Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thank yous and horn blowing

Last week I completed an Interim Executive Director position that involved merging a small nonprofit child care agency into a larger one. (I will write more about that and the lessons learned in a future post.) Today, I received a wonderful thank you note from the [now former] board chair who hired me. I want to share part of that note and then use it to illustrate some points all nonprofits can learn from.

First, the note:
"Thank you for helping CFS during their interim phase. I appreciate everything you did to assist with the merger and make the transition so smoothly. I really appreciate the relationship and trust you developed with the staff as well. You did a fabulous job!"
Beyond the ego boost I enjoy from posting the note, there are a few things to point out:
  • It was hand-written,
  • it was mailed within a week of the end of the assignment, and
  • it was completely unnecessary.
Imagine if every person who came into contact with your organization got such a wonderful, personal, and timely note? I got paid for my work. What about volunteers, donors, and other visitors?

You know I love to do everything online, but a hand-written note always has more power to convey the personal touch more than any other medium we have to connect with our nonprofit's supporters.

The other lesson I want to point out here is what I did with the note. I posted it right here on my web site for all to see. I'm proud of it.

Does your nonprofit ever receive nice notes from clients or other constituents? What do you do with them? File them away? Or do you post them on your web site and quote them in your newsletter and use them as publicity?

We're always shy in the nonprofit world about blowing our own horns. We're much too modest for that kind of crass self-promotion. And we pay the price for that attitude. Break down the barriers of shyness and share your honors and kudos with the world!

Thank yous are few and far between in the world today. Enjoy them and make the most of them when you can. And don't forget to give out a few of them yourself. And that's today's little lesson.

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