Guest Post: Thank You Letters — The Good, The OK and the Ugly!

How awesome is your thank you letter- (1)

The results are in!

A few weeks ago we asked you to put your thank you letter to the test – and over 650 fundraisers did!!!

Here is what we learned….

What we’re doing well: Personalization.

We all know it’s true: personal will win over corporate any day of the week! I was happy to see that:

  • 96% of fundraisers are addressing the thank you letter to the donor’s actual name – that’s great! Personalization like that matters.
  • 85% of thank you letters are signed by a real person! WOOT!

What we could do better: Making the donor the hero.

To inspire support, a charity needs to make a convincing emotional case based on the cause and the beneficiaries. But a recent study has found that the key to keeping donors is all about what the charity does for their donors.  In this area, we still have some work to do:

  • 80% of charities make the hero of the thank you letter the donor.
  • 70% of charities use the magic word” “you” more than the word “we” – meaning talking less about your organization and more about the donor.

Why does this matter? Well, as Jeff Brooks says: “The power of you comes from the fact that good fundraising is always about the donor.”

Make your thank you letters about what the donor has accomplished with their gift – not how great the charity is. Here’s an example of a truly terrific thank you letter that celebrates the donor – be sure to watch the video!

What we’re failing at: Being specific.

Stalin said: “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”

Mother Theresa said: “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

And Jeff Brooks said: “Make your message about people, not statistics and facts. Numbers numb. Stories and pictures of people stir donors to action… Your donors likely feel powerless to put an end to poverty or injustice. But they can easily imagine reaching out to one person and making a difference.. The other crucial thing about the problem in your story is you must show it to be solvable. By the donor.”

For all those reasons, it is a bit heart breaking that only 47% of charities give a specific example of how the gift will be used.

That isn’t good enough, people!

Why? It’s not inspiring. It’s not emotional. It’s not memorable.

Here’s an amazing example of a charity who is getting really specific:  

bungo3-e1435958512797 cat_large_NIKON D81020141129164117

My name is Mr. Bungo and since the last time you read about me I’ve changed. I was extremely malnourished after living on the streets of East Vancouver by myself, covered in fleas, freezing cold and sitting in puddles. Thanks to you and my foster home, I’ve been able to get back on my feet. Little by little I gained weight and slowly regained my energy.

One day, as I was basking in the sun in my foster home, I had visitors. A lovely lady named Shawna and her husband Chris had come to meet me. They seemed very nice and I liked them straight away. I guess they liked me too because they adopted me. I finally have a forever home.

Now I love to sleep at the end of their bed, feeling safe by being close to the people that love me most. One of my favourite things is to lay on either Shawna or Chris and have a good cuddle. It’s good to be able to relax and not worry about anything.

Read the rest here…

As a cat lover, I find that WAY more touching than learning about that charity’s mission statement!

So come on, fundraisers! Don’t we owe it to our donors to make our thank you letters the best they can be?!

How can you improve your thank you letter? Feel free to take the test to identify ways to give your thank you letter a tune up.

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Want more #DonorLove? Check out our next webinar TOMORROW! Keeping the Donor Love Alive & Thriving

As fundraisers we are measured on the asks we make and the gifts we close. But that’s not how our donors measure our work. They pay attention to the thank you’s they receive and how they feel when they get them. Maybe that is why, as a sector, we have a big problem: donors are falling out of love with giving to us.

Spend an hour with Rory Green and Beth Ann Locke as they explore real life #DonorLove examples and creative ideas with one purpose: helping you keep the relationship with donors alive and thriving.

Be inspired to make #DonorLove a priority in your daily work and walk away with practical tips to help donors keep that loving feeling.

Sign up now!

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Written by Rory Green

rory

 

Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:
Twitter

 

3 ways to show #donorlove today

3 ways to show

If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’re no stranger to the idea of #donorlove.

If you don’t know what it is yet or need a refresher – read this post.

Today I want to talk about HOW to show donors love.

What 3 things can you do today to show your donors more love, leading to higher retention and more dollars coming in your door?

Here they are:

#1 – Call all donors who make an online gift today.

You may have an excellent system in place that sends an automatic thank you message to online donors, or you may not. Either way, nothing beats the warm fuzzies that come from a real human voice saying thank you. It takes a few minutes max., and the rewards are greater than you can imagine. Plus – as a fundraiser, it feels great! Come on, try it!

#2 – Rewrite your thank you letter.

You know, that letter that goes out with tax receipts. The one you mail merge on autopilot whenever you get to your receipts. When was the last time you rewrote that letter? I was just chatting with a fundraiser the other day who rewrote her organization’s thank you letter and it hadn’t been updated for three years. That means potentially that the same donor got the same thank you letter three years in a row. Don’t let that happen to you! Freshen it up, and make sure it’s filled with words that make the donor receiving it feel special and really proud of the impact they’re making (hint – use this word a lot).

#3 – Hand-address any envelopes you send out today.

Whether it’s a thank you note or even a solicitation letter, write the address on the envelope with a real pen, held in your real hand. When I reach in my mailbox, all the envelopes I pull out look the same – whether it’s a bill from my cell phone company, a statement from my bank, or a letter from a charity. Isn’t that awful?! So let’s try to be the exception – let’s make our letter look different. Let’s make it look more personal, more real, more enticing. Hand-addressing it is a great start.

That’s it! 3 things you can to do today to show your donors more love.

That’s not so hard, is it?

BONUS:

Here’s one more way to show your donors more love: attend
The #DonorLove Rendezvous on May 11, 2016 in Toronto.

“But I heard it was sold out?”

You’re right, it is! But thanks to the support of three incredible women – Gwen Chapman, Shanon Doolittle, and Beth Ann Locke – we are able to offer 10 bursaries to attendees.

To apply to this SOLD OUT event, click here.

 

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over nine years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Maeve’s Top 5 & Happy 4-Year Anniversary, What Gives!

Happy 4-Year Anniversary!Wow… another year gone.

I am so proud to be going into my fifth year writing and editing this blog. For me, it’s been four years of learning, growing, tweaking, improving, reflecting, and feeling inspired.

I hope you have felt inspired, too!

MAEVE'S

To celebrate, I wanted to list my Top 5 Posts. They are in no particular order, and I used no criteria to choose them. Most of them have been more popular among readers, but what they have in common is that I’m proud to have written – or posted – them.

Enjoy! And thanks for making these 4 years so great!

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Young Alumni Fundraising - Part I (2)

5 Ways to Involve Young People In Your Organization

Although #whatgiveswednesdays was a short-lived series of posts about young constituents and how we can engage them and inspire them to give, it still had a lot of gems including this post. In fact, the whole point of this post was to summarize some of the learnings from the series. Check it out for a quick, concise read!

Customizationvs.Personalization

Customization vs. Personalization

You know why I love this post so much? Because John Lepp liked it! When someone I respect likes what I write, it makes me feel especially good about it. It may sound silly, but it’s not. I enjoy the process of writing this blog every week, but of course I write it because I hope it’s valuable to my fellow fundraisers. So I feel proud about this post because it resonated with John Lepp. It’s all about the difference between customizing (i.e. mail merge) and personalizing (i.e. taking the time to handwrite a thank you note to a donor). Key distinction, and a post I look back on with pride.

Prospect Management at a Cocktail Party for Introverted Fundraisers

Prospect Management at a Cocktail Party for Introverted Fundraisers

One of my most important discoveries as an introvert and a fundraiser is that those things are not mutually exclusive. When I first got into the field, I thought I had a disadvantage as an introvert, but I realized that wasn’t true. Being an introverted fundraiser is a great advantage… but you sometimes need survival tips when it comes to cocktail parties. Check out this post for some of my main tips, for example take breaks.

8 fundraising lessons I learned from Beyoncé

Guest Post: 8 Fundraising Lessons I Learned From Beyoncé

I had to include a Rory Green post in here because she’s written more guest posts for this blog than anyone, and the majority of the most popular posts of all time on this blog are Rory’s. I love this post because I love fundraising, I love Beyoncé, and I love Rory Green. She makes content so fun with gifs and snappy, effective messages. If you haven’t read this one already, do!

How to leave with #donorlove

How to Leave with #DonorLove

And lastly, this post. Beyond my love of working with the great concept of #donorlove, I felt it was really important to talk about leaving a job and how to do it gracefully, and in a way that shows love to your donors, instead of abandonment… which too often happens. The way we leave an organization should be a reflection of how we spent our time there… especially from the donors point of view. I’m very proud of this post.

So there you have it! Thanks for an awesome four years, readers! Onto the next one!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Fundraisers & This Little Piggy

Fundraisers & this little piggy

Let me start this post with a cliché: fundraisers are storytellers.

“Wow, Maeve! Tell us something we don’t know!”

You’re right. We all know the best fundraisers are storytellers. We’re embracing that. We’re all recognizing the power of stories in engaging donors in our causes and showing them the power of philanthropy.

So how come the dollars aren’t pouring in?

Well, it’s not good enough to say we’re storytellers. They have to be the right stories. And they have to be told the right way.

So what are we doing wrong?

I’ll tell you one thing: we’re acting too much like the last piggy.

“Huh?”

Yes! You heard me right!

This little piggy went to the market

This little piggy stayed home

This little piggy had roast beef

This little piggy had none

And this little piggy went WEE WEE WEE all the way home

Fundraisers are the last piggy.

The one saying WEE WEE WEE.

We are doing this. We are achieving this.

We. We. WE!

It’s not about us. It’s about them.

It’s not about we. It’s about YOU!

You being the donor.

How are we ever going to show donors the power of their philanthropy if we keep telling them about the great things WE are doing?

We have to inspire donors by telling stories about themTheir impact. What they achieve.

Want to see what I mean? Want to see the power of those kinds of stories in action?

Here’s a recent example: Prime Minister Trudeau’s victory speech on October 19th.

I was following the conversation on Twitter on this momentous occasion and my fundraising friends were all saying the same thing: Prime Minister Trudeau is so donor-centric!

Watch this clip to see what I mean.

Are you noticing it? Here’s an extra clip to bring the idea home.

It’s the most powerful word in fundraising: YOU.

Prime Minister Trudeau was telling a story; not just to his donors, but to supporters, voters, and all Canadians. The story wasn’t about his success or the party’s success; it was about what YOU made happen.

Let’s all make sure that’s the story we’re telling our donors, too.

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: 5 reasons we LOVE Cathy Barrick… and you should, too!

5 reasons we LOVE Cathy Barrick (a.k.a. @savinggrace)...and you should too!

Have you heard the news? Cathy Barrick, CEO of Alzheimer Society of Toronto, is coming to the #DonorLove Rendezvous. Here are five reasons why Cathy is an amazing fundraiser, and an even more amazing human being.

She puts donors front and centre.

We all know it, we all feel it. Donors are at the core of our business. But, from time to time, we let budgets and goals creep into our thoughts and determine our actions. We get wrapped up in how great our charities are, without consideration for the incredible people who make it all possible. We don’t have time to make that phone call, or write that letter. We sometimes let it go just a little too long before we thank our donors.

For Cathy, donors really are at the heart of it all. Cathy is in the business of people, first and foremost. A long-time social worker, fundraising is a natural fit for her. She seeks to understand what motivates each individual person she meets, and it’s her mission to make donors feel amazing.

Cathy’s own philosophy of #DonorLove is to express gratitude for donors thoughtfully and genuinely. Cathy lives by this mantra by finding authentic touch points, with a sprinkle of surprise and delight. She appreciates the value of each gift, from each donor, and she makes sure they know it.

She’s an amazing leader.

To achieve her vision of an organization that embraces #DonorLove, Cathy is building a thoughtful, donor-centred team from all corners of the office – so much so she has signed her entire team up for the #DonorLove Rendezvous!

Growing #DonorLove from the inside out takes time, that is true, but it is time that Cathy is willing to invest. In a sector so often plagued by bad leadership – it’s refreshing and inspiring to see Cathy’s commitment to her team.

She’s a Pisces.

Pisces are compassionate, adaptable, accepting, devoted and imaginative.

She has a super cute cat.

cat1 cat2

 

 

Look at that face!!

She truly cares.

When Cathy isn’t working hard at her day job, she volunteers with seniors. She’s one of those kind, caring people who seem to have endless love to give. She says her role at the Alzheimer’s society is her “dream job”.

Cathy is exactly what is right about this industry. She sees ways to be better, and makes it happen by being an attentive and curious donor-lover. To her, fundraising is not about money. It’s about connecting incredible people to causes they are passionate about. It’s about solving real problems and meeting real needs. Money is just the tool.

Amen, Cathy!

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Are you someone who truly cares about donors?

Do you want to spend a day with like-minded fundraisers, having great conversations, learning and sharing?

Do you want the chance to add amazing people like Cathy to your tribe?

Well then check out the #DonorLove Rendezvous.

It’s not a conference, it’s a meeting of the minds. On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, we want you to join us in Toronto for a day of dynamic discussion, energizing conversations, inspiration, passion, and fun!

Registration is open! For a very limited time, you can register for $99. I highly encourage you to register ASAP because this is going to sell out!

Visit www.donorlove.ca now to learn more and register today!

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Written by Tayler Halonen

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.49.19 AM

Tayler is new on the fundraising scene. She discovered a love for making people feel good at a young age, and she is thrilled to grow that passion in her work as a donor-loving fundraiser. In addition to philanthropy, Tayler is enthusiastic about animals, books, food, and health.

Connect with Tayler via:
Twitter

Guest Post: 10 Things Fundraisers Should Know About Upgrading Donors

10 Things Fundraisers Should Know About

Upgrading donors is an essential part of your nonprofit’s fundraising program. Or at least it should be.

But the upgrade process isn’t just about asking all your donors for more money. Check out these tips to more strategically upgrade your donors:

  1. Upgrading begins at the point of acquisition. But not all donors can be persuaded to upgrade. The lower their initial gift (i.e. $15-$18 range), the more difficult it can be to upgrade a donor. For this reason, make sure you test your acquisition ask string (the gift amounts you’re asking people to give) at least once a year. You want to bring donors on at the highest average gift without negatively impacting your response rates. If you can acquire a high volume of donors at a better than $20 average gift, you’ll have a very good chance at upgrading them in the future.
  2. Build a rock solid thank you process. Want donors to give more generously?  Show them they matter by: a) promptly and genuinely thanking them for their past gift(s), b) sharing compelling stories about what their gifts have accomplished, and c) proving you’ve done what you said you’d do with their gifts. Getting this right will inspire donor loyalty and increase the likelihood that donors will upgrade when you present them with the next compelling opportunity.
  3. Have a big vision. Getting donors to increase their giving isn’t easy. You can’t expect a donor who gives $25 to provide hot meals at a shelter to give $2,500 just to provide more meals. Donors substantially increase giving because you inspire them to think and act big. That’s why middle and major donor programs often take advantage of offer bundles (where you combine a number of tangible program needs into one larger fundraising offer), special project campaigns and capital campaigns. These initiatives are tied to a larger vision than simply solving today’s problem. And they make upgrading donors so much easier.
  4. Remember that upgrading can come in small packages. It sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out on this. It’s great to get a $50 donor to upgrade to making $150 gifts. But don’t overlook that donor who gave $25 last year but gave you five $25 gifts this year. That’s an upgrade too. However, chances are your current segmentation and reporting systems aren’t set up to identify that type of upgrade. Check your reports and segmentation to make sure you’re identifying these people as well. If cultivated correctly, they can add a lot of income to your organization, both now and in the future (hint: they make GREAT planned gift prospects).
  5. Increase the relationship and they’ll upgrade. Donors are human beings. They give for many reasons, but they continue giving and increase their giving because you make them feel validated and appreciated for their contributions. This is a given for major donors. But you’d be amazed at how big of an impact this can have on your middle donors and even the upper end of your regular donor file. Write them special handwritten notes, call them, invite them to your shop for a tour or out for coffee. These steps will deepen their relationship with your organization, and provide them with more positive experiences.  And the next time you make an ask – even a stretch – they’ll be more likely to respond with a yes.
  6. Invest in a quality high dollar direct mail program. You might be tempted to just mail your standard package to every donor and vary only the ask amounts. That’s a mistake. Effective high dollar direct mail is much different; it’s less tactical, more relational. This is where you’ll see longer letters, live stamps, true handwriting, and even FedEx and UPS overnight packages, which work very well to upgrade donors.
  7. Say thank you more frequently. Engage your board to make thank you calls and write handwritten thank you notes to donors on a regular basis.  You can even make it a standard part of each board meeting. Do this several times throughout the year, prior to when you’ll be making your most important asks.
  8. Embrace telemarketing. You might personally hate telemarketing, but it is a great tool for upgrading donors. Telemarketing allows you to build personal relationships through conversation, allows donors to feel like you’ve heard them (both the positive and negative), and gives you time to tell more of your story in a highly personalized way than direct mail or e-mail.  You’ll also be able to reach more people on your file who aren’t necessarily responsive to other channels like mail.
  9. Host strategic cultivation events. If you’re trying to upgrade $20 donors to the $50 level, you probably don’t need to host cultivation events. But if you have a good group of $500 donors that you’re trying to upgrade to the $1,500 – $5,000 level, events are a great tool. The best events tend to have the feeling of exclusivity and access, of these donors being “insiders”, and having the opportunity to be the first to know/invest in something special. These cultivation events will deepen engagement around your donors’ passions and show them how very important they are to your cause.
  10. Upgrade through integration. Some of the most successful middle donor upgrade campaigns I’ve ever worked on have utilized an integrated direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail, video and face-to-face strategy. Integration helps you increase the frequency of your touch points, communicate the same message in different and increasingly compelling ways, and to leverage each channel to increase overall response.

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Want to learn more? I’m hosting a webinar that Andrew’s presenting called – Maximizing the Middle: Strategies and Tactics for Increasing Middle Donor Income.

In this session Andrew Olsen, CFRE, will share the demographic and psychographic differences that make middle donors unique. You’ll learn the best (and worst) ways to engage these donors to deepen their commitment (and giving!) to your organization, AND we’ll look at three case studies to see the specific tactics other nonprofits have used to increase middle donor giving by as much as 400%.

This webinar is now sold out! Click here to buy a copy of the recording! You’re not going to want to miss out on this knowledge!

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This blog was originally posted on Andrew Olsen’s Blog Fundraising Fundamentals.

Andrew Olsen
Andrew Olsen, CFRE, is Vice President, Client Services at Russ Reid – an Omnicom ad agency serving the nonprofit sector. Click here to read Andrew’s full bio.

Connect with Andrew via:
Twitter

How to leave with #donorlove

Before I say anything else: Happy Birthday to my girlfriend Kate! 

Now — onto the post!

How to leave with #donorlove

I’ll say it again: you’ve probably noticed me writing and tweeting and talking about #DonorLove a lot lately.

As I described in this post, my definition of donor love is this: a lens us fundraisers need to look through to ensure our donors are at the heart of what we do.

In that same post, I also mentioned that donor love is a lot about stewardship, but that’s not all it is. We can show donor love at every stage of the donor journey.

We can be loving in our identification of donors… does this person just have a lot of wealth, or are there clues that they could be inspired by our charity’s work?

We can be loving in our cultivation of donors… are we barging into their home with an agenda, or are we asking pointed questions and listening to find out what inspires their philanthropy?

We can be loving in our solicitation of donors… are we telling them what we want, or aligning their passions with our needs, based on the conversations we’ve had about what they want to impact?

And, of course, we can be loving in our stewardship.

You know where else in the donor journey we can show donor love? When it ends.

I’m not talking about when the donor stops giving (God forbid!). I’m talking about when you – the fundraiser – leaves the organization. Again – God forbid! – but it happens. In fact, as you know, it happened to me just recently. I left my fabulous post at Wilfrid Laurier University for a new gig, and in preparation for transitioning out of that role, I thought about my donors.

I imagined them receiving a bounceback email from Laurier when they are checking in about their annual gift, saying “this email address no longer exists”.

I don’t know about you, but I was horrified at the thought of this! I spent so much time building relationships with my donors, strengthening their connection to the university. It could all be for nothing if this happened.

It’s not about me. It’s not about me being a great fundraiser and the only reason my donors give to the organization, because that’s not true, and it’s not what it’s about. But I’m a representative of the cause, and if either of us – me or the cause – disappoint the donor, we have to start from square one. I didn’t want that to be the legacy I left behind.

So I sat down with my donor list and put a star next to the name of every donor who I’d made a meaningful connection with, who had unfinished business with the university regarding donations (i.e. was thinking over an area of support, had an upcoming pledge to fulfill, etc.)… that sort of thing. These were the people I needed to inform of my departure.

But it wasn’t an announcement; it was a touchpoint. It was a chance to thank the donor, show them how much they mean to the organization, and ensure a smooth hand-off to my successor.

Again, it wasn’t about me; it was about the donor, and it was about #donorlove.

So there you have it! You can even leave with love.

Do you want to know what my #DonorLove Goodbye Note looked like?

Sign up for my email list by the end of September and I’ll send you the #DonorLove Goodbye Note template!

(Don’t worry – if you’re already signed up for the list, you’ll get it, too!)

Thanks for reading!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: The Big Bang — How to get the most from your fundraising efforts

The Big Bang -- How to get the most from

We’ve all heard it: having optimized assets matters. But how much does it really matter? In my experience, it matters, a lot. If your communications aren’t creatively using cutting-edge trends, you are missing opportunities to engage with your audience, to make them care, to have a bigger impact.

It was a big priority for me to redesign and optimize the fundraising communications at Humane Society International, so once we found an amazingly creative consulting team to help make my dreams a reality and got the budget approved, we dove right in. Over a period of six weeks working hand-in-hand together, we redesigned everything: email templates, advocacy alerts and our donation pages. We even redesigned a major online fundraising platform for symbolic giving – and we obtained big results.

We spent a lot of time strategizing. We wanted to make it easy for people to give or take action. We strategically planned appeals based upon response – I spent a lot of time creating detailed reports so I could study our file and learn what was and wasn’t working. We integrated across channels online and used consistent campaign branding – from social to email to web. We made our assets fun and interactive; we even ‘gamified’ a donation form using Javascript. I searched international giving trends weekly so I could stay up-to-date. We wanted to give our constituents a voice by making donor care access easy on every page. We wanted to offer as many options as possible for payment and currency. And we weren’t afraid to fail or to take a risk.

Here’s what the outcome was: over one year…

  • Revenue from mobile devices doubled.
  • Conversion rates doubled.
  • Online fundraising increased by 76% (while email file size increased by 12%).
  • The number of monthly donors grew by 80%
  • The number of monthly gifts increased by 51%
  • The average number of gifts increased by 131%
  • The number of gifts per month increased by 129%

In one year. Can you image the lost potential and income if we hadn’t done this? It was well worth time time and energy spent coming up with a cohesive marketing plan.

Have I convinced you how important this is yet? No? Then register for my webinar (details below)!!! If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me try to change your mind.

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WEBINAR — The Big Bang: How to get the most from your fundraising efforts

In this session, you will learn tips on how to raise the most money and maximize your impact through your online communications efforts – from optimizing online assets to creating engaging online platforms.

Register today!

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Written by Elise Ledsinger

 

Elise Ledsinger_headshot

 

Elise Ledsinger is the Senior Manager of Online Marketing Communications for Humane Society International, the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, and is based in Washington, DC. Click here to read Elise’s full bio.

Connect with Elise via:
Twitter | Email

 

**SPONSORED POST** Email maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com for more information about advertising on www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

 

 

 

Guest Post: What Can Starbucks Teach Us About Fundraising?

 

What can Starbucks teach us about (1)

Today as I got my morning cappuccino, I noticed Starbucks is running a huge promotion – centred on buying beans, K-cups, syrups, cups and taking the Starbucks experience home.

Why would they do this? Isn’t the whole concept of drinking coffee at home Starbucks’ competition? Don’t they want me in their stores?

It’s because Starbucks has figured out something many charities haven’t tapped into yet: When you like something, you like doing it in different ways, and at different times.

I love going to Starbucks in the morning. I love chatting with the barista about my day as I grab my cappuccino. But I also love a cup of coffee in the office, a quick K-cup jolt in between staff meetings. I love a cup of decaf at 8 pm, enjoyed in my pajamas, on my couch. Having options makes me drink more coffee, not less.

If Starbucks was run like a charity, this promotion might not have happened. The director of In-Store Sales would be at the throat of the Director of K-Cup sales. “Those are MY customers, they come in the store every day – they get to know the baristas! It’s about relationships! K-Cups are a dumb fad you millennial idiot”… “No! In-store sales are dead! Convenience is the thing! K-Cups are the way of the future! MY customers want convenience, you dinosaur.”

As funny as that is, it is a sad reality for many charities – with annual giving, events, major gifts and planned giving all fighting over donors. “You can’t talk to event participants about monthly giving!” “Hey planned giving, back off my mid-level donors, you’re making them uncomfortable.” “Get out of here major gifts, no one invited you, you glory hog.”

It makes me sick.

When did we start thinking of this as a competition?

When did we become so entitled?

When did we start thinking we owned our donors? Like they are our property?

They are not YOUR donors, you are THEIR charity.

That means you have a responsibility to put aside the egos and the silos, and do what is best for the DONOR. You need to trust each other enough to help one another, and to make smart decisions about how to offer your donor the chance to give and be involved in all the ways THEY choose.

Because if your donors love your cause – the way I love coffee – they are going to choose to give in different ways, at different times and in different amounts.  Good customer service means you make sure those options and choices are there – when THEY want them.

Do you want to:

  • Understand how to overcome internal silos within your own organizations
  • See how four different organizations are leading the way in breaking down silos, driving integration, and thinking differently about their fundraising programs
  • Learn different strategies that you can incorporate into your own work to help address silo challenges in your own organizations

Then sign up for this webinar today: Breaking Down Silos: Great Ideas that Drive Integration & Results!

Out of the box creative is more than just a crazy concept from your Creative Director – creative innovation can help you connect with new audiences, help cement your relationships with the donors you already have and drive increased results. See how informed strategy and inspiring creative helps you to innovate and truly integrate channels and messages that resonate with your target audiences. See how you can break down internal silos and drive results for your own organization!

Seats are limited! SIGN UP NOW!

This post originally appeared on the GoodWorks Co Blog.

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Written by Rory Green

rory

 

Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:
Twitter

 

 

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**SPONSORED POST** Email maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com for more information about advertising on www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

It’s time to talk about #DonorLove

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You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been writing and tweeting a lot about #DonorLove lately. It all started when Rory Green told me she was coming to Toronto for work and that she’d love to stop in to Kitchener-Waterloo and “do something with me”. When Rory asks to do something with you, you say “yes” first and ask “what?” later. After some brainstorming, we asked the Agents of Good, Jen Love and John Lepp, to join us for a morning session on #DonorLove. We wanted to present on how to show #donorlove to your donors, whether you were communicating with 20 individuals at any given time, or 2000! 50+ people crammed into our venue in Kitchener and the session was fantastic. We realized we had something here…

Now, what is donor love? (I’m going to stop using the hashtag for now.) A lot of people think first of stewardship, and that’s a huge part of it. To me, donor love is a lens us fundraisers need to look through to ensure our donors are at the heart of what we do. Another commonly used word for this is donor-centric. Program staff at charities will focus on the cause and the work of our organization; we need to focus on the donors.

What can donor love look like? The opportunities are limitless! For me, it could be about taking the time to write a handwritten thank you note to accompany a tax receipt rather than run a mail merge and print out a bunch of identical, impersonal thank you letters. It could be a phone call out of the blue to a donor to say thank you for a gift they made last year. It’s dozens of small touch points that make your donors feel great; that make your donors love being donors.

Why donor love? We all know how critical donor retention is, especially these days. Our old bag of tricks is no longer effective, and we need to work harder than ever before to make our donors feel valued and willing to continue directing their philanthropy towards our cause. We have to show them love like they’ve never felt before and show them that we can’t do what we do without them, because the truth is… we can’t.

Donor satisfaction is oft talked about, but I haven’t heard of anyone who’s getting it totally right. It’s time for a serious discussion about this. It’s time for a meeting of the minds. It’s time for…

The #DonorLove Rendezvous!

Join passionate, inspiring, and creative fundraisers like yourself on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 for a day-long conversation about #DonorLove in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Visit www.donorlove.ca today for more information, and to register with a $99 limited-time super early bird registration rate.

I can’t wait to see you there!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email