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Seven Communication Pieces Every Nonprofit Needs


March 9 | 2PM EST

Whether you’re growing and looking for ideas or established and wanting to make sure you’re still checking all the right boxes, your nonprofit can’t miss this webinar by fundraising strategist, nonprofit consultant, and all-around superstar Pamela Grow.

Pam is highly sought after by nonprofits eager to inject some common-sense wisdom into their fundraising cycle. In this webinar, she’ll urge you to shake off the “I don’t have time” excuse and focus on one central element of fundraising: your communication with your donors.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The single most important communication tool, even if you do nothing else
  • How to create a rinse-and-repeat series of outreaches
  • How to tell if your welcome email is doing its job
  • How to create the most memorable thank-you notes
  • Why you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and how you can repurpose instead
  • The perfect number of newsletters, and if they should be printed or emailed

Pamela Grow

Pamela has raised hundreds of millions through her consultancy, her weekly Grow Report enewsletter (over 40,000 subscribers), and her online Basics & More™ trainings on direct mail fundraising, digital fundraising, board fundraising, monthly giving fundraising, major gift fundraising and more. Pam’s over-riding goal is to provide results-focused fundraising training to small nonprofit organizations — at prices they can afford.



Pamela Grow:


Dave Martin:

All right. Welcome everyone to today's webinar, brought to you by CharityEngine. The title of the webinar is Seven Communication Pieces that Every Nonprofit Needs. My name is Dave Martin. I'm the Vice President of Marketing at CharityEngine. And our speaker, our highlighted speaker today is Pamela Grow. She's one of her favorites. She is a sought af, highly sought after fundraising consultant, and she has a unique voice and a track record of success of helping nonprofits and especially grow quickly. <Laugh>, she's been called <laugh>. She's been called one of the top 25 fundraising experts. And her blog, the Grow Report, of which I am a subscriber and look forward to every week getting her newsletter has been called One of the Top Must-Read nonprofit Blocks. And you can sign up, by the way, at pamela So I, I, I recommend that you check that out.

Put it in the chat in just a minute here. And today, Pam is gonna share with us the top seven communications pieces your nonprofit needs. This is applicable to any nonprofit that wants to grow, and we have yet to meet one that doesn't. So we do things quickly here. We start at the top of the hour and we do a quick intro, and then we let you get to the good stuff. So, Pam, I'm gonna exit. I'll be here in the background, but I'm just gonna leave the stage for now and take it away.

Pamela Grow:

Well, thank you, Jim. Thank you for that wonderful introduction by the way. You are, you are just way too kind, and I love working with CharityEngine

Dave Martin:


Pamela Grow:

<Laugh>. I'm gonna go ahead and get started. Let me see here. One second. Let's get this going. Oops. So welcome everybody. Welcome to seven communication pieces, every nonprofit needs. I'm gonna be hosting today's webinar. My name is Pamela Gro. I have worked with, they've already introduced me, so I don't really need to go through this, but I have worked with, with organizations just like yours, all over, all over the country, actually all over the world. One of my, I guess, I guess the word would be funnest. One of my funnest moments was when before they left the uk when Harry and Megan's charity actually signed up to take a class <laugh>, I was like, oh my God, I think I called everybody I knew. I love this work. So I'm the founder of Basics and more fundraising and the co-founder of the Verus Group Academy. Through basics and more, we have raised hundreds of millions for students and clients.

We've taught over 10,000 nonprofits from around the most importantly, I know the power of fundraising systems and really individual giving to totally transform your nonprofit. And I say that because I started out, I came from a background of working for a family foundation here in the Philadelphia region, and when I thought of fundraising, I thought of grants, grants, grants. So I started as a dedicated grant writing professional. And I think I'd been in the sector for about two or three years working with smaller nonprofits when I realized that that individual giving was what could really transform your nonprofit, because that's where you can get general operating support. And more and more foundations are giving general operating support, but back then they weren't. And I do believe strongly in you and your good work. And if you could just go ahead into chat and introduce yourself and let me know where you're calling in from today. That would be awesome.

Dave Martin:

Pam. sorry, I just jumped back in here. It looks like your camera's getting covered by something slightly there. So we see just a little bit of you and there's a black line above it.

Pamela Grow:

Oh, that's because I, oh, I tried to turn my, can you turn my camera off?

Dave Martin:

I think I can. I think if you just hit at the bottom next to settings, it's there. You can see camera if you just click on that button. There you go.

Pamela Grow:

Okay, let me find it.

Dave Martin:

I think you're good now.

Pamela Grow:

Oh, yeah,

Dave Martin:

Yeah. We just see your headshot, so I think you're fine. <Laugh>. Yeah, you're fine. And then I'm gonna leave, but just let me know if you need anything.

Pamela Grow:

Thanks. Thanks, Dave. Excellent. Let me see. A couple people have, have typed in here. Hey, Dawn. Hi Lacey. Hi, ededie. Hi, Darlene. Anisa, Ted, Barbara, Kendra, Jean Roxanne, Ray, BJ, William. Wow, we've got a nice full house today. Another Pam. Hi, Pam. Jessica, I am gonna go back to my presentation. Oh, and I always like to share a couple things about myself too. I, I live in, although I just moved I am still close to the city of Brotherly Love Philadelphia. I have two dau daughters who live in Philly. That is my daughter Abigail. She is a lawyer. She works she works in criminal justice, and right now she is working not far from me in Westchester. I am a baker. I am grandmother to that adorable puppy. I love to read, I love to paint, I love classic films. And you're probably wondering what that picture of the tacos is in the corner.

My other daughter manages a she's catering manager for the best Mexican food truck in Philadelphia. So if you're ever in Philly, let me know and I will tell you where you, where you can find them. At any rate, I wanna let you know that I totally, totally get it because I have been where you are. You're trying to balance too many things. I have been grant writer, individual, giving manager, database coordinator, event planner, what else? What else? Chief cook and bottle washer, pretty much, I mean, I have, I have been everything and I know that you're always juggling too many things, particularly if you're working for a small organization. And the truth of the truth of the matter is, my kids were little when I first started in fundraising. And so I started, when I started in fundraising, I primarily did, it did part-time jobs. So I was only working 15 to 20 hours a week and trying to get it all done.

I know you're busy with just a ton of stuff, entering data, putting the final touch on next week's gala, getting a massive number of grants submitted this, these are actual quotes from my readers, building the intra infrastructure of your development office. And don't even get me started on the social media and trying to keep on top of social media. We are all looking to work smarter and not harder. And sometimes with our, our limited resources in the field, in, in the nonprofit sector or what we perceive as, as limited resources, we end up working much harder and not as smart. So I'd really like to begin today by walking you through a short story. And if you have been with me for a while, you've already heard this story, but I always think it bears repeating.

This is the story of one donor. Her name is Amy. She is a single, single lady about mid fifties. She works as a she's a professor at a small, small university, liberal arts, let's say. She loves a really full life. She loves her dog Max. She loves watching great British Bake off euphoria and her secret guilty pleasure, hallmark movies. She loves traveling with her niece. She has actually a twin sister, and she is, she is godmother to her daughter. She loves theater, particularly smaller local productions. She loves music, she loves cooking and entertaining. She likes to hike, she loves to read. And she is also a donor.

Now, Amy is a regular donor to probably about a dozen nonprofits right there in her community. She's also a monthly donor. She gives monthly to about eight nonprofit organizations. So a couple of them are, are international, but most of them, again, are local. She tends to keep her giving local. She is also a major donor. She's given six figure gifts to her, to her college. She's given a nice size gift to a local theater project, and they don't know it yet, but the local animal shelter where she adopted her beloved Max, they will be the recipient of $125,000 legacy gift when Amy passes.

Now, just for the sake of our story, let's say that Amy kind of stumbled onto your organization. Oh, her friend, her friend had an extra ticket to your gala. And so she brought Amy along and Amy liked what she saw. So the, that evening, actually the next morning, she looked you up online and she made a nice gift and she got a receipt. And then utter silence, months passed almost a year. She vacationed in Peru. She helped plan her niece's wedding. She took a French pastry making class. She made a $10,000 gift to a local arts organization.

And then one particularly snowy day in mid-December, your appeal letter landed in her mailbox. Well, like most of us, she sorts her mail directly over the recycling bin. And she was in a hurry that day. She didn't remember your organization. She didn't remember giving, and the letter went in the trash. There's a couple points I make here, and, and one is that your organization is not at the top of mind for your donor, for your, for your typical donor. And the second point I wanna make is that Amy is just one of hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of really wonderful people who would love to support your good work. They would really love to, and all you need to do is make it ridiculously easy to give to your organization. And you'd be surprised at how hard that can be sometimes to make it ridiculously easy to give to your organization and then to nurture that relationship.

So what we'll be talking about today is that really the simple development systems fundraising model. And I kind of developed this after, like I said, after working first and in grants, but always for smaller nonprofit organizations. And it's a way to really keep on top of your donor communications throughout the year because it's your organization's ask thank report and then repeat donor communications model. It's not your fundraising program, right? It's not your fundraising program. What it is, it's the engine behind your successful individual giving program. It's, it's the engine that runs that, that program. It's the engine that builds your monthly giving program. It's the engine that builds your major gift program, Graham, it is the engine that brings in legacy gifts. So I wanna take a second here to just ask you guys, is having a strong base of general operating support important for your nonprofit? Is that a priority for your nonprofit? If you could just go ahead and type into the chat box. I'll come in and have a look.

I think go ahead and type into the chat box is having a strong base of general operating support important for your nonprofit? Hi Susan. Hi Dominique. Hi Anna. Hi Clive. Yes, absolutely. We couldn't survive without it from Cheryl. Cindy says, it would be lovely. Barbara says, yes, certainly. Well, I always ask that question because I think people say they want want a strong base of general operating support, but their actions don't really match, match with that. So thanks, you ready to get started? Let's go. These are the seven communication pieces every nonprofit needs. And the first one is, you're welcome. Email what <affirmative>, what happens when a brand new prospective supporter lands on your website and they sign up to receive your emails because to, to give with, with the way communications are these days and we're getting bombarded everywhere to get that email address, you've gotta have a certain level of trust there.

Is this what they receive? And this is a standard I just went on right before, actually, right before I came on this morning. And this is pretty much the standard, the standard message that you'll receive if you sign up for a lot of nonprofits newsletters or their email communications. But according to campaign monitor, welcome emails have some of the highest open rates in the industry. If not the highest open rate, 91% welcome emails can also create an 86% lift and unique open rate. Welcome email. Re email read rates are 42% higher than the average email. You can see just from these statistics that it's really important to spend some time on that Welcome email, welcome emails have on average four times the open rate and five times the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign. And in the Rebels Guide to Email Marketing, which is a few years old now, I think it was from 2015, but it's still a great book. They also tout welcome emails. They just have a much higher open rate that welcome email and that thank you email that we'll be getting to, we'll be getting to later today. And we've all heard this, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

So I wanted to share with you a welcome email that I just did a super quick rewrite up so you could see what, what that looked like. As you can see, this is actually not the worst welcome email that I've ever received, but it, there is something about it that I think go ahead and see if you can kind of pick up on what about this makes it not a great welcome email and type into the chat. Why is this a fairly good welcome email, but not a great welcome email. And here's what we did to it.

The subject line lets them thanks them and lets them know exactly what what's happening next. Thank you for recognizing the potential in every child. Thank you and welcome. We're so glad you're here. There's also a short survey. We'd love to know why you care about great schools. So what should your welcome message include? Well, you're gonna wanna ignore the canned response that comes with your email service provider. If you're with MailChimp, if you're with Constant Contact, you want your your welcome email to be really warm. Think of smile when you write it and really think about welcoming those perspective new donors aboard. Cut the jargon. Aim for a warm, friendly approach. This is important too. And I personalization is hyper important right now in these kind of weird times we're living in. You want to be more human, not less. So you really want to personalize your, your email communications wherever possible.

So I, I advise you to really try to capture that first name on your opt-in form. Set your expectations. So how often can the subscriber expect to hear from you? Now, if I sign up for your email and I get this really warm, wonderful big hug, welcome message. And then I don't hear from you for almost a year until the next email lands in my inbox. You can see how jarring that would be and I might even forget that I ever signed up. So how often can your subscriber expect to hear from you? We recommend, we recommend weekly, but if you can't do weekly, at least once a month at the bare bones, include links to all your organization's social media sites. You might include information about volunteering or other ways they can help and consider including a short survey. Now, I don't recommend anything major when it comes to surveying anywhere from one to three questions tops and always let your subscribers know about your privacy policy.

Just think in terms of really, really laying out the welcome mat. If you'd like to see examples, I do have quite a few because I, I know how important this welcome email thing is on my Just go to the search bar and search for welcome emails. You will see lots and lots of great examples. We're always adding new ones. And of course, next on the list is your thank you email. Remember our donor, Amy and her receipt? Think about how your thank you email is going to make your supporter feel. This is super, super, super important. Your thank you email and your thank you all together. How can you raise an extra $45 more with each gift?

Cultivate the habit of being really grateful for every good thing that comes to you and give thanks continuously in this study. This was from, it says 2018, but I think they did another one in 2020 learning to say thank you. The role of donor acknowledgements from the philanthropy center with Dr. Jen Chang and Dr. Adrian Sergeant. They did a study where they, half the people, half the people got a thank you before the next ask and the other half did not. And those who received the thank you gave on average $45 and 32 cents more than those who didn't receive the thank you. That's how important your thank you is.

And the good feeling of thank you lasts for almost three months. But aside from all the, all the reasons why you should, I think I agree with Ken Burnett, who is the, the founder of donor-centered fundraising. He wrote the book Relationship Fundraising back in the, in the eighties or nineties. The simple fact, is that an appropriate thank you letter? It's just the best fundraising opportunity of all. Anytime you can say thank you is just the best fundraising opportunity, right? I wanted to share with you, this was, this was the thank you that I received when I made a donation to TRO care in the uk.

And when this thank you landed in my inbox, well, it just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. The good work that can happen now because you chose to give, it's hard for me to capture just what it means. But because you chose to give your love and generosity will now live in so many moments of grace and mercy. We're in some crazy times. And the more you can humanize your donor communications, the more you can share love, the more you can share gratitude, the stronger your donor relationships will be. Isn't that gorgeous? I love that. And then next up is your thank you letter. Ah, you're telling me I have to send a thank you letter too, but our board only wants to do digital.

I cannot stress this enough, how important it is, particularly with smaller nonprofit organizations to use as much multi-channel marketing as possible. But particularly direct mail, nothing is as sticky as direct mail for every, for every letter that you send in the mail, you would have to send between five and 10 emails to have the same impact. This is, this is a slide from our friend Steve McLaughlin over at Blackboard, showing how the donor retention rates for multi-channel for every demographic a so much higher, particularly with your best donors, those donors between the ages of 55 and 74. But look at that how even millennials love getting mail.

Anne, as Ken Ken Burnett said, why miss out on that opportunity? That sending a beautifully written thank you letter provides, and this is one of my favorite examples. We had we had Julie Edwards when she was with humane Society, I think it was Humane Society of Georgia, Northeast Georgia. Yeah. And she won a thank you letter overhaul from copywriter Lisa, Sergeant. And as you can see, this is a really, really, really great letter. It's already a great letter. What would you do if you saw an animal suffering? I already know the answer. You would immediately help. I mean, she really speaks to the donor. She's got that great picture of the dog.

She talks about how the gift went immediately to work. So it's a great letter. This is the thing. Even the best letters can be improved. And again, it's, it's one of your best opportunities. Here's the overhaul. And see, see what she did for one thing, she, she indented the paragraphs included. More white space, incorporated the donor more into the picture, more emotion. Warm wags, just a really stellar, stellar thank you letter. You always wanna show impact, gratitude, and you do wanna let folks know what's coming next. The best light on, on the entire internet for you to find thank you letters is over at Sophie. How many of you are familiar with Sophie? Sophie is just about my favorite site online because I have some of the best examples. And this link will take you directly to Lisa Sergeant's thank you letters that she, she tells you, go ahead and swipe with abandon. Very inspirational. What next? You're welcome. Kit. We have been talking about donor retention for forever and generally it hovers, you know, around anywhere from 40 to 45, 40 6%. But as you can see, it took a dip in 2021. Overall donor retention year over year. And donor retention is really sort of critical when you really focus on retention fundraising.

Ironically, you'll be spending more, initially, you'll be spending more in the systems, you'll be spending more in in donor care. But as the years go by, you'll be spending far less on your fundraising because for first time donors, we're only seeing a retention rate of 23% in retention. For new donors acquired online is roughly 18%.

Have you ever watched an, an infomercial or QVC or anything like that? Have you ever actually ordered from an infomercial? You'll find that if you, I actually ordered my shark vacuum cleaner from an infomercial. I just was so taken that I picked up the phone that minute and I called and I think I had a cat at the time, and it, something about the cat hair just really sold me. And I called and I ordered the shark vacuum cleaner. If you have ever ordered from an infomercial, you know that the phone person has been trained to try to upsell you and they've been trained very, very, very effectively. And there's a reason for that. There's a period, there's a period in marketing, I think they used to call it the honeymoon phase. And that's when the prospect is just so hot and so excited and so enthused about the product that it's a good time to try to sell them other products to try and upsell them.

And that's kind of what kind of a little what the welcome kit is based on the idea of a welcome kit that, that new donors who, who give a second gift relatively soon after their first gift, they're going to continue their support at a rate two or more times greater than those who do not give again right away. But what's the thing? Well, we don't usually ask, right? The welcome kit is a way that you can get that, that next ask in, because of course, a brand new donor who has just given to your organization isn't really a donor yet. They're not a donor until they make that second gift.

So what we try to do is to, is to encourage donors to make a second gift within the first six to eight weeks after that first gift. The new welcome kit is a great way to do that. Here's an example of one, this is from Mercy cor and what it includes is a welcome thank you letter. This one has a really nice two page thank you letter, really extolling the donor and, and what they, what kind of impact they're making. A repurpose newsletter. This is a, this is a great way if you do do a donor print newsletter, this is a great way to repurpose extra copies. This particular kit included a bookmark and then it also included a soft ask and a reply envelope.

I've included actually in this particular presentation today. In the handouts you'll get a copy of the new donor timeline. And in that new donor timeline, you can actually click, click on the various parts and you'll find out how to, how to put together your own welcome pad. I've pack I have seen some really fabulous ones that are just done in-house. Number five, your ask, how are you mastering how you ask for a gift? And how often are you asking for a gift? For those of you who, who are sending out appeals, how many appeals do you send out? Do you send one year end appeal? Do you send two appeals a year end appeal, a spring appeal? Go ahead and, and let me know in the chat box, are you doing three appeals? Are you doing six appeals? How many times do you ask for a gift in the course of a year?

This is the direct mail ask and the email ask. This particular campaign had this actually two different letters for two different audiences. And then a I believe it was five email sequence. Your ass needs to include a strong opening or a lead. Your story, what's most important about your story is that you're focusing on one individual and you're really bringing your donor into the picture, right? How are you bringing your donor into the picture? There's a sentence right there, but I remembered your commitment to the children of our community. This was a letter that went out mid lockdown.

The, the ed talked about how she really struggled with asking her supporters during the middle of a pandemic, but then she remembered your commitment to the children are of our community. And it seems like the time is right to hear some good news. Your offer, your ask how are you conveying urgency and your call to action. Probably the, the, the biggest thing that I get when I get appeal letters for a review is that it never gets around to the offer. There's, there's never an ask. And now nowadays, you not only want to have a a very strong ask, but you wanna have that ask on every single page to make it ridiculously easy for you. I also have the fill in the blank appeal template that you can download. I think it's in the handout section. If it's not, I'll make sure that these folks get it. And I am gonna take a quick second to look and see what you guys have written in, cuz I can't see the chat box while I'm in here Quarterly, one or two times a year. Four appeals, yay. One to two times a year. Six appeals. I think six is perfect. Six to eight. Oh, great, great idea. Cindy says, I learned in a grant writing class to write a short note on the thank you letter. Yes. It makes the donor feel that you spent more time on them.

And yes, you were right. You were right. Everybody said about the the welcome email that it was very much focused on the organization, not the donor, right? Yep. Yep. Let me go back. And the next thing, peace Your donor newsletter does your nonprofit, and I should have clarified this, does your nonprofit have a print donor newsletter? Go ahead and type into the chat box and let me know. Do you have a print donor newsletter? Cindy's working on it. Yes. Oh, I'm seeing so many yeses and I'm excited. Yeah. Robert says, yes, once or twice a year. Sidney says yes. And this says yes. John says, not yet. Why am I specifying print? Why am I specifying print? Gretchen says they have a monthly newsletter, but it's digital only. And Gerdy says the same thing. Hi Glynis, it's so great to see you. Oh, I'm excited you're here. I've known Glynis for years and she is a terrific fundraiser. Well, sergeant calls the print donor newsletter your retention engines, and they are,

There is nothing better. There is nothing better for growing your individual giving than to introduce a print donor newsletter. And let me ask, has this ever happened to you? I post, put this out on Twitter. Oh, maybe a year ago. Oh, I guess <laugh>, I guess it wasn't that long ago. <Laugh>, maybe it was last year. Raise your hand if you've ever received a gift in an envelope coded from a campaign years ago. I've had subscribers who have gotten envelopes back from campaigns that were 20 years ago, 20 years ago. That is the power of print and that's why you never want to drop print. And that is also why the donor newsletter can, can be the biggest boon to your individual giving program. Your print donor newsletter, it's always working for you. It's promoting monthly, giving year round. What I like to do when I'm working with clients and doing their, their donor comps for the year, we, we typically will start with three donor newsletters, print donor newsletters. I prefer more. I I prefer any anywhere from six to eight. But then you're gonna alternate. You're gonna promote monthly giving. One month you are going to pro promote legacy giving another month. Your donor newsletter is what shares, shares the impact that your donor is, is creating through you. It is really, it's the primary lead for legacy giving. It is sticky. And a good owner newsletter follows this extremely simple formula, extremely simple, 11 by 17 inch sheet folded and half to make four pages, then folded again into thirds for mailing.

One color, two colorful color doesn't seem to matter in terms of testing. This is, this is directly from Tomma Hern. This came from, from what, from, from what he had developed as a copywriter. But it was also originally developed by the domain group out in Seattle, which was the company founded by, by Richard Perry of the verus group. It was mailed only to current donors. That's really important right there. A lot of organizations will take and they'll send it out to everybody and then they'll, they'll kind of chalk it up as a loss. The, the print donor newsletter only goes to current donors. It is mailed in a number 10 envelope bearing a message like the latest issue of your donor newsletter. Enclosed mailed as often as monthly. And if you've been with me for a while, you know that I've talked before about Nashville Rescue Mission, which is wonderful organization down in Nashville. And they were making, I don't know how they, how they're doing now because actually the person who who wrote their newsletter is not there anymore. But they were raising 2 million a year just from the newsletter, which always included a soft ask just from the newsletter. They did mail monthly.

You enclose a reply envelope for checks and you make sure the newsletter promotes online giving as well. And you report on accomplishments, how the donors gifts have made a difference. So I'm gonna ask another quick question because I can't, the the thing about webinars, you always feel like, you know, well, I'm not there so I can't see your faces and I really like to engage. Tell me, out of all these points, what do you think is the one that gets mucked up the most? I've been running a newsletter class for, gosh, about 10 years now. And what is the one thing that, that most organizations don't follow out of this list?

Take a guess. Take a guess. And I'm coming back to see you. Hmm, some good guesses, but I haven't seen the one yet. Several people said that there, there's no B r e brb in include b r e included. No reply envelope. But believe it or not, that's not it. What I often see that nobody wants to do, they don't want that added expense and they turn it into a self mailer. You need to mail it in that number 10 envelope. That's, that's really important. It's important because what happens when you get a piece of mail in your, in your mailbox and it's a self mailer I know about me. I always think it's a piece of junk and it usually ends up in the trash. It is really, really important that you, that you include your donor in the, include their, their role, but also that you send it, excuse me, that you send it out in, in that number 10 envelope. And that you do include the reply envelope.

This is one of my favorite newsletters and I'll share, I share it often with with organizations who are coming to me wanting to do a new newsletter because this is an organization out in Montana Child Bridge finding and equipping foster and adoptive adoptive families for Montana children in need. You can tell that their mission is incredibly complex. It is very sensitive. But if you look at this newsletter bringing you, you, the donor closer to the lives you helped change from a group home to a family because of you look at the simplicity of it, I would say, you know how they always say that your copy should be written at a fifth grade level reading level. I would say this is probably maybe even third or fourth grade and their stock photos, because needless to say, they don't use photos of their children. They don't even tell you a lot of detail, but you have made a future possible. They raised $20,000 with their very first donor newsletter. That's a great one. And number seven, we're finally at number seven. Donor feedback. Finding your donors big. Why,

Why do they give to you? What, what is it inside them? Why, why you? That is your, that is your biggest challenges figuring out why your donors give so many, many years ago, I'm in my very, very, very first job in fundraising. I was working for a regional ambulance corps. And ambulance, ambulance corps are different all over the place. Like in Philly, the tax dollars provide your ambulance service. But out, out where I was living, no, they didn't get any state or federal funding. So it was all by billing, medical billing and their members. So I came on board about five years after they had run a very successful capital campaign, and I was responsible for their very first appeal. I came to find out that major donors had been ignored in those five years. They hadn't written a single grant proposal in five years.

Nothing had been done for five years since the capital campaign had closed. They had memberships with key community organizations like the Rotary and things like that. They hadn't had any contact. The fellow who had run the capital campaign had passed away, but worst of all, their fundraising appeal had not only been on a five-year decline, but it had made many of the locals angry. Some of our supporters had received as many as eight of the same appeal. It was a mess. And even I, and in, in my first fundraising job, I thought, well, why, why do donors give to the, to, to the ambulance corps?

I knew that they didn't give because we had the best trucks, which, which was, believe it or not, what they had been highlighting for all those years that they had the best equipment, they had the best trucks. Also, our donor base was dying. So what I did was, I think I, I had about two or three months to prepare for this very first appeal. So what I did was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I picked out 20 of our most loyal donors. These were folks who had given over $250 a year during the past every year for the past five years. And keep in mind they've never received so much as a thank you. And I wrote a very simple letter of introduction, asking why they had supported us. And I sent it out along with a super short survey and a stamped self-addressed envelope.

18 out of the 20 responded and several of them sent in checks. I hadn't asked for any money. Three of them became major donors that year. And less than two years later, we received our first bequest gift in the form of a check for $250,000. You really need to know why your donors give. At the end of the day, I love this quote, the most important thing you can do is to engage your donors in a way that not only compels them to give more regularly and ultimately at higher levels getting feedback from your donors. You are going to get so much out of it. It's, it's not only that, but it's, it's so much fun. It's so much fun. So I really believe that you, you need to incorporate feedback throughout almost every step of your donor comes. So how do you do that? Well, you, you can do the donor survey, a survey that goes out to either all your donors or a certain target group of your donors. This can be fairly exhausted, exhaustive. You can also though, what I like to do is request donor feedback in various ways, say throughout your social media posts and in your emails, including a one question survey and emails. And I would love to hear, go ahead and type into the chat chat box. Type in other ways that you think you could incorporate feedback. And this is important too. Non-Financial participation.

And before we go to questions, I just wanted to share one of my favorite ways. This is a, I believe it's an Irish organization. I don't see the name of it, but they send out with their year end ask. They send out this adorable Christmas ornament and you are meant to hang one on your tree and send one back for their tree. And you write, you know, letting students and teachers know that you're thinking of them. It's really lovely. So go ahead and download your seven communications pieces. P d f Make a plan for growing your monthly giving program in 2023. It's monthly giving month and hop on the phone and call at least five donors. What is the first communication you are going to work on after today's webinar? Let me see. Hey, my timing's good. I'm coming back. Hey. Yay. Cheryl's gonna work on their welcome email, welcome email. Everybody's gonna work on their welcome email. Excellent, excellent. I'm gonna go ahead and finish up. Here's how you can further connect with me. We have the fundraising calendar. You can download a full 12 month calendar for 20 And CharityEngine is one of my favorite sponsors. You can also connect with me. My email is pamela pamela There's my LinkedIn, ignore my Twitter <laugh>, my website is pamela and training is at basics and more What else? Thank you. Thank you for being here today. Thank you for being the change. Thank you for everything you do each and every day.

I'm gonna open up for questions and I see Dave is back.

Dave Martin:

Hi Pam.

Pamela Grow:

Hi <laugh>.

Dave Martin:

Feel free. Everyone feel free to, to type in any questions you have here in the chat and Pam will answer those for you.

Pamela Grow:

Well, thank you Cheryl. Thank you. Hey, will,

Dave Martin:

And we will be sharing probably within a half an hour it's automated. A a link to the recording will be sent out. And we're also going to work on those. The PDF there was a little bit large for this platform. Cause there there was so many good ideas in it. I think that's why.

Pamela Grow:

Well, thanks for all your great comments. Hi Sue. Hi Barbara. Hi Clive. Ah, thank you Glynis. I love Glenys. You probably don't know this Glynis, but part of the reason I love you so much aside from all the wonderful work you do is your name. I love your name, <laugh>.

Ah, that's a great question from Cindy. Any advice for Department of one? I really find that outsourcing, if you are a department of one, that outsourcing can be a great way to, to really ramp up these systems and get them situated. If you just outsource for about a year and get all these donor coms pieces, kind of create it and you've got a template you can work with, you can, you can take it forward yourself after that because Yeah, I know, I know it, it is so hard. Is there any worry about too much communications with Ask? That's a great question, mark. No, I, well, not <laugh>, yes and no. I'm trying to remember the exact study. Who was it, who was it? Jeff Brooks had this study where this, this this firm, they kind of tested it to see how many times they could ask during the course of a year without, without having any kind of pushback. And it seems like it was something like 18, which, which sounds crazy, but a huge part of it is how you ask, like, like with this newsletter, we've had people raise sometimes even more with their newsletter than with an appeal. And yet there's, there's no hard ask. It's not framed as an ask.

So a lot of it is is really a question of, of how you're asking and how you're communicating with your supporters. Are you only reaching out to them with an ask to me? That's when that's when you're really in trouble. Well, thanks Mark. You guys are too kind. I'm trying to see if I missed any other questions.

Dave Martin:

Yeah, I don't think there are any others. I think we'll probably wrap things up, Pam. Excellent. As I said before, we'll send out an email with a link to the recording so that you can go back and see this presentation again. It'll come out in the next hour at the most. Thank you so much Pam. Fantastic session, great examples. We appreciate you, your thought leadership and your advice for nonprofits. Cause our goal is to create content that helps nonprofits and that's it. Thank you so much Pamela, for your time and your energy and, and everything you brought today.

Pamela Grow:

Well, thank you so much. It's always fun being here and thanks for hosting.

Dave Martin:

Awesome. Thanks everyone. Have a great day.

Pamela Grow: