I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a house that really prioritized thank you notes. There were other things that were stressed, but I think writing thank you notes was one of the most important lessons that my mom instilled in us. She made writing thank you notes enjoyable—good note cards, fun pens, festive stamps. And she also saved the particularly nice or well written or beautiful thank you notes she received.
I think there is a great lesson that non-profits can learn from my mom (well, there are many lessons you can learn from her, but this one is particularly fitting). If someone makes a donation of time or money to your organization, you should send a thank you note.
When the American Diabetes Association made the decision to focus on promoting self donations in their 2011 Tour de Cure fundraising campaign, they increased the number of participants contributing to thier own fundraising efforts from 2% in 2010 to more than 37% in 2011. There is no doubt this strategy contributed to the event’s 19% growth in online donations that year.
How can your organization see this kind of success? Here are four ways to promote self donations in your next Peer to Peer Fundraising campaign on TeamRaiser.
In addition to all of the above mentioned it is important that you include information about self donation opportunities in all communications about fundraising. All fundraising activities should include the importance of kicking off your fundraising with a self donation.
Today's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising experience, including 8 years with National MS Society where she raised more than $30 million.
I wear my Millennial identity on my sleeve.
I’m a proud member of the American generation born between 1980 and 2000, and thus am slightly fascinated by research done on my peers.
The latest chapter in my Millennial research reading spree came in the form of the third annual Millennial Impact Report. In addition to having a very well formatted website and some catchy social media content, the study itself is useful to nonprofits looking to engage those in their 20s and 30s in advocacy and fundraising.
Here’s a few of the stats from the 2012 report and my take on how they’ll impact your online strategy:
When we think about having a strong fundraising board it can be tempting to think about filling your board with lots of big name individuals that you expect to write huge checks. In reality, these people may have no real connection to your cause. And if you are lucky enough that they do, they may be too busy to either commit to board services or worse, they’ll commit and never show up at meetings.
Too often, eager to fill a vacant seat or secure a well-known name, we fail to clearly articulate expectations of service to prospective board members, or downplay the expectations of service.
“There is no question that orienting new board members to their responsibilities, especially around fundraising, is critical,” says Linda Crompton, BoardSource President and CEO. “In our 2010 Nonprofit Governance Index, BoardSource found that 90% of the boards with a structured orientation process were rated as effective, compared to only 67% of the boards without such a process.”
In addition to a job description, prospective board members should receive a board manual and board contract to help them understand and be successful in their role.
“Board manuals can be a key resource in facilitating the work of a board member. New members should receive a manual when they join the board and be encouraged to use it to track or manage all of their work. A board manual can also be used as the basis for an orientation training session. Board members report higher satisfaction when they participate in a formal, in-person orientation, and reviewing the content of the board manual will ensure that new members are consistently and thoroughly oriented to the work of the board and the organization.” –Greenlights for Nonprofit Success
Templates for organizing your board manual are available through many organizations. For one set of examples, check out the free board resources from our friends at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success.
One of the most critical pieces of content in your board manual is your board contract. Ideally your contract lays out the following:
Don’t forget the signature at the end, and make sure you each get a copy.
Board members are your most committed volunteers. By providing them with excellent training and clear expectations, you are showing that you value them as exactly that.
Let's start off this blog post with a confession: I was supposed to post this yesterday. But I was traveling and just couldn't finish up before I had to board my plane. So rather than subject you all to substandard drivel for the sake of making a deadline, I asked for permission to post today instead and boarded the flight with a clear conscience.
As the plane was taxiing for takeoff, the flight attendant said "Wifi is available in-flight for a small fee." I said "Ooh! Maybe I can finish my blog post after all!" To which my seat-mate replied "Yes, after three 12-hour days of work meetings, you should definitely log onto the internet and blog during this flight instead of talking to the people sitting next to you, with whom you are friends." Since I had been reading an article entitled "Is Facebook making us lonely?" during takeoff, the irony was not lost on me.
Several of the points in the article are pretty depressing, with a discussion of the unhealthy side effects of loneliness and how Facebook can contribute to feelings of isolation and narcissistic personality disorder. While the article is talking about person-to-person relationships, it got me thinking about how one of the constant drumbeats lately in the nonprofit space is about using social media to connect more closely with your constituents. Is it even possible to build a real relationship using technology?
Well, I think that technology can help. If the staff members who are behind the curtain Facebooking, tweeting, blogging, pinning, LinkingIn, and writing the emails are speaking with an authentic voice, then it certainly can contribute to a feeling of connectedness. But it's not the end-all-be-all. What also helps a bundle is to welcome volunteers in real life at a real-life event, face-to-face, where they can contribute something. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a well-run, productive volunteer program is worth a thousand "Likes."
The most recent time I volunteered was at the National Arboretum helping to ready the grounds for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The opportunity was organized by some co-workers on the Convio Volunteer Committee. I had a great time hacking up tree roots, shoveling dirt, and tearing down ivy from cherry trees, all the while talking to colleagues in a different setting. The National Arboretum staff provided a great training, appropriate tools and enough real, hard work to do that at the end of the day, we really felt like we had accomplished something (and had a few blisters). I left feeling more bonded to the Arboretum and with a commitment to return.
Here are a couple of questions:
PS - are you wondering about the title of this post? Here's the backstory: my two-year-old daughter likes to sing the chorus of "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen, which has guaranteed that it's running on a nonstop loop in my head at all times. Pondering social media loneliness and volunteerism as an antidote has finally given me a semi-legitimate outlet to share this with the world beyond my Facebook friends. You're welcome.
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