We partnered with Winspire to bring you new ways to shake up how you say thanks (to donors, staff, volunteers, and your board).

You can watch the full webinar here, and see the answers to Q+A below:

Would like to hear more about “green” options that don’t contribute to the landfill…such as your Social Video idea. 
Green options, of course, will vary, depending on your budget and the amount of effort you want to put in. This list has 101 great ideas — surely there’s something in there that you can make work for your donor base and budget! 

When you said “personal text” do you mean from a text service or a staff member’s personal cell?
By “personal” text we mean a message that’s personal to the person you’re sending it to. Often these are sent from a text service or a fundraising platform like GiveSmart. However, if your staff has a personal connection with some donors, and it’s appropriate, by all means, send them a text and thank them for coming to your event or making a contribution.  

How to bridge the “technology gap” with older donors? (ex: Silent Auction via cell phone instead of paper bid forms). How to overcome the “push back?”
I’d first like to mention that older donors are more tech-savvy than we give them credit for! When you’re incorporating mobile bidding, it’s always a good idea to have staff or volunteers available to help guests. These auction helpers can have iPads and bid for guests, or they can guide them on their phones to help get them started and make sure everyone is included. This post explains further.

We recently hosted an adoption event “400 cats in 4 weeks” and have surpassed our goal, with 4 days left. We want to do something for our employees, but only have a small amount to spend. We want to do something unique… 
Incredible! I would start by looking at auction experiences you’ve had donated in the past (for example, dinner for 12, evening cruise down the river, a day on the golf course, or a trip to a vineyard) and see if any of those experiences would be a fit, given how many staff you have. Then, reach out to that donor and see if they can donate one again for your staff! Explain to them how hard they’ve worked to accomplish this goal, and you’d love if they can help you thank them.   

Our team is great at doing post-event thank you’s and follow up directly after an event, but not great at following up a month or two months after the event with new attendees or stakeholders. We are often busy moving on to the next event and continuous follow up gets tabled, especially if the person did not reply right away after the event. People are busy and I feel like we are leaving great relationships and money on the table by not following through a little while later. What are your thoughts on this? How important is that vs. follow up directly after the event? What are easy ways to be better at this? 
I think that if you’re losing money AND new relationships then this is a highly important issue. It’s important to prioritize follow up with new constituents since you likely worked hard to get them to your event in the first place. If you don’t keep them engaged with your organization then that work was for nothing. Often times the same message and mission stories lose their luster over time, so maybe refresh your outreach by changing the person, medium, or content. It might be worth it to survey your donors and/or board and see what the expectations are of each group. 

Can you set up email automation? If you’re capturing the new attendees and donors’ contact information, are you adding them to your listserv? It’s important to get them immediately in the loop with the communications you have that go out regularly to your constituents.   

When giving thanks for prior/current efforts, what are your thoughts on simultaneously promoting or showcasing upcoming initiatives we have?
Always. Be. Promoting! The more frequently you can get your various events and efforts promoted the better. You never know what breadcrumb might stick and yield you a new supporter.  

Do you recommend that we contact donor(s) before we’d provide thanks in a public medium such as Facebook, websites, etc.?
It’s our recommendation to first and foremost have a direct line of communication in place with your supporters. You never know which ones might prefer anonymity, so it’s important to respect their wishes. Once they’ve given you their consent, then the more often you can tout their praises the better.  

Do you have any recommendations on giving thanks to multiple groups at once? Basically, if we invite some donors/staff/volunteers/board members to different small events is that something you think would be worthwhile?
Creating some variety for all facets of your ecosystem is a great idea! The more you can get donors seeing their impact or feature volunteers who may feel undervalued the better. Getting like-minded individuals in the same room can also yield new ideas or initiatives that may have otherwise not surfaced due to their varying involvement levels in the organization.  

Knowing it’s right around the corner, do you have any thoughts on Giving Tuesday and ways we can help our organization stand out?
We do.  

How does an end-user distinguish an annual report from an impact report? 
Annual reports and impact reports are the same things, it just depends on what you want to call it. Many organizations are moving towards calling them “impact reports” because it resonates more with donors and encourages organizations to share more of the story alongside the financial facts.  

What is the best timeline for all thank yous? Especially when you have to wait for photos from photographers etc.
The sooner, the better! However, if you’re sending out photos from the event then that’s definitely a nice touch worth waiting for. There is no “set timeline” for what works best, but this timeline is a great look at the year that surrounds your big event.

How do you keep your swag fresh? We have very loyal donors that we want to thank well every year, but we don’t have a huge diversity of swag. Any great swag ideas?
Swag can be a number of things (shirts, stickers, water bottles, tote bags, pens, magnets, etc.) so think about your donor base and what they would use. What do you like to receive at events? What do you use, and what do you toss? 

Think of swag that is relevant to your mission. If you’re a sailing school, perhaps keychains that float. If you’re an animal organization maybe you hand out treats with your logo impressed on them.   

Our organization does a poor job of Stewardship and Thank You’s. We send the same thank you letter year after year. I can appreciate the ideas given in this webinar but some of those avenues may feel a bit “advanced” for an org that currently doesn’t do much. Where is the best place to start? Or do you just go all-in as suggested in today’s talk?
I think that you start implementing what you feel comfortable with! There’s no need to implement everything we talked about today immediately, but there are easy and free options to try. To start, you could refresh the thank you letter that you send every year. Perhaps add a photo, refresh the verbiage, put it in a card instead of computer paper, etc. If you don’t usually post a “gratitude post” on social media would be a great first step to add an additional “thank you content”. 

Want in on our upcoming webinars?
Find ’em here.

Kelsey Woodworth

Kelsey Woodworth is the Content Marketing Manager for GiveSmart and an Auburn University Graduate. Her finger is on the pulse daily for innovations in fundraising, community building, donor relations, and event trends. Kelsey lives in New York City.
Kelsey Woodworth

Latest posts by Kelsey Woodworth (see all)

READ  Tips to make your fundraising event special again