A Special Way To Thank Major Donors

woman in white t-shirt holding thank you gift box
Ribbon image created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

One of the most important pieces of the nonprofit fundraising puzzle is discovering new and creative ways to thank your donors. Promotional products are an increasingly popular way to say thank you to donors while also spreading awareness of your organization.

When you add promo to your fundraising strategy, you may want to do so by developing a gift program. Presenting your top donors with a special gift in the form of a promotional product can solidify your relationship with them. And, when you provide a donor with a quality item they’ll be using frequently, you’re helping to spread the word about your organization even further.

What to Remember

A good practice to follow when gifting promotional products is to use the gift as a surprise. Depending on what the item is, you can present it before the donation is made or after. However, you want to avoid presenting the item in a transactional way, as in, give $50 to receive this mug. A study conducted at Yale found that we feel positive about giving when it instills a sense of altruism in us, a feeling that we’ve selflessly done something to help others. We’re giving to get that feeling. But, when we know that our contribution will be rewarded in some way (my dollars for this mug) we tend to feel selfish rather than selfless, leading us to give less.

Instead, presenting a potential donor with a gift before a donation is made instills a sense of reciprocity. And surprising donors with something special after they’ve selflessly given helps build a positive feeling for your organization.

In addition to when you present the gift, consider how you will present it. The language you use is important. Donors will feel more positive about the gift if you present it as a tool to further your mission. You can tell the donor how their use of the item will help to spread awareness of your organization, increasing their engagement with you and making them eager to use the gift you’ve given.

Top Gifts to Thank Top Donors

brown leather journal with tie laying on wooden boards
These debossed leather refillable journals have a soft feel and a high-end look donors will love.

While you may have varying levels of gifts to thank all your donors, your top donors deserve something special. These are the individuals who consistently make game-changing contributions to your organization. This often means financially, but it may also be someone who invests their time and expertise into helping your organization to grow and its beneficiaries to shine.

Whomever you are looking to thank, here are some gifts your donors will appreciate:

Branded Journal

Journals and portfolios are a popular item on today’s promo market. With a range of sizes and styles, it’s easy to find an item that fits with your brand and your message. Decorating a journal with a deboss or hot foil stamp is a subtle and professional way to brand, giving the item added texture and depth.

Etched Pen

There’s no getting around it—we spend a lot of time in front of screens. However, there are still times when only a hand-written note will do. You can make the writing experience enjoyable for your donors by presenting them with a higher-end metal or hardwood pen. Decorating the pen with an etching will give it a classy look.

black metal pen etched with Panasonic logo

Apparel Item

young woman wearing red fleece jacket and khaki pantsA high-quality apparel item embroidered with your logo is something many donors would love to receive, and to wear. Apparel is the most popular group of items in the promo industry. And it represents a major way to spread awareness about your organization. You could present your top donors with an embroidered jacket, vest, hat, scarf or socks. They’ll be sure to wear the item throughout the day, bringing your name with them to everyone they meet.

red metal hydroflask water bottle imprinted with white CSI logoDrinkware Items

I use a water bottle and a travel mug nearly every day. It’s likely many of your donors do as well. It’s important to me that these items are durable and functional, and that they are representative of myself and the things that matter to me. Presenting your top donors with a stainless steel etched tumbler or water bottle is sure to make an impression, both on your donors and their friends, families, and coworkers.black coffee mug with Fenton Construction Logo

Want to make your gift even more personal? Some products can be decorated using variable data printing methods. This means that in addition to including your nonprofit’s logo or tagline on the gift, you can personalize each item with the name or initials of the donor. If you want to wow your donors with a unique gift, this is the way to go.

Paw Print & Mail offers a wide variety of promotional products, and we’re ready assist you with finding the right promo for your donors. Explore our online catalog, or contact us today and start promoting your nonprofit with promotional products.

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What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Blogging

Group in office discussing blogging content
Business image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

If you’re regularly on the internet, you’re probably encountering blogs on a daily basis. Blogs are everywhere—some people even blog for a living. Content development has become an established piece of marketing and fundraising strategy. It’s important that both for profit and not for profit organizations can give their audience value and information, and blogs are a popular way to do that.

Blogging is an effective way to stay in touch with your donors in a format that is informative and engaging. Whether you have an established blog for your nonprofit or you’ve never written a blog post in your life, these ideas can help you create a top-notch nonprofit blog page so your organization will stand out from the crowd.

1) To Blog or Not to Blog?

It’s important to consider a few things before you get down to blogging:

  • What host will you use? WordPress is a popular website tool, but there are other options.
  • Do you have a goal or goals for your blog? Have key members of your organization sit together and come up with some concrete guidelines for what you hope to get out of blogging. Maybe you’re trying to attract volunteers. Over time, you can measure whether your blog is succeeding based on the numbers of new volunteers you’re seeing.
  • Who will be in charge of posting? Maybe one person is always in charge of blogging, or duties are shared throughout your nonprofit. Whatever you decide, ensure everyone knows their role and the publishing timeline.
  • Does your organization have the time and resources for a blog? You can read more about this below. But if you know upfront that regular blogging is not a feasible possibility for your nonprofit, it’s best to focus on other projects. Having no blog is better than having a lackluster one.
  • Who is your audience, and what questions will they have? Different causes appeal to different groups of people. You know your donors, and you’ll want to consider what language/tone you should use to speak to them in your blog, as well as what they want to know about your organization.
  • How will you promote your blog? You can share your blog on social media, include a link to it in an email newsletter, feature it on your website’s homepage…think about what channels you have a following on, and use them to your advantage.

 2) Consistency is Key in Blogging

Blogging requires frequent updates of fresh content to keep followers engaged. If you’re going to start blogging for your nonprofit, make sure you have the time to regularly devote to it.

Part of being consistent is publishing content on a regular schedule. It could be once a week, twice a week, a few times per month—whatever timeline you feel you can keep up with. When you update on a regular basis, say, every Wednesday, your audience will come to expect your posts on Wednesdays and will be more likely to come back to your site looking for them. A blog that is only sporadically updated is not going to receive that kind of attention. Readers won’t view it as a reliable, regular source of content.

You’ll also want to be consistent in the feel of your blog. You want your readers to come to see your blog as a friendly and trusted resource. Keep your tone of voice and the look of your blog similar from post to post. For instance, if many of your posts start with an image, make sure to include an image at the beginning of every post.

3) Blogs Give Your Nonprofit Authority and Build Trust

Handshake_Trust_Paw_Print_and_Mail
Business card image create by Katemangostar- freepik.com

There are a lot of nonprofits out there—1.5 million in the U.S., in fact. And it’s likely there are other organizations with goals and missions that are similar to yours. Blogging is a way that you can showcase your unique story, while also establishing your knowledge of your field.

You can use a blog to inform your audience on topics centered around your nonprofit’s mission. By showing you have an extensive knowledge of the issue and topics surrounding it, you present yourself to donors as an authority in your field. This helps to give your organization credibility, and donors will feel that you have the experience to put funds to best use and truly solve problems.

By showing your knowledge, along with proof of the work you are doing, you build trust with your audience as well. It’s important to think of your donors as friends, individuals you’re building a long and sociable relationship with. Typically, we trust our friends. Blogging is a way to deepen that trusting relationship by showing that you’re listening to what your donors have to say and are actively working to achieve goals they’re looking to you to solve.

Consistency helps build trust as well. If you are consistent in your efforts and consistent in your blogging, your audience will rely on you to provide them with regular information that they want to know about your organization and its work.

4) Engage your Audience with Blogging

Enhancing donor loyalty requires you to think of your donors as friends and develop relationships with them. One of the best ways to do that is to create opportunities for donors to engage with you and share their thoughts.

Blogging is an effective way to enhance your engagement with a wide audience. People can comment on your blog, contact you based on a post they found interesting, attend an event or volunteer after reading a post, sign up for your email list, and share your content on social media. Sharing is huge for blogs. It allows people to see your blog and learn about your organization who might not come across you otherwise.

Engagement is truly one of the main goals of blogging, and while everything you post won’t lead directly to a donation, giving people exposure to your organization and getting people talking about it is going to have an impact.

5) Blogs Tell Your Story

Stories are a compelling way to give your nonprofit personality and heart. You may have stories that you regularly use in fundraising and marketing materials. But there are all kinds of stories you can tell about your employees, volunteers, and beneficiaries of your nonprofit that make for great blog posts.

Event coverage is an effective blog topic. You can show who is involved, how you’re working to make an impact, and what you achieved. Your events may not get a lot of coverage from external media groups, so covering them yourself ensures people will see the good work you’re doing.

Talking about the stories and goings-on at your nonprofit shows your audience that you are actively working to achieve your mission and that your efforts are effective at doing so. Being able to communicate that you are active and making a difference is important to donors, because they can be sure their donations will be making an impact for good.

6) Blogs Convey Your Purpose

Your nonprofit is up against a lot of competition. Your blog is a place for you to separate yourself from the pack and convey not just the story of your organization, but also its purpose. Why does your specific nonprofit need to exist? How is it going to provide something different than organizations with similar goals? What is your blog’s purpose? How will it work to contribute to your mission and the betterment of your community?

7) What Types of Content?

smiling woman blogging on laptop
Background image created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

You want to achieve consistency in the look and feel of your blog. At the same time, you’ll need a variety of content to keep your blog interesting. Sometimes you may want to share an interesting article you find, or you’ll be writing your own. Some posts will be more text-heavy, but visuals are helpful for readers to visualize what you’re writing about. Take lots of pictures and videos of different events and happenings you’re involved in. That way, you’ll have a lot of content to draw from.

You may also want to feature a guest blogger occasionally. A board member or a volunteer could write about their experience with your organization and why they’re so passionate about helping you to achieve your mission. Or an expert in the field related to your nonprofit can contribute a post to help further educate donors about the issues you’re working to solve.

Another great post idea is to address frequently asked questions about your organization. If it’s content that people are regularly looking for, a blog post can pull double duty.  While contributing to your regular posting schedule, it will also provide evergreen content that can regularly be referred to.

And as we know a thank you is always welcome, your blog is another way to show gratitude and appreciation for your donors. Make a fun video with volunteers, employees, and beneficiaries saying thank you, and weave a tone of thankfulness throughout all your communications.

Paw Print & Mail specializes in nonprofit appeal production services and copywriting and content marketing, including ghost blogging services. If you need assistance with your nonprofit appeal strategy, contact Paw Print today.

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10 Tips to Increase Donor Loyalty

cartoon of donors placing money in a donation box
Money vector created by Freepik

Think how hard it would be if you had to find a new pool of donors every year just to keep your nonprofit going. Not only would it be exhausting—it might even be impossible.

Which is why it’s important that there are donors who choose to give on a regular basis. Statistics show that repeat donors give more to nonprofits, not just over time, but also per gift. Which makes sense—once a donor has become invested in a nonprofit, they are often willing to give more to increase the organization’s impact.

Repeat donors represent a significant chunk of fundraising dollars, and are a key piece of achieving year-end fundraising goals. But donor retention is following a troubling trend.

According to a 2016 report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, while nonprofits are seeing an increase in the number of new donors, the overall donor retention rate in the U.S. has been below 50% since 2008—and it’s declining.

There are 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S., and over 4,000 just in the state of Vermont. That means more pressure than ever for your nonprofit to retain donors and raise the necessary amount of fundraising dollars. One of the best ways you can ensure your organization will meet its fundraising goals is by focusing on increasing donor loyalty. Here are 10 ways you can work to do just that.

1. Treat your Donor as A Friend

We’re talking about increasing your donor retention rates, but it’s not about a number. It’s about building meaningful relationships with your donors. A gift is a step in your relationship with the donor, not just a transaction that increases funds. This may seem obvious to you if you work for a nonprofit. But it’s important to always keep in mind as you look for ways to enhance your fundraising efforts and ensure donors remain involved with your organization. Make sure there are multiple ways your donors can engage and interact with you, through blogs, social media, email, and more.

2. Create Trust with Your Donors

One of the key components of developing deeper relationships is building trust. Creating trust in your relationships with your donors is essential to engendering loyalty. If you are consistently dependable when it comes to communicating with donors, thanking them, and making significant impacts with your fundraising dollars, donors will want to keep giving to your organization.

3. Keep in Touch

Donors typically need multiple “touches” from an organization before they commit to making a gift. According to Professor Adrian Sargeant, a fundraising professor and philanthropy expert in the UK, 53% of donors stop giving because of a lack of communication from the nonprofit. It’s important to communicate with donors regularly, with updates on how their dollars are being spent and what’s going on at your organization. Keep lines of communication open between you and the donor so that they truly come to feel they are a part of your organization.

Cartoon man with giant megaphone
Background vector created by Dooder – Freepik.com

It’s essential to include touches that don’t ask for a gift of any kind, but are solely meant to inform the donor. Don’t structure your communications with donors based on giving, only to disappear from their lives once they’ve made a gift.

And, it’s just as important to give donors the option to request fewer communications from you. If they are hearing from you too often for their liking, they are less likely to give than if they have the choice to hear from you when they want to. Creating options for your donors helps your organization to build greater credibility.

4. Create Specific Fundraising Appeals

A major reason why donors don’t give is from a sense of futility. It may be hard to put their donation into context: how is my $30 really going to make a difference?

That’s why specific appeals are so important. You need to be clear about the direct impact that donor’s funds will have. For example, you can say “your $50 gift will feed [x amount] of children for one month.” This type of appeal is compelling. The donor can see exactly how their individual contribution can have an impact on someone’s life.

5. Make an Emotional Connection with Stories

Using stories to create an emotional connection is a common marketing tool. They can be used in fundraising to give credence to the successes and struggles of your organization. When you tell a story about a specific individual who needs or is receiving help through your organization, you are giving donors a face that they will want to help. Stories are often about helping a prospect see themselves in the tale. Even if your prospective donor has never been in the exact situation, you will tap into their compassionate side and give them a compelling reason to give.

For your story to have the strongest impact, keep your donors updated. If you can show how someone was directly impacted by your organization, it helps donors to see the good work you are doing and will make them want to keep giving.

6. Establish Opportunities for Repeat Giving

hands placing money in donation box
Background vector created by Freepik

Instead of framing a donation as a one-time gift, use language that will compel your donors to turn their gift into a monthly or yearly contribution. Ensure there is a clear and easy process for making this happen.

7. Use the Language of your Donors

A key rule of copywriting is to write in the language of your prospect, and it’s true for donors too. You may use jargon or industry-specific terms when communicating with others in your organization. But technical or unusual terms have a greater chance of confusing your donors than convincing them to give.

If you speak and write in consistently clear language that the prospect will understand, they will see you as a resource for comprehending an issue. They will feel a greater affinity for your organization as someone they can trust and relate to.

8. Reach Out to Lapsed Donors

Some of your donors may not have given in a while. But if they have in the past, you know that at one time they felt a deep enough connection to your nonprofit that they wanted to contribute. Lapsed donors are an important group you don’t want to overlook. With the right communications from you, they could return as regular donors.

9. Segment Your Donor Communications

Loyalty is built by adding personal touches. Your pool of donors will be at all different stages of the giving process, giving different amounts for different reasons. It’s easy to segment mailing lists and add personalization to your communications, and this should certainly be a part of your fundraising strategy. When you clearly speak to donors right where they are, they will like the added level of personality and feel they as an individual are important to the success of your nonprofit, rather than just a name on a list.

10. Always Say Thank You!

Thanking donors for their contributions is essential. Never neglect an opportunity to let your donors know how much their gift means to your organization. A simple thank you can turn a one-time donor into a champion for your cause.

Paw Print & Mail specializes in direct mail fundraising appeal campaigns. Contact us today to enhance your fundraising strategy.

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