It’s Friday afternoon of a long week. My mind is starting to wind down for the weekend… and then, I decide to make some Operation Thank You calls. I’m not exactly in the mood – I did say I was tired, right? – but then I think, I might as well. My first call is to a donor who makes a gift each year on Mother’s Day to remember her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. My second call is to a board member who, unsolicited, made an online donation – bigger than their gift from the previous year. Now, I’m not so tired. Thanking people is an incredible feeling and one we all ought to be grateful for.
Operation Thank You started in December 2015. Admittedly, I adopted this program from one that Rickesh used to do at the United Way (with his heartfelt support). When Rickesh first told me about how all the staff (during their “Thank-a-thon”) would call all donors, I knew I loved the idea.
So here, at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, Operation Thank You is done year-round – by all staff. No matter the level of gift or who made the donation – staff from administration, fundraising, programs and marketing ALL make calls. The only requirement is to call the donor and offer a sincere thank you for choosing to support us. And, without question, staff members love it. It has fostered a culture of philanthropy at AST; our staff sees why donors and giving are important – and we get to say thank you for supporting the work that they do.
From a fundraising side of things, we do track who contacted the donor and any information from the phone call – and have devised an affinity rating in our database. We plan to use these affinity ratings to inform who we talk to and how we talk to them about the work we do.
We often feel there is not enough time to do everything we want to in a day, but I believe there is always time for a thank you.