Everyone likes being thanked. It makes you feel good, like you’ve made a difference. I know when I get a thank you note in the mail, I always read it with a smile. A good thank you message to your online members should get that same response.
It is because of their generosity with their time and money that you have (hopefully) had a successful year. Stewardship messages are an effective way to communicate with your members and send them some love. It also helps to remind your members that you are all fighting for the same outcomes and are in this together.
So, what should these messages do? They need to do 3 key things. First and foremost, they need to say thank you. These messages are designed to reinforce the value of their constituents. Remind them that you couldn’t have accomplished your goal without their support. Second, they should report back on what you accomplished with their help. Make sure they know exactly what was accomplished and the impact. And last, tell them what the next steps are. Let them know what is coming the next couple of months or preview the next big battle on the horizon. And don’t forget to give them something to do at the very end. An action like signing a petition or sharing their support on their social networks are great asks to include to deepen your relationship.
Below is an example of a stewardship message we created and sent on behalf of our client, Feeding America.
The message was completely graphical and clearly & concisely got all of our key points across. We looked at what our members did the previous year and the impact they had. We previewed what we are going to talk about during the coming year and we reinforced how valuable their support is and was.
And not all stewardship messages need to be this long or involved. Sending something short and sweet will do the trick as well. A great example of this what the Smithsonian National Zoo sent to its supporters. It was a little over 1 paragraph long but was able to talk about the effect all the support its members gave this past year.
The key here is to what is right for your organization and your voice. There a million different ways to get this message across, so make sure what you are saying is on brand.
And remember, fads come and go. But manners stay in style forever. Say thanks.