Grace Notes

Jun 07, 2023

We’re big on gratitude at our office. In fact, every single week we celebrate, thank, and appreciate someone with lovely cards and tribute donations in their honor.  I truly don’t think a week goes by that we aren’t sending some love via snail mail from our CoFo Team. It’s really part of having an abundance mentality.  Stephen Covey once said the following regarding the Abundance Mentality, “Instead, I have an abundance mentality:  When people are genuinely happy at that successes of others, the pie gets larger.” It’s true.  We sincerely believe if we authentically share what we can, that it will come back to us eventually—the pie just gets larger.

That’s why, after reading Unreasonable Hospitality, we decided to level up our gratitude with some encouragement on steroids—and Delight Dollars were born. We wanted to figure out a way that we could go above and beyond to boost our local nonprofits. In essence, each teammate gets $500 ‘Delight Dollars’ annually which are held in a fund that our CFO keeps separate from the rest of our operational spending. Then, throughout the year, the teammates get to decide how to spend those ‘Delight Dollars’ to make someone’s day, we set out to delight them.

This idea was inspired by Unreasonable Hospitality as a way to prime the pump of ideas that could be done to wow someone affiliated with our organization. In the book, one server offered up some chocolates for an anniversary while another ran outside to feed the parking meter.  They ended up defining these acts as ‘grace notes’, a sweet but nonessential addition to the guest experience.  Typically, those grace notes weren’t even related to the food experience, so they were completely unexpected, and mind-blowing, even in their simplicity.  What turned into an ordinary way for the staff to serve became an extraordinary gift to their customers. So, we thought we’d try it out with our own nonprofit flair.

Delight Dollars are still new to us but so far Meagan bought journals for the residents of our newest recovery home and Sherri’s gifting some Seth Godin books.  I sent out some pizzas and mailed some plastic microphones so they can celebrate accordingly for all future ‘mic drop’ moments. None of the gifts have been costly and all have been so appreciated and well-received.  I’d go as far as saying that the recipients were truly delighted.

So, when Delight Dollars are deployed, we share what’s been done to inspire our other co-workers about creative gestures that can be done—that’s our right brain moxie.  But you know our best end-products are produced with both the right brain and the left brain activated.  So, these ideas are often clever and out-the-box but there must be some balance between the cost of creativity and the control of your budget.  How do you encourage your team to be clever without going over the top financially?  That’s the $64,000 question that’s worthy thinking more about!

Think Outside The Box Creativity GIF by Kingdom Playroom

Ultimately, with Delight Dollars, I’ve set a budget of $500 per teammate. However, this amount could be $100 or $250—whatever your budget could withstand. And maybe you don’t want to execute a program like Delight Dollars, but you simply want to delight your donors with the marketing you send to them—that requires both creativity and a controlled budget. That’s where Will Guidara introduces the 95/5 rule and I love it!

He advises aggressive management of 95% of your budget.  Go over it with a fine-tooth comb, watch it like a hawk, and toil over those numbers like it’s your job—because it is! But that last 5%, well, all bets are off with the last little bit.  Literally, we’re talking about 5 cents of every dollar, so you’re not being careless, but you are allowing yourself to be over-the-top creative with that last 5%. In fact, Guidara would even say that you have a carte blanche opportunity to spend that last little bit foolishly.

Now, using the term foolish regarding spending might send some of you over the edge.  I get it!  But that’s where the Unreasonable part of Unreasonable Hospitality comes into play.  It’s clearly not the kind of foolish that is irresponsible.  That last 5% is like the bow on top of the perfect gift. It gives your impact that ‘ooomph’ that your recipient isn’t expecting and because it’s unexpected, it has an outsized impact that makes the 5% investment some of the smartest money you’ll ever spend.

business uniqueness GIF

Unreasonable Hospitality proves you can be both corporate-smart and creative-smart. It proves that you can empower your team to think abundantly while delighting your donors. And it proves that you can spend some of your marketing dollars to grow even more donated dollars. These are your nonprofit, charitable ‘grace notes’--sweet but nonessential additions to your donor’s experience. And likely an experience that they’ll tell their friends about as well. It’s a great use of that 5% of your budget and it grows your marketing team as your donors start singing your praises to their generous friends. Try delighting your customers. See how it makes them feel; then see how it makes you feel. It’s like a secret sauce that you’ve never tasted before but will never forego again. Bon Appetit.

 All My Best,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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