What I Learned about Appreciation from a Reader

Over a year ago, I started writing this blog to share my knowledge and opinions with the readers of CNRG.  It started slowly and locally, but then, after I started reposting it on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In, it started to take off.  When I learned how to use Google Analytics, I found that it was being read on six continents.  I started receiving emails and comments from around the globe, and to be honest, it has been an astonishing and humbling experience.  I have gotten emails of agreement with some, and comments that debated my opinions.  Some even consider me a heretic.  All contacts are welcome, and I am happy to hear from you all.

However, the most welcome and heartwarming emails came last week from Lois, a wonderful nonprofit professional in Sidney, Australia.  It was an earnest letter of appreciation for what she has gained by reading my blog.  With your indulgence, I would like to share some of what she wrote.

“Dear Richard,

Thank you again for your inspiration – I am so grateful to you for sharing your experiences, which is now my light and compass, everything you write is exactly what I have needed to know. Even though I went and studied at University to get a degree on how to do these things – it can never be the same as learning first-hand from the experience of those who have been in the front-line like your self. I’ve printed every page and already I have practiced some of your tips last night in one of my correspondence.

I am here in Sydney, Australia and your voice reached me loud and clear and taught me how to begin on the right foot.”

She followed up with “Thank you very much Richard, I am practising your teaching and the result is amazing, I am gaining confidence and I owe it all to you. I am going to share your blogs with others who I know will learn from you. Thank you 🙂 “

When I received her messages, I was very touched.  When someone reaches out to me with such gratitude, I will always remember and will always be willing to help them when I can.

What other nonprofit professionals, particularly development professionals, should learn from this is that they should be contacting their donors in the exact same way.  Donors want to be appreciated and a heartfelt letter or email will be something that they will always remember.  It will strengthen the relationship with the organization and will help continue their support for your mission far more than some book bag, mug, or other such trinket.  They want to know that their contribution actually made a difference to the organization.  A simple gift acknowledgement just won’t cut it.

As some of you may be aware, I am leaving Oregon after 27 years and returning to Illinois.  This will be the last installment of my blog while living here, but it will not be the last installment written.  I will continue sharing my knowledge and opinions with you as a service and commitment to CNRG and the local nonprofit community.

Before I end this though, I want to thank those organizations that have allowed me to learn and share so much.  I want to thank Friendly House, Inc. where I served as a Board member and officer for six years, and gained the experience of creating relationships with local businesses that still support its programs.  I want to thank Alder Street Learning Center where I served for four years.  I want to thank CNRG for the opportunity to serve the nonprofit community for five years, making invaluable contacts and learned so much.  I want to thank organizations like WVDO, NAO, Meyer Memorial Trust, and Washington County Nonprofit Network for the many learning opportunities they offered me through their workshops and trainings.  As a member of WCNN’s Steering Committee, I had the honor of working with a number of local nonprofit professionals and meet local nonprofit leaders and well known fundraising professionals.  I have gained so much knowledge about the many aspects of the development processes, and most of them for free or extremely low cost.  What I gained from these opportunities is priceless.

But most of all, I want to thank my readers.  Whether you have contacted me like Lois, or simply read and shared my thoughts with others, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share with you.  If you learned anything useful from me, my goal has been achieved.  I hope you will keep reading, and as always, please feel free to contact me if you want to comment or discuss a topic.  I will always be happy to connect with you.



About greatergoodfundraising

Richard Freedlund has been active in the nonprofit sector in a number of ways, both professionally and as a volunteer. He is the founder of Greater Good Fundraising, a business that helps schools and organizations raise money for their programs while accomplishing something positive for the community. After living in Oregon for 27 years, he has returned to his hometown of Rockford, Illinois and hopes to make his mark on the nonprofit sector there. He is the father of a talented jazz musician and the son of philanthropic parents that continue to support multiple causes. To contact Richard for consulting, fundraising, or speaking opportunities, email greatergoodfundraising@gmail.com or reach him on Twitter.com @ggfundraise
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