Rachel Muir, CFRE recently joined us for a webinar in which she showed fun and easy ways fundraisers can maintain and upgrade their new end of year donors.

In case you missed it, you can watch the replay here:

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Rachel, my watch just struck 1:00. Is it okay if I go ahead and get us started officially?

Rachel: Absolutely.

Steven: All right. Well, good afternoon, everyone, to those of you on the East Coast, and good morning if you are on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “How to Maintain and Upgrade Your New End of Year Donors.” One of my favorite topics. I’m so excited.

My name is Steven, and I’m here at Bloomerang. I’m the chief engagement officer over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion. As always, just a couple of housekeeping items before we get started officially. I just want to let everyone know that we are recording this presentation, and I’ll be sharing the recording as well as the slides later on this afternoon. So if you have to leave early, or perhaps you want to review the content later on, you will be able to do that. Have no fear. Just be on the lookout for an email from me later on this afternoon with all those goodies.

And as you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. We’re going to save some time for Q&A at the end, so don’t be shy at all. Send us your questions and your comments throughout the rest of the hour, and we’ll try to get to as many of those as we can before 2:00 Eastern.

And you can follow along with us on Twitter if you’re into that kind of thing. We are on Twitter. You can use the hashtag #bloomerang, and our username is @bloomerangtech.

And if you are listening today through your computer, and if you have any problems, these webinars are usually only as good as your own Internet connection, so if you have any problems, it’s actually usually better if you dial in by phone, since the phone doesn’t really rely on an internet connection necessarily. There’s a phone number that you can use in the email from ReadyTalk that was sent out just a couple of hours ago. If you don’t mind using your phone, if you have any trouble, that’s usually a pretty safe option for you.

And just in case this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I want to say a special welcome to you folks. We do do these webinars just about every two weeks, usually on Thursdays. We’ve got a special Friday edition today.

But in addition to webinars, we are also a provider of donor management software, so if you’re interested in that, or perhaps in the market for that, or wanting to be switching soon, check us out. You can even download a short video demo. Don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to. So if you want to learn more about us, I’d love for you to check out our website and check out that video demo, as well.

But for now, I’m super excited to introduce today’s guest. She is one of my favorite people. I think she is maybe the most . . . she’s spoken the most frequently on our webinars, Rachel Muir. So good of you to be here. How’s it going?

Rachel: It’s going great. I’m so excited to be back with you guys.

Steven: Yeah, this was a no-brainer for us. I’ve been looking forward to this one. This is one of my favorite topics, so I’m really excited for everyone to hear you. And I had a peek at your slides earlier, and they looked just awesome. I know there’s a lot of great information.

And Rachel, before I hand it over to you officially, I want to brag on you a little bit. If you guys don’t know Rachel, you’ve got to follower her. You’ve got to subscribe to Pursuant’s awesome content. Follower her on Twitter.

She is the Vice President of Training Services over at Pursuant, which is one of our favorite fundraising agencies. It’s definitely someone we recommend more than anyone else, honestly. She’s got over 20 years of fundraising experience. She’s a nonprofit founder. She founded a nonprofit when she was only 26, and which she went on to raise over $10 million for Girlstart, great organization that’s still doing some cool things.

She’s also the winner of Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award, and she was a three-time finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She was also named the Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year by AFP, and was one of the Fast 50 Champions of Innovation by Fast Company Magazine.

I don’t know how you do all this, Rachel, because you also do all your other cool stuff, so really impressive resume. This is definitely going to come through in her presentation. So I’m going to pipe down so that she can tell us all about maintaining and upgrading year-end donors. Take it away, my friend.

Rachel: Thank you so much, Steven, and thanks again for having me. It’s great to be with you guys today. Happy end of year fundraising. Hopefully you guys enjoyed a great holiday. If you participated in Giving Tuesday, I hope that was great for you.

Today I’m going to be talking about how you can get to know your donors better, how you can prioritize your portfolio with your donors, and I’m going to give you a lot of really great tools to help you be more successful. Lots of great freebies that are free or very inexpensive for you to use to retain and upgrade your donors. So I like to come with party favors, and these are some great party favors that you can enjoy and take away, so enjoy, stick around for the end. I’ve got lots of goodies and lots of takeaways.

And I really appreciate that very, very generous introduction by Steven. Very fantastic. I absolutely love fundraising. I have the best job in the world because I get to help people be better fundraisers. And what I do at Pursuant is training. I do a lot of custom training and classroom training. And I’m a mom of twins, and that’s my Twitter hashtag down there, my email address. I’ve also got a lot of information about myself and a lot of my content up at rachelmuir.com, so if you want to learn more or you want to get some of the free guides I’m going to show you off today, you can also download those there.

And this is a little bit about what I do. I mentioned I do a lot of custom training. I do VIP days. I do a lot of webinars. I do a lot of free webinars and I do a lot of paid webinars, and a lot of speaking, all on fundraising. If you’re interested in booking some time, if you are interested in a custom training or speaking event, I’ve got a link down there where you can just pop into Calendly and book 15 minutes with me if that’s something that you’re interested in.

I also do, as I mentioned, free webinars. I do about one or two a month. So if you want to get invited, I do free webinars for lots of different fantastic folks like Bloomerang and many more. So if you want me to send you an invitation to the webinar, you can sign up and I’ll send you an invitation. I only, I won’t harass you with email. I send out about one a month. But it’s just a nice, convenient way for you to get invited to upcoming free webinars that I have going on. If you want to sign up, you can just visit rachelmuir.com and I will send you an invite.

I have, this is my last email about stuff I have coming up, but I do have a four-part webinar series that starts next month, so if you want to get your year off with a bang, I encourage you to join me. It’s four webinars, and it’s all about fundraising like a boss. Crafting a fantastic fundraising strategy, surveying donors, donor decision-making, great discovery questions. There’s a lot that you will learn. So if you’re interested in that, I’d love to have you. You can sign up at pursuant.com. It’s four webinars, and there’s a lot of great content.

So I want to kick things off by getting to know you a little bit better and find out who you are, the fantastic almost 200 people that we’ve got joining us today. So I’m going to get started by asking you guys to take this really quick poll and let me know what size of your organization is. If your public contributions are under a million, or if they’re 1 to 3 million, or 3 to 5, 5 to 10, or if they’re over 10 million, you’re in the big leagues.

We’ve got a lot of people typing in their answers right now. It looks like right now the most, the biggest group of people that we’ve got joining us today are under a million. We still have a few people that are typing in their answers. So, but let’s take about . . . a few more people typing in. Looks like most people, almost half of you guys are under a million, and the next largest group is going to be the 1 to 3 million.

I’ll go ahead and show these results. I’ve still got a few people typing in. I’m going to ask you guys a few more questions to get to know you, but I’ll go ahead and show those results. So 47% of you guys are under a million, and the next biggest group is 1 to 3 million, and then we’ve got, woohoo, some big folks joining us, too, and we’ve got some people here that are over 10 million.

So all of you are going to get great tips today, each and every one of you, from small to big. I’ve got some aspirational stuff for the small guys and some totally doable stuff for the big guys, and then I’ve also got lots of great inexpensive and free tools for organizations with smaller budgets. So I’ve got your back whether you’re a smaller organization or a bigger organization.

One other thing I’d love to know about you is just to get to know your tenure. So type in here and let me know how long you’ve been in fundraising. If you’re a newbie and you’ve been in fundraising for less than a year, and by the way, anyone who’s been in fundraising really pretty much if you’ve been at your organization less than 18 months, don’t be shy about playing the new card. Playing the new card is a great excuse for you to do some fantastic donor discovery and introduce yourself to donors that don’t know you. So don’t be afraid to play the new card as long as you can.

Looks like most of you guys have been in this sector for one to five years. I’ve still got some people typing in. But it looks like most of you have been in it for one to five years, and then the rest of you guys, I’ve got a lot of folks who are pretty senior. We’ve got a lot of folks in here that are joining us today who have been in this sector for over 10 years.

So I’m going to go ahead and show those results for you guys so you can see them. So 36% of you guys have been in it for one to five years. The next biggest group is 25% of you have been fundraising for 10 years or more, and then 22% five to 10 years. So this is great, you, a lot of folks, most of the folks that are joining us today are a little bit on the newer side, the less than five years. You know, I’ve been in this sector for actually technically over 25 years, and I learn new things every single day. And that’s what I love about fundraising, that this field is always growing, it’s always evolving. I mean, we’ve seen how much digital has exploded fundraising, and you’re going to get a lot of great tools today around how to be successful with fundraising and what digital tools you can use to be successful.

But that’s one of the things that I love so much. I’m learning every day, and I’m learning from great people like you. I mean, I’m going to show off some great examples of folks that are out there in the field.

And then the last question I’m curious to find out from guys is just how your Giving Tuesday was. If your Giving Tuesday was off the charts, the same, worse. Maybe you didn’t participate. So here’s that poll for you guys. So I’m going to let you answer this one and tell me how was your Giving Tuesday? If it was your first year . . . looks like this poll might have already somehow gotten filled out.

Well, you can type it in. Why don’t you guys chat it in? Chat it in and let me know how was your Giving Tuesday? So let me know if you did better, the same, worse. Of course, if it was your first year or you didn’t participate, kind of hard to answer. It looks like a lot of folks waited it out this year and didn’t participate. Some folks are the same. A couple, just a couple folks that did better. Congrats to the folks that did better. Lots of people didn’t participate. Some more people did better. Lots of people did the same.

One person kind of participated, Nicola participated passively, but had folks give on the day, which was a surprise. Jim said he did worse, but he didn’t work at it. Okay. So congrats to Sarah, best one yet, almost 4000 more than last year. Congratulations, Sarah. Vicky was a little disappointed. Not really as well as last year, despite more work and promotion of it.

So a lot going on with this Giving Tuesday. I think that we might see some organizations who might have especially had missions that were really related to current events really kicking it out of the park. But a lot going on this year in terms of Giving Tuesday.

Whoa, Karen, congratulations. Karen did so much better. Wow, 5500 more than her 500 in 2015. I’m not sure if that’s number of donors or dollars, but either way, congrats. Way to go, Karen. Kudos. Everybody is giving Karen some virtual high-fives, so congratulations, Karen.

So I’m going to talk with you guys a little bit about what we’re going to cover today. So, dollars. All right, Karen. Way to go. So we are going to kick things off talking about the number one way that you can ensure that your donors make another gift, some thank yous that your donors will absolutely cherish, some tips to reveal your donors’ interests, a little bit on prioritizing portfolios and different tools that you can use to prioritize a portfolio.

And as a bonus, I’m going to give you guys some really great tools that you can use, tools that you can take away right now and put in your toolbox and start using. I’m even going to show an example of Steven in one of these tools so you can see from someone you know what these tools can reveal. But these are great tools. Most of these tools are free. The ones that aren’t are very inexpensive.

And of course I’ve got kind of an aspirational one out there for the folks that have . . . yeah, Steven cameo, here it comes. I’ve got a really great one for the folks who have a bigger budget and are interested in really how they can use some digital tools to prioritize their portfolio.

So you’re going to get a lot of goodies today. You’re going to learn about retaining and upgrading your donors. You’re going to learn about donor surveys and how you can use surveys to segment. Segmentation’s a popular topic with Steven and I. We’re really passionate about doing segmentation.

And there is a good reason for doing segmentation, right? Because a recent study came out this year that 72% of donors said that they would stop giving if the content that they got was unsatisfactory. Seventy-two percent. And donors gave more details about that. Like, 25% said they would stop giving if they got content about programs that they weren’t interested in, 35% said they’d stop giving if the content was vague, 10% said if it wasn’t personalized.

So these are all things that donors really care about, and segmentation and doing donor surveys is a great way for you to find out those things.

As I mentioned, we’re going to talk about video and how you can use video to build a portfolio. And again, lots of easy and free apps to help you be successful. And I’m going to show you some templates, and those templates are all up for you to download, as well, at rachelmuir.com.

So that’s a little sneak peek romp of the fun that we’re going to have, and I’m going to kick things off with you guys by talking about the number one way that you can ensure end of year success. You’ve got to let your donors know that their gift made an impact, right? Any donors that you’ve got that gave to you for Giving Tuesday, or gave to you this summer, or gave to you a month ago, or two months ago, or six months ago, they need to know that their gift, they need to be thanked, and they need to know that their gift made a difference before you ask them to give again.

This is a huge pet peeve of donors, and this is from the Millennial Impact Report, but this is true of more than just millennials. We were, it’s funny, Steve and I were just talking before the webinar started about me being a Gen Xer and him being a millennial. This is as true of Gen Xers and baby boomers and matures as it is of millennials. All donors want to know that their gift made a difference.

If I asked you how donors defined oversolicitation, you’d probably tell me, “Oh, I sent them too many appeals, and they got fatigued, and they got worn out, and they didn’t like it.” But donors actually define oversolicitation as being asked to give again before they knew that their first gift had a difference and made an impact. That’s the number one reason why donors stop giving is oversolicitation, but what’s meaningful about it is that donors define it as being asked to give again before they knew that their gift had a difference.

So I’m going to talk with you guys about how you can do that, how you can make that happen, how you can make your donors feel appreciated and feel like their gift, like their wallet changed a fate, like their gift had a real and tangible impact.

And this is the magic formula, right? This is on the back of your shampoo bottle. I don’t know anyone who actually washes their hair twice. Actually, I take that back. I worked with a woman, and she told me she actually did wash her hair twice, and to me, that just seems like a total waste of shampoo.

But we can take a cue from the back of the shampoo bottle. Just like it’s lather, rinse, repeat, it’s ask, thank, report back. That donor is not ready to be asked again until they’ve been thanked and they know that their gift made a difference. So those are two different things, being thanked and knowing that their gift made a difference.

An email autoresponder lets me know that you got my gift. It doesn’t let me know why my gift matters. I’m going to show you some great inspiration from our friend Adrian Sargeant, who Steven and I really admire. He is an amazing thought leader in this space, and this is something I learned from Steven. I love this, and I encourage everyone to steal this.

I’m going to talk about this on two different levels. The first level is you made your gift just one month ago, and already you’ve blank. So, like, for a new donor, really letting a donor feel like an instant hero. You’ve only been supporting us for a week, a month, six months, one year. You’ve only been supporting us a short amount of time, and already you’ve blank.

By the exact same token, donors you have who have been loyal and generous and are part of your family and have been giving to you generously over the years, this is the best time to remind them of that, because donors are blissfully ignorant — most donors — of just how long they’ve been supporting you.

I mean I made some gifts in October. I went to a gala for Girlstart, made some donations there, and then along comes Giving Tuesday, sprinkled in that really short, like, two-month time frame are any friends that I have that are doing races and are inviting me to sponsor them, and me sponsoring them. So we have a lot of giving that is unpredicted, and it’s easy to forget.

So I really encourage you, if you’ve got long-term donors that have been giving to you loyally, remind them of their loyalty, because it’s great, meaningful, effective, and subtle way to help them remember, wow, Girlstart’s one of my top philanthropic priorities. I’ve been giving to them for 10 years? Wow.

And don’t be shy about doing that. You know, don’t do it in a “it’s that time of year again” kind of way. You want to do it in a way of, “you’ve been a loyal partner to us for this long,” right? It’s a really great opportunity. So whether it’s a new donor or it’s a long-time donor, you’ve got an opportunity to make them feel proud and give them the credit for the accomplishments that they may happen.

So I’m going to talk a little bit about thank yous. This is an uninspired, boring, totally verbose thank you. It’s meaningless. It isn’t tangible. It’s just vague, right? When you give to blank, you’re making a major difference in the lives of children, numbers, put me to sleep, yawn yawn, ready to go night night. Trying to give me credit here for, like, all these different things. It’s just not meaningful, it’s not memorable.

This is a thank you that is not going to land in my thank you hall of fame, or for most donors, just up, and it’s not something they’re not going to keep and put on their fridge.

This is short, and it’s sweet, and it’s impactful. It tells me exactly what I did. “Your $100 donation gave a cancer patient’s mother a home away from home tonight.” Boom, simple, direct, let me know exactly how my wallet changed a fate.

So be specific, be tangible, tell a great story, tell a short story. I’m going to give you guys some really good dos and don’ts here. These are some thank you letter dos.

Try to be quick. At least a week, but, I mean, if you can get it out in a couple days, that’s great. Especially as we’re moving over here towards end of year, I know a lot of you are from smaller organizations. Dedicate some time put some time on the calendar. Have your thank yous ready. I’m going to show you some really great examples of digital thank yous that are actual physical cards.

But if you’ve got stationary, we did this at Girlstart, we would have our stationary ready. We would have photos of close-ups of the girls. We would have thank you, our script and our thank you letter written. All we had to do was address the outer envelope. It was ready to go. We would have, like, hundreds of these ready before we sent out our appeal so it didn’t have, we were prepared and efficiently able to thank our end of year donors.

Make it personal, and make sure you give yourself more time. End of year, you’re trying to do a lot of fundraising. Make sure you’ve got the time on the back end so that you can thank your donors.

Here’s some no-nos. These are things I don’t want you to do. Don’t be like that other one. Don’t start with a “thank you.” Don’t be predictable. Don’t ask for another gift. You might really offend people with that, and I don’t want you to risk offending someone, because you’re not going to know how that offended them.

Don’t continue to sell. You know, change out the copy. I would change out my copy every single month at Girlstart. And don’t give them any homework to do, right? Like, don’t make them give you their favorite quote. You know, this is the time for rejoicing. There are 1.6 million nonprofit organizations in the world, and your donor chose you. Congratulations. This is a time to celebrate.

So I’ve got a guide. I’ve got lots of guides. I’ve got guides on cultivation events. I’ve got guides on doing great discovery. There, I’ve got rachelmuir.com/guides. But I’m going to show you one guide that I, this is free, and I want to encourage everybody to download this and use this and adopt this. This is a stewardship plan, and this stewardship plan is based on the longevity of the donor on your file. A new donor, a second-time donor, or a donor that’s been giving you three gifts or more.

So the reason why it’s structured like that is because we all know that most of us as donors are, like, the one night stands of giving, right? We give one gift, and we don’t give another. And the truth is, your donors don’t know what kind of love and attention is waiting for them at higher gift amounts. Now, Steven knows I’m a really ambitious person, and when I sit down to make a stewardship plan it’s, I think of every idea that I could possibly do.

So, listen, if you do half of these things in this stewardship plan, you’re doing a pretty good job, and you’re doing a pretty great job compared to your peers. So try to do, like, half of these things, and you’ll be in a good place.

But the thing that I want to challenge you to do is think about what are you going to do to steward and cultivate your donors, and make those actual business rules so that you have a plan and you have a process, and you can ensure that your donors are having a good experience and treated this way. This is going to do a lot to boost your retention, it’s going to do a lot to increase your gift size, and it’s going to do a lot to help donors make larger gifts sooner.

So I know that I’m challenging you to give your smaller donors or first-time donors more love and attention. I believe it’s going to pay off. Every organization that I’ve worked with that has taken this advice and put it to work has come back and told me it worked, I doubled my revenues, it really, really works. I encourage you to go out and do it and tell me what you get, and if you’ve got problems, let me know, too.

So this is really a great truth bomb right here from Penelope Burk. And by the way, you guys, I’ve got time at the end reserved for questions, so please feel free to type in anything, and I will make sure and cover it at the end. So anything that you’ve got from what I’m sharing that you’ve got questions about, please don’t hesitate. I see a great question that just came in from Beth, and I will absolutely make sure and answer that at the end.

So this is a truth bomb from Penelope. You know, we do as fundraisers, we rely very heavily on the gift value as a determinant of future potential. And you, everyone on this call has many donors in their file who are giving very small amounts who could be giving much larger amounts, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about for the rest of this webinar, is how you can get those donors to make larger amounts.

So these are some random acts of thankfulness that I want to challenge you to think about as we step into 2017. Valentine’s Day, totally unsung holiday to show your donors the love. The anniversary of their first gift. I give a lot of gifts, I’m a fundraiser and I’m also a philanthropist, and I have yet to have anyone acknowledge me on my donorversary, on the anniversary of my first gift.

This is low-hanging fruit. If you’re using a rocking CRM like Bloomerang, you know when your donor made their first gift to you. You don’t have to get the exact date right. Honestly, your donor is probably not even going to remember the year, the first year. But this is a great way, like I was saying earlier, to remind your donors that you are one of their top philanthropic priorities.

And rolling out the red carpet for those first-time donors. That’s a great way to encourage those donors to stay on your file, especially for those of you that participated in Giving Tuesday.

So I’m going to tell you, there’s a big impact that your board members can make if they pick up the phone and thank your donors. They can actually improve donor retention 15% more than if you, they just got a call from a staff member. It doesn’t mean I don’t want staff members to make phone calls. I do.

But this is one study that Penelope did. Now, in this particular study, I’m very honest about how studies were conducted, and this particular study, these donors got a thank you call from a board member within 24 hours. I’m not saying you have to make that happen in 24 hours. I’m just being truth in advertising, because that’s how that study was set up. If you do it within a week, if you do it within a month, you’re doing good.

But those donors gave 39% more. Fourteen months later, those donors were giving 42% more than donors who didn’t get a thank you call from a board member, and they had a 70% retention rate. So those are really great odds. I encourage you to have your donors call . . . I’m sorry, have your board members call and thank your donors.

These are some great discovery questions. Give those board members a script for the introverted ones so that they know what to say, and give them a few discovery questions, too. I’ve got a great discovery guide up, rachelmuir.com/guide, that you can use. It’s loaded with my favorite discovery questions. But these are some really good discovery questions that you can give to your board members. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re going to get voicemail, but for the ones that get a person on the end of the phone, have them, have a few questions so that they can have a conversation.

So we’re going to transition into using some great digital tools like video and surveys to build a portfolio. And my number one advice to all fundraisers is read less minds, ask more questions. Asking your donor how they’d like to be invited to make a, to be, how they like to be invited to make a gift is a great question. I think we spent so much time trying to read our donors’ minds, and we don’t have to. We can ask these questions.

And when we ask them these questions, like what inspired them to make their first gift, what’s the best gift they ever made and why, we find out real, meaningful, rich information about them that we can use to retain them and upgrade them.

So I’m going to start with an inexpensive digital tool to build a portfolio. I’m going to start by talking with you guys about surveys. Surveying your donors on what they care about is low-hanging fruit. And now there’s something that you’re seeing a really cute BuzzFeed-like style quiz that’s in front of you right now, and I want to acknowledge that the one thing that you’re not seeing in this awesome quiz is the subject line, which is really the most important part of a survey, is the subject line.

So I send a lot of emails. I think Steven does, too. One of my favorite tools is subjectline.com. Subjectline.com is a really good tool for you to find out more about your donors. I’m sorry, find, Subject Line is a really great tool for you to find out if your subject line works. It’ll rate your subject line in terms of length, in terms of mobile optimization, in terms of readability. It’s a really great tool. Totally free. You can use it, like, a hundred times a day if you’re writing that many emails. It’s a really neat tool.

So I don’t have the subject line here, but invest as much time into your subject line as you do your survey, because you have one goal, and that is to get that survey open.

So a couple of things about this survey. It’s highly visualized. It looks like a BuzzFeed-like style quiz like you would take on Facebook, right? Like, what ’80s band am I? Am I like Duran Duran? Am I the Psychedelic Furs? Am I the Cure? You pick one. It’s easy. Radio buttons down there. And the images really fit in line with the mission.

So these are some things that I would encourage you to survey on. Communication preferences. Beneficiary preferences. Who do they most want to serve? You no doubt serve many different constituencies within your organization. Who do your donors care about serving the most? What made them join? What made them sign up? What made them give in the first place? Where do they think their money could most have an impact, and how is their satisfaction overall?

Now, you’re not asking all of this in one survey. You might do a few surveys a year. I would specifically recommend asking communication preferences only to folks who have been on your file for at least nine months, 12 months, and have, you’ve had a chance to, like, prove the value of your communications to them.

It’s always great to survey your donors on their satisfaction levels. We know from Adrian Sargeant’s work that satisfaction is the number one driver of donor loyalty. And if you think about it, companies are surveying you on your satisfaction all the time. I can’t go into the Gap without getting a survey on what my shopping experience was like. How were the dressing rooms? Was there enough lighting? Did they have the right sizes? Travel for a couple days and you’re going to get a plethora of questions and surveys. If you had a technical glitch copying on to ReadyTalk today, you can bet ReadyTalk’s going to send you a survey and ask you some really important questions about satisfaction.

And the great thing about that is that it shows your donors you care, and you get a chance to intervene and amplify a great experience or fix a bad one in the moment that it happens.

So I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about surveying and my experience that I just had. This is me with Giving Tuesday. I was really excited about Giving Tuesday, and I had some organizations that I was excited to support.

And this is a survey that I got. This is like a comment box, like an optional comment box. I could choose to fill it out or not. This is after I made my gift to the ACLU. It had, it pre-filled my name, it pre-filled my email address, and it just invited me to share my comments on why I was donating that day to the ACLU. What inspired me to donate that day to the ACLU? So I love this. This is great.

Here’s another example of an optional comment box. This is after your donor’s made their gift, okay, this is a second step, this is a second screen after they’ve already clicked donate, and they’ve entered in their credit card information. This is optional. They don’t have to fill this out.

But I would encourage you to pop in an optional comment box. This is a great way, if your donor . . . this is kind of, an old school, a direct mail analogy to this would be if a donor was writing a sticky note and sticking it to the check, or writing you a letter with a check that they were mailing to you, you want their feedback. Donors that take the time to do that, they’re raising their hands that they would like more love and attention and more interaction with you. They might like to make a monthly gift. Eventually they might like to make a plan gift.

So this is a great opportunity for you to invite more connection with your donors, find out more about your donors. It’s easy and super, super simple, and really free, free to do.

Now, these are some survey no-nos. The basic idea on these survey no-nos is just don’t ask your donor anything that you already know. You already know what is already in your CRM. You don’t need to waste a question asking them questions that you already know.

We’ve had a decent number of folks from larger organizations on the call today, just, and everyone can go get inspired by this fantastic video. This is a great video. And this is, this video, as you watch this video, you’ll see how you could use something simple like an emotionally rich video about your organization to allow your donors to raise their hand if they would like to get a personal phone call and have a personal visit with someone from your organization. It’s really a way for your donors to qualify themselves and indicate if they want to have a deeper relationship.

So this is kind of like a visual tour of what that looks like. It’s letting your prospects self-identify. And they can be sent a printed invitation. They can be sent an email. It’s got a personalized URL, and then they watch it, and then they click on the form, “yes, I’d like to have someone contact me,” “no, I wouldn’t.”

Here’s, like, another kind of flow map of what that looks like. Some donors will say yes, I want to have a face to face visit. Have someone call me. I care about this. Other donors won’t. They might respond more to some extra stewardship or cultivation. But the idea here is that this is scalable. This is an opportunity for you to spend more time on revenue-generating activities like visits.

Now I’m going to show you guys some really great, innovative stewardship tools that you can use. A lot of these are free, and you can see a lot of these right here. So I’m going to go over some innovative stewardship tools, and this is kind of like a great list of some quote-unquote “legal stalking” that you can do with your donors and prospects.

So LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, all four of those are open platforms. It is not considered weird or creepy to follow someone on Twitter. So of course you’re going to have to figure out what your donor’s handle is on Twitter. But those are all four open platforms. If you find your donors there, I would encourage you to follow them there.

If you’re following your donors on LinkedIn, I would encourage you to personalize the boilerplate text. LinkedIn’s a great way to see who else they’re connected to and get updates about them. But make it personal. Say Steven, I’ve loved I loved meeting you the other day at blah blah blah event, or you’ve been a loyal member and I’d love to stay in touch. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. So those are four totally open platforms.

I’m going to show you this really neat tool called Charlie, and Charlie basically pulls out public data about the people that you’re meeting with and your calendar. It’s like a calendar app. It pulls public data about them and it gives you, like, a dossier before your meeting so that you can see what’s new. And I actually ran it on Steven, so we’re about to see some things, if we were having a donor visit with Steven Shattuck, some things that Charlie would tell us to talk about with them.

Norbert is a free tool for you to use to find someone’s corporate email address. Bananatag is a really neat tool — I’m going to show you some slides on that — which allows you to track your emails without the recipient knowing. And BombBomb is a cool video email tool.

So I’m going to go through a few of these in more detail, and we’re going to start with Charlie. So this is Charlie, and it’s free. It’s an app that you, it plugs into Chrome, and you just download it. I think it probably plugs into Outlook, too, but I use it in Chrome. So this is an example of, it really takes, like, two minutes to download it, and it’ll send you an email with a dossier of the people that you have meetings with. It’s like a calendar plugin.

So here’s our meeting with Ryan Holmes from Hootsuite telling us a little bit about Ryan in Vancouver, and gives us some tips about some company news, exciting company events. I don’t know Ryan Holmes, but I know Steven, and this is what Charlie told me about Steven, too. So he’s a believer, has been a father, chief engagement officer at Bloomerang. Hey, by the way, congrats on your three-year anniversary. He’s been at Bloomerang for three years.

One thing that Charlie got a little wrong and this is because of Bloomerang, the name. Charlie gave me a “Better Homes & Gardens” article about the Bloomerang lilac, which I’m pretty sure is not on Steven’s radar or one of his priorities. But it did give me some great information about some articles that Steven was in. It gave me some information about, hey, congrats to Steven and Bloomerang. They made the top 20 most popular nonprofit software. Whoop whoop.

So this is a really neat tool. Again, it’s free. It’s, like, two minutes to download into your calendar, and every day when you open up your inbox, it’ll say, hey, Steven, you’re meeting with Rachel today. Here’s some information about Rachel. And you just open it up and look at it. It’s going to link, it’s going to pull a dossier for every calendar appointment you have.

And if you have a calendar appointment, like, if you’ve got, like, a group meeting like I have, and there’s 10 people, it’ll give you information on all of them. Choose to read it, choose to not read it. But it’s a pretty cool tool. Steven’s saying that he does like to garden. Well, according to your profile, Steven, it’s telling me you like sports and I think it was, like, the other thing was, like, sports and, I don’t know if it was beer? Could it have been beer? Sports was on there.

This is another tool. I love this tool. If you’re on this webinar with your boss, and you guys both get on this, you’re both going to have to, like, keep your side of the street clean. I love this tool. It’s, like, my favorite. Now, this is free. You get five free a day, and if you want more than five, you have to do the paid version.

But what this is is, you know how in Outlook there’s the kind of creepy return receipt, and it lets the person know, it lets the recipient know that you requested a receipt. That’s so weird and creepy. Bananatag doesn’t do that. But it will tell you if people opened your email, where they were when they opened it, what town they were in, how many times they opened it.

I mean, obviously, right, if you’re fundraising, you want to know if your donors are reading your emails. I do a lot of custom training. I want to know if someone’s reading my proposal, if they’re interested. If they read it a few times, they’re pretty interested.

So this is, like, a screenshot. The first image is my inbox, and it just has me sending a message, and it gives me an option to track it or not track it, and to send it now or send it later. You can schedule it to send on a recurring basis, as well. Pretty interesting.

So this is a neat tool. It’ll tell you when they opened it, and if there’s an attachment, it’ll tell you if they read the attachment. So I really like this tool. I like to know, did someone read my proposal, did they read it at 3 a.m., did they read it five times, what’s happening, right? So Bananatag, you get five free a day. If you want more than five, then you have to upgrade.

There’s another tool I love. You can watch this video here at the URL at the bottom. Just type that in. This is a great food bank that’s in Colorado Springs. They gave me permission to show them off. And they’re using this tool. This tool is called Video Email, and the name of the company that you can look up is BombBomb, B-O-M-B-B-O-M-B. Be careful that you spell it correctly so you don’t end up in some malware site.

But BombBomb is using, uses video email, and it’s just like an email, only it’s a video. And they’ve got their customized header for Care and Share. They’ve got their video. The idea here is this is short and this is sweet. This is, like, a literally, the goal here is that you don’t want a video that’s more than, at the most, one minute long, but maybe it’s 30 seconds.

This food bank is primarily using these videos to thank donors and follow up from events and invite them to events. I think this is a really great tool for you to use to get visits with your donors.

And the best part of this tool is you get an email, you set it to give you an email when they watched it, so you know for me doing a custom training, well, if they watched my video of me talking about what I’m going to cover in a training, if they’ve watched it, like, five times, then I’m pretty sure they’re really interested. Or if they never opened it, maybe their email server’s down, or maybe I don’t have the right email address.

So it’s nice to have that opportunity to see who watched it. It gives you lots of personalization. You can send me an email, and I will send you an example. I won’t get to send it to you until next week, but I can send you an example.

But this is a neat tool. I like to personalize it. I like to make a special, I’ve got a chalkboard, and I like to write something on it with the person’s name that I’m sending it to. That makes it even more irresistible and harder to ignore and interesting for them to look at.

So that is a really great tool that I really like, and again, I think it’s a really great tool that could help you be effective in getting in a visit with a donor. You know if they’re reading it. You know if they’re watching it. It’s a way for you to stand out. I mean, think about your inbox and how full it is and how much stuff you have in it, and this is just a way for you to really stand out. A lot of real estate agents use this. A lot of people in sales use this. I think this is a really neat tool for the fundraising market.

Again, this, the company is called BombBomb. You can do a free trial. You can do a free two-week trial of this. It won’t give you the header. The header is part of you being a customer. I really like the header. I’ve had people say, oh, it should be blank, and that looks more authentic. But I personally really love branding, so I think it’s really neat.

And yes, everybody’s going to get a copy of this presentation, so we got your back there. Steven and I have your back.

Now here’s one of my final examples, and I love this example. And one of my favorite shows to watch with my kids is “Shark Tank.” They love “Shark Tank.” And this fantastic couple from Telluride, Colorado went to a party, they were going home in their car, and the wife said to the husband, “I wish I could send the hostess a thank you card right now just from my iPhone.”

Boom, a great idea was born. They started a company. It’s called the Feltapp. You can only use this on an iPad or on an iPhone. You can’t use it on a desktop. You can’t use it on an Android.

But this is, what this is is an app that will allow you to upload your photograph or pick from existing cards and send a real, physical, put it in your hand, hold it in your hand card with a real, physical stamp, and you did the whole thing from the app. It’s really neat. It’s really fun. I love it. There’s an example, there’s my kids up there, my twins up there with a Father’s Day card. That’s actually an enveloped addressed to my boss, because I wasn’t going to put my own address in here.

But you get to design it. You get to, you can put all kinds of drawings on it. It’ll download your photos from your, directly from your iPhone, directly from Instagram, directly from Facebook. They have hilarious cards, too. One of my favorites is their . . . did you know there’s an actual holiday, there’s an actual mother-in-law holiday, and let me tell you, the cards for the mother-in-law holiday are hilarious. I had to send one right away to my mother-in-law.

These are some examples that they made for me of some mock-up examples of nonprofits. You can see up here at the top they’ve got . . . you can do lots of different things with their cards. So this is really, this isn’t free, but this is super inexpensive. It’s, like, 5 bucks a month to send three cards, and for $15 a month you can send five cards and get personalized stationary.

So down there at the bottom, I love stationary. I’m really passionate about stationary. And down there at the bottom, you can see some stationary that I had them make me, and you can also see some great stationary that they made for some nonprofits. So this is a really neat tool. I really like it. It’s really easy to use, and it’s a lot of fun, and I always love supporting entrepreneurs, as an entrepreneur myself.

We’ve got some time for questions, which is awesome. I see a few are already in here. So I’m going to go ahead and look over these questions, and I’m going to leave this contact information up for me with some of these links that you can see while I’m answering some of these.

So Katie asks, “What guidelines would you advise on when someone should hand-sign the thank you letter? We have our CEO and development director sign our thank you letters for gifts over $100, and it slows down the time it takes to get that letter in the mail.”

Okay, here’s a think you could do to make that easier. You can have a stamp of their signature. I would give them the phone. I would give them the phone and have them personally say thanks to that donor, and just schedule some 15 minutes for them with phone calls where they’re able to call and thank those donors.

But yeah, you can have a signature stamp done incredibly easy for them, and you could you could have them write a couple notes on that. But if you have all this done ahead of time, then it shouldn’t take long. I mean, I would have all your thank you cards, have your copy ready to go and you could get them out the door. Okay, here, you could walk into their office, Katie, with, like 50 thank you cards, and they could just sign them, or you could stamp them, too.

So I would have those ready, and then it’ll take less time. And that’s the thing about all of this. The prep work saves you time on the back end.

Beth had a great question. “We have a ‘thank you for your gift’ letter for tax purposes with a personal signature. I don’t send another thank you until the funds have been used in some way, which I send three months out with a handwritten personal note from the fund administrator. Is waiting three months too long?”

I mean, the “thank you for your gift” letter for tax purposes, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really tell me how it was meaningful, right? So I would try to add some punch and some meaning into that, and I would try to up the personal note sooner. I mean, I would try to get that personal note out within two weeks, or within one month. And you could say it’s only been one month, and already we’ve used your gift to blank blank blank.

Or maybe it’s a personal gift, and you three weeks ago, four weeks ago, a month ago, you gave us this gift, and we’re going to be using it to blank blank blank, you know? And maybe it’s around your plans for how you’re going to use it.

There’s this window here where we’re wearing this bronzy glow as donors. I mean, I was ecstatic just to be asked, just when the ACLU just asked me why I was choosing to make my gift. I was like, oh yay, yay! It’s like, I was ecstatic over that.

So there’s this bronzy glow that we’re wearing, and the sad truth is, I mean, Steven and I were talking about this honestly before this call. We give a lot of gifts, and we don’t always get thanks. And you’ve got an opportunity to strike when the fire is hot. Your donors are feeling really good. Giving feels great. I mean, giving releases endorphins. It lowers your blood pressure. People who give are happier than people that don’t give. You’ve got a great opportunity to engage with them after they give and make them feel great about giving.

And especially now, like, this time of year, that’s what I think, I feel like with Giving Tuesday, any interaction that your donors have with you, that’s a time to make them feel really great. Because I’ll tell you, I made those gifts, and I’m planning to make gifts for Christmas, as well. And it’s like, there’s this window here of what was my experience with you like, and if it’s great, then I’m going to put you in my Christmas stocking, too.

Beatrice asks, “Is there a sensitivity to board members knowing how much donors gave? I work for a church, and when we had our recent campaign, we let them know that no one would know how much they gave. We were emphasizing sacrificial gifts.”

This is an excellent question. Beatrice adds that she would be concerned that a donor would ask a board member, “How do you know how much I gave?” This is a great question, Beatrice. This is a question that is going to be different for every organization, right?

So for, I’ll tell you, here at Girlstart, at Girlstart it was, like there was no issue with board members knowing how much a donor gave and thanking them for their gift. No issue at all. It is common in . . . or, I wouldn’t say common. I have definitely heard several cases in your sector of people wanting to keep gift amounts private, and I totally understand that, and I totally respect that. And if that’s your culture, don’t mention the gift amount. Just mention the gift.

It isn’t about the dollar amount. It’s about thanking the donor. It’s about letting the donor know that their gifts matter. And more importantly, it’s about a leadership volunteer taking the time out of their busy life and free time to show a donor their appreciation.

Let’s be honest, your donors know that you earn a salary. They know that you’re paid. They know that it’s your job to call and to do this. But a volunteer doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that’s something really, really special. And that’s why you see such a lift with donors giving more and donors staying longer when they do get phone calls from board members.

And we still have time if you guys want to type in some more questions. We still have a little bit of time here. Allison asks, “I love the idea of serving. We’re not very digital at this point. Most of our constituents are older and write us checks instead of donating and engaging with us online, so we don’t have many constituent email addresses. Do you have ideas of how to do surveys in that situation? I’m working on trying to figure out how to get everyone’s email addresses. It’s going to take a while.”

Great question. You don’t have to do an online survey. You can totally do a printed survey. You can absolutely do that. You can do it as a postcard. You can have a few different answer. Use donor satisfaction surveys could absolutely done. You could do that as a, you could do it as a letter, you could do it as a one-page letter. You could do it as a postcard. You could absolutely do that. You know, many organizations that do online surveys also do printed ones, as well.

Be thoughtful, especially if you’re telling me you’ve got an older constituency. I want to challenge you, Allison, to be very thoughtful with your font size. It is easy to read Steve and I were talking about millennials versus Gen X. I wear glasses. Steven doesn’t. If you want to be careful and thoughtful about your audience and how, your readability. A lot of times the people that might be making the survey aren’t the people that are going to be taking the survey, so test it out with some folks and be thoughtful and intentional about that.

But you can absolutely do a survey that is printed. That’s fantastic.

And I do still have time if you guys want to type in some more questions. Nancy asks, “How would you justify using some of these stalk . . . ” Okay, Nancy, I said legal stalking. She says, “Stalker apps, when your board and/or development committee members are already put off by the web-based research or paid research that is used for rating prospects?”

Well, many of these things that I’ve said, that I’ve shown you, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, those are open platforms. They’re totally open. They’re not private. They’re open. So I would say these are public. And I would say it’s kind of similar to the answer I gave Beatrice, Nancy. It’s really up to your culture. I think that it is useful and helpful and insightful to have data and analyze your data on your donors. I think it’s a missed opportunity to not have and analyze data on your donors. But you can only do what you are allowed to do within the culture that you have.

So I would say maybe some of these, I would guess, from what you’ve seen so far, that probably the one they would feel the most uncomfortable with would be potentially, I’m guessing, Bananatag. But, I mean you can do this in Outlook. I wouldn’t do this in Outlook, because it will tell the recipient, but they might have some familiarity with that from that.

But you’re trying to engage people. People are busy. And I honestly, whenever I do any webinar or any training, I give people everything I have, everything that I see, everything that I know that’s a tool out there, and not everyone’s going to use all of these tools, but these are definitely some tools. Some of these tools will work for you, and others might not be the perfect fit.

But there are a lot of other tools in here that, like the thank yous, the email, those are, like, especially the BombBomb, I think those could be really great tools for you deepening your relationship with your donors.

So this is another screenshot of this stewardship plan that you guys saw. We do still have a few more minutes, if anybody wants to type in a question. Again, I encourage you to think about your business rules that you have for thanking donors and acknowledging donors and cultivating your donors, and you can download this, and you can modify it based on what you do and what makes the most sense, and fit it in with the culture for your organization.

I’ve got a webinar coming up that I mentioned to you guys, the “Fundraise Like a Boss,” and I’d love to have you guys join me for that.

Again, we still have a couple time, a little bit more time for questions. I’m going to let, Steven, do you want to mention some of these resources for Bloomerang while people are typing in?
Steven’s got some great resources up here for . . . just at Bloomerang. I actually recommend Bloomerang’s resources all the time. The webinars are fantastic and a really great resource for folks.

Oh, Sarah, why don’t you type in your question to the chat? Sarah’s trying to type in a question. And just type into the chat and I can answer it there, Sarah.

And Britain asks, “Do you have suggestions for questions to survey non-donors within a larger community that is in a tight professional community?” It’s hard for me to know what to ask a . . . you know, that’s kind of a big question. You’re welcome to email me — I’ll go back to the slide that has my contact information — and give me more of a contact, Britain, for understanding your question.

So Sarah asks, “We are a retirement community, so 95% of our donors are residents. Others are family members of a deceased resident. Do you have any recommendations for how to survey to a closed constituent base?”

Yeah, I mean, I would say your, see high traffic, Constant Contact. Well, you can do in-person surveys. You know, you could do, like, a thought circle. You could do, like, a resident thought circle and ask them questions about what inspired them to give, what do they care about, where do they most want to make a difference, or do they know other people that would like to give. It sounds like you have a built-in audience, and so you’re lucky in having a built-in audience, Sarah, because we don’t all have that.

Steven is back. Steven, I was just bragging about these great resources that you have at Bloomerang.

Steven: You’re so sweet.

Rachel: And I was actually telling folks, I recommend, well, I recommend anyone who’s out there that’s going for their CFRE Pursuant . . . sorry, Bloomerang’s resources, especially the webinars, those are great for anyone who’s pursuing their hours for their CFRE exam.

Steven: Well, it’s only great because of speakers like you, so thanks for being here, Rachel. This is really awesome. Some of those tools are new to me. I’m going to check those out, maybe even for our own Bloomerang purposes.

So it was great. It’s not an accident that we hold on to Rachel towards the end of the year. She’s one of our favorites, so we always like to kind of finish out the year with a bang. So thanks. This is really awesome. And thanks to all of you, for those of you who hung out with us for an hour or so. I know it’s a busy time of year, so we really appreciate you staying on with us for the whole hour.

Please do reach out to Rachel. I know we didn’t get to all the questions, but she’s on Twitter, you can get to her by email. Obviously a wealth of knowledge, so please do reach out to her.

And hopefully you’ll come back next week. We’ve got a special Wednesday webinar. It’s our last Bloomerang webinar of the year. But Gail Perry is going to join us to talk about major gifts, so that’s going to be a great one. And we’ve even got some webinars scheduled throughout January and February, as well, so if that one doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, you may find another one that you might want to register for.

So Rachel, this was awesome. Thanks for being here.

Rachel: It was a pleasure. I had a blast.

Steven: Hopefully I see you soon in person, but we’ll definitely have you back next year. So if you like this one, be on the lookout for Rachel’s next Bloomerang webinar. It’ll be number five for you, I think. You’re the all-time leader.

Rachel: Woohoo!

Steven: That’s right.

Steven: Well, have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be sending out the recording and the slides in an email later today, so look for that, and hopefully we’ll see you again next week or sometime soon. So have a good weekend, stay safe, stay warm, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.