Top 2 ways to give corporations #donorlove

 

You have heard it before: treat the company the same as you do an individual donor, and then BANG! you have a successful proposal, ask, and stewardship plan.

In my previous post, 3 things I learned at the #DonorLove Rendezvous, I said I “apply #donorlove principles to the main contact at my corporate partners”. So you are thinking, even better, I will grab my #donorlove stewardship plan and be done, RIGHT?

No!

To do corporate stewardship right, you need to think about two key parts.

You need to think person, your main contact, and company, where the money is actually coming from.

What do I mean?

Stewardship Plan Part 1 – Your Contact

When planning your stewardship for a corporate contact, be sure to think about the individual, what they need to be successful and how to address them personally.

This could include the standard holiday cards, and thank you notes, but if you are really on top of it, you could also include links to articles that will help them be more effective in their jobs. What about letting them know about a conference or speaking engagement you think will support them in building their personal brand? A few times I have even filled out applications for internal employee awards.

On the easy end, I always think about what a convenient time and location might be for our meetings. Sometimes picking a 3pm in the right location gives them a shorter day, or a break from a space with no windows!

Stewardship Plan Part 2 – Company

For the company, depending on the partnership, you need to be thinking about stewarding publicly – this includes the general public, their target audiences or their employees.

It is expensive and sometimes it is still nice to do the big newspaper thank you and traditional press release. But more affordable is digital PR, think social media “Thank You’s” and blog posts that articulate impact.

If the target is internal/employees, prepare an email for your donor to forward internally. Attach a simple photo of a success story at your charity. Highlight the impact of the company donation. MAKE IT EASY!!!

You start the process!

Don’t ask a whole bunch of questions about how they would like you to say thank you. Write a grateful, appreciative, brief email that is meant to be forwarded – they will either forward it, or they will tell you how it needs to be modified for use. But start with doing it, not asking questions.

At the root, stewardship of any person or group is always based on thinking about them. With corporate partners, it is just important to remember that “them” could be a very large employee group with different objectives.

So, back to the beginning, it is about applying #donorlove in that you say thank you, you make them the hero, you show impact… you just do it with two different donors in mind.

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Written by Heather Nelson

heatherstripesHeather is an experienced and passionate fundraising professional specializing in non-profit and corporate partnerships.

Connect with Heather via:
Twitter | LinkedIn

Let your guard down & let your donors in!

Let your guard down & let your donors in!

What walls are you putting up between your organization and the donors who support you? 

You might be thinking, “None!” But I challenge you to really think about it.

I was lucky enough to be part of a session Derek Humphries did yesterday for the clients of the company I work for, Blakely. Derek talked about his background as an artist; he used to design books and they were on display at a gallery. The gallery staff wanted to put his books under glass, but Derek wanted people to actually be able to touch them, read them, interact with them.

The gallery staff were worried people would rip the pages. For Derek that wasn’t a problem! It meant deeper engagement; people could change the book, and therefore be part of the art themselves.

The compromise was people being provided with white gloves to flip through the book…

Derek was brilliantly using this analogy yesterday for our fundraising and the way we interact with donors.

So again, I challenge you to think about this: what do you put between your organization and your donors?

Do you make a point of keeping donors far away from the work that you do? Do you sanitize the problems you’re solving in the world so that donors don’t hear the dirty details?

Or do you offer opportunities for donors to get their hands dirty?

Do you invite donors to meet the people their gifts are impacting?

If your organization changes lives in other countries, are there ever opportunities for donors to travel there? To see the well their generous donation built?

Sometimes the walls we put up are more subtle. By now you know the importance of using the word “YOU” in your direct mail appeals. Any time I’m editing a solicitation letter, I’ve got Jen Love on one shoulder and Tom Ahern on the other encouraging me to make the donor the hero of the story.

That’s another great example of the walls we put up; why must we say “WE” so often? We accomplish this, we change that… Why can’t we say that the donor did it? Why do we have to put some sense of formality in our appeals? Something between the work and the donor.

Why can’t we give donors opportunities to feel more a part of our organization? To allow for deeper engagement… even if they get their hands dirty!

I’ll finish this post off with a story from when I was working as a mid-level gift officer at a school. As often as possible, we would try to create opportunities for bursary/scholarship donors to meet the recipient of their award. It was a great chance to let our guard down and really let the donor see the impact of their generosity.

However, it was also a risk. How could we be sure the student would act appropriately? Would they represent the university well? Would they be professional and courteous and grateful?

Well, I invited a donor to meet the recipient of his award over coffee on campus one day. This donor had had a few negative experiences with the school; having to reach out to find out who the award recipient was rather than the school telling him, feeling ignored, not stewarded well… the works! So I was determined to make him feel better about his giving, and make sure he knew how much it mattered to the school, and to the students.

So we were waiting in my office for the recipient… and we were waiting… and we were waiting… and then finally – a good 45 minutes late – the student arrived.

The donor didn’t seem too shaken, so we went to have coffee, had a great time, and then I walked him back to his car.

Let me also say what this award was. It was an award in honour of the donor’s son who had tragically committed suicide years before. His son had a passion for writing, so it was an award for a student with the best short story submission, judged by the English faculty. It meant a lot to the donor, understandably, and he loved meeting students who shared his son’s passion.

On the way back to his car, he said to me, with tears in his eyes, that his son would’ve been late for the meeting, too.

Letting your guard down is a risk… but the reward is deeper engagement, and that is well worth it!

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Written by Maeve Strathy

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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

Guest Post: [INFOGRAPHIC] 5 reasons (that aren’t Christmas) to send a donor a handwritten card

5 reasons

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Written by Rory Green

roryRory 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

Guest Post: 3 Ways to Use Stories to Provide Donors with Better Stewardship

3 Ways to Use Stories to Provide Donors with Better Stewardship

You’ve probably heard that donor stewardship is one of – if not the most – important parts of fundraising. Donor stewardship is the process of thanking and following up with donors after they have made a gift. It is also what helps increase the chances that they will stick around as donors for years to come.

There are many ways that you can steward donors. Thank you letters, special reports, newsletters, phone calls, and events are just a few of the options available. But what is more important than the option you choose is the content you use.

You see, not all donor stewardship content is created equal.

Just sending a thank you letter is not enough to improve donor relations and retention. If that were the case, our sector’s retention average would be significantly higher!

Donor stewardship content needs to inspire, demonstrate accountability, and show impact. Stories are the best way to accomplish these things.

Here are 3 ways that you can use stories to provide donors with better stewardship:

Idea #1 – Go beyond “your gift is making a difference” in thank you letters

I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of uninspiring thank you letters. I know I have. My biggest pet peeve with thank you letters is when there is a broad, general statement like, “your gift is making a difference,” or “you’re making an impact in the community.”

What’s the difference or the impact? Don’t just tell donors this. Tell them a story to give them deeper peek at their impact.

Here are a few tips for finding a story to tell in thank you letters.

Idea #2 – Refresh your thank you call script for volunteers

If volunteers or board members help your organization make thank you calls to donors, be sure to refresh their script at least twice a year. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure that they are telling current, interesting stories of impact.

Alternatively, you can also empower your volunteers to tell their own story during the call.

Idea #3 – Rethink your event program

Spring is when many non-profits start planning fall events. Rather than having the same old boring speeches at your donor appreciation event, think about how you can make the event experiential for donors. Maybe you can recreate a common experience your clients have, or you could have a client share their story. This is a great way to make a story literally come to life for donors in a way that deepens their connection to your organization.

What stewardship does your organization typically provide to donors? How can you incorporate storytelling into one of your touch points? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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Do you like what Vanessa has to say? Then register for her upcoming #DonorLove webinar! Vanessa will show you how to seamlessly incorporate stories into your non-profit’s stewardship touch points. You’ll learn how to use stories in impact reports and thank you letters. This webinar will discuss key ideas for telling stories that delight donors and helps them feel more connected to the work.

Learning outcomes:

  • Why stories are essential content for great stewardship
  • 4 keys to telling a great story, plus the most important element every stewardship story must have
  • How to tell a story in a thank you letter
  • How to tell a story in an impact report

Steward Your Donors With Stories
With Vanessa Chase Lockshin
April 12th: 10:00 EST / 1:00 PST (You will also be sent the recording)
Recording Available April 23rd
$24.99

REGISTER TODAY!

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Written by Vanessa Chase

VanessaChase15Apr2014-5-3198824182-O copy
Vanessa Chase is the President of The Storytelling Non-Profit – a consulting group that specializes in helping non-profits raise more money through communications. You can find out more about her and non-profit storytelling on her blog.

Guest Post: [INFOGRAPHIC] What we measure… and what’s missing

whatgetsmeasured

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Do you want to show your donors more #DonorLove? Well according to Vanessa Chase Lockshin, it’s all about storytelling. In her upcoming webinar (info below), Vanessa will show you how to seamlessly incorporate stories into your non-profit’s stewardship touch points. You’ll learn how to use stories in impact reports and thank you letters. This webinar will discuss key ideas for telling stories that delight donors and helps them feel more connected to the work.

Learning outcomes:

  • Why stories are essential content for great stewardship
  • 4 keys to telling a great story, plus the most important element every stewardship story must have
  • How to tell a story in a thank you letter
  • How to tell a story in an impact report

Steward Your Donors With Stories
With Vanessa Chase Lockshin
April 12th: 10:00 EST / 1:00 PST (You will also be sent the recording)
Recording Available April 23rd
$24.99

REGISTER TODAY!

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Written by Rory Green

roryRory 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

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:  

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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

 

Guest Post: [QUIZ] How awesome is your thank you letter?

How awesome is your thank you letter-

The thank-you letter is the most important piece of communication a donor receives.
– Dr. Adrian Sargeant

I am going to repeat that: You want donor loyalty? You want to retain donors? You want a successful fundraising program? Then your thank you letter better be the best it can be.

Today I challenge you to take your organization’s generic thank you letter and put it to the test. This test is based on the awesome blog Think Thanks by Jen Love.

How did you do? Comment below and share your score.

If you need a tune up – why not check out these great resources:

Make sure to check out the next #DonorLove Webinar: 5 years of #DonorLove – Do you want to learn how loving donors led to a 143% growth in fundraising Revenue? Then join Jen Love for this webinar that will dive into a real-life #DonorLove case study showing you how loving donors not only feels great – it works! Sign up today!

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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

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

Guest Post: What is “loverizing”?

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Loverizing means reflecting on the emotional journey between you and your beloved. Yes, your donors!

What was that first meeting of your new love like? Was it flowers and chocolate? Intense conversations about the things that mean the most to you both?

What happened next?

During the second and third dates—what stories did you share? Did she stare deeply in your eyes and nod along and share her own angst, frustration, desire to help out—or did she check her Facebook?

When was the last time you brought her flowers? Just because…

When is it time to go steady? What signs does she give you that she is ready for a longer commitment?

As time passes, does it seem like the love and respect you have for one another grow and go deeper? How do you know that you share the same core, personal values?

Are you ready to take the walk down the aisle and spend the rest of your days together—‘til death do you part?

Are you still following along?

Good donor care is a romance, a courtship. It is a conversation, a dialogue.

Folks, this is no longer about ROI, process and report writing.

Loving your donors is a lot like loving the other humans in your life. It takes time, respect, surprise and delight, adventure and love.

Hopefully you can join us, Agent John and Agent Jen, on May 13th, to talk about “loverizing” your donors. We will discuss the 6 key principles of donor love, with a specific activity you can use right now to put it into action. And then we’ll share integrated campaigns that you can steal today to raise more money tomorrow.

Hope you can join us, Lovers! Click here to register for the webinar – How to Loverize your Donors with Direct Response: Secrets to Boost your Revenue.

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Written by John Lepp & Jen Love


John and Jen are the Agents of Good.

Connect with John & Jen via:
@johnlepp | @agentjenlove | Web

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