Non-profit organizations often approach me asking to deliver pro bono keynote speeches that can help their members communicate more powerfully. I am glad to oblige when time allows and when the cause is one I feel comfortable embracing.
I normally ask for a few small non-monetary considerations in return — perhaps a space to sell The Truth About Public Speaking following the speech, introductions to their board members, a testimonial from one of the organization’s leaders, etc. Some organizations follow through on these agreements and some don’t. I try to let that water roll off my back when they neglect to follow through.
But there is one thing I find absolutely unforgivable — the lack of a timely and personalized thank you letter. An all too typical example after offering remarks to a non-profit group: I received a form letter more than five weeks later. There was no acknowledgment of the specifics of my talk, just a crummy form letter.
What odds would you offer that I would agree to speak to this group again? If you guessed zero, congratulations. There are too many worthy causes that realize a simple thank you means so much. Why waste time with unappreciative people?