AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerDo Thank-You Ads Work?

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Do Thank-You Ads Work?

I’ve seen a lot of thank-you ads over the years. And, it sounds nice to place an advertisement thanking people who have done something for your organization or business. But I believe these are lost messages. 

The problem may be in the intent of the ad. It seems to me that thank-you ads are like the fake thank-you notes I get from nonprofit organizations. The fake notes are disguised required IRS letters of acknowledgement. Don’t send the two together. I need one for the tax file and I need one to remind me why I contributed to your organization’s mission. The two motivations are not the same and should not be in the same letter.

A thank-you ad has the same problem as dual messaging.  Nearly every United Way runs an ad thanking volunteers and then announcing the goal achievement. That’s two messages. And two different, and sometimes conflicting, advertising motivations. I’m also not sure the advertisement in the paper, in an email blast or on TV does much to make me feel special. A thank you is personal. As much as I like advertising, it is hard for it to get personal unless it is demonstrating a true and direct benefit to an individual.

So in this week of thanks, strive to make your thank-yous more personal and meaningful for the recipient, and leave the tax notification and broad proclamations to the media for which it deserves. By the way, have I said thank you for reading this blog? Did that sound like I meant it just for you? Happy Thanksgiving.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.