Friday, October 21, 2011

The Importance of Being Thankful

I’ve written in a previous blog post about the importance of saying THANK YOU, but I feel the need to address the subject again.

I have donated 10 paintings to The Art Connection since 2006, when I first learned of this worthy cause, and the reactions (and non-reactions) to my donations from the non-profit organizations that have selected my work have been varied and revealing.

The Art Connection recommends to these recipient organizations, in writing, that they send a thank-you note to the artists whose work they’ve selected. Here are the various responses I have received from the 9 agencies that have received my artwork over the years:

5 of the organizations never contacted me at all
1 organization asked me for a(nother) donation for a fund-raising event (!!)
2 organizations sent me hand-written thank-you notes (way to go, Ronald McDonald House and Harbour House Family Center!)

And the winner of the Mother Raised You Right Award goes to the Mattapan Community Health Center, which not only sent me a lovely thank-you letter but also held a party for all of the artists who had donated work to their facility!

Now I’m not expecting anything fancy, like a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers. And I know people are very, very busy; I’m sure most of the folks at these non-profit organizations are overworked and underpaid, or they may even be volunteers. BUT a simple two-sentence note, even in an email – “Thank you so much for your donation. We really appreciate your generosity” – goes a long way in the good will, good karma department. And after all, isn’t that what a human service organization is supposed to be about?

Image shown above: "Sunset Web," a new artwork I've just donated to the Art Connection.

ETA: Upon reading this blog entry, Sarah Berry, the Art Connection's Program Manager, updated me with the following information:

"As you noted we do alert agencies that sending a thank you note is a critical step in the process. In fact, we do so three separate times:

1) At their preliminary site visit
2) In their confirmation packet

And starting in July (when I came on as full time program manager), I added it to the agency Six Month Report, a third reminder. We mention an agency art reception all those times as well, though I suspect many of our agencies don’t have it in their budget."

No comments: