Monday, March 20, 2006

More on "Muchas Gracias"

Mary G. Reoblings is the Chairman of the board of a large Trust as well as having been on the board of a very large university. During a funding campaign she shared with a colleague about the "seven thank you's", "People like to be thanked, they want to know that what they have done is appreciated, really appreciated. When we get a gift that we think is special,lets find a way to thank the person at least seven times before we ever ask them again for another gift. "Seven times!

They followed this "seven times" admonishment. There was a letter from the president. A letter from the chairman of the board. A handwritten note from the vice president. And a letter from the treasurer with the official receipt. Several months later, a note from a student who had received some scholarship assistance. A letter from the head of the department whose discipline had been particularly affected by the special campaign. A very brief personal note attached to the announcement of the groundbreaking ceremony, reminding the donor of how important their gift had been in making this day possible. Count them, seven times, and it was easy.

When the next campaign was announced, these people averaged gifts three times the amount of their original donation.

And what a better and nicer world it is if we are all saying "thank you" seven more times than we already are. So, to that end, my first "thank you" is for you having taken the time to read this post.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Muchas Gracias

A few weeks ago Gayla, Amor Ministries' Chief Spiritual Officer, shared that our theme for Spring of 2006 was simply "Thank You". It stems from our gratitude for all those who serve with us. Its not surprising then when I was reading a book that Alon, Amor's Director of Development, gave me that shared that major donors should be thanked no less than seven times. The specific number is of no real significance. Its the importance of how we should thank those who share with us in very appropriate and numerous ways.

When I think of all the people over the years who have sacrificially provided support and provided encouragement to Amor and to all of us who serve, I get very humbled. I am reminded of the phrase I often hear on Southwest Airlines by the flight attendants, "We know you have a choice of who you fly with. Thank you for choosing Southwest".

I know the phrase "major donors" is the standard phrase in non profits for those who significantly support our work, but I prefer calling them "major friends". "Donor" sounds almost like "customer" to me. I know we don't consider our supporters customers! We are all amazed that people drive and fly in from all over the country, Australia, Canada, and even Europe to serve along side us. They don't serve us, they serve along side us. We are partners and "friends" in ministry. We couldn't accomplish what God has called us to do with out their support, their prayers, and their friendship.

When I say "friends" I think of a whole slew of people involved in our ministry. I immediately think of our mission trip participants, our Mexican Pastors, and our group leaders. I can't help but think of those who pray for us, who financially support us, who make donations of all kinds for us. I remember those who donate countless hours like our Board of Directors, our committee members, our National Advisory Board, our Nexus participants, our Barnabus volunteers, and our one year long interns. I even recall those we do business with us like our vendors in the US as well as in Mexico.

We want our "major friends" to be life long friends. Not someone that comes on a trip one time and forgets about us. Not someone who sends in a check after reading our newsletter and we thank in a receipt letter and then we forget about. We want "major friends" who share in our work to feel appreciated for their partnership with us, and know they are a "major" part of our ministry. Can you imagine what a difference someone makes in our ministry and our lives when we continue a friendship that lasts for years. Hopefully 20 or 30 years, or more!!

The seven thank you's I mentioned earlier are all about making "friends" not making "customers". We want to share our ministry, our gratitude, and our time with our "major friends". Why a "relationship" you ask? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is, its the right thing. Its why we are called into a relationship with Christ. It why we are called into fellowship in the church.

And its why saying "thank you" is so natural for us. Everyone we come in contact should, to the best of our ability, feel like a "friend" to Amor. So, I end this note with a great big "thank you" for being a part of this amazing ministry which you make so enjoyable and fulfilling to serve at. And.. of course for making this all so outrageously fun!!! Thank you!!!