Say “Thank you”!

We received lots of support from Staten Island businesses for our Clambake fundraiser in August. Some bought journal ads and some donated goods and services to our raffles.

After the Clambake was over, I sent thank-you letters to the companies that advertised and donated items. The letter was pretty standard (or so I thought): “Thanks for your support, here are two free passes* for a house tour anytime we’re open, we hope to work with you again next year.”

A few days after I mailed the letters, there was a phone call. “This is Xrszptt from Sttrzpt Pizza, and I just wanted to thank you for your letter and the free passes! I’ve supported many organizations on Staten Island over the years, and this is the first time I’ve ever received a  gift. I’ll bring my kids over sometime soon. Thanks again!”

I managed to blurt out, “You’re welcome!” before he hung up.

This is the first time anyone ever thanked him? Really? And who was he? I was so shocked that I didn’t think to ask him his name again.

Luckily, the phone has caller ID, so I called back. “This is Susan at the Conference House. Did I just talk with you? Yes? Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

It turns out that he was the owner of a local pizzeria who has indeed been very generous to many non-profits.

I guess it’s possible that organizations don’t send out thank-you’s after the event. Heaven knows I was so tired of the thing that I wanted to forget about it and move onto something else already.

But we’ve sent thanks after the Christ Church New Brighton events, too, and the response was pretty positive. So maybe it’s not common. And maybe saying “thank you” is a good way to differentiate your organization from everyone else.

* Free passes and free memberships are good things to give away: They’re free to us (except a few cents’ printing and postage for our newsletters) but they’re worth something to visitors. Visits are $2 or $3 and memberships range from $20 to $100.

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