? Recently, I was lucky enough to win a Twitter contest run by Zipcar, and I won a $25 Amex gift card. I committed that if I won it, I would find a way to give it away, so that was the birth of this contest. I know it’s not a trip to Paris, but it’s the pride, not the prize, folks.

    However, after hearing about the contest, John and the good folks at Agents of Good have generously offered to do a free evaluation of an appeal or thank you letter for the winner. Now that’s something to write home about…hopefully to say thanks.

    UPDATE August 12, 2013 – I’m going to up the ante to spur on entries by adding three $10 Amazon.com gift cards to be given out randomly to those that enter. Use it towards a fundraising book or a waffle iron. Maybe get something nice for a friend. Whatever you like!

    Note, the Amex card is a US gift card, but it should be usable at any online vendor if you’re not from the US. If you win, I will mail it to you once the contest is done, wherever you are in the world.

    Here’s the catch. You must be on Twitter! This is as good an excuse as any to start.

    Good luck to all!

    Constant Questions: I would ask you here for the best opening line for a thank you, but you’re going to tweet it, right? Instead, what is the worst opening line for a thank you that you have seen? What are some creative ways you have said thank you or seen it done?