Donor Retention: 5 Ways to Create Lasting Relationships (GuideStar)

Donor Retention: 5 Ways to Create Lasting Relationships (GuideStar)

It’s that time of year.  The time of year when we naturally take a (brief) sigh of relief and focus a bit more on retaining donors than acquiring them.

Right after the influx of calendar year end donations is the ONE time of year where stewardship and retention activities come natural.  Since it’s on your mind anyway, why not add a bit of focus and big picture thinking to your retention strategies. 

Here’s a great article by my fundraising bud, Steven Shattuck, over on the GuideStar blog which will challenge you to think a little deeper about donor retention in your shop …

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Are You Sure You’re Reporting Impact to Your Donors?

Are You Sure You’re Reporting Impact to Your Donors?

Are you telling your donors what you actually do with their donations? Do you report on impact? Do you tell them what happened? Many of you are saying, “Of course, I do that. I send a gift acknowledgement letter as soon as they send a donation. I have to. It’s the law. Of course we do that!” But…are you? We think we do it. We send that letter and that letter says what we’re going to do with the dollars, not what we did with them. It probably takes us a few months to put those dollars into action, actually create some impact, but we don’t really tell the donor that. We never report on that impact.

So, perhaps you put that information in a newsletter or an email blast. Do you know the open rate on your email blast? It’s probably 20%, maybe 30% if you’re really lucky. Those’re the only people who are getting that information! And are they actually reading the full article? Probably not. So they’re never really hearing what you actually did with their support. They have to guess. They have to assume that we did what we’re supposed to do.

Don’t make them assume. Tell them! One of my favorite tools for this is the impact letter. This is an additional piece of correspondence, without an ask, that comes out maybe three to six months after their donation.

It simply says: Dear donor, thanks so much for your loyal support. It’s been about six months since you so generously gave to this cause. We just wanted to let you know what we did with those funds. We have done …. And you list a couple of key points, key initiatives, key items of impact that have happened because of that donor.

This is where you give them credit. Lots of you language – you, your. Not me, we’s, or ours. Make the donor the hero of that impact letter. They did this. Without them, none of that would’ve happened. Give them credit. Once they get that, they’re simply going to say, “Wow, this charity actually told me what they did with my funds. I like them. They’re trustworthy. I bet I could give more support to them, and they’d put it to good use as well.” That’s what we’re after.

Then the loop is closed and we are ready to have that conversation about increased support. The donor feels appreciated. Because this is really about that donor experience. Everything we do, we have to monitor that donor experience. How would it make you feel? Do you feel like a dollar sign or do you feel like a trusted partner? That’s what we’re after. So use an impact letter. We, of course, have a great template here at Productive Fundraising. Give that a download, put it into use in your organization.

How to Speed Up Your Grant Preparation Time

How to Speed Up Your Grant Preparation Time

Grants are a great way of raising dollars, but they take a lot of time. Writing those proposals is so time consuming, which can be frustrating when so much is uncertain. Will this get approved? Will it not? So, full disclosure, I have some strong beliefs about grant writing and I actually prefer to outsource it.

But, lets talk about how to write grants when you do need to write one in house. A lot of the things that go into grants are repeated time after time, and sadly, lots of shops just keep recreating those specific items for every proposal. The key here is to not reinvent the wheel. Because a lot of grants ask for the same general information – your mission, your current programs, your strategic initiatives – you should develop a boilerplate proposal. Then you have something that you can just plug and play.

I have what I like to call my ‘fundraising go bag.’ It’s a list of all the documents that are routinely used for grants. I have print outs of them and I also have a digital file folder of them. Every time I go to write a grant or need that information, it’s all in one place, ready to go. It saves me a lot of time.

Check out our free resource — the Fundraising Go Bag Checklist. It lists everything that you need to assemble in advance to make the grant writing and preparation process so much easier. Do it once … don’t reinvent the wheel.

Should you bother with Amazon Smile? (Future Fundraising Now)

Should you bother with Amazon Smile? (Future Fundraising Now)

What do you think, should you?

Yes, it’s (a tiny bit of) additional revenue. But guess what else it is? Another ask. Do you really want to waste one of your precious limited asking opportunities on something that returns so little?

I’ve felt this way for a long time, but have never felt the calling to take a stand on it (maybe I’m scared of Amazon cancelling my prime account … I’d be so up the creek). Thankfully I don’t have to … fundraiser guru Jeff Brooks (one of my go to gurus) has spelled it all out for you over at Future Fundraising Now.

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And what I am currently recommending for clients and other nonprofits that want to know? Register for the service, but don’t actively promote it. Then your insiders (board, staff, key volunteers, etc.) can participate if they want, but you aren’t using an ask for your general donor population.

How to Make Things Easier for Your Event Sponsors

How to Make Things Easier for Your Event Sponsors

I know that a lot of us always go back to the same event sponsors. We go back to the same deep wells of generosity. Why? Because it’s easy! They’ve already shown that they’re good and faithful supporters, and we want to renew those contributions. Hopefully we are trying to get new players in the game, but we have a tendency to go back to the same places.

Donor fatigue is real. This is especially true with the big companies that are most likely to be our lead event sponsors. At these companies there is usually just one or two people who’re responsible to meet with all of the charity officials. So, what are we going to do? How are we going to make their life easier?

We need to be become one of their favorites. We need to build the relationship and give them exactly what they need. Don’t be the appointment that inspires thoughts like “Oh, they’re coming in again. What are they going to want this time?” Instead let’s make sure you’re met with excitement. And you do that by making it easy for them.

I recommend you meet with your corporate sponsors just once a year, and at that meeting you outline your plans for the entire year. So, in a way, you present them with a menu of giving opportunities. You outline exactly what your major events are, what you need, and how they can help. This menu has all of the sponsorship options for each of your events listed. Maybe they want a table here, a foursome there, whatever the case may be let them do it all at once. Make it EASY. They can do it all in one payment or they can spread out their payments throughout the year.

Besides an easy and pleasant meeting, what else do our major sponsors want? What are we giving them in return? You should come up with some year round recognition opportunities for them. They don’t just want one day or night of recognition, they want to be able to show that they are a corporate supporter of X, Y, Z non profit. They really want that ongoing engagement and ongoing branding. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but the ongoing throughout-the-year rather than just one night recognition is really powerful with them. So consider that when you’re creating the recognition opportunities on your sponsorship menu.

You know, why don’t you just ask your corporate sponsors if they might like this approach? Right now. Pull up your email and ask your top five sponsors: “We’re thinking about going to a once a year event sponsorship request where we would outline all the opportunities for the year and just meet with you one time. What do you think about that?” I guarantee you you are going to get two or three responses right away that say “Oh, that sounds incredible. I have so many meetings I have to do. We love you guys, but if we could streamline things that would be wonderful.” Guess what? That’s a great way to show some #donorlove. It really shows that you care about what your donors think and you’re trying to make their lives easier. That makes this a true win-win.

Check out our free resource — a Sponsorship Menu Template. It’s a pretty simple item, but it gives you a sense of how to get started and maybe streamline your efforts to create one of your own!

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Giving Tuesday: You Have a Decision to Make — Yay or Nay? (NonprofitPRO)

Giving Tuesday: You Have a Decision to Make — Yay or Nay? (NonprofitPRO)

Argghhh, it’s that time of year again: #GivingTuesday.

Long time subscribers will know my view point on this nonprofit “holiday,” so I’ve decided to mix it up a bit this year and let someone else chime in.

So check out this great post from Laurence Pagnoni at NonProfitPRO with another view point and more information on the decision that you need to make …

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And if you really want to know, here are some past posts of mine on the topic (their headlines are probably plenty to know where I stand):



Thank You Letter Checklist [free download]

So your year end appeal is written and off to the mail house…You’ve setup some pre-holiday visits with your key donors. Lapsed donor lists are printed and you’re checking the daily. What else can you do to boost fundraising before the end of the year?

Have you read your standard gift acknowledgement letter lately? Is it actually enjoyable to read? Has it been updated in the last six months? Is it donor centric?

Check out this great Thank You Letter Checklist from my pals at Agents of Good and see if your letter is up the task of making your donors feel amazing.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Fundraising Appeal Editable Template [free download]

Need a head start on your next fundraising appeal?

Start with @fundraiserchad’s free editable template. It will show you what goes where and help you remember to include some of the key components to optimized fundraising appeals.

DOWNLOAD HERE

This template is just one of the components of our Fundraising Appeals Toolkit. This toolkit give you the instruction, resources and inspiration to create a fully optimized fundraising appeal for your nonprofit organization (all for just $89 … the ROI is incredible)!

Chad loves providing ACTIONABLE fundraising tips to small nonprofits.  He’s building the best FREE fundraising resource library out there.  Want to know when there’s something new?  Then opt in for email updates ... Oh, and he’s known to give away free swag to subscribers … including $100 donations to your cause!
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