I am writing this from my desk after leaving my thank a donor week tables in the capable hands of other staff and wanted to let you know what an amazing experience it has been! I generously stole the idea for thank a donor week from my friend Paige Eubanks-Barrow, the brand new AVP of donor relations at Oklahoma State, previously of Carnegie Mellon… she blogged about it here for me.
Basically, my goal was to collect 1000 hand written thank you notes from students in a one week period. We set up tables on both the boys’ and girls’ campus and made it easy for them! We offered a ticket to a raffle for $100, kosher candy, and wonderfully cheap tchotchkes!! On day one we had 444 notes!!I was overwhelmed by the student outpouring!! By day two we had 703 notes and on day three, yesterday we met and surpassed our goal, we were at 1012 notes!! I am eagerly awaiting our final numbers but am thrilled to say I took a calculated risk and it worked. Final Numbers are in!! 1428 notesin four days!! I think this is a program I would love to see cropping up at organizations everywhere. In addition to boundless meaningful notes from students, we also had the time to spend with them educating them about what private philanthropy means to them and to the university as a whole. It was inspiring. We got coverage in the student news papers and on our website here.
So here are some things I learned this week:
1. Most students are VERY grateful for donors, they just don’t usually know how to spell it! Ha!
2. The boys out wrote the girls 3 to 1… I was shocked by that!! Maybe it was the chance at the money
3. Some students faithfully came by every day to write a note and some took cards with them and returned with multiple notes completed!! (My guess is that they did them in class but if you ask me I will deny it!!) The most notes written by a single student was 15!!!
4. We received many great compliments from students about the idea, being innovative and inspiring them to think about their supporters.
5. Next week we will sort the notes and scan them and then mail them before thanksgiving, hitting the homes of donors at a particularly meaningful time.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about this effort, it was truly invigorating and exhausting but so worth the effort of myself and my team!