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Operation Thank You

publication date: Jun 6, 2017
author/source: Cathy Barrick and Rickesh Lakhani

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 thought I might as well. My first call was to a donor who makes a gift each year at Mother's Day to remember her mother who had Alzheimer's disease. My second call was to a Board member who, unsolicited, made an online donation - bigger than their gift 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 (and with his heartfelt support) I adopted this program from one that Rickesh used to do at the United Way. 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.

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 us to support.

Without question, staff love it. It has fostered a culture of philanthropy - staff see why donors and giving are important - and they 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 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.

Cathy Barrick and Rickesh Lakhani are speaking about mobilizing your organization around donor stewardship at AFP Fundraising Day on June 8 - Session Y-12. For more information, click here -

Image by Olir Rahman via Unsplash

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