Crying a little over thank you letters

If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen this tweet:


For me, that really was a giant leap backwards (I wrote about this before). The reasoning is that it takes too much time (for between 5 and 20 letters per day). I believe a gift from a donor represents their own effort to change the world. A vote of confidence in our efforts to effect that change. I believe donors should know and feel that we care – are delighted, even – to have received their gift.

I believe thank you letters should be: about the donor, well-written (it is an art), authentic (from the heart), personalized (are you addressing them correctly?) and signed. And that they are thanked again and again in little ways. (More tips here and here.)

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Using LinkedIn for Relationship Building with Donors

I gave a talk to the Kitsap Development Officers Group in Poulsbo, Washington, about how I used LinkedIn when working with major donors. (Thanks to Chris Davenport for the invitation!)

linkedin-logoThere is lots of chatter about how social media can “help” with fundraising.

Fundraising still works the “tried and true” way, by building authentic connections. For me, social media is just a tool… and fundraisers  need lots of tools at the ready.

Using tools to manage information – donor databases, wealth analysis, social media – can help move relationships along. Here’s how I have used LinkedIn with mid-level and major donors.

Your Profile – be prepared for your donors to see you in the best light, just as you would for a donor meeting

Your LinkedIn profile should be YOU – professional yet with heart and soul.

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My Recent Movie Mondays vid

Chris Davenport invited me to talk about my experiences with major donor meetings. What we both believe is that listening and being flexible are key to deepening relationships – and key to increasing fundraising success.

BAL and Chris - crop

I thought I would post this for you to enjoy and share:

Movie Mondays: Episode #241 – Major donor meetings: listening and being flexible.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Movie Mondays, click here! Inspiration arrives in your mailbox each Monday and it is all free.

Chris is awesome and creative and I had a terrific visit to his place. After lunch with his wife, he and I sat down and he shot the video.

After the video, Chris and I posed for a pic with his new T-shirts that had just arrived.

I would love to hear about your best relationship building experiences with donors!


Volunteer Calling Cards

I think these cards are a terrific idea for volunteers, particularly event volunteers: business cards to use while representing a nonprofit! I just had to share.

Front of card

Front of card

The front of card carries all the key elements: branding for the event (or nonprofit), the purpose and the date. That makes the marketing/ brand team and the fundraisers happy.

The reverse contains relevant information about the event, but leaves plenty of latitude for the volunteer to open a conversation about the work of the charity, why this organization is important to the him or her and the community, and why she or he is committing time and talent to this project.

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Small Batch Monthly Donors

I’m naming this post “Small Batch Monthly Donors” because at this nonprofit, there are a precious self-selecting few who have been faithfully giving on a monthly basis. They are awesome and as a group give more than $9,000 annually.

There is plenty of room for improvement for this mighty group of donors. In the past there had never been any specific appeal to become a monthly supporter, simply a box to check on the donor envelope. Donors received a welcome letter, a thank you and tax receipt in December, and the typical communications sent to donors and members of the nonprofit (e.g., invitations, newsletter, etc.).

This year, I initiated Board Thank You calls for long-time, monthly and major donors. The monthly donors were thanked in late January and February.

Card and envelope.

[Earlier this year I was keen to launch a spring monthly donor appeal; I received terrific advice during #FundChat – Managing Your Monthly Giving Program and started a thread on the discussion group on LinkedIn. Then I got in touch with Agents of Good (John Lepp and Jen Love) for their counsel because they understand it is ALL about the donor. Their advice: Sit tight. Improve your communications. Vastly improve your fall appeal. Create more donor love to better prepare your donors.]

My first impulse is always to say Thank You. There are about 35 monthly donors – about the same number as our major donors. Now was the time to find out why each had given, for how long and make a plan for each.

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