I’ve been thinking about the concept of “engagement” a lot lately and boy do I have some opinions on thank you notes that are engaging (or not), which I shared in a guest blog post over on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog.
Here’s a little history lesson, word-nerd style: the term engagement came into popular use in the 1600s and referred to a “formal promise”. It makes you think about the lead-up to that promise, doesn’t it? I mean, people don’t just willy nilly enter into formal agreements with other people unless they feel there’s a darn good payout on the other end.
Whether you’re talking about marriage, a business partnership, or a pinky promise at recess, when it comes to a formal promise, there’s an exchange of something that both parties value.
In the seventeenth century, when all this engagement business got its start, it could have been some goats or a parcel of land—each. But think about it today, in the context of your work. Supporters are gifting you their money, their time or their attention. What are you doing to hold up your end of the promise?