NEW VOICES: “New To Fundraising? Seven Tips To Nail It From Day One” – Jill O’Herlihy, Mental Health Ireland

In January 2018 a fundraising friend gave me the chance to host my first blog on their site, and a phenomenal year of opportunities followed.  I wanted to do the same for fundraisers looking to take the next step in their career and asked fundraisers to submit their first ever blogs to be featured in a month-long celebration of new voices. Today’s blog comes from Jill O’Herlihy who went from new fundraiser to income queen in a little over two years, even being invited into Facebook to tell them how it works.  Here she shares her advice.

Over to Jill…

“I kind of fell into Fundraising! I was and still am Head of Communications with Mental Health Ireland and I found aspects of fundraising were creeping into my work load on a daily basis. We never had anyone looking after fundraising with a small number of people taking part in event in aid of our charity, so this was a new role for me and for the organisation.

After being in this role for two years now, here are my top seven tips to anyone starting out…

  1. Get a kick ass mentor!

The very first thing I did was reach out to an organisation called Ask Direct in Ireland. I needed a mentor to guide and support me…. And boy did I land on my feet. I’ve been working with the fab Simon Scriver for the past two years, meeting every month, to thrash out ideas and strategies, complain that nobody understands, chat about the world of fundraising and drink lots of tea.

His support and guidance has been critical to the success I have had in my role and we have had such fun along the way too. As a lone fundraiser in an organisation it’s really important to have someone who understands the fundraising landscape and lingo and also understands the frustrations and struggles we often face!

  1. Get organised

I’m not a terribly organised person by nature but being a fundraising manager/ officer demands this. Your supporters are taking time out of their lives and money out of their pockets in aid of your charity so the least they deserve in return is an organised response to their queries.

This doesn’t have to mean an amazing CRM with all the bells and whistles, up til now I’ve been using a gigantic spreadsheet to keep tabs on everyone; when they contacted, what events they’ve done, how much they’ve raised and when we’ve been in touch.

As I mentioned, I’m not terribly organised, so I didn’t always keep this in perfect order but after nearly two years and finally a new CRM I’m training myself to input the data after every contact I have. Yes, it slows me down a bit but I know it will save me time in the long run and also help me with my #DonorLove!

  1. Thank, Thank, Thank

One of the main lessons I learnt from Simon was about saying Thank You… and I say it A 2935LOT! I love that much of my job is taken up with thanking people and I haven’t written so much with a pen since my school days!

Everyone who supports our organisation gets a handwritten card from me. I always hand-write my cards, notes and envelopes. I use a stamp rather than franking when I can. I personalise every response and sign everything with my own name and a little smiley face too!

The supporters love it and many come back as a result of the personal touch.

Remember to keep track of the thank-yous in that big spreadsheet too… a few of our supporters have received two cards on occasion!

 

  1. You’re a storyteller

I love hearing stories about people’s lives and telling your supporters stories is no different. Not everyone wants to share but there are so many people out there who do. I decided to ask our supporters via email why they supported Mental Health Ireland and I got loads of great and useable stories back and so much love too!

It was a lovely way to connect with them and to learn why people are interested in aligning themselves to our charity.

  1. Pick Up the Phone

So, I’m not very good at this one. I feel like I’m intruding on our supporter’s time and feel a little bit weird about calling them. I’m great reactively and can chat for ages so the talking isn’t the issue. This is something I’m going to change for 2019 starting with one call a week to a supporter to see how they’re getting on and I’ll grow this as my confidence grows!

I’m also going to schedule some time to meet with them face to face when every I can… I know it will make all the difference to their experience and will enrich mine too!

  1. Facebook Fundraising

If your organisation hasn’t set up Facebook Fundraising, then what are you waiting for! I was an early adopter to this when it first opened up to Irish Charities and it has been an overwhelming success for us.

jill in fb

Facebook Fundraising talk at Facebook

When we first started in Jan 2018 I was a bit stumped by how I might contact these people setting up fundraisers in aid of Mental Health Ireland on Facebook. So I devised a plan to thank them on their fundraising page with a note, which their donating friends could also read, inviting them to email me so I could send them a thank you.

This resulted in me getting name, address and email address for each person. I posted them out a lovely little thank you and in that process invited them to join our newsletter.

It has taken a lot of hours to keep on top of this but I feel it’s worth it. Our conversion rate to our newsletter is growing every month and it is beginning to come full circle with a small but growing percentage donating and community fundraising in aid of Mental Health Ireland.

There have been a few issues but I feel Facebook have ironed most of them out at this stage however overall it has been a very positive experience.

  1. Network

There are so so many lovely and wonderful fundraisers out there and the very best thing I did and do is to get out amongst them. Some are in the same position as me but most have a vast amount of experience that I learn from.

Log onto your country/ towns charity institute and forums and find out what’s going on in your city and further afield that you can attend. Get onto Fundraising Forums on Facebook to learn about what everyone is up to and maybe you can help someone with an issue they are having. Start snooping on social media and follow the Kings and Queens of fundraising for their tips, content and great banter!

So two years in and I can happily say that I love fundraising. I never ever thought of it as a career and now I honestly don’t ever want to do anything else.

  • Twitter @mentalhealthirl
  • Instagram @mentalhealthireland
  • Facebook MentalHealthIreland”

You can find Jill on twitter and Instagram @jilloherlihy.  Jill will also be speaking at this year’s IoF National Convention alongside Simon Simon about the fundraising strategy developed for Mental Health Ireland’s amazing success.

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And The Winner Is…! #DonorLove Celebration Results

It’s official!

After asking for and getting some amazing examples of #donorlove, we have a winner!

Before we get to that, I’m sure you want to know how we selected a winner of the £500, $842 CDN, $640 USD prize!

John and I selected 3 judges each and asked them to go through the submissions and select their top 3 choices. No. 1 got 5 points, No. 2 got 3 points and No. 3 got 1 point. We then tabulated all of the scores and the charity with the most won. Easy peasy.

All of the submissions were fantastic! With learning in each for everyone. I invite you to go back and have another look at the submissions:

New Donor Love (Bungee) Heights from Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home

CLIC Sargent Collette & The Donor Love Calling Card

The College of Dentistry Know The Donor Love Drill

Sue Ryder’s ‘Thank You Thursday’

Tibet Relief Fund’s Non-Stop Thanking

A lesson from a Pro

Farm Africa and Their Forward Thinking Thank Yous

Yorkshire Cancer Research (UK) & The £8k Marathon Runner

Our judges were:

Simon Scriver (IRE), fundraiser and consultant

The Whiny Donor (USA), donor

Viki Ward (UK), fundraiser

Derek Humphries (HOL), consultant

My mam (hey ma!) (UK), donor

Julie Edwards (USA), Executive Director and fundraiser

We can’t thank our judges enough for their guidance and help.

So – we are thrilled to announce the winner of our first ever, #donorlove celebration is:

The College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan: submitted by Stacey Schewaga

https://charitynikki.blog/2018/12/03/saskatchewan/

Derek Humphries has this to say: What I value so much about this is that the delightful things they do are not grafted onto the outside, but are actually deep on the inside of what they do. It’s not a tactical. Or sporadic activity, but sounds instead like it’s a fundamental part of the ethos.

We couldn’t agree more Derek!

Stacey shared with us: ” I wanted to quickly send you an email to say thank you for the call yesterday and sharing the news I was the winner of your Donor Love celebration/contest. I am still smiling ear to ear, with joy that what I have created here over the last five years is something others in the industry feel is gold star worthy. One always hope what you do makes an impact but it is a good feeling to hear others think you are doing an exceptional job as well. I’m honoured and humbled by this.

As mentioned I feel it only seems fit to donate to my college where I have the privilege to do my work. I would assume many of us feel a special connection to where we work and I’m proud of what is done here and all the wonderful people I get to connect with daily.”

Amazing Stacey! Congratulations again!

Thank you everyone for your submissions and keep your eyes out for another #donorlove celebration in the year to come!

NEW VOICES: ‘Lights, Camera, Capital Appeal!’ – Emma Leiper Finlayson, Sue Ryder

In January 2018 a fundraising friend gave me the chance to host my first blog on their site, and a phenomenal year of opportunities followed.  I wanted to do the same for fundraisers looking to take the next step in their career and asked fundraisers to submit their first ever blogs to be featured in a month-long celebration of new voices. Today’s blog from Emma Leiper Finlayson focuses on Sue Ryder’s launch of their capital appeal; from nothing, to £3.9m with limited resource and support. Emma is a phenomenal fundraiser with masses of talent, drive and enthusiasm and I know she’s going to make big waves in the sector.

Over to Emma…

“One neurological care centre expansion, £3.9m to raise, zero prospects and no database, and little or no awareness of the charity and the centre in the city.  This was a job for a PR specialist.

When I started my role with Sue Ryder to lead on the £3.9m expansion of their Aberdeen based neurological care centre, Dee View Court, there was certainly much to do, not least with PR and marketing.  It was a daunting task. I was a fundraiser, not a PR person. I’d only dabbled in PR in my previous roles, writing some press releases, organising social media feeds; I’d never created or implemented a concerted PR strategy. Initially it felt like two very different roles, but what the capital appeal has taught me changed the way I think about fundraising:  And my epiphany was this:  Fundraising is PR and PR is fundraising.  They are one and the same. You can’t do one without the other.  Perhaps obvious to many, but it was a game changer for me.

The need to raise awareness  of our appeal– and fast – precipitated my foray into the strategic world of PR, and it’s this that I’ll outline below: What we’ve done PR-wise to drive forward the appeal, and lessons learned along the way.

Read all about it – getting press support 

press.jpg

A media partnership with a local, well read newspaper was essential for us to get the word out. We were fortunate to have a contact within the local newspaper, and so we formally approached for a media partnership. A proposal was prepared which outlined that we would provide them with ongoing exclusives, such as when we reached fundraising and building milestones, or when someone important came to visit, like the Queen!  Our proposal was accepted (right time, right place) and we worked with the newspaper to prepare an ongoing programme stories, aiming for two or so features a month. I quickly learned three things:

  1. Not all stories will be run: Because of our partnership, for a while we weren’t sending press releases to any other newspapers, and it began to feel like we were missing out on PR opportunities.  And so we changed tactics.  We discussed it with the editor and came to an agreement that if they couldn’t print a story for whatever reason, then we could release it to other publications. It means we remain loyal to our media partnership by offering them exclusives, but don’t miss out on opportunities to put out news if they can’t run it.
  2. Target your press releases: Every paper has a certain culture and we need to angle our stories as such.  Our media partner is a business paper and to appeal more to the audience (and for more of our stories to be picked up) we have to emphasise the wider impact that our expansion appeal will have on the local economy – such as the creation of new jobs in the area or the benefits to healthcare provision in the area.  Likewise for more family orientated newspapers, we send stories about individuals doing fundraising events – warm and engaging stories that aren’t always suitable for a business focussed paper. The result – we have more stories running about our appeal than ever before.
  3. Direct Calls for Actions are hard to get published: News stories will be published, sure, but with overt call for support to the appeal? Trickier. Newspapers want stories, not requests.  So we balanced up our media partnership by securing sponsorship from a local company to cover the cost of paid-for features directly conveying the fundraising need and ask.  It has balanced up well with the news stories and we always receive donations off the back of that specific ask feature.

 Choose your Social Media Weapons

dee

At the beginning of the appeal we set up the usual social media platforms, but as Aberdeen is a tight knit business city, we quickly realised LinkedIn was our best weapon for securing corporate support.  As we built up our supporter base, our contacts would share our posts, and in turn others would see it and we have literally received donations from companies just seeing us on LinkedIn. No relation to the cause – they’ve just seen others supporting it and decided to do so too.

And so we’ve ramped up our LinkedIn presence; we post about meetings with contacts and tag them in (thus ensuring their contacts also see the post), and we’ve started posting videos taken on our phone showcasing the building work and updating on the appeal. And it works.  Video content is so hugely popular –people tend to scroll past a post but not a video.  Our videos routinely receive thousands of viewings and consequently we’ve managed to secure a great amount of earned PR – I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met that have said they’d heard about me and the appeal by having seen a video that we’ve made.  Our appeal is in the middle of a lot of noise – and a number of other capital appeals – but videos are making us be heard.

A quick note on Facebook.  We initially used it to recruit for challenge events, but with a limited audience base and many other charities promoting the same running / walking / cycling event, it just wasn’t working for us. Again we needed to stand above the noise, so we organised something a bit different – a Fire walk, which no one else was doing in the area.  At the same time we realised that Facebook Events were blossoming and we, the fundraising team, were personally seeing so many new events in the city because of it, through people liking, sharing, or posting that they were attending. And so we created our own FB event for our Fire Walk – we had two sign ups within 24 hours and more coming through later.

Network like a Boss

Networking is face to face PR. Because we had minimal awareness of Dee View Court, least of all our appeal, we had to literally get out there and tell people about it. Likewise, because we had little (read: zero) contacts we had to get out there and make them.  We needed more corporate prospects, more potential major donors, and more community challenge event participants. And so for the first year of the appeal the fundraising team went to the opening of an envelope.  And I learned this: big level events like the Chamber or SCDI are just as important for corporate/ MG prospecting and cultivation as are your smaller SME or one person business.  Why? Because you never know what might come from that one person or who they might know. At a BNI meeting I met a self-employed person who wanted to take part in a challenge event for us. Turns out they were also on the board for a Foundation and through their influence, we were invited to submit an application for over £100K (note: we’re awaiting the outcome!). Never think that a smaller networking event won’t have the high level supporters that you’re looking for.   And even if they don’t, you’ve made a new contact on LinkedIn, and they’re another person to like, share and spread your appeal messages (and not forgetting the videos!). Their audience is now your audience too.

A Pause, not a Conclusion

I won’t say ‘in conclusion’, because our appeal is still ongoing and our story isn’t over yet. There is still so much to learn, but my newfound PR knowledge can be summed up in a nutshell.  Whether it’s traditional press, social media, or face to face PR – figure out the culture of your town, your audience, and your local press and tailor your PR accordingly.  What might work for one area of the country might not work for yours.  Be noisy with your PR, but make the right noise!”

To follow Emma and see PR and fundraising in action, catch her on LinkedIn (to see those fab videos mentioned above), and Twitter, @EmmaLeipFin.  Emma is also delivering a session about this appeal at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention in July 2019.

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GUEST BLOG: Charity Websites; Turning Visitors into Supporters

matt

This month’s blog is from Matt Saunders, founder of Charity Box. Matt is the founder of Charity Box, a social enterprise providing cost-effective web design and online fundraising solutions to charities. With over 10 years professional experience in helping organisations of all sizes, Matt is passionate about helping the UKs third sector achieve its digital aims. Thank you Matt for sharing what you know, and for giving me a holiday from blog writing over the Christmas holidays!…Special thanks also from both of us to James Gadsby-Peet for adding your digital wisdom.

Over to Matt…

In this fast-paced age of information-overload it can be tricky enough just getting visitors onto your website. Provoking a visitor to take positive action is trickier still, but not impossible. In this article I’m going to run through some techniques that you can use to turn passing visitors into brand advocates and long-term supporters of your charity.

Start at the start
Before we delve into how to convert visitors into donors it’s important to point out that you’re sending the right kind of people to your website. You can usually curate a following on social media of like-minded people who are interested in what you do, but it’s also very easy to send the wrong type of traffic. For example, if you advertise on Google Ads it can take a lot of refinement to ensure people are not visiting your website through similar, but ultimately unrelated keywords. Being mindful of your traffic, and having an idea of who your visitors are and what they want helps to increase your chances of conversion.

Creating personas to illustrate your visitors groups can help here. This video on YouTube helps to explain the concept if it’s unclear.

Tell a story
Once you’ve got the right people coming to your website, you need to captivate them. It is an uncomfortable truth that in order to get somebody to support you, you will need to offer something in return. In the third sector, this usually comes in the form of emotional currency.

Take time to explain to your visitor why they should support you. Show them how their donation – whether it is their money or time – will help not just others but also themselves. Try to tell a story interwoven with facts and figures to support your claims, and then ask for them to take action at the right moment.

prostate-campaign.png

Prostate Cancer UK go to great lengths to provide engaging and informative content in their 10 Years to Tame Prostate Cancer campaign.
In this example we see persona use clearly – we’re introduced to Andy, a dad with two sons, Errol, a black man (whose ethnicity is linked to a greater chance of getting prostate cancer) and William, a 13 year old boy who lost his father to prostate cancer.
By utilising storytelling and keeping your intended reader in mind, you help to conjure emotion in your visitors which will increase their likelihood of taking action.

Make it easy

Accepting online donations from website visitors is surprisingly easy to get wrong, and with a myriad of tools and platforms it can be difficult to make the most optimal decision for your charity. Stripe or PayPal? JustGiving or a fully integrated system? How to handle Gift Aid? What about GDPR? The difficulty here – and the key to success – is making it easy! Regardless of which integration style you choose, try and keep the user experience clear and consistent, and keep the following in mind:
● Make donation buttons stand out – experiment with the colour, size, shape and position
of buttons and links so they are highly visible
● Ensure donation forms contain only the fields needed – don’t ask for unnecessary
information and make things complicated
● Remind the visitor how their data will be used in accordance with GDPR and privacy
laws to build trust and confidence in your organisation.

ux.png

GoodUI’s example of using contrast to bring attention to specific elements

Follow it up
When you receive a donation from a first-time donor make sure you have a system in place to follow up. This could be through an automated set of rules in a CRM like SalesForce, or a manual process where you contact the donor personally.
Writing for Charity Digital News, Janet Sneddon says “We know that nine per cent of all donors make 66 percent of all donations. Without data, however, you can’t know who those nine percent are. But when you use the data you hold to identify your most valuable supporters, you can target communications more effectively.”
When you interact with a new supporter with whom you are hoping to engage long-term, you can use CRM data to gain important insights over time either of individual donors or segmented groups (i.e. by location, age or some other relevant metric). Janet continues “Your data can tell you who opens what. It can tell you when. It can tell you for how long. Carefully analysed data will show you the recipients who never read a word, but will click on a video link, and it will show you the people who will take the time to digest a story.”
The key takeaway here is to not let a potential long term supporter slip through with a one-off donation, and to ensure processes are in place to nurture that relationship through data-driven touch-points. This is crucial to developing sustainability within your charity’s fundraising efforts.

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GUEST BLOG: How Do We Know If We’re Nailing It? Updated Fundraising Ratios COMING SOON

caroline

Caroline Danks

I’m ending November and a temporary return to non-#donorlove celebration updates with a guest blog from Caroline Danks; fabulous fundraiser and owner of the most dazzling jumpsuits I’ve ever known; and she has an exciting request.  I met Caroline at #IoFFC and I’ve been fan-girling ever since; a delightfully talented fundraiser and big believer in self-care, how could you not admire what she does?  Caroline’s launched a research project looking at up-to-date fundratios for the UK’s charities, but we need more participants.  Can you help?

 

As a fundraising consultant, the first question I get asked by a potential client (the direct ones, at least) is ‘how much money can you make me?’

My response is usually rooted in my own achievements; my own hit rate and a little about the organisational contexts relevant to those with whom I’ve been working.
I may also quote from the Fundratios 2013 survey, a study which looked at the return on investment of various types of fundraising for 17 different charities.

For obvious reasons, I am more and more hesitant to quote from this study. Great as it was, it is now hideously out of date and (for small / medium sized charities at least) there has been no follow up study since. This year, I have been working with colleagues in the sector to remedy this (thank you Tobin at AAW Partnership and Nick and Symon from the IOF Insights SIG).

Fundraising is changing rapidly. The competition for funds is greater than it has even cookiebeen before. Philanthropists, foundations, communities and companies are feeling the pressure to fill the gap following a reduction in statutory contributions.  Rather like the world of ‘Pinterest fails’, it’s messy out there and I for one am not 100% sure I know what ‘good looks like’ any more.

The excellent news is that a new study is live. We just need a few more participants to enable a big enough (and therefore meaningful) sample.

Getting involved is easy, simply email me fundraising@carolinedanks.co.uk and I’ll send you the link to the questionnaire along with instructions on how to interpret each question. You’ll need to know how much your charity spent on each area of fundraising and how much you raised.

I’m not interested in perfection. I understand that people may interpret the questions in slightly different ways and I agree that three years’ worth of data would be better than just one but everyone’s busy and in order to fill this void of information, I’m willing to work on the principle that something is better than nothing.   The final report will include case studies from different charities and will give context and meaning to the figures to help fundraisers and sector leaders set their own benchmarks within their own contexts. What’s not to love?

All participating charities will receive a copy of the report for free. Results will be anonymised.

I’m pretty confident I’m nailing it (most days!) and I’m sure you are too. Now’s our chance to prove it.

Caroline Danks is a fundraising consultant, bullet journalist, aspiring yogi and fairweather mermaid. Her website is www.carolinedanks.co.uk and you can tweet her @cdfundraising

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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.”

rory.PNG

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!).

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#DonorLove Celebration Part II: Farm Africa and Their Forward Thinking Thank Yous

Following on from our recent donor love celebration debut, today we’re celebrating Sarah Goddard and the work done during her time at Farm Africa in the #donorlove celebration, in partnership with John Lepp at Agents of Good.

In light of this week’s #YouMadeItHappen campaign, we’ve seen the impact a good thank you can have with supporters, especially when you share the difference they’ve made.  And that’s exactly what the team at Farm Africa did.

A photographer was due to visit Africa to capture the impact of the charity’s work and Sarah used this opportunity to bring supporter and beneficiary together in a thanking project for a recently won RAG partnership.

That project included taking photos of the African community saying ‘thank you’ to the people making the work possible; a nice touch, but the wonderful part is the photographer was armed with photos of the supporters as well as their stories on how they had been fundraising, and the work that had gone into making it possible.

Sarah said, ‘I insisted this was done with the groups understanding of what they were doing and we’ve found that our communities are always really keen to say thank you to those that make the work possible’. The communities loved asking questions about the people fundraising for them and found it hilarious that you could raise money out of wearing wellies!

The photos were kept a secret until the right moment which came at the RAG Conference farmwhen the outgoing and incoming chair were recognised for their efforts.  Sarah wrote, ‘I’ve never seen two university students so speechless, and one nearly cried. Which of course made me cry!’.

Whilst it wasn’t possible to remain partnered with RAG, the personal touch and strong connections to the people they were fundraising for has meant students are still involved with Farm Africa to this day, often speaking and promoting the brilliant experience they had working with the charity and encouraging others to get involved themselves.

What we like about this show of #donorlove:

  • Using an existing opportunity and capturing content for later use.
  • The wonderful touch of taking supporter pictures and stories to Africa to show the people behind the charity work.
  • The connection between the African community and RAG; meaning a stronger fundraising relationship and continuing student engagement.

Thank you to Sarah and the team at Farm Africa for allowing us to share this story in the #donorlove celebration!

We’d love to hear your examples of showing donor love.  Whether it’s hand-written cards, improvements to stewardship and processes, or thoughtful touches 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!).

 

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