Does thinking about meeting your year-end fundraising goal give you night sweats? Can’t say that I blame you. A lot of organizations raise as much as 50% of their budget in December alone. What if there was one thing you can do right now to ensure your fundraising success and boost year-end gifts?
There is! It’s easy but most people will skip it (to their detriment). That’s more good news for you, the one standing out like a rainbow unicorn in a sea of beige, bland messaging.
What’s the answer? Simple! Before you ask, tell your donors the impact they made this year. How?
3 rules for reporting impact to donors
- Be warm, heartfelt, and sentimental.
- Don’t just reflect on their impact. Reflect on who they are—kind, generous, and compassionate. Your communications are a mirror to your donors. How will you make them look? Don’t talk about what YOU did with their money. Make them the hero and speak directly about what they did. Give them all the credit.
- Be personal—there’s no “Dear friend” allowed here. First names only!
6 channels to share impact:
- A simple phone call from you, or even better—a board member
- A postcard
- A video email
- A letter
- An email
- A text
3 time-saving ways to report impact with scale and efficiency
1. Host a thank-a-thon
Put simply, this is when you gather a group of volunteers (preferably board members) to call and thank donors. Why board members, you ask? In one study, being thanked by a board member boosted giving 39%! Your donors are touched when they hear from a leadership volunteer taking (unpaid) time from their busy day just to say thanks.
Here’s the simple, three ingredient recipe for a great donor thank-a-thon:
1. Start with a straightforward script
Give your volunteers a warm, personable thank you script. It should sound like a conversation (not like a thank-you script a robot might write). Here’s an example:
I’m Julie Jones, and I serve on the board of Meals on Wheels. Thank you for helping homebound seniors. I want you to know the impact of your gift this year. Because of you, seniors like 89 year old Mildred can stay in the home she loves and get fresh, hot, delicious, and nutritious meals delivered. Your compassion is helping her thrive. I just want you to know how thankful we are that you’re part of our donor family. You’re doing a wonderful thing.”
2. Distribute discovery questions
Most of the time your volunteers or board members will be leaving messages but arm them with a few sample discovery questions just in case they get a donor on the phone:
- May I ask what inspired you to give to us?
- May I ask why our mission is important to you?
- Is there anything you want us to know, or that we could do better?
Make sure they’ve got a pad and pen to record any notes from their donor calls.
3. Go all out with good, competitive fun!
Celebrate your board members for participating in the thank-a-thon with food and prizes! If you do it in person, serve snacks and drinks. Whether you do it in person or on Zoom, offer fun prizes. Some examples: the person who made the most calls, the person who left the most voice mails, or the person who had the longest call. You get the idea!
2. Thank them in a video email
If you’re a Bloomerang customer you can use Gratavid to send donors personal video emails. In just seconds you can create a personal heartfelt video and track it in your donor database. Not a Bloomerang customer yet? Bomb Bomb offers free video email accounts to nonprofits.
3. Thank them by text
Let’s face it. Texting is the 21st century version of a phone call. How many times has someone left you a voicemail and you wished it had been a text instead? Texts have a 98% open rate. Your voice mail or email? Much lower! It takes just as much time to send a text as it does to leave a voicemail, so you can easily have thank-a-thon volunteers send a text instead. Include a photo of your work if you want to make it more memorable and meaningful. Here are a few examples to inspire you:
There’s even a tool called Textology.co that shows you if the numbers you have for your donors are landlines or cell numbers and lets you send texts from your phone number from your desktop.
Wondering whether this will really work?
Proof that reporting impact to your donors can boost year-end gifts
A study of 4,000 Bloomerang customers found that those who reached out to donors personally—whether by phone, email, text, or in-person—saw significant year-over-year increases in revenue compared to those who didn’t.
Another study done by Planned Parenthood sent a stewardship email piece out before an appeal, simply thanking the donor and sharing the impact of their gift. Recipients gave $45 more on average than those who didn’t receive the stewardship email. That’s a 67% increase in giving!
Reporting back to your donors to tell them the difference they made with their kind and compassionate gift is like a warm hug and the best way to get them excited to give to you at year end!
And who wouldn’t prefer a warm hug to night sweats?