5 Ways to Show Your Donors Some Love This Valentine’s Day

 

While some people may not be the biggest fans of Valentine’s Day, why not make it about more than romantic love this year? Today, we’re sharing five simple ways that your not-for-profit organisation can show your donors some love, and transform Valentine’s Day into a celebration of love and care for humankind and the world around us. While showing appreciation to your donors is a year-long activity, Valentine’s Day offers a unique opportunity to communicate with your supporters in a way that sends a clear message: that they matter, and they make a difference. These tips will help you show your donors that you see them, you appreciate them, and that they are an important part of your organisation’s community.  

 

  1. Say Thank You 

Thanking your donors is about more than gratitude and etiquette – it’s a way of nurturing those important relationships to help sustain them into the future. Avoid being an organisation whose donors only hear from you when you want something from them – be proactive about your communication, and show your donors how much their support means to you. Whether it’s a handwritten note, a personalised email, or a creative direct mail piece, getting in touch to let your supporters know that they are seen, loved and appreciated could go a long way. Importantly here – you’re not asking for anything. Instead, you’re creating a connection with your donors, reminding them of your organisation and why they care about your mission, and showing them the impact that their support is having. 

 

2. Pick up The Phone 

Choose a specific segment of your supporters, and call them to say thank you. Phone calls are deeply personal forms of communication, and they can go a long way towards building trust. Make it a priority to schedule time on your calendar to speak with donors over the phone.   

 

3. Encourage People to Give the Gift of Love 

Do you have (or can you create) a programme that would allow people to donate on behalf of a loved one? Some great examples are the IFI’s Name Your Seat Campaign, Smock Alley’s Buy a Brick Campaign, and UNICEF Ireland’s Cupid’s Care Box. The Glucksman’s Love Bug Crafting Tutorial demonstrates a great way to connect with your supporters in a way that’s unique to your organisation, and the Irish Heart Foundation’s Love Run shows how you can get existing and potential donors involved in your organisation in a real and tangible way. And for those all-important Valentine’s Day cards, the ISPCA’s ‘I Woof You to the Moon and Back’ cards are a great example of an affordable, accessible way for people to engage with your organisation. 

Get creative here – there are countless ways that you can offer personalised donor recognition that people will be excited to share with their loved ones.  

 

4. Spotlight your Supporters on Social.

While some supporters wish to donate anonymously, many people appreciate being recognised for their support and impact, particularly corporate partners. Celebrate your donors by publicly thanking them on social media. Either share what they mean to your organisation, or even ask them to share what your organisation means to them. Sharing a company or an individual’s personal giving story is a great way to both nurture a lasting relationship with current donors while capturing the attention of potential donors. Remember – it’s important to make sure that your donors are comfortable with being addressed publicly, so be sure to get their permission first. 

 

5. Plan a Donor Engagement Event

Donor engagement events are a great way to help your donors feel cared for. Virtually or in-person, an event like this should be all about donor impact. Share stories about all that your supporters have made possible – whether those stories come from clients, beneficiaries, or staff members. These events exist to build trust, create a dialogue with your donors, and help to show the alignment between your donors’ interests, and your organisation’s mission. 

 

Bonus Number 6 –  Review your Donor Stewardship Strategy. 

Valentine’s Day might be but once a year, but it’s vital that your donors feel the love all year round. Check in on your existing donor care strategy, and look for any gaps that you might be able to fill. Think about: 

  • The frequency of your communications  
  • The level of personalisation in your communications 
  • How you share your impact (and your donor’s impact!) 
  • How well you know your donors (their giving history, their birthday, their communication preferences.)
  • Creating unique experiences for specific donor groups
  • Making sure your donation process is as user-friendly and visually-pleasing as possible

With these tips, we hope that you can show your donors exactly how much they mean to your organisation, and nurture those important relationships so that they can grow and be sustained long into the future. 

3 Ways to Be a More Impactful Chair. 

The position of Board Chair is one that comes with a substantial amount of responsibility, but it is also an incredibly worthwhile and rewarding role.

 While the role may vary from organisation to organisation, the Charities Regulator define it as follows:

  • Leading the Board;
  • Ensuring smooth running of board meetings;
  • Promoting good governance among fellow charity trustees;
  • Providing supervision and support to the CEO/Director and SMT;
  • Acting as a figurehead or spokesperson where required.

So how can you go above and beyond to be a Chair that drives real impact in your organisation?

 

1.      Lead with Integrity

 

The most effective Board Chairs go beyond expectations by cultivating a collaborative board culture and engaging fellow members in ways that best utilise their unique and individual strengths. According to Boardable “An effective Board Chair brings out the best in others and moves your organisation forward throughout their term. They embody the spirit of the organisation and continually keep the integrity and goals of the organisation at the forefront of every decision they make.”

It’s vital as a Board Chair that you build relationships with your fellow Board members, adopt a learning mindset, and set the tone for a collaborative board culture.

 

2.       Embrace Philanthropy, Partnerships and Fundraising Development

 

In the context of embedding philanthropy and meaningful external partnerships into your organisation, an impactful Chair is one who embraces fundraising with enthusiasm and vigour. Therefore it’s imperative that fundraising is on the agenda at every board meeting, and as Chair, it’s important to lead by example and make it a priority.

Here are some ways that a not-for-profit Board Chair might involve themselves in fundraising:

  • Expanding the organisation’s potential donor network by introducing staff members to business and personal contacts.
  • Keeping up-to-date on the organisation’s fundraising strategy and donor cultivation plans.
  • Making a personal donation at a level within your capacity and encourage others on the Board to do the same .
  • Spreading the word about the importance and impact of the organisation.

 

3. Build a Relationship with the CEO

 

Secondly, a healthy relationship between the Board Chair and the organisation’s CEO is key.  In an interview with Nick Coleridge, Chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool, and the Gilbert Trust for the Arts, Nick says:

 “The Chair is not meant to be making all the decisions, but can be a useful sounding board – especially if you understand the organisation as well as I think you should. The Director of the V&A and I have an informal/formal breakfast once a month. We each arrive with a list of about eight points, pose questions and share our perspectives on different issues raised. It works well, because we’re incredibly open with each other. It’s a very fine balance that you have to get right.” 

Without a doubt it’s vital that a Board Chair and organisation’s CEO be in alignment about the organisation’s mission and direction. Building a synergetic and respectful working relationship will ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals – which will help to make those goals much more achievable.

Fundraising Resolutions for 2022

As this New Year gets underway, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your organisation’s fundraising strategy and goals for the upcoming year. To help you along the way, we’re sharing 7 Fundraising Resolutions that your organisation can make to help you to have a successful and impactful 2022.  

 

 

  1. Get Your Board on Board

 Your Board members are your best connectors, ambassadors and advocates for your organisation. Take some time at the start of the year to make a plan about how they can support your fundraising ambitions. Set some time at your first 2022 Board meeting to ensure Fundraising is on the agenda, and make sure it stays on the agenda for every Board meeting this year!

 

  1. Embrace Virtual Events and a Hybrid Model

As we continue to operate in an adapted world, where possible, move events to an online platform instead of calling them off. Congregating, even online, is better than cancelling and a great way to build and sustain relationships. And Hybrid events (which take place both online and in-person) offer a creative, flexible, way to increase your donor reach even further. 

 

  1. Focus on Your Friends Rather Than Their Funds

Good donor communication and stewardship is vital to long-term fundraising success. Rather than starting the New Year with an ASK, first share recent success stories, demonstrate your impact and most importantly THANK your supporters for making everything you do possible.    

 

  1. Prioritise the Social Media Platforms That Best Suit Your Needs

Remember, you cannot be all things to all people, and with limited resources, you might struggle to actively engage on the multitude of social platforms out there. Analyse your audiences (review your data!), choose the channels where your audiences/donors are engaging with you most actively and focus on that. 

 

  1. Make the Most of Email Marketing 

Email, though often forgotten in a sea of shiny new communications platforms, is still an incredibly effective way to build a committed audience/supporter-base, nurture donor relationships, and reach your fundraising goals. In fact, organisations are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email than they are from Twitter. And 59% of marketers claim that email is their greatest return on investment (ROI), according to email marketing platform Emma.   

Check out this article from our friends at Digital Charity Lab for email best practice for non-profits & charities. 

 

  1. When the Time Is Right, Do Make the Ask

Even if your plans have been scuppered for a fundraising or an in-person event where you planned to engage with a prospect, don’t be discouraged.  Why not ask to meet for a virtual coffee or an outdoor catch-up instead and proceed as planned! 

 

  1. Ask Not What Your Donors Can Do for You, but What You Can Do for Your Donors

Real and lasting relationships should be mutually beneficial – it’s a two-way thing! Think about ways that you can provide support to your donors and corporate partners and ask them how you can help them achieve their goals. There are lots of ways you can communicate with your donors and build a lasting relationship: 

  • Survey donors/stakeholders or organise one-to-one review meetings.
  • Take the time this January to make a phone call and check in with your  supporters. 
  • Host townhall virtual events and let them have their say. 

 

There you have it! 7 simple, practical and effective resolutions your organisation can make to help you succeed in 2022!

 

At OKC, we’re here to help you turn your fundraising resolutions into real results and tangible impact. We work with not-for-profits to initiate and grow strategic fundraising portfolios and multi-channel donor engagement programmes, and will give you the tools, guidance and support you need to succeed. If you want to have an initial chat, get in touch today.