Did you feel a slight shift in the atmosphere last Wednesday at 1pm Pacific? A wave of well-being that you couldn’t place? A yearning to thank your barista just a little bit more vociferously than usual?
That’s because right about then me, Shanon Doolittle, and about 250 of our closest friends were dishing about good gratitude. Good grief did we have fun!
Shanon always wows with her practical, yet totally inspired tips for donor love. The Goddess of Gratitude did not disappoint. (I wasn’t actually counting but I think 376 is a pretty good guestimate of how many ideas Shanon gave out during the webinar. All very doable, by the way.)
Want to hear a surprising thing Shanon said about writing a thank you note?
Don’t start with: “Thank you for…”
Nope, start with something zippier. You expect a thank you note to start with the words “Thank you.” The expected rarely dazzles a donor. (The Wordifierhas your back when it comes to finding better words, don’t you worry.)
New supporters are often your loudest supporters. This makes them really super duper important. They are like new converts–singing the gospel of awesome at the top of their lungs. For a brief period of time, you are that gospel of awesome.
Do you motivate new supporters to sing your praises by making a fantastic first impression? Do you make them feel like VIPs?
Most organizations miss the boat on this. New donors often start out at the bottom of the proverbial pyramid. Smaller donors tend to get less organizational adoration. If you’re looking at short-term ROI, this makes some sense. If you take a longer view and/or are looking at both your cash AND beyond cash goals (as Peter Drury helps you do with his Beyond Cash Fundraising Dashboard), it makes no sense. Zip.
Acquisition is WAY more expensive than retention.One of the lowest cost ways to keep someone happy (and singing your praises) is to shower them with luv early and often–that first volunteer gig, donation, trip to the capital is a key happy-making-shower-them-with-luv moment. And yet many non profits let this opportunity pass them by.
What did Shanon do to garner these coveted accolades?
She’s creative, consistent and lightening-fast with her gratitude goodness. She spreads gratitude up and down the donor pyramid…and is especially generous with newly minted supporters. She makes you feel grateful you had a chance to give to whatever cause you just gave to. (In addition to her day job at Group Health Foundation, Shanon raises money for many other causes in her spare time…she’s that kind of gal).
We should all channel our inner Shanon when it comes to making a fabulous, gratitude-infused first impression.
Are you making a fab-tastic first impression? Or are you a (gulp) first impression flop?
Event season is upon us, and many non-profits are planning events from breakfasts to art auctions in order to get noticed—and get funded.
It’s always fun to learn from the best. That’s why we turned to Shanon Doolittle (@sldoolittle) for some insight and inspiration.
Shanon is in charge of Group Health Foundation’s Gift of Health Gala, one of the Northwest’s most successful fundraising events. The name of the event is always the Gift of Health Gala, but she changes up the theme each year.
In 2010, it was ‘Journey to the Emerald City’.
In 2011, it was ’10! A Disco Inferno’.
In 2012, you’ll have to wait for it. But it’ll be just as awesome. Fresh and fun…yet still the Gift of Health Gala.
“Approach your event as its own brand. You can’t build equity or supporter loyalty if you confuse supporters each year with a name change or a completely different event experience. The name of the game is making it easy for your donors to identify your event and cause. A consistent name does that. And if you really want to get strategic-licious, hold the event on the same day every year (second Saturday of October for example). Donors will then know to save the date way before you send it.”
Keep the same name and logo each year so funders and donors can remember your event, and hopefully your organization as well. Never forget: your event reflects who you are as an organization.
When you’re planning your fundraiser, decide what actions you want your donors and funders to take. Donate money? Volunteer? What’s the ripple effect you want from the event, ultimately? Make the event match your goals. (Sounds like a ‘no duh’ but staggering how often this doesn’t happen.)
Keep it simple. Attendees want to relax and enjoy themselves at your event, not try to figure out what it is exactly your organization does. That should be apparent from the brand of the event. Definitely change the theme to make it fun, but keep in mind the event should be as consistent as you are.
What suggestions do you have for successful events?