The 12 Days AFTER Christmas: How to steward new, recurring and formerly lapsed donors immediately after the holidays

Leaders in the fundraising industry will provide a stocking stuffed full of ideas on how to work with donors acquired or renewed during the holiday season – mail and digital. There will also be a lightning round where the experts will answer the questions of webinar attendees. They’ll answer as many questions as possible during the hour-long webinar. Attendees will also receive all of the slides and a one-year subscription to The NonProfit Times. Click here to view this webinar.

Lisa Scott Benson is CEO of CDR Fundraising Group. She formerly she was president of One & All (the agencies formerly known as Russ Reid and Grizzard). She has worked with Operation Smile, World Vision US and Canada, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Mercy Ships, Best Friends Animal Society, Marine Corps Toys For Tots, Christian Appalachian Project and many rescue missions and food banks.

Larry May is senior vice president for strategic development at Infogroup. He has been working in direct response fundraising for more than 40 years, helping nonprofits gain millions of donors and well over one billion dollars in contributions. He received the Max L. Hart Award for Fundraising Achievement from the ANA Nonprofit Federation in 2007, and the George Holloway Award for Community Service from National Catholic Development Conference in 2012.

Jen Myers is director of direct response fundraising at Feed the Children. She’s been with the organization for over 11 years, and has strategically led and directed the execution of donor engagement strategies across the organization’s fundraising efforts, including direct mail, digital marketing, and telemarketing.

Paul Clolery is vice president and editorial director of NPT Publishing Group, which publishes The NonProfit Times and its sister publication the magazine Exempt. He has been honored more than a dozen times for reporting and commentary excellence, including awards from Associated Press Managing Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.


Transcript (*May contain errors)
Broadcast is now starting all attendees are in listen-only mode.
Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the 12 Days After Christmas. I’m Paul clarie. I’m VP an editorial director at MPT publishing group. We put out the nonprofit times and the other magnet system magazine exempt we’ve been doing it for thirty two years. So hopefully some of you have been some of you have seen it we were thinking about what to do with all the holiday Donors. I’m assuming that you’re going to be getting pretty soon.
So we wanted to talk about a little bit about how to Stuart Those donors as you’re as you’re working through the holiday season and we put together a panel of some people who’ve been around the block a few times and know what what to do with these donors and some actually some of my favorite people in the sector as well. At least it’s got Benson is the CEO of Citi our fundraising group. She formerly was president of one all the agencies formerly known as Russ read and Grizzard. She has worked with Operation Smile World Vision US Canada American Red Cross and working.
Kansas City, st. Jude’s anybody that you could possibly do any name-brand charity. She’s helped to raise a lot of money to her. I guess it would be your left on the screen Larry May. He’s senior vice president of strategic development and info group or as we like to call them the senior VP of stretchy Jury has been working in direct response for fundraising for more than 40 years helping nonprofits game millions of donors and billions of dollars. He says it’s 1 billion. I’m sure it’s significantly more than that.
Probably got just giving them that much money myself, but he received a joint the Maxell the coveted Maxell heart award for fundraising achievement from the áááñ a non-profit Federation in 2004. The George Holloway award for community service from the National Catholic development conference in 2012. And on the left side of the screen is Jan Meyers who’s director of direct response fundraising to feed the children in Oklahoma City.
She’s been with the organization for more than 11 years and has strategically LED and directed The You shouldn’t of donor engagement strategies across organizations fundraising efforts, including Direct Mail digital marketing and and telemarketing. And as you can see on the screen as I move this and it did not move Darryl. There we go. One of their is they were the BIOS and we’ll read them later go.
I’ll be able to download all these charts you can go and you can see all the BIOS again later and one of the great things about doing these webinars and talking to folks like Jennifer Elisa and Larry.
You don’t even get it one sentence out of their mouth before I learned something. It’s an amazing thing. And when I was talking to Lisa about doing this webinar, she came up with it’s not just 12 days. It’s six the six before in the skits. It’s after some reason. Why don’t you take it away once you once you start us off on this? Yes. Thank you. Yes good to be with all of you today.
So yeah, this observation was something that Paul and I were talking about initially we began to think about this webinar and really it’s Fixed a Seasons if you will compressed in 12 days the first one, of course it is that time to solve 26 to 31 when we all have a really hard driving fundraising focus and then we hit the new year and a vacant had to take a moment to relax and breathe a bit. But you know, one of the interesting things for me is that the last six days perhaps are not what they used to be and I think what we’re seeing is that there’s some cannibalization and that the giving is moving a little bit earlier into the year as a result.
Out of the liberty of giving Tuesday, right? So what we’re seeing is that 17 percent of all online event for the year is coming in around giving Tuesday. And that’s why I had a little bit of an impact on December’s foothold as the most giving season of the year. So as we talk today, we’re going to talk about a number of things that we could do in these two Six-Day periods. And with that I’m going to go over to Larry. Okay.
I just took the button and It hasn’t gone.
I can bam.
Nothing. Okay. Sorry. Go ahead. Once you I talked a little bit. Let me go find out is kind of really just about trying to make your thank yous that it would be going on throughout the year that especially thinking about this time of year as personal as possible and recognize them as best. You can the people who are giving a very significant amount.
Our money at least from their perspective, you know, it might be typical that your organization gets Gifts of 250 and 500 hours and more benefit lot of course of writing those checks. It’s not that typical and you would hope in particular that you would let some things from folks that that recognize that you maybe where are you the organization know who they are. It’s especially important for a smaller organization. That might be community-based.
I think where you might actually even though people I can tell you from personal experience. It’s a little strange to write a good-sized check to make sure someone in your town that you know and get a form letter back in about six weeks saying thank you for your gift, you know, dear friend. So anything you can do to make a personal that was worthwhile. I would suggest that if you have a relatively manageable number of donors picker, whether I mean, if you could manage the five hundreds of thousands, whatever pass them around the office before ever get that money.
And she knows that might know the people can let him a note on the letter itself just a little while. We thank you for your gift. It’s so valuable and we see you soon and send it out as in his personal amount of as you can.
And that’s the one thing I forgot to mention earlier. We don’t have a lightning round at the end of this. So start thinking about your questions and you’ll see on the side on the right side of your computer screen a place where you can type messages. So as we get along as we go along will try to answer as many as possible and at the end we’ll get some lighting around questions.
Next one go to the next slide is Jennifer’s Stop moving there was running down letting down the old figure out why it’s not moving by genital be moving about 10 seconds. There it is. Yes and my Clarice saying thank-yous are so important for our donors, right? It’s a simple concept to say thank you. One of the things that I keep top of Mind always is the one thing that is more valuable than the donation is the donor.
So making sure that the messaging is affirming your donors by a Addressing them as a person so thank them for who they are. Not just what they gave. So the example here is thank you for being a compassionate person who cares about vulnerable children, or you can cater that to however way you need to for your mission. And then timeliness is everything something that feed that we do is making sure that we send out thank you letters 24 to 48 hours of a gift being posted to our CRM.
And then along with that get those digits so that you can do those. Thank you calls making sure that’s a pure thank you, you know, we know that the average donor gives anywhere from four to six different organizations. So be the first to say thank you.
There are a number of times we hear from our donors how much they appreciate just a simple thank-you call without asking for another donation and ironically not asking for that donation after they’ve already just gave some X actually leads to gain a donation so so yes, thank you for all your donors. And yes donors expect this from you this question. Hey Jen before you leave that slide in this would be for Jen Larry or Lisa.
The other day I picked up the phone and the phone was beeping meaning there was a voicemail. So I hit the voicemail and realized now this was the first week of December that I hadn’t picked the voicemail on my home phone since June there were literally a couple of hundred voicemail messages all of which got deleted on without listening to because I use my cell phone. Most of my wife uses her cell phone almost all exclusively.
So how often when you make these calls are you getting the correct number or you are You actually reaching somebody I know we were supposed to have all the email and the phone number is and all that but I was just actually reach Somebody by phone is it 1 in 10 is at 1 in 15?
Banging that accuracy them, but their numbers themselves how just people just people picking up the phone and I can’t answer that but I think increasingly it’s hard to get people to pick up the phone, especially with caller ID, you know the most common phrase in my home is nearby right yelling across the house or a honey. Don’t pick it up.
All right. Yeah, we see that there are some low contact rates and but you know, we either do try to send a voicemail message going or try to contact them again, but there’s ways now that you can determine if it’s a cell phone or a landline in the majority of our donor base still have land lines. So that’s always helpful in trying to up that contact rate.
But if I happen to have a phone number. It’s still worth the effort and trying to give them a ring on top of the thank you letters that you send out on top of that General. Can you move the slide, please?
There you go. Leave this as yours Lisa. Actually, I think this is Larry’s.
Larry you’re so the thought here is if we’re particularly talking about gifts that might be coming in between Thanksgiving and Christmas to try to again focusing on the better higher dollar if you will donors and that level is going to be depending on your organization. But that’s a perhaps.
It’s $250 or greater the pick a number to try to get the thank you to them via first class mail so that they receive it right around these 12 days were talking about particularly at the opportunity to consider a second gift in the same year, and I know that we just made the point in this there’s multiple ways to think about it, you know, do we want to be asking people but they could give to just made a gift but if you’re nice about it, but you give them a reply set and an envelope without being pushy you can get a significant response and gifts to thank you Mario can be five or six percent sometimes which it can be very worthwhile under the new tax laws where people have I suddenly got a much higher standard deductible the percentage of people who actually itemizing their tax returns dropped tremendously last year and my state of New York. It went from over 30 percent to approximately 10 percent what I’ve got to say that they’re better 20% of the population has stopped giving that they stopped itemizing or at least I didn’t itemized in that year. So some accountants of others are suggesting the people Runner to do your charitable giving in every other year.
And then itemize them that year because you will achieve it but apps the $20,000 to run it. That’s one reason but think about it and everyone would be we had a tough end of the year last year and a lot of folks myself included think it was because the market was so bad at the last that query especially right at the end of the year this year. It’s kind of the opposite. It could really be worth investing and remember it in sending and first-class. Thank you to your better donors to give them an opportunity to make another gift in a year.
Where they might be thinking about hey, I’ve done great and why not? Why not give a little more way. Yeah. It’s a very important Point lower because the numbers what we saw just last week from the front from the fundraising Effectiveness project showed that while last year was was nasty. This year is even behind last year.
So while they took on the The Matrix Lester the major donors did save giving someone a toward the end but this year that even the major donors through the first three quarters of the year are behind where the Our last year so that’s going to be a challenge. Yeah.
They’re working with this Log, please.
This is Lisa’s here. I am yeah. So again, this is this is a note for for those last five to six days of the year. It probably seems like a no-brainer but boy, oh boy. This is not the time of year for you know getting that call that says. Hey, I think our website is down right when you’re really pushing a spending maximizing your ad budgets to be pushing people online. So definitely, you know get make sure that you’re paying due diligence and attention to that website.
Before the end of the year and then of course, this is probably not the best time for optimization testing. You want to already have your landing pages optimism optimized and ready for the hopeful Deluge of donations that will be coming in on your landing page and with anything that’s driving to it.
You may want to consider tactics to suggest to your donors a more generous than usual and of your gift is Larry was saying, you know the kind of the jury’s out right now on whether or not what we’ve historically done which is mentioning, you know, the tax benefit is really going to pack any punch anymore. Maybe interesting to do some testing around that and then digital surround sound and I know Jen is going to talk more about this but it is more than email. We have to remember that our donors are out there in the Digital Universe. They’re getting more than our male. They’re seeing us in Social they’re seeing display where retargeting them Etc. I saw an interesting statistic from Gartner research, which shows that integrated.
Campaigns across multiple digital channels and digital and offline channels when you have four touch points, you exceed your responses by 300 percent compared to just one or two touch points. So again integrating all of those messages making sure that your stationing yourself at every point along the donors Journey during that post holiday season is important.
Next slide please.
Yeah, and so digital Westside is Lisa saying just making sure that those are on point that your website is alive and well, you know new and prospective donors. They want to check you out. There’s only so much real estate on a direct mail letter for prospects to really learn everything about you.
Even though we know Direct Mail is often a catalyst for donors to whip out their smartphones smartphones and iPads and start Google searching you just making sure That you got your key Search terms going as well and that your website is easy to navigate for donors, you know, make sure you’ve got your most updated Financial allocation expenditures out there your 990 in your report, you know, one of the worst things as Lisa’s already mentioned is you don’t want to have a malfunction going on with your website during the donation process in the year end time frame.
We’ve all heard those horror stories of things like that happening at times and that’s a hard lesson to learn we’ve gone through that ourselves. So just double checking that your digital platforms your donation Pages landing pages. All those functionalities are on point and that they’re working all the way through the donation process.
And then email Communications, you know, if you’ve got any welcome series and that’s a great way to go ahead and engage your donors early as they come on and throughout the end of the year next slide, please.
Who’s this one? I am throughout the year particularly Communications out to them in a short period of time perhaps right around the Christmas and we’re talking about doing this often with email and with that if you haven’t got an email address or telephone number that’s going to be pretty tough to do so.
Would consider as adding this information to your file as time goes along but actually set up a policy with every week whatever new names or come in our whatever wraps donors every nude. If you don’t have phone numbers and email send them out to your supplier who can be even the smallest organization is working with the printers and then you can probably help you do this to have those phone numbers and email addresses to your files so that when the time comes you have the ability to get back to them and talk to them.
To quickly and you know in real time if you will.
Next slide please.
Here’s a couple of examples. I’ve put in just person graphic. So here’s a quick email from st. Labre Indian School to admit that made the other day and it’s got a video embedded in it, but you can click on the inside the heart of all the little children to school. We’re going to say, thank you and tell you some things about website that’s happening with save the day and next please.
Next slide please. Here’s one from World Wildlife Fund that related recently and it gives you a lot of potential activity to get engaged with right in your thank you. It’s telling Jessica rolling with WWF. She can stay informed by cooking over discover button, which will bring her to some information that she can look at and consider sharing on social and such but take action to begin what sign a petition or something of that sort.
I embrace our calls gives them various ways to Getting more involved and then share your thoughts at the bottom is actually a survey. So there’s a lot of activity going on here to try to get the move out Boehner engaged in WWF and next boost next slide.
And this is kind of a simple one, but it’s cute with sperm save the children very straight forward and saying thank you to Gabby and this beautiful picture of us little girl. And of course, it’s better donate button at the top.
And that’s at the surprising thing about all of those words that you gave a hundred bucks to somebody on that first half. I know how about them next slide, please?
And I believe this is yours. Yes. So is this social media World Facebook Twitter Instagram, and this is where we need to be living in one of my mantras as a fundraiser is you know, we are to engage in the relevant in a donor’s everyday life, you know, but baby boomers are taking over more and more on Facebook as they check up on their adult kids and they’re posting pics of their grandbabies. So social media is where life is happening.
So just making sure That you’re monitoring your social media accounts as followers interact with your posts be on the lookout and be ready to respond to any inquiries that your followers are posting about, you know, after giving Tuesday, especially which you know, we were raised when the highest amounts of donations and the past six years social media. It continues to be a viable medium for raising money. So Target donors with social ads and especially at that your end.
And and look into how influencers can help promote your post or your campaigns for your organization, Jen you’re talking about in court for years speaking that influencers and obviously we all we all see the new stories about the Kardashians having 10 million people following them and their influences on this and influence us or that how do you find an influence on how you how do you actually approach an influencer?
Yeah, so influencers aren’t always celebrities. What I would say a social media influencers and are those who have a pretty substantial amount of followers, but they may not also actually just be a celebrity themself.
We did recently a campaign with some influencers that were actually doing some pro bono post for us and and I would have to look back on how what platform that was that we use but there is some influencer platforms where they’re really just willing to post or promote and what we would do is we’d have some messages that were already developed that was within our brand voice and then maybe some graphics and then these influencers really take that and kind of make it their own post because they obviously know their audiences and their followers and it was a great way to be able to get the reach one instance. We did during the Thanksgiving season. We were able to get out close to 6 million of those that we’ve reached this influence our platform.
We want back one more to you said monitor your social media accounts and people posting Grand picture pictures of their grandkids in such. A lot of that is on Facebook. A lot of that is on some of the older social media. Are we targeting our with the point now where we’re targeting various social media, tying them to social especially age groups.
For example, if somebody the grandparents were the grandparents really using Instagram or Are they or is that something else that are they using Facebook or who’s using? What social media would in what age group what have you found and all actually all three of you can help jump in if you like Jen if I may I think one of the interesting things right now is first of all to her Point earlier, you know two-thirds of all 50 to 64 year olds are now using social media.
So again, 50 to 64 year olds 2/3 of them and I think what we’re finding is and I find myself wondering if this is behind the recent success with Facebook and fundraising Facebook seems to be the preferred area or social media platform for the older generation, and I’m sure Jen could speak more to this with her file.
yeah, I mean I would agree Lisa and what is interesting about the social media world is those who are in the baby boomer and even a slightly little older are on Facebook and and so much so that Millennials now are saying Facebook’s kind of for the those who are my parents and grandparents and you’re finding younger folks on Instagram more so because in Other other you know, social media video type apps like Tick-Tock and is another one where a lot of Millennials are finding themselves living their lives on so I would agree we said that you are finding a shift and more of the boomer generation on Facebook than on some of these other platforms next slide, please.
Lisa, you know, I love radio. I think it’s a terrific support to fundraising and I think it’s interesting that relatively few nonprofits are using it now if you read the trades what you see is that radio is supposed to kind of a Dying Channel and Commercial advertisers do seem to becoming less and less of their budgets there, but multiple studies not just one but multiple studies show that terrestrial radio lifts.
Search performance by 30 plus percent and you know, I think it’s a terrific time at the holidays people are in their cars here. This makes their radios to potentially do some traffic sponsorships or some spots on radio. The other interesting thing about radio is that people seem to give it a little bit more credibility than some of the other mediums they’re hearing for example that they’re they’re DJ that they listen to is supporting.
An organization that that gives them a sense of what be the right word confidence in it this thing that I have not done but I think would be very interesting to try because I have de Radio van with a year-end drive, right? We come through the holiday season. We still are in need. You know, we’ve got our especially for a local market organization. We still need $100,000 in the door and the local sponsors. The local radio station is doing the radio van and driving.
Line, your thing is while you’re at it maybe throw some outdoor in in key markets. There’s a statistic that I found. I’m it seems very aggressive to me, but it says that 46 percent of people who are exposed to out of home. We’ll search for the organization. So we know that in a local market situation specifically the combination of radio out of door and online can be very powerful.
You can do it Lisa and was mentioning with regard to radio pal of mine is a an afternoon radio talk show host on WABC radio in New York. And he was telling me about 50. They have roughly 50,000 people every 15 minutes cycling through the various shows. So think of that if somebody’s on the Airfield for one one spot with every 15 minutes or every half hour you’re cycling through a hundred thousand people.
At some point getting your message and my friend was telling you that it radio spots particularly for charitable. Organizations are very inexpensive. You can get something for as little as $500 and if it’s a 15-second spot and it would be really good to get that back in three donations from the 50,000 people work or listening to it. All right, like spot many did I develop better not to agree many people don’t realize that popular television.
Radio programs particularly in local areas and decent-sized metros will frequently have more Dairy listeners than CNN gets in the evening and there’s one particular conservative talk show host who of maturity that I’ve volunteered with I use that particular individuals list and the person is a real fire Brandon some might consider him crazy, but I’m real fire Brandon. We use that list and oh my God, it wasn’t.
Credible so think about radio think you’re absolutely right Lisa next slide, please.
So here’s a bad about trying to create sustainers. And as you probably knows a good to sustain is the term we use these things for someone that has given me usually his credit better better than sometimes the checking account information when they’re allowed you to debit it every month. Here’s something to consider trying if you’re in direct mode based organization in terms of your direct response fundraising being primarily through the mail. You better not a lot of credit bad.
Chevy dealers, that would be definitely get some and the person I think was where the write down their credit card is probably not a checking type of person and likes to get the points from it or whatever might be the benefit to them as those gifts come in particularly if they’re manageable number consider calling them where again here.
It’s going to be important that you have a phone number and asking them, you know, essentially the nice message you’ll construct that which the fundamental picture which is thank you for your gift. We never said we use your credit card many of our credit cards owners like to choose to give a monthly gift rather than just now men and if you would consider becoming a sustainer and helping us with a monthly gift, here’s what your gifts could do in the additional impact you could have for our cause this could be the kind of thing that you could do with your staff and your office.
It might be that you take a handful of folks who would make me a credit card gift in any given Weak and calm yourselves. It mightn’t arrange to do it through a telemarketing organization, you know only a small percentage if you were able to get 1% or 2% of your credit card donors to say sure. I’ll become a sustainer the impact on long-term value for those people would be very very major. And I think this is really worth trying well our first sustainer program like that. Would you need to add a Spotify Premium of some sort?
PBS does so I’ve got this Woodstock album for free. If you have that much. I’ve been he could be that it could be work testing. This would be in the course of the phone call you Charter saying if you choose to do that, we’d love to send you this broad abroad. Yeah. Sure next slide, please.
really about you know your new recurring and formally Lots the donor experience, you know having it your way as Burger King would say, you know donors wanted their way they want to decide when they give how often whether they receive mail or phone calls and it doesn’t hurt to ask for their communication or giving preference do this early don’t but this it is a balance and making sure that you’re not Doing it at the time where it’s impeding their ability to give but receiving that direct response from donors is a gateway into mapping out that cultivation pathway for your donors, especially new donors as they’re coming on file and you’re shaping their experience with your organization in remembering that as Larry just mentioned talking about those recurring donors. You call the vet them differently than those single gift owners.
Saying donors, you know, they’re already committed to giving to you on a regular basis and one of the ways that we’ve kind of mapped out those differences is the pathway of experience for those donors is the number of touches they receive and the tailored versioning of their Communications.
The next slide please.
Lisa yes, I mean, this is a beautiful segue. I think from what Jen was just talking about start your year off, right? You just acquired a large number of new downers you’re heading into the new year again modeling right away Jen to your point. I mean, there are people who model as being more likely to be recurring donors versus those who are single gift. You can start there looking at holiday season acquires and givers as potentially a unique audience.
I mean are there certain people who are Only at these times of the year and then how do we monitor our investment in them over the course of the year when they’re less likely to give but still need to hear from us overlapping with other causes. You know, what are they?
What else are they giving to looking at their Channel preferences and then kind of related to the above profiling the differences from the non-seasonal givers one of the area’s I think that people need to pay special attention to is the online acquires because we’re seeing the number of our clients that sometimes we see lower conversion rates for those people who come in online even though they’re giving it a much higher level, right?
So we want to specially want to be sure that we’re stewarding those hundred dollar plus online donors beautifully through their first couple of months of experience with us, and that would include sending them offline Communications as well as just email When you say offline, you mean mail and other forms, yeah, you know primarily male. I am still surprised that some organizations bring in online donors and keep them only in email when there are studies out there that show that when you’re giving them both types of communications, even if they only continue to give online because that’s their preferred, you know method of payment that that they their value increases the folks.
Don’t forget to send in the questions in the question box. You don’t want to leave me asking questions. I could be dangerous. So I next slide, please.
So everybody hates robocalls, at least that’s what the world tells us and by that, of course, I mean a pre-recorded message that comes to your family, but there’s an actually doesn’t wish to speak to you. They just want to Dent the message you that your developers into it’s going to get into your your voicemail box. Could that be used to your benefit? And I’d like to share an example from Saint of a Indians crew in Montana next slide, please.
So every year around now, I get a recorded message from st. Labre and it’s the president of the school comes on and says thank you for your gift. It’s not personalized.
It’s everybody gets the same message and after a few seconds, he says well the children have something they’d like to share with you and you hear a piano began to play and it clearly sounds like it’s in a school at a time from the FM the background and all of a sudden like 60 kids said something shy of my and there, you know Like 10 years old when we can tell about little kids and they sing the song for a little while and then we’re done and then the president comes back and says thank you again and God bless you for the holidays and we hope to continue to see that the better, you know, he wraps it up.
They did an amazing response to this. It doesn’t ask for money. It’s just purely thank you people call up and say how much they met with they have people grow up and many times and said I accidentally deleted it from my famishing. Would you send it to me again? Why don’t I give you my friend’s phone numbers? Could you send it to them too? Because it’s so nice. It’s really Charming when of thing and what could you do? I mean we could do something somewhere, you know the answer we are off.
I have been a professional most people said everybody that these cute kids I don’t I have you know patients in a nursing home or something. They’re still we could do something you could have people just saying thank you a hundred times different people around them put that on a message and it doesn’t have to be done in any special fashion. They believe me if you heard this one from st. Labre. It sounds like it was recorded on somebody’s phone. So there’s no need for technology.
Anyone could do this in today’s web every anybody listening to this right now could do something similar. That would be a nice way to use this, you know, most- perhaps over there and Technology to your advantage.
Okay, I’ll come back to that question. But Sarah’s got a good question. We’ll come back to that in a second next slide, please.
Yes, Ali and once the holidays and urine starts coming to a close January tends to slow down. This is not the time to stop talking to your donors, you know people began to reflect on their goals what they want to accomplish in the New Year.
This is really a time to begin the new 2020 new year as a way to present those opportunities to invite donors to ring in the new year with you continue uniting with you in 2020 through their support and Support can be something other than monetary that could be their time in volunteering with your organization or using their voices through advocating.
So there’s other ways to engage your donors, but just because the January time frame may look like a little it’s a little slower continue engaging your donors and talking to them newsletters is a really good way of stewarding donors and showing that impact of their giving just making sure that you keep that focus on the Owner and what they’re doing not necessarily what the organization is doing newsletter kind of that next slide. That way you can get Darryl that next time because I think that’s what Jen’s going to be talking about. Yeah we go. Yeah. So this is our feed newsletter that we send out last January, you know newsletters work well for us so much so that we’ve actually increased the number of newsletters. We send out over the years and we went from doing for newsletters a year to now we do.
Monthly newsletter but all of those lime green circles you see there is ways that we are reiterating and emphasizing to the donor that hey it’s you that is feeding children. It’s your support that helps save mothers from tough choices. So again, it’s positioning the donor so that it’s the impact. It’s the focus on them. Not so much on what just the updates as an organization.
The caveat there though is if you are going to talk about organizational updates just position it in a way where it shows the donor is enabling your organization to do XY and z and that’s still a good way for donors to still feel like they’re making that impact. So basically it’s a reverse Costanza. It’s a it’s you not me right? That’s all right next slide, please.
Okay. So this is an idea that you could use in either of the timeframes going into the end of the year or coming out it would look a little bit different depending on which time frame that you decide to use and I suppose you could get away with doing both of these things. But you’d want to probably move outside of the 12-day window that we’re talking about. So the idea here is to give a little extra love directly from the CEO to your highest value donors. Now that’s going to vary based on.
On your organization your higher valued owners could start at a hundred they could start at two fifty five hundred a thousand. It’s really going to depend on on your particular file, but the first idea which would take place in that last week of the year is essentially an affirmation of the mission and is Jen has been reminding us always of the donor. This would be a personal letter. I mean, if you could interview your CEO and really get to their heart that would be ideal and it’s a personal letter with their favorite story.
Or photo or memory from the year that they personally want to share with the donor and the story should capture the essence of the cause and this would be a no ask letter. I mean depending on who you talk to you get put a reply envelope in I would probably Advocate that you’re not even do that.
But just let it be a really heartfelt affirmation and connection point so that the donor Falls a little in love with the CEO to the the other option would be to do this after the Beginning of the year and it with this would take a little bit of a different feel. It’s still a personal letter from the CEO. But now the focus is forward, right? It’s on the new year the mission that lies ahead and the vision that the CEO has four where the organization where your organization is going to go in this coming year. In this case.
We’re looking to elicit more of a thoughtful reaction from the donor on the importance of the cause either in their own mind reaffirming why it’s important or alternatively the sea You can even say please I would love to hear from you. Send me your feedback. And then of course there has to be a mechanism in place where that CEO is then responding. Thank you so much, you know for giving me your input and again, no ask letter so you could do both of these if you kind of backed one up a little bit in December and pushed one a little bit later in January or you could pick one or the other and do it right at this cusp time that we’re talking about.
Out next line, please.
So that was a concept for a package that we’ve done over the years and I know many other people have to that can be very productive. It’s expensive but can be very productive to a group of people who are current active donors. This is not acquisition of apps that would be current owners who are given a meaningful amount of money at frequently. We use the scepter with the minimum of a recent $100 gift when I bet you could go higher with will be depending on how many who have your budget issues on such?
Perfect agreement when winds were created by a company in Minnesota who actually did them by hand. They would send them home as peace man with people who will do them while they were watching television at night believe it or not that it’s a mailing and I’ll show you a couple examples of it and it’s addressed in large part either by actually human hand and not to China that it’s in place in the United States by an auto and machine which is estimates veterans expensive or by handwritten computer font, which is less expensive.
Some still it’s a small format package about so big it looks like a little greeting card. You’re getting that at Christmas time. It has a handwritten the dress or computer handwritten the dress on the outer envelope with a first-class stamp a real first-class stamp that you would use in your own home. Not a nonprofit staff.
And for the real that looks like you’re getting a piece of mail from someone not from an organization, and we also put a lot of stock in the creative that we do and What have you but really if you can’t get the envelope open those things are all meaningless as so that’s the big point of this concept. Can we go to the next slide, please?
So here’s an example of what the outer looks like. I’m one of them and that’s about it would be a stand up in the corner and there’s no identification with lupus Embers. It doesn’t say I am a organization or save the children or Feed the Children or anything else. It’s simply a letter like this and I cannot tell you how many times like the week before Christmas I get things at home and open them up and we are as I’d done this was our stuff and we’re sending to myself and then just fake myself after the third.
This year that would look since it’s written Often by a real person. So next slide, please.
Next slide you get inside and it’s a little higher than card. In this case. This is from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and next please.
I inside the card when you open it up is a letter and it’s got a rim the personalization with mrs. Almond bonds has named obviously she’s going to be a very generous person. Right? And that said please before you leave that Larry. Let’s go back for sure. It’s the whole letter is typeface except for the greeting doesn’t that isn’t that a bit of a giveaway that it’s not personalized?
Well, probably and they can also be a very short message and But that’s getting really costly so or even a rider trade-offs here in terms of what does this cost precious metal my expecting to get back next one, please.
and down at the bottom of the same weather, but either the computer or better still the person as handwritten and a PS that matches the handwriting at the top of the letter and on the outside of the envelope that ask for a specific gift amount that we’re asking this massage and Bonza to contribute and that’s please So here’s my reply device and the person in this case doing the addressing is driving the whole thing from this little piece of paper. It’s easy to dress the person season 2 glass copies of to the outer envelope. It seems the center of he or she not yet. So use the center amount of 125 and those to use that in the PS inside before I was really kind of straightforward.
Thank you card, and that’s please And they reply envelope which has also a real actual normal first class stamp affixed to it, which increases the likelihood that the person receiving. This has been a feel compelled to send something in so between the first class delivery with no identification that it’s anything but personal mayor if that’s a huge open-roof the contents become somewhat less significant in terms of better overnight and then the first class stamp coming back, you know, you can imagine this as a Spencer.
But if you get a nice response rate, it can work really well and in particular to people who are living a better amount of money, and I think I’ve got one more on this topic would include that slide though Larry. I’ll go back please.
That’s an American flag stamp into the Marine Corps scholarship. When did you select this select a stamp with a flag on it particularly or just with a take any first class stamp? I don’t know. I don’t know but that would have been a coup that you’re right. Yeah, next one.
So when it gets open because it seems real the handwriting and forces the personal concept it because it’s first-class you can mail it right before Christmas and feel confident that you’re not going to get lost in the Christmas mail and over things being delivered around Christmas time and that you will that the river did a few days the first class return inquiring encourages response. And again, it’s costly but if the average width is going to be 150 or 200 hours, it can be very worth it.
Very good trick the postal service and put a little Amazon smile on the corner little thump livered any time they leave it in the street down by my mailbox is what they’re doing with that bird. Looks like please.
Yeah. So before we head to the lightning round, I think we just wanted to end or at least I do with this encouragement to all of you nonprofit leaders and managers out. There you the first week of the year is a great time to reflect and recommit and re-up on being a great culture and I just I’m going to read this quick quote which says engaged employees who live and act in accordance with an organization’s core values.
Come your organization’s most powerful brand ambassadors. So cultivating transparency and Trust internally with your people is going to mean that they’re going to bring that best that they have to the donors who are interacting with you, whether that’s personally or through the programs that you are unfolding for them and that trust and transparency with your donor relationships will benefit all of your programs.
All right, we have the first question we have here is from Sarah and this is for everybody. Do I need if you do thank yous or other Communications with donors via text.
Anyone, I haven’t that I’m so I’m sure it’s coming.
Please sir. Yeah, you know, I mean, I like Larry I know that we are some of our clients are some not I have been really interested to see how text to give has evolved. I know that for me now. It’s almost a preferred method of giving a real gift because it’s so simple and seamless and of course when you are transacting your gift via text, you’re going to hear back with the thank you that way.
Yeah, we currently don’t do that. We’re just getting into where we’re stepping into text to give what we’ve in our experience has really been during disaster relief the text to give has really been a good campaign for us because it’s urgent emergency, but we haven’t done texts. Thank you through text.
All right. We’ve got a question here another one from Sarah. We are going to send an email between Christmas and New Year’s to our direct mail non-responders. That’s direct mail non-responders any suggestions on what date and time we should send that.
Anyone, I wish I could digital director here with me. I know that there are definite bird times that increase the open rates. I’d be glad to find out for Sarah and get back to her.
Okay, so we will get you Sarah’s information and we will in several you can yeah, Sarah directly. I know Ben and I are make is purely anecdotal. I would I always trying not to be one of the 150 emails that have been there when I first opened in the morning that I desperately wanted to leave.
Yeah, we can see better from our perspective attend to see better open rates on a Tuesday. Midday, Tuesday and Thursday. Midday the end of the week tend to be bad of their brains else. We’re going either leaving for the week or couple of doing something else. So that tends to be how we can things General you jerk.
Yeah, I mean I would just tap into where you kind of seen the best optimization for open rates for your donors and and try it there first. I’d have to check with my digital director as well and to see when that is for us. But for sure before we get in I would say for the last few days of the year so that we’ll have time to respond for a year-end gift.
All right. We’ve got a question from Billy here, which is really an interesting one to me. How do you encourage your donors to continue their generosity when you’re on the verge of a major Capital campaign?
Well, I think in my experience said if you’re altering your standard database and raising because of that will come paint is going to occur at you making a serious mistake. It does not change the outcomes out of habit and pain because you will also continue to ask for gifts, you know, it’s kind of like when the major gift Officer says though. We’re going to take a pair of these thousand dollar banners and that’s Emma many Direct Mail because we’re going to contact them personally, which of course they never do.
That started that type of thing. You’ve got surest way to get no money from someone who’s not to speak of about giving money.
Okay, reality is many of your donors are not hearing about the capital campaign true. Rank-and-file file should be giving regardless.
Okay, another another question on time and what time of day is best for thank you phone calls, you know, we have migrated mostly to doing the robo calls that Larry or at least advising our clients do the robo calls that Larry was talking about earlier, you know, we found those and effective way to to thank donors.
So in that case the time of day is you know, you want to do it before probably most people are getting home from work because that’s Most likely to pick up your messages assuming it’s on a landline.
Anybody else?
Well, I got a couple of this is for the direct mail mavens in the group. I was speaking to somebody recently over dinner who’s been in the direct mail business for about a hundred and forty years and does a lot of lot of studying about the industry and how done is retracted things who said to me donors don’t actually read the letters. They look at various elements of the direct mail piece, but really don’t read the words. Have you guys found that to be true?
Larry experiences where the letter fell to get inserted and did just fine really sure. Wow, and I would suggest that most of them testing rather copy would be the least impactful thing in the package but among the least impact of things in the back of it.
Lisa you were going to jump in there. Yep was going to say, you know, we have a neuro fundraising lab that our clients have access to and it is interesting to see if you can track the eye movement around the page. So, you know, you sort of know the areas that they’re hitting and interestingly. I think it reaffirms what we’ve known for many years, right, which is that the headline is really important. The PS is really important some of that offer language and of course then the use of visuals to help guide.
I threw the package I think some people still read letters, especially if there’s great storytelling.
Yeah, I would agree with Lisa on that and you know, we still do Johnson box. We still do headers a lot of our donors and at least in the feedback that we’ve gotten from our donors is they actually do read that first line of a letter we did get a donor who called in because of their feedback on that first line of letter one time and it was just one of those things that made us pay more attention to that intro.
And then the PS portion donors if they are skimming put that important information that you really want to get to the point for a donor and that PS and because their eyes will follow down the letter to that portion.
I would suggest also put a pretty much a great deal of attention and effort into writing the captions at the end of photographs throughout the package and as a place not only to emotionally Express the cause but too reinforce the asked people read captions under photos in every form of printed material and then then Wow, one last question, and we’ve only got about a minute to go. So, can you talk about engagement opportunities online gate engagement opportunities, give us a quick checklist of a couple of Engagement opportunities engagement opportunities online, right?
You know, I think we really try with our social media to make sure that we’ve got some good post in there, but also Our email marketing just making sure that we’ve got some some content that we get out there like for the Thanksgiving season. We did a to Turkey challenge where it was a very visual of two turkeys. We also did where you could get on a mobile device and do a filter where you can take a picture with another person and get the turkey faces on there.
So there was just some interactive ways that we we engaged our donors where it wasn’t just asking them for a gift. Okay, so I need to cut you off there. Thank you very much to Larry Lisa and and Jen also, thank you again to the people who joined us on this webinar. All the slides are going to be available to you. If you have any questions, you can find me here at the nonprofit times at all times ETA n Chief @np times.com at CTN.
If an NP times.com again, thank you so much for attending this webinar. Thank you. Yeah.