The power of Thank You. #47: 2012
I was reminded a few weeks ago about how expressing gratitude transforms the giver as well as the receiver. I was reading an article that asked the question “Is expressing thanks a powerful motivator or just a social nicety?”
According to psychologists, saying ‘thank you’ is no longer just good manners; it is also beneficial. Studies suggest that being grateful can improve well-being plus strengthen relationships and create new opportunities. But, we also say thank you because we want the person to know we value what they’ve done and encourage them to help us again. It is this aspect of gratitude that Adam M. Grant and Francesca Gino examine in a series of interesting studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Grant & Gino, 2010).
In the first study 69 participants evaluated a cover letter. After offering their feedback half got a thank you reply and the other half a neutral reply. 66% of those who were thanked offered to review a second draft because they had a feeling of social worth. In a second study a day later, a second individual asked for similar help. The folks who were not thanked offered to help again 25% of the time while 55% of the folks who were thanked offered to do it again. A simple thank you doubled the number of people willing to provide help.
So, what does this have to do with libraries you may ask?
● People like to feel appreciated. By thanking people, you will strengthen relationships, and open up new partnerships you never may have expected.
● The simple act of thank you will set the library apart from all other competitors. It will reinforce your bond with your customers, volunteers, staff and especially the board.
● Thanking customers builds more customers and increases market share.
● It will unleash the most powerful marketing tool of all… word-of-mouth referrals. When someone has been thanked and they hear of someone who needs the library’s help, they will be singing your praises and making the connection.
How to say thank you is as simple as a two word email reply. And always, always, always send a thank you letter for a donation; it is simply the cost of doing business and should be an integral part of the fundraising plan.
Annually saying thank you to the board, volunteers and staff should be planned and appropriate. For example:
● The end of the board year is a perfect time for celebratory cupcakes, a card, a board photo, a book donated to the library in their name or a gift certificate.
● Thanking volunteers could be a coffee at Tim Horton’s, a card, a gift certificate to a local book store, a copy of a book by a local author or a thank you event, whatever works for your library.
● Thanks to the staff should be something special (this does not mean expensive…it means the CEO has invested time and thought into the process) and the same thing, year after years loses its luster, so the thank you should be appropriate and unique i.e. a parking lot breakfast, a basket of apples or better yet chocolates, an afternoon off with pay, a family skate at the community ice rink. There are loads of unique and cost effective ways to thank staff.
Saying “thank-you” too everyone who supports the library is a powerful, but simple marketing tool. Thank you opens doors, builds in sustainability and should be a high priority for all library CEO’s. It’s one of the best parts of the job.
And, thanks so much for reading On a + Note. Your emails, comments and ideas challenge me and remind me on a daily basis of why I love being a librarian.
You are the best!
Kitty Pope #47 December 2012