#DonorLove Celebration Part IX: New Donor Love (Bungee) Heights from Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home

It’s the final #donorlove celebration in partnership with the wonderful John Lepp at Agents of Good.  We’ve been celebrating the delightful ways that fundraisers have been showing appreciation for supporters that go beyond their standard supporter journeys to not only share the love and give big fundraiser kudos, but to spread ideas amongst us to replicate in our own work.

Today we’re celebrating Kelly Barbour and the team at the Edinburgh Dog & Cat home who took donor love to new heights during their Halloween Blackout Bungee event this year.

In their own words, here’s their submission:

Our aim was to host a Bungee Jump in aid of the lost and abandoned animals at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. Supporters signed up online, set up their fundraising pages, and attended the event on 27th October in Killiecrankie, Pitlochry. We engaged with them before, during, and after the event itself. They were also encouraged to dress up – it was Halloween, after all!

The first action we took to engage our fearless bungee participants was a phone call. Since they signed up online, they had already received an automatic confirmation – but speaking to them was an amazing opportunity to find out why they signed up and to get them excited about the event as well as confident about the fundraising!

Speaking to our fabulous supporters also gave me a great insight into how to support them through their donor journey. I used these conversations to help tailor my engagement tactics during the lead-up to the event, which encouraged them to be even more engaged on the night.

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On the day, I took 4 of the supporters on the train to the venue and spoke about the cause on our way there.

At the end of the night, I spent time personally thanking them all. I wanted them to know we’d be in touch to continue our support – there’s nothing worse than feeling ‘discarded’ after you’ve done something lovely for a charity!

Following the event, we sent handwritten thank you cards. They even included a small bungee jumper with their photo on it (my favourite part)!

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On reflection

I think that by using a strong balance of digital (including social media and emails) and classic, personalised chats (phone calls, face-to-face chats, and handwritten thank you cards), we were able to fully engage our supporters and ensure a fun and effective event.”

Why we love it:

  • Another example of human touches creating the magic in event stewardship
  • Using all the communication tools you have available ensures you reach everyone, and adds extra layers of donor love for those you have across them all
  • Did you see the bungee card?!…

Thank you to Kelly and the team for allowing us to share their example and for having such creativity and personality in your supporter thank yous.

John and I will be asking our specially selected judge to pick their favourite example of the #donorlove celebration which will be announced in the new year.  The winning fundraiser will win a £500 donation to a charity of their choice.  Check out the other submissions here.  Follow us at @CharityNikki & @JohnLepp to be the first to know who has won!

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#DonorLove Celebration Part VIII: CLIC Sargent Collette & The Donor Love Calling Card

We had a flurry of #donorlove submissions come through before it ended, and this week we’re covering the last few examples that squeaked in before the deadline.

Today’s example of donor love comes from Collette Brown at CLIC Sargent.  I’d stalked Collette a little to get a submission as I’ve seen her pop up on Twitter regularly asking for and sharing ways to make people feel special; so you know she’s got some cracking examples up her sleeve, and she did not disappoint.  Below are a couple of the examples she provided from both her current fundraising role and from her time at The Air Ambulance Service.

“At CLIC Sargent, I often use “thanks a million.” It’s a little individual way of showing individual donors, volunteers and my colleagues that I really appreciate their support. One way this made an impact was with one of our young service users. Her friends organised her a surprise fundraising ball raising over £2400 to support people just like her, going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. They’d done a brilliant job, how could I possibly say thank you in a way that would mean something to them? I think, like most fundraisers we know that people raise huge amounts for our charities, but we can’t thank them with expensive gifts – so you have to get creative. I often turn to Pinterest for inspiration, but this one was of my own making. I picked up a packet of the millions sweets from the supermarket and whenever someone does something extra special, I send them a packet in the post with a handwritten thank you card that says “thanks a million.” It’s really simple, probably cost me less than 20p for each donor, but it’s always the thought that counts. For our service user and her friends, it certainly made them smile. I often get emails saying, thank you for the little surprises and they’d brightened up their day. How did I know it worked for this donor in particular? Well she’s formed a fundraising group for CLIC Sargent now and it about to complete her first fundraising event for us this weekend. I’m not saying the “thanks a million” caused all of this, but it certainly is the little things that count when it comes to donor love.

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Another example, was with my volunteers  at The Air Ambulance Service. Again, we had so many wonderful, long-standing volunteers. Each year we were always faced with the dilemma of how to thank our volunteers in a cost-effective, but meaningful way. Our volunteers raised so much money for the charity, they certainly didn’t want us to spend it on a gift for them to say thank you. This is where “have a brew, from our crew” came in. Instead of giving them a gift, myself and my manager spent time making them a little card with an individual tea bag in, which read “ have a brew from your crew – thank you for being a tea-riffic volunteer.” All our volunteers loved it. It was simple, certainly cheesy but overall out a smile on their face. Because the gesture was small too, it meant that any volunteers who we didn’t see face to face could have their token gift posted out to them for the price of a postage stamp. In fact one of our corporate sponsors, donated the tea-bags for us, so all it cost was a few stamps and an evening of crafting by their volunteer manager.”

Why we love this:

  • Collette has created a unique “calling card” that links wonderfully with her personality, creating a feeling of authenticity and gratitude.
  • The simple things are sustainable, showing it doesn’t cost or take a lot to say thank you with feeling.
  • The addition of sweets and tea bags creates another layer of “human” to the interactions.  A hand-written card is perfect, but the extra delighter knocks it out of the park.

Thank you to Collette for her submissions (and for not blocking me on Twitter) – keep up the amazing work at CLIC Sargent!

We’ll be asking a special judge to pick their favourite example of the #donorlove celebration once all examples are presented.  Be sure to subscribe to be the first to find out who has won!

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#DonorLove Celebration part VII: The College of Dentistry Know the Donor Love Drill

The 7th #donorlove celebration, in partnership with John Lepp of Agents of Good, comes from Stacey Schewaga at the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan.  From Stacey’s submission it’s clear she has delighting supporters at the heart of all she does and it was wonderful the read the small, thoughtful, and constant ways she adds a bit of magic to supporter interactions throughout their journey with the college.  Here are a few examples from Stacey’s submission:

“At the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan donors are number one!  A handwritten card is sent to every donor that gives a gift and the cards have inspiring messages on the front like ‘you’re what making a difference looks like’, ‘You’re simply amazing’, or ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference, IT DOES.’  All new donors get a phone call from me and a welcome package.

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thank you packs & messages

I organize student-thank-a-thons annually, have students sign thank you cards for all new donors at the time of gift including writing thank you cards to our PT faculty annaully.  At admission time, many alumni and local dentists volunteer their time for one day. Anyone who uses my office gets a personalized note and if I know the person, I have been known to leave their favourite candy.  I send sympathy cards on behalf of myself and the college to any alumni that have a loved one pass away. I honour alum retring with a special email wish. I’m always looking for a special way to connect with my alumni and donors to make them feel special.

saska2Over the last couple months, I asked donors and alumni to write an inspiring or motivational message on a note card.  These cards and a Kit Kat were delivered to 1st year students on their last day of classes.  The students are told, ‘the cards come from alumni – who have been in your shoes, and donors, care about you and wish you success in your upcoming exams.'”

 

What we love about this example:

  • donor love is there from the get-go; immediately humanising the charity and showing appreciation from that first donation with a phone call
  • students and supporters are connected throughout the whole journey; students personally thank donors, and donors write messages of support for the students at exam times
  • students are involved with thanking; guess who will become donors in future?..
  • donor love goes beyond the donations as donors are thought of also at difficult, personal times

A huge well done to Stacey and the team at College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan, and thank you for sharing your examples of showing donor love.

The donor love celebration is now closed for submissions but we will be showcasing the remaining celebrations into December.  Be sure to hit that ‘subscribe’ button so you can be the first to read them!

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#DonorLove Celebration part VI: Sue Ryder’s ‘Thank You Thursday’

sr certificateIt’s getting to the end of the donor love celebration in partnership with John Lepp at Agents of Good (and the part where I have to start Googling Roman Numerals).  In the final days I’m thrilled to include my wonderful ex-boss’ new place of work, Sue Ryder.

During Hospice Care Week 2018, the fundraising team at Thorpe Hall’s Sue Ryder Hospice decided to use this week not to promote and ask, but to thank and show appreciation.  One full day of dedicated donor love with the WHOLE team involved – YES!

What did they do?  What didn’t they do, more like!  With everything from personal visits to posted certificates, these fundraising folks had it covered with:

  • over 100 certificates posted to supporters celebrating fundraising milestones
  • 23 personal phone calls made to nominated supporters from Head of Hospice
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    Donna Young

    Fundraising, Donna Young

  • Personalised videos for corporate and DIY supporters
  • Unannounced visits to corporate partners and collection tin businesses to deliver cakes and certificates
  • Social media coverage across all Sue Ryder platforms
  • Radio interview explaining the ‘thank you Thursday’ aim and to publically thank the local community

Why we love this:

  • Top reason: they didn’t have to do this, but they wanted to
  • Personal touches were used throughout, no mass thank you taking away the shine of a well-thought thank you
  • Through thanking they achieved some of their highest online engagement rates. From the posts included in their submission there was almost 16.5k people reached in one day!
  • Supporters got it and even got involved themselves, with one corporate partner sending back their own thank you video

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In addition to the relationship benefits, Sue Ryder told us the impact on teamwork and morale was positive too,

” …this also helped a new team bond. Engaging with supporters who have lost loved ones can be challenging, to ensure a sensitive tone is struck. This helped our fundraisers become more confident in that thanking and asking more of our supporters who have lost loved ones at our Hospice…By working together on Thank You Thursday, it helped instil a sense of pride in being able to offer that opportunity to support the Hospice in memory, and bring something good out of difficult and sad situation.”

A big well done to the team at Thorpe Hall’s Sue Ryder Hospice for their dedication to ‘thank you Thursday’, to all the staff for getting involved and to Dan McNally for the submission.  We look forward to hearing how you carry that on throughout 2019 and the long-term response from supporters.

We’d love to hear your examples of showing donor love.  Whether it’s hand-written cards, improvements to stewardship and processes or personal interactions like these, let’s celebrate the ongoing work of amazing fundraisers and charities delighting donors on a daily basis.  Read how to enter here (there’s a cash prize for the best!) – you have until tomorrow!

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#DonorLove Celebration part V: Tibet Relief Fund’s Non-Stop Thanking

We’re halfway through the final week of the #donorlove celebration in partnership with John Lepp; and in true fundraising fashion we’ve got plenty of submissions squeaking in their entries with days to spare as they juggle supporters, #GivingTuesday and the day job.

Today we celebrate Sam Butler and his team at the Tibet Relief Fund.  I’m a huge fan of the submissions that allow us to copy and paste, so in his own words here’s Sam to share how they’re showing a little donor love at TBR:

All donors receive a thank you. No matter how big or small their donation. Those below £20 get a bespoke email/letter for their first donation. Those giving for a second time receive a unique handwritten TRF thank you card – we change this design quarterly, so that with each appeal, supporters receive a separate card, with a small set of prayer flags.

Supporters giving £50 or more receive a handwritten letter on recycled paper made by a project we support (Cleaning Upper Dharamshala). Depending on their historic interaction, this is written from me or the CEO. This connects the supporters directly with one element of our charitable work, bringing them closer to our beneficiaries by having a tangible letter of thanks on a product that they have helped to support come to fruition. We also sell these products through our Enlightened Gifts shop, which means many supporters come to us at Christmas to purchase stocking fillers made by this project, so it allows us to softly cross sell the products made by our beneficiaries, and improve the funds we have to help supply more micro finance loans for Tibetans to set-up more businesses’ in India and Nepal.”

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TBR’s thank yous: second donation (left), £50+ donation (right)

Not only did the team use the power of the handwritten thank you, they’re keen to use the phone to its full potential too…

“On Black Friday each year (we have just completed our second one), all staff spend the day calling anyone that has donated in the previous 18 months, and have a conversation with those that answer, gaining insight as to why they support TRF. If we don’t get through, we leave a message on their answering machine if they are out, and send a short email of thanks where we can. These insights gathered and recorded in our database. We push out updates on the previous 18 months achievements across social media one week before we make the calls. This year, due to the #YouMadeThisHappen we used that day to do this, and it lead to some really lovely chats with everyone!”

Why we love this:

  • All supporters are thanked proving it is possible, and necessary
  • Thank yous are changed regularly so they never lose their sparkle; the team don’t have to do this, but they want to
  • The thank yous link supporters with the charity in a tangible way that is relevant to their impact
  • Updates! We know how important it is to do this; we should be thanking and reporting back more than we ask and it seems TBR are nailing this quota

A massive thank you to Sam and the team for not only sending through today’s submission but for consistently showing supporter appreciation in a way that’s connected to your organisation’s goals.

We’d love to hear your examples of showing #donorlove.  Whether it’s hand-written cards, improvements to stewardship and processes or personal interactions like these, let’s celebrate the ongoing work of amazing fundraisers and charities delighting donors on a daily basis.  Read how to enter here (there’s a cash prize for the best!); you have until Friday November 30th!

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#DonorLove Celebration Part IV:Turning Annual Reports into Annual Delighters, the Agents of Good Way

John doesn’t know I’m doing this because if he did, he’d probably tell me not to because he’s wonderfully modest like that.  But how can we co-host a donor love celebration and not include the heartwarming ways that Agents of Good help charities engage with their supporters?

Today’s celebration is a simple one as the document below speaks for itself.  In John’s words,

“This GR (gratitude report) was the result of some great work by our client – the amazing Sarah Lyon of ALZ Ns.

She wanted us to do it but was open to the direction we suggested.

Our objective was simple:

  • Create a gratitude report that is filled with donor love, thanking donors for their incredible support!
  • Share a story that demonstrates donor impact—how donors make the ALZ NS programs possible
  • Help donors feel inspired by the crucial role ALZ plays in the community, and how donors are at the heart of that.

From the start, I knew I wanted this to feel like a part of a person’s life. A sticky, tactile, vibrant, curated photo album. Something created JUST for the donor who was holding it in their hands. The ultimate expression of UN-DESIGN… the best examples of #donorlove ALWAYS look like it was created with someone’s hands and heart…and this is an expression of that.”

Click the image below to read it yourself.

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Why I love this:

  • Just because you “have to do it”, doesn’t mean it has to be bland
  • Notice it’s called a ‘gratitude report’?…
  • Every communication is an opportunity to surprise & delight
  • You want to read it again and again; how often have you had that with charity letters?

We’d love to hear your examples of showing donor love.  Whether it’s hand-written cards, improvements to stewardship and processes or personal interactions like these, let’s celebrate the ongoing work of amazing fundraisers and charities delighting donors on a daily basis.  Read how to enter here (there’s a cash prize for the best!).  Closing date November 30th 2018.

Thank you to Pamela Grow for the original content on this blog.

And this isn’t an elaborate way to fix the prize money; John isn’t eligible to win, but I wanted to make sure he knew how awesome he is!

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#DonorLove Celebration part III: How Rory Green Does It – A Lesson From a Pro

Imagine our excitement when guru of donor love, Rory Green, pinged into our inbox with not just one example, but FOUR of many ways she’s shown supporter appreciation for the #donorlove celebration in partnership with John Lepp of Agents of Good.  You might have seen the excited GIFs John & I shared on Twitter…

We’ve decided to include two of these here, giving you an insight into how your approach can differ depending on who you’re thanking, and how much resource you have.

In her own words, Rory shares her experience:

Mr Big

“When I worked at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, we got word that a major donor/volunteer (I’ll call him Philip) was retiring. My VP asked me to come up with a retirement gift for him. He was a wealthy man who truly “had everything” so I knew I needed to try and find something money couldn’t buy.

Philip was an alumni from BCIT, he was on our board and on the foundation board. So I decided to put together a book that told the story of his time with us:

It started with photos from his days as a student from the archives. I reached out to all the students from his program and asked them to share memories and well wished – which they did. One of his classmates wrote that “we all knew Phillip would be the most successful of all of us!”. The photos of Philip and his friends, and the campus in the 60s were a hoot to look at!

Then I tracked down BCIT leaders from his time on the board. It detailed all the amazing things that happened while he served – giving him credit for his leadership. Former presidents, VPs, Deans and board members shared letters of how much they valued working with him and how that period was a transformational one for the university. Lots of archive photos rounded out this section.

Then we focused on his time on the Foundation Board and all the money he helped to raise: specifically a beautiful new campus. Messages of congratulations from fundraisers he worked with were shared, as well as messages of thanks from the faculty and staff who use the building he raised the funds for.

Then we talked about his personal giving, with messages of thanks from 15 years of student recipient, most of whom were now alumni – sharing what they’d accomplished and how they’d given back to BCIT since graduating.

The last letter was the most recent student recipient of his award, who shared “My biggest wish is that when I graduate I will be even able to help future BCIT students the way Philip helped me”.

It was a lot of work tracking so many people down, and going through all the archive photos – but in the end it was worth it. He announced a $200,000 donation to BCIT that night.”

Small, But Mighty

“This is an e-mail I sent to a planned gift donor (let’s call her Mary). I stumbled across a hand-written note in our printer room; one of our program staff had printed it off to hang on her desk. I saw it and LOVED it and asked if I could send it to our donors. I sent this e-mail to Mary because I knew she had a planned gift and an interest in women in engineering. Mary and her daughter were so touched by the e-mail that her daughter has since made her own planned gift! And Mary has become an engaged volunteer and increased her annual giving.”

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What both of these donor love examples have in common is the supporter and their personal experiences have shaped the ways they’ve been thanked; details Rory wouldn’t have known if she didn’t have a strong relationship with them.  Other things we loved were:

  • Rory knows her supporters well so seeing something that reminds her of them prompts a response, just as you would a friend.
  • Going it alone can have a great impact, but using connections and relationships around you a can change a simple thank you into a grand gesture; and no doubt those asked to contribute will know BCIT is an organisation that cares!
  • Thank you’s don’t have to take masses of time or money, simply being thought of and knowing the difference you have made is enough to want to do more; and it’s doable and scalable by all.

It really wouldn’t have been a donor love celebration without Rory Green included, and we want to thank Rory for her marvellous examples.

We’d love to hear your examples of showing #donorlove.  Whether it’s hand-written cards, improvements to stewardship and processes or personal interactions like these, let’s celebrate the ongoing work of amazing fundraisers and charities delighting donors on a daily basis.  Read how to enter here (there’s a cash prize for the best!).

Subscribe to the mailing list to be kept up to date with future posts, fundraising news and plenty of donor appreciation ideas