That’s it! Pretty simple…. but many times, never only once!

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and this is the perfect time to always remember to give thanks for the gifts we’ve received – and it really helps to remember that EVERYTHING is gift…a gift from God…and how we use that gift…whether it be our time, our talents, and our treasure.  It’s also time to add the fourth “T” to the system, which would be “talk.”  What we say, how we say it, and when we say is also a gift…and can be a gift to others.

If your school receives these types of gifts, they must be acknowledged.  Even though your constituents may not want to be recognized in a public forum, they expect and appreciate some kind of acknowledgement of their gift.

But wait a minute…that sounds like a development tip…not a marketing tip. Indeed, it is. But remember, too, that Marketing is the “origin.”  You need to market your school to four distinctly different groups – current parents to drive Retention, prospective parents to drive Enrollment, external constituencies (alumni, businesses and community members) to drive Development, and internal constituencies (your parish or church administration and parishioners/members of supporting congregations) to drive Asset Management. All four of these areas produce revenues for your school. Marketing does not…it consumes resources in order that the other elements can continue to grow. Consequently, if you cut marketing expenses, the rest of the system is significantly hampered.

As for saying “Thanks,” when any source (a newspaper, a TV station, even your church bulletin) provides you with the opportunity for publicity, always acknowledge the activity with some kind of “thank you.”

Church bulletin? Absolutely!  Even though the church and your supporting parish, parishes or congregations may reserve space for you every week, it’s nice to let pastors and the office staff know you appreciate the opportunity to share what’s going on at your school. It solidifies the relationship of principal and pastor, which is helpful in many ways – the budgeting process, the need for a little extra publicity for a special school event, or the support of a pastor in a difficult parent situation.

For “Another Way to Say Thank You,” click to be connected with a tip from JLS Marketing Solutions. Although the article is ten years old, and acknowledgement of gifts over $250 is an IRS requirement now, most organizations sent those acknowledgements out right away.  However, in January and February, perhaps when things are a little slow, that’s always a great time to say “Thanks.”

While this may sound like a common sense thing to do, my wife and I recently received a request for a contribution to the college where our daughter earned her degree.  Last year, we received an appeal letter, and I was pretty shocked to see the words “Thank you” were nowhere to be found.  “Your consideration is appreciated” was in there, and “Your generosity in the past” was there too…but nothing like “Thank you for your continued support.”  This year…more of the same.  What happened to “Thank you?”  Did they get a contribution?  What do you think?

May your Thanksgiving be celebrated with family and friends, and may we remember those who are far away from loved ones this year in foreign lands, or those that are enduring difficult times. May we find it in our hearts to share our blessings with them.


© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2009-2019 (Original Publication Date: 20051123)