Set Yourself Apart--Say Thank You

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

                                                                                                                     William Arthur Ward

Running a nonprofit is the best job in the world, because each small or large thing that happens is one step closer to advancing the mission of the organization.  Because many non-profits have far fewer staff members than the business really requires, days are usually fast paced, ever changing, and sometimes chaotic. The urgent often replaces the important. 

A few years ago, a wise fundraiser told me, “One of the most important things you can do is thank every donor for each gift, regardless of the size of the gift.  It sets you apart from other nonprofits.”  He was not referring to the formal tax letter that each donor receives when a gift is made.  He was referring to a phone call or a personal note. 

I knew that he was right, because fund development is just that, development of relationships with donors.  Isn’t a personal thank you just another way to strengthen that relationship?  YES, of course!  My head began to spin, thinking who would make these calls or send the hand-written notes. 

Our director of development already wrote a personal note of gratitude on each tax letter.  We came together and strategized a way to make these calls or write the notes when the phone number was not available. We came up with a great plan that has been a blessing to us, the organization, and the donors.  The greatest thing that surfaced was a basic question. “Are we truly grateful?”  A grateful heart is the first step, and then the plan that followed was easy. 

The result?  Stronger relationships, the joy of hearing insights into the heart of another human being, and of course, what followed was larger dollars for an important mission. 

As Christians, we don’t have a choice about being thankful.  Scripture teaches about grateful hearts throughout the Bible.  In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus heals ten men with leprosy.  “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus feet and thanked him, and he was a Samaritan.   Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”

This is a powerful example of today’s topic.  Everyone, even our Lord, wants to be thanked.  The man who said thank you, even when his peers did not, had a stronger relationship with his creator and his healer. 

If you would like to hear more about thanking your donors, please contact the Carpenter’s Plan at

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you."

                                                                                                                         Ralph Marston