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Donor Participation Project

Automate Donor Thank Yous and Stewardship with Video

Saying thank you to donors in a timely and personalized manner is key to building long-term relationships. However, the reality at many nonprofits is that it can take weeks or even months to get those thank you letters out the door. The solution? Automate your thank you process using video and text messaging.

Video thank you messages are an engaging way to make a personal connection with donors while saving your staff time. With a video messaging service like ThankView, you can upload a list of donor names and gift details. The platform will automatically generate custom videos thanking each donor by name and recognizing their specific gift amount. These videos can then be delivered via email, using the donor’s preferred contact method on file.

The ability to customize video at scale is a game changer. Your leadership, board members, or student scholarship recipients can record a thank you message once, and the platform will customize names and details for each recipient. Donors open and engage with these authentic, personalized video messages at high rates, allowing you to make a meaningful connection within days of a gift.

Once a donor receives their initial thank you, the next touchpoint in the stewardship sequence can also be automated based on their actions and engagement. For example, you can trigger a follow-up phone call from a gift officer or schedule a thank you card in the mail if a donor watches their whole video message. Use a service like Zapier to connect your fundraising tools and automate these multi-channel donor experiences.

Automating donor thank yous and stewardship allows you to provide a best-in-class donor experience with less manual effort. While video and technology can never replace in-person interactions, they allow you to scale your impact and free up your team to focus on building deeper relationships with your most engaged supporters. With the right tools and workflows in place, you can ensure all donors receive a prompt, personalized thank you and feel valued at every step of their journey with your organization.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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Donor Participation Project

Ten Tips for Donor-Focused Writing

Effective communication is key to building meaningful relationships with donors. Your writing should focus on the donor, not your organization. Here are ten tips for crafting donor-focused communications from our session with Debbie Meyers.

Know your audience. Research your donors to understand their motivations and interests. Segment your list and tailor messages to different groups.

Make it personal. Use donors’ names, mention their previous gifts, and highlight their impact. Thank them for their loyal support. Ask for and use personalized salutations.

Praise and thank. Express gratitude for donors’ gifts and their role in achieving your mission. Thank them specifically for the change they make possible.

Use a conversational tone. Write the way you speak to build rapport. Use contractions, end sentences with prepositions, and start sentences with conjunctions like “and.” Keep your language straightforward and friendly.

Be original. Avoid clichés and “mad libs.” Come up with creative ways to start thank you letters beyond the standard “Thank you for your gift of $X to Y program.” Share stories and examples that are unique to your work.

State your purpose. Don’t bury the lead. Explain why you’re communicating within the first paragraph. Be transparent about asking for donations or help. Your donors will appreciate your clarity and honesty.

Tell a story. Stories inspire action. Share stories of how donors’ gifts impact real people. Storytelling triggers emotions and makes information more memorable.

Show impact. Highlight compelling statistics and specific examples of how you’re achieving results. Focus on outcomes and impact, not just activities. Build a case for the importance of donors’ support.

Keep it concise. Aim for short sentences, active voice, and straightforward language. Follow the “rule of three” to keep discussions brief. Pack each communication with value for the reader.

Start and end strong. Begin by stating your purpose clearly. End by reiterating key points and issuing a clear call to action. Thank the reader again for their support. Strong endings create lasting impressions.

Following these tips will help you craft donor communications that inform and inspire. Build trust through authentic and impactful messaging focused on your donors’ interests and motivations. Make each interaction an opportunity to strengthen your relationship.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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Donor Participation Project

Fundraising Through Gaming: Tips from the Experts

Fundraising through gaming and Esports is a growing trend that many nonprofits are eager to tap into. According to experts Diego Scharifker and Dan Long, gaming fundraising has the potential to reach new audiences and raise significant funds. However, it requires careful planning and the right approach to be successful.

Leadership buy-in

Scharifker, former corporate fundraising officer at the USO, says obtaining buy-in from leadership is the first step. Educate them about the size and impact of gaming audiences to address stereotypes. Gaming is mainstream, with the average gamer age 33 and nearly two-thirds of adults gaming regularly. fundraising success stories and the potential to reach younger donors can help build their support.

Community

Long, community manager at the St. Baldwin Foundation, stresses that building community is key. Use platforms like Discord to connect with influencers and their audiences. Schedule regular community events to strengthen relationships. Consider an ambassador program to work with influencers closely tied to your mission.

Emotional ties

While big names may raise awareness, the size of someone’s following alone does not determine fundraising success. Emotional ties to the cause matter more. Work with influencers genuinely passionate about your nonprofit’s work. Their authentic stories will resonate far more with audiences than fame.

Give back

Matching gifts are a useful incentive, as donors see their contributions doubled. Start with a feasible amount based on your current fundraising, and scale up as community support grows. In-kind donations of gaming equipment or experiences also work well for prizes and events. Keep your nonprofit mission central, not cash or prizes.

Successful campaigns take time.

Start small, learn from mistakes, and build upon wins each year. With the right community and corporate partnerships, gaming can become a powerful tool for fundraising and beyond, as nonprofits and companies work together to achieve shared goals. But like any skill, mastering gaming fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.