November 3, 2023
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When we create content calendars for our clients, there is always a reminder included in the first week of November:

Schedule your thankathon.

Here at Swell+Good, we are huge believers in the attitude of gratitude—and there is no better season to go heavy on the thank-yous than November, a month that’s already dedicated to being grateful. As an added bonus, a gratitude-focused November helps set you up for a successful year-end fundraising push by reminding donors just how much you appreciate their support! 

(PSA: This works in “real” life, too! Use this month as a reminder to express gratitude to your friends, family, coworkers, baristas…the list goes on and on!)

So now back the topic at hand…what, exactly, is a thankathon? 

A thankathon is a lot like a phone campaign, except instead of making phone calls to ask for money, you make phone calls to stay thank you.

It’s an opportunity for your team to pause their daily tasks (yes, even in the midst of a busy season) and connect with donors in a meaningful, low-pressure way. 

Best of all it’s a dedicated time to express your attitude of gratitude! 

How do I plan a thankathon? 

  1. Pull a list of all of your donors this year, including phone numbers. We suggest pulling a list that includes last year’s Q4 donors, too, regardless of whether they’ve given in this calendar year yet or not!
  2. Solicit volunteers from your team, board, and volunteers. A thankathon is truly a “more the merrier” activity, so invite everyone to get involved! 
  3. Distribute lists of donors to each participant. Give each person a list of 10-20 names to start—they can always request more! 
  4. Choose a day (or a week). We’ve found that a thankathon works best when everyone is calling at the same time, so set aside some time that is devoted to this effort.
  5. Make your calls! Start dialing and say thank you! You never know who you might connect with! 

How do I make my thankathon successful? 

We’ve done our fair share of thankathons, so here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years:

  1. Get everyone involved. Don’t just ask your fundraisers to handle it—instead, put out an open invitation. Finance team. Board members. Volunteers. The staff members that sort the mail. Everyone can say thank you! 
  2. Write a script. Not everyone is comfortable on the phone, so help out your team by providing them with a few talking points! 
  3. Be prepared for lots of voicemails. These days, many people do not answer unknown numbers. (It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.) No sweat. A thank-you voicemail is still appreciated, and it’s often easier for the caller, too! 
  4. ONLY SAY THANK YOU. Do not (I repeat DO NOT) ask for money. Or time. Or anything. You are purely calling to say thank you. 

If you decide to host a thankathon this year, reply to this email to let us know! We’d love to encourage you—and we can’t wait to hear how it goes! 

Allison Kooser

Allison is Chief Storyteller at Swell+Good, where she partners with amazing organizations to help them bring their stories to life. She is an avid traveler, an expert takeout orderer, and a big believer in curiosity and kindness. She tries to learn something new every day, and she reads, writes, and paddleboards more than the average human.
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