Learning From Taylor Swift, Valentine Donor Love & More

Farhad Chikhliwala 06 February 2015 0 comments

This week’s link round-up is all about showing some love to your donors. The posts we’ve gathered offer tips on donor retention, ideas on how fundraisers can learn from a pop star, and insight into the importance of defining what engagement means for your organization.

Here are summaries of five of the top posts we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam this week:

Why we love Taylor Swift (and why fundraisers should too!)

Fundraising expert Pamela Grow points out some lessons we could learn from pop star Taylor Swift’s connection with her audience.

Taylor is undeniably aware of who her fans are, and where they are. Taylor opens every possible avenue of communication, within reason. Her Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts reveal a flurry of constant activity and also evidence that, when she reaches out, her fans respond en masse.

That sort of communication is the kind that builds and establishes relationships and it matters so much. It pieces together the entire Taylor Swift puzzle and allows her to build her persona, her very brand, and tie it to the music that she creates.

Forming and maintaining long-term relationships with your donors matters now more than ever. Take the time to let them know how much you love them and that you wouldn’t be where you are without their help. Connect with them, whether it be through social media or a handwritten thank you letter or through a multitude of other ways.

8 Top Ways to Send Nonprofit Donors Love on Valentine’s Day

On her blog, Claire Axelrad (Clairification) writes that “donor retention is the name of the game”.

It costs so much more to acquire a new donor than to keep an existing one. Yet too few nonprofits have serious, intentional donor stewardship programs in place.

Don’t be one of those organizations whose donors only hear from you when you want something from them. Be generous, and show them how much their support means to you. You’ll be amazed at how a little love can go a long way.

Claire then offers up some creative Valentine’s Day themed ideas:

  • Host a Valentine’s Day “Loveathon” and ask board members or volunteers to come together to phone a subset of your donors to let them know how much they are loved.
  • Make some spontaneous phone calls. If you don’t have time to organize a group phonathon, you can still make a bunch of calls yourself (or with a team of your staff) to a targeted group of supporters.

Are You Addicted to Acquisition (AA)?

In this post, Ece Unver (101 Fundraising) reminds us, as Claire Axelrad did above, the importance of donor retention.

Retention is not new, yet a buzzword that pops up everywhere. We hear, we see, we try to understand, but we can’t focus. Only a few international organizations really take action to solve the problem of attrition. Do you know why? It’s because we’re all addicted to acquisition.

Acquisition is an addiction, an all-time winner. However, there is also another life; a healthier and a more productive one where your donors stay in your organization for a long time.

Ece goes on to offer some suggestions:

  • I should start reading books, blog posts; examine retention case studies, talk to retention experts to spot my previous mistakes.
  • I should immediately call donors, thank them and express their importance to my organization. I should ask and listen to their opinions about my organization.
  • I should put the attrition problem on my organization’s agenda. Start investing the retention program.

Time For Some #DonorLove

Ann Green (Ann Green’s Nonprofit Blog) offers up some creative ways to express gratitude to your donors, including:

  1. Create a thank you photo: Send  thank you photos via email and social media, use one to create a card, and include one on your thank you landing page. If you have the time and resources, you could also create a thank you video.

  2. Share an update or success story: In addition to saying thank you, share a brief update or success story. Emphasize how you couldn’t have helped someone without the donor’s support. For example – Thanks to you, Jessica won’t have to sleep in a shelter tonight.


You Don’t Define Engagement They Do

Jamie Notter (Socialfish) stresses the importance of looking at member engagement as a “two way street.”

Engagement is defined exclusively by the individual member (or customer, stakeholder, volunteer, etc.). It’s their engagement, not yours. You’re a part of it, of course (it’s really a relationship), but you don’t get to define exactly what engagement means to your stakeholders. It’s up to them to do that.

You may be thinking, “Oh great, all my members get to define their own engagement differently–how am I going to manage all those unique situations?” I don’t have an easy answer for you, but I will say, that we’ve been moving in this direction for a while now. We expect customization. We expect our needs to be met on our own terms. How do you start figuring out how to do that?  

Start by defining what engagement means for your organization in a way that describes exactly how it’s a two way street.

That’s it for this week’s link round-up – want more non-profit and membership links?

That was just a taste of some of the membership and non-profit posts and articles we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. For more, you can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising.

You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.


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Farhad Chikhliwala [Professor Apricot] Farhad Chikhliwala [Professor Apricot]

Posted by Farhad Chikhliwala [Professor Apricot]

Published Friday, 06 February 2015 at 8:30 AM

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