Ari reminded me of a study I’d heard about but forgotten. Donors to nonprofits were divided into three groups:
- A group that was called and personally thanked
- A group that was called and personally thanked and invited to a subsequent event
- A control group
The not-surprising finding is that the first group was more likely to give in the future than the third group. The surprising finding is that the second group (“thank you” + “would you do this other thing”) was LESS likely to give again than either group 1 or group 3.
Here’s another way to summarize these findings: people are really good at smelling a rat. We know when you’re faking, know when the “thank you” (or, as Ari prefers and I agree, “I’m grateful”) is pro forma so you can get on to the real reason you called.
This is why I hate newsletters that sounds like boring impersonal newsletters, why form thank you notes that are for anything other than tax purposes are a no-no, and why it’s a mistake to take any shortcuts at all when thanking people (meaning: if you can choose between thanking 10 people personally and 40 en mass using some clever Outlook email trick, do the 10 real ones).
It’s also why I’m going to search even harder for opportunities to tell the people to whom I’m grateful that I’m grateful, and I’m going to fight the temptation to say “thank you AND….” with all my might.