What Churches and Non-Profits Can Learn from “The Thank You Economy”

“…(I)t is utter insanity for any company not to have a Facebook and Twitter presence in 2011” (p.113, The Thank You Economy). Those are the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and social media guru who built his family’s local liquor store into a national wine-seller at winelibrary.com . He wrote the national bestseller Crush It. He has now created Wine Library TV and an app for smart phones called The Daily Grape.

As I read The Thank You Economy it occurred to me over and over again just how much of what is presented in the book applies so well to churches and non-profit organizations. At one point in the book Vaynerchuk says, “It’s not about the budget. It’s about the creativity and caring” (p.124). Many a pastor, church leader, or non-profit executive would love to hear those words spoken in a board meeting (in the church’s case, of course, adding the words “the Gospel”).

What Vaynerchuk calls The Thank You Economy is about caring, responding, interacting, and having conversations with your customers. The Thank You Economy means engaging your customers on an emotional basis by being genuine and caring. That is, of course, what the church is called to be and to do, but far too often the church has lost, or overlooked, or just plain forgotten to be genuine and caring. Sadly, the church is often focused more inwardly than outwardly.

New tools have been given to the church and non-profits to engage on a genuine and caring basis. They are the same tools that are used in The Thank You Economy. They are the tools of Social Media. Vaynerchuk reminds us that Social Media is exponential. Have you recently looked at all of your “friend suggestions” on Facebook. You are one or two degrees of separation from literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Just think how many you could reach simply through Facebook and/or Twitter. After all, online conversation easily leads to in-person conversation.

Here are just some of the ways The Thank You Economy can be applied in the church:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk says people buy things recommended by their friends. Where have people recently been speaking with friends? Social Media! More than “buy things,” what about people recommending their church or non-profit as they “talk” on Social Media?
  • The longer it takes to build a presence with Social Media, the more effort it will take to make it work for you. Can the church afford to be lagging behind? There are souls to be saved and people to be helped and served.
  • No matter what someone else chooses to say about you, you can publicly put forth the facts. When there is rumor or controversy, churches and non-profits can’t afford to let them fester. Being up front on Social Media is one way to get the facts straight so that the message is not hindered or blurred.
  • The Thank You Economy includes being part of the conversation. According to Vaynerchuk, it isn’t good enough to simply put your message out there on a web site. You’ve got to engage people and be part of the conversation. How awesome that conversation is when you share the greatest Message ever known to humanity.
  • How about this: “If you’re not passionate enough about what your company does to find fuel for conversation every day, for hours on end, with as many people as possible, maybe you’re in the wrong business” (p.83). I don’t really have to tell you how that applies to churches and non-profits, do I?
  • Social Media is a “long-term play,” a “marathon.” Stick with it! It takes time to develop relationships, provide care and concern, and create in-person opportunities for interaction. Don’t give up. It’s about finding any and every opportunity to share the Gospel or provide service.

Watch for my next post where I’ll share more ways The Thank You Economy applies to churches and non-profits.

How do you think Social Media can be leveraged for use in the church or in non-profits?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “What Churches and Non-Profits Can Learn from “The Thank You Economy”

  1. How can a God who has a LOOOOONG track record of creating personal relationships not love his children embracing the same practices … even in (gasp!) business and stewardship. Great article, Tom! Thanks.

  2. In answer to your closing question: TWEET YOUR TEENS AND COLLEGE-AGERS. This is the perfect tool for creating deeper relationships with them that will continue into their future in the church.