Much of my website design business comes from referrals I received from someone I either worked with before or networked with. When a referral results in new business it is kind of a big deal for me. Some businesses have a smaller price point and sell in bulk where the nature of my business requires a lot more work which results in a higher price. When a referral is given to me by someone who trusts in me enough to put my name out there to their contact, I don’t take that lightly. I also like to show my appreciation to that person.
In the past I would send them a thank you card with a Starbucks card in it. Everybody likes Starbucks right? A nice card, a cup or three of coffee on me. It makes for a nice treat but it’s not much of a lasting statement. I like doing things that leave a lasting result. I also understand that the best thing you can do for someone is empower them to feel good about them self.
A few years ago while attending a Twitter Conference I received a $25 gift card to DonorsChoose.Org, a website where teachers can post fundraising requests for their classrooms. We all know that teachers are not getting the resources they need these days especially in lower income areas. This website gives you the chance to connect with teachers who are posting their projects or ideas. You can donate any amount toward their needs. Your donations allow them to get the resources they need to make their project happen for their kids. How awesome is that and how could you not feel great about yourself after taking part in the enrichment of the lives of children?
DonorsChoose.Org allows you to send a donation gift card in the mail, send an e-card by email or print a certificate on your printer. When I want to show somebody that I appreciate their referral, I send them a $25 e-card by email. This allows them to log into DonorsChoose.org and donate to the project of their choice. I can’t think of one person who has referred business to me in my entire life that would not like the opportunity to donate to a classroom. Since I have been doing this as my way of thanks it has generated some really cool conversations with those who I have thanked. Several have told me about how they told others about this gift they were able to give. I can tell that the gift was unexpected and loved. Nobody really needs a Starbucks gift card. If I want a cup of coffee I can go buy it myself. It’s something that I already know how to do and am capable of. Donating to a classroom to enrich the lives of children is something that is not as easy to do. Most of us don’t know how to go about doing that and the thought might not even cross our minds.
What I propose is that the next time you want to show someone that you appreciate them, empower them to do something they probably would not have been able to do without your help.
DonorsChoose also has some great ideas that I love. You can donate your birthday with a Give-Back Birthday page. You can create a wedding registry and much more. We live in a time of excess and I can not think of a better way to show people how to have a giving heart then by giving to others rather than ourselves.