Saying Thank You to Donors

PhotoAs a fundraiser, you are only as good as your relationships with your donors. Maintaining a strong relationship requires a great deal of communication and personal attention. This could entail anything from holding donor events to sending personalized emails. However, many fundraisers run into the problem of how to keep fundraising personal when the donor list continues to grow. Keeping donors engaged is key and, as it turns out, videos are a great, engaging way to say thank you for donating.  

Videos have the potential to not only communicate a message, but also get people to feel emotional about your cause. The music, imagery, and theme can make people invested in the same thing in which you are invested, and therefore make them want to be long term donors. Do not be mistaken, however, these videos require a lot of forethought and work. Below are some tips to get you started on making your very own thank you video for donors.

Decide on a Theme

The theme of your video should line up with your cause, and can affect how the video is made. For example, fundraising for more personal causes may require just a phone camera while raising money for a larger cause requires higher tech gear. Once you decide on a theme, you can get to work on forming your video.

Sketch Out your Scenes

It may be tempting to grab a camera, shoot a bunch of film, and go through the footage to decide what fits best where afterwards. However, this will end up being a huge waste of time. Instead, write out a script or a storyboard, detailing what you will say and do in each scene of the video. This will allow you to see if you’re missing any vital information before filming gets started.

Tell Viewers What Happened

Thank you videos cannot just be videos saying thank you. They must detail how the contributions were used and why they were necessary. Donors are more likely to give recurring donations if they are confident their contributions are making a real difference.

For more tips on making a thank you video, check out this article from Razoo.

Focus on Your Donors

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When it comes to fundraising, it is absolutely imperative that you focus on your donors. As much as you want to continue building growth and development with new benefactors, you want to make sure you cultivate a strong foundational relationship with the individuals who have already contributed to your cause. In the grand scheme of things, nonprofit organizations need to view their operations and logistics as a business. Providing that necessary investment with specific donors, especially your high-valued clients, can, in turn, provide a stronger return on investment.

To start, let’s first examine why so many nonprofits overlook this step. When it comes to focusing on donors, many NGOs and organizations look primarily for growth. While focusing on other avenues and aspects will always be the name of the game when it comes to fundraising, you cannot forget about the individuals who helped established your presence in the beginning. By focusing and investing in your previous donors, you can essentially meet your fundraising goals, quarter after quarter by simply reaching out to that already tapped potential. By involving those individuals with the process, the overall return can lead to either new donations or new donors simply from your interaction and relationship with one client.

To do this, you need to first and foremost build a relationship and rapport with them. Any strong nonprofit organization knows that when it comes to landing a donation, it all begins with how you interact with the person on the other side of the table. Make sure you listen to their intrinsic goals. Ask them those overarching questions of what they believe in and what they are looking for. In many cases, your goals and vision align with their needs. By leveraging that knowledge, you can create that much-needed bond that can continue for years on end.

Once that bond is forged, it will be your job to communicate with that donor. This can be done in a variety of ways. Start by reporting back to them. For many of these donors, they want to know that their donations are leading to something great. Provide them that necessary feedback by reporting how their gifts are making that transformational change on an individual or a community. This can be done through a simple newsletter, appeals, social media, your websites, an email, a phone call, or other communication channels. The more consistent you are the better.  

In addition to communicating and updating your donor, try sending gifts and acknowledgments to them. This will always be important. When you make it a habit to send your donors a thank you letter or a gift of gratitude, you are forging that ever-lasting strong relationship. To continue building on that, consistently update them with information. Share various photos and sentiments of thank you cards from other parties. Here, an emotional appeal will play a large role. Not only will it give you a chance to connect with them, but also it will showcase the impact that their gift has done for another life.

Last but not least, stay donor focus. As stated before, it is easy to get lost within the operations of the day when it comes to fundraising. The simple idea of more donors leads to more donations absolutely works. But by hitting that low-hanging fruit of retaining donors on a long-term campaign, you will be able to see a stronger return as a whole when it comes to meeting your financial goals. To do this, continue communicating with those individuals. Everything flows into communication. Being donor focus can spark a wide variety of opportunities, which will be fundamental for your nonprofit’s future.

Leveraging Social Media to Increase Donations for Nonprofits

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Living in the digital age, we cannot help but notice how far social media has grown. Not only do we use these platforms for our personal lives to connect and engage with family members and friends, but also we utilize these properties within our professional lives as well. But even with its daily use, many nonprofit organizations are not leveraging the power of social media and taking advantage of its untapped possibilities for future donors and donations.

While most nonprofit organizations usually tailoring their efforts to a more personable approach such as direct mail, flyers, cold calls, one-on-one sit downs, and other offline marketing tools, online marketing tools, especially those dealing with social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or a company page blog, should be optimized in the best possible way. Why? As such, social media properties allow your organization to double, triple, and even quadruple its exposure. As much as personal approaches and built-in relationships can gain you stronger retention donors, you have to understand that increased awareness and online marketing can also produce strong and effective results.  

The key here is engagement. Like any fundraising relationship, you want to make sure you are targeting the wants and needs of your donor. With off-marketing tools, you are only limiting your organization and your efforts to a specific physical area. To branch out beyond your own personal proximity, I would advise your marketing team to take advantage of social media. For many people, they want to donate. In fact, they look to support various causes they care about. But they cannot do this if you do not give them the option to.

To help with this, I have outlined four easy-to-do practices in utilizing social media to increase donations.

1. Blogging

With the world of journalism becoming more and more reliant on the Internet, it is imperative that you optimize your nonprofit organization’s website by writing and creating rich, organic, and informative blogs. For these blogs, you want to make sure you are discussing the overall niche of your organization and highlighting the mission and goals of your nonprofit. Many donors want to make sure the organization they are donating to is the right one. Be sure to discuss various accomplishments and direct them where they can make that transformative change through monthly or annual donations.

2. Expand your Exposure

We all know the popular social media platforms out there like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To of course optimize these in the best possible way, make sure you are providing daily, if not weekly, updates about your organization. This can be a great platform to showcase your blogs and also share more current event news and press releases about your nonprofit. Make sure you are also connecting with those online. Find various organizations and thought-leaders that are similar to your field. This could eventually lead to a potential partnership in the future.

3. Paid Campaigns

Like anything dealing with business, you may want to consider possible paid promotional campaigns. Much of social media relies on engagement. To help build up your brand and highlight your organization’s mission, paid promotional campaigns for either followers or engagement through Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon could be excellent avenues in spreading your message. Some days, a small investment could push you ten steps forward in the right direction.

4. Photos and Videos

For many social media properties as well as the social media market, photos and videos play an integral role in increasing engagement. Just think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Through small promotional engagement videos, you are able to market your organization, while increasing your donor pool in other areas of the world. Make sure these image and multi-video campaigns highlight your mission and various efforts in which people can help.

Three Main Goals You Should Know for your Fundraiser

o-GOAL-SETTING-facebook The world of fundraising and charities has long been shrouded in obscurity. While many of these foundations will boast of their transparency, it can oftentimes be too difficult to see whom the funds are for, where they are going, and what impact that they can have on the actual cause. We saw this back in 2010 with Mark Zuckerberg’s generous $100 million dollar donation to Newark Public Schools. I’m not saying we should stop donating. Instead I am saying that fundraisers, nonprofits, and charities need to be more visible and informative for the why, where, and what questions people will ask when donating for a cause.

At the end of the day, donors like to be reassured that their generous donation is making an impact on an individual’s life. That being said, below, I have laid out three main goals an organization should know for the betterment of its future. By internalizing these goals, you will be able to communicate and translate those numbers to understandable concepts for donors. Remember, the more informed they are, the more comfortable they will be to donate to your cause.

Know the Total Amount of Money Raised and Why

This is usually straight forward, but at the end of the day, you want to translate those numbers to something more understandable and comprehensive for the public. To do this, think backwards. By backwards planning, knowing your goal amount and creating steps to get there, you will be able to not just strategically plan for your goal, but also explain why you need that specific amount to various donors. At times, you will be looking for more lucrative donations. For this to happen, you need to be able to discuss why you need that amount and what that amount can do for your organization. We see this in shows like Shark Tank or on social media with GoFundMe promos. Make sure you know the desired amount and what it will be used for in the future. The more detailed you are the better.

Know the Number of Donors and Renewed Donors

The success of your fundraiser depends on just on the financial aspect, but also on the donor side. Make sure you know the number of donors who donated. You can do this monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Either way, you will be able to tract the overall system and progress your fundraising is doing and translate that back to the customer. The higher the donors, the better your charity looks to the public.

Know the Number of Renewed Donors

In addition to knowing the number of donors, make sure you are also aware of the donor retention rate. If you find that your retention rate is high, then that is definitely a fact you can capitalize in closing a deal for potential donors. One thing to note, renewed donors often increase to the cause. Many people find that type of commitment important before making donations on their own. Know this information and utilize it to its fullest.