The Two Most Powerful Words: Thank You
The best thank you note I got this year was a 16-word email. But before we unpack what made it special, we need to talk…
How’s your end-of-year fundraiser going?
If you’ve been putting it off, fear not. There’s still plenty you can achieve with limited time, money, and resources. Since end-of-year fundraising focuses on existing donors, you don’t need to prove your worth to new donors. Instead, you can focus on creating authentic moments of connection with people who are already rooting for you.
TRY ME! If you’ve been overthinking your strategy or getting bogged down in the details, try making a short list of achievable goals.
It’s Thank You Season
Once the New Year's confetti settles, you can plan to sharpen your quill one last time for the most important part of any campaign: sending thank you notes. A seasoned donor relations manager recently blew my mind when they revealed that a thank you is often considered the beginning of the donor stewardship cycle. A strong thank you note creates a foundation of trust for the year to come, and shines a light on the long-lasting relationships in your fundraising ecosystem.
4 Simple Yet Powerful Strategies
Are you still wondering what made this mysterious 16-word email hit home? Here’s my favorite thank you note from 2022, and the simple strategies that made it powerful:
SUBJECT: Thank You!
BODY: I am so happy we were able to do something together! Thanks again for your help <3
the subject line
Right off the bat, I know I’m opening a thank you note. This seemingly small move primed me to feel good about myself. The “thank you” isn’t buried inside—it’s front and center.
- the speed
This thank you email was from a consultant I admire, who reached out to collaborate on a presentation about end-of-year fundraising. Just a few moments after we closed out the Facebook Live, I had an email in my inbox. In terms of fundraising, thanking your ride-or-die donors promptly establishes that you were in this campaign together. Let your fans celebrate with you!
- the togetherness
“I am so happy we were able to do something together!” This short sentence transformed a relatively formal, fully virtual presentation into a fun team effort. We made something special happen together. Similarly, while your fundraising efforts can get pretty lonely when you’re flying solo in the cockpit, it’s actually an exciting time for your community. Thanking them for helping you take flight will buoy your future journeys together.
- an inside joke
The rainbow bears and hearts at the end of the email might not do much for you, but that’s because they were meant for me 💕 My collaborator noticed that my presentation was full of GIFs, so she took the time to look up and attach one to her thank you email. It was a small gesture, but it put a smile on my face and made me feel seen. Which is the ultimate goal of any thank you!
I invite you to think back to the best thank you you received in 2022. Was it heartfelt? Funny? Was it written on a postcard and delivered by courier, or an impromptu audio message with familiar city sounds in the background? No matter the medium, the strongest thank you’s are clear, authentic, and tailored to fit your preferences.
About Vicky Blume
Vicky Blume is an arts worker based in New Haven, Connecticut. After moving to the city to study art and psychology at Yale, Blume lit up communications for a contemporary art gallery and a community art school. Most recently, she served as Creative-in-Residence at the New Haven Free Public Library's Tinker Lab. In her artistic practice, Blume builds interactive websites, animations, and installations that offer calming and consensual alternatives to the Attention Economy. At home, she is passionate about her houseplants but struggles to care for more sensitive plants. She aspires to create a home environment where every houseplant can thrive.