Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tips to Encourage Repeat Donations

According to Network for Good, 60% of donors don’t make repeat donations to the same organization. Don’t be a statistic!

Enhance the donor experience and encourage your first time donors to make recurring contributions to your organization.

Timeliness Processing

Manage the donation receipt process with care and precision. Accurately logging and capturing the data into your system should be done within a few days of receipt. Processing the credit card information and/or depositing funds received via check should also be done timely.

If there is an issue with the credit card or check, reach out to the donor ASAP.

By processing their donation timely, you are showing the donor their contribution is valued and needed.

Secure Systems

Security breaches are becoming more and more common. Set up a system to ensure that the donor information you have collected is secure. Create strong firewalls, invest in antivirus software and intrusion detection programs.  All data files coming in or going out should be data encrypted to prevent the potential of identity fraud.

If you are using a 3rd party payment processor, ensure they are Payment Card Industry Data  Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant.

Donors are more apt to continue contributing to an organization they feel safeguards their information.

Get Friendly

Reaching out and thanking your donors upon receipt of a contribution is a no brainer. Where many organizations fail, is keeping the communication going. Continue sharing updates with your donors – let them know how their contribution has impacted your organization’s mission. While it shouldn’t be the primary focus of your communication, it is perfectly acceptable to include an appeal request in your note.

Donor Involvement

Let’s face facts — monetary contributions are wonderful, but there are other ways donors can be of assistance to your organization. Rather than simply asking for money, ask them to get involved. If they are local, you could have them volunteer at your offices. Not local? No problem! Offer phone or web training and get them set up to make phone calls – appeal, thank you, or other – from the comfort of their own home.

Donors will feel more connected to the organization and may even be motivated to make additional financial contributions.

At one point, a donor was moved to make a donation to your organization. Keep them engaged and excited about the progress being made and they will want to continue to be a part of it.

What retention strategies have you successfully used at your organization?

6 Steps to Creating a Successful Volunteer Program

Most nonprofit organizations rely heavily on volunteers to run their organization effectively. Having a solid program that attracts and retains volunteers that believe in the mission of the organization is key.  Follow these 6 steps to implement, or improve, your program.

1. Create a Job Description

Even though the position is a volunteer one, it is important to clearly identify the needs of your organization so that you not only bring on volunteers that want to complete these tasks, but also accomplish your goals as an organization. Include the skills a volunteer needs, the training you will offer as well as the hours and location the volunteer is needed.

 Clearly explaining all of this upfront will help you attract volunteers that want to be there to support your organization and its mission.

2. Interview

That’s right, interview. While in all likelihood, you won’t be turning a volunteer away, it is important to meet and speak with all potential volunteers. Prior to meeting, review their resume and past volunteer history to get a sense of their skill set.

When you meet with them face to face, take note not only of their experience and skills, but also of their temperament.

3. Orientation

The more knowledge a volunteer has about the organization and its mission, the better able they will be to support it. Sharing the history and accomplishments of the organization in addition to its mission is a good idea.

If possible, invite a board member to present during the orientation. This will give the volunteer a sense of belonging. They can share policies, their personal story and answer any questions the new volunteers have during this time.

4. Supervision

Appoint someone to manage the volunteer’s schedule and develop a relationship with them. This person can be a paid staff member or a more seasoned volunteer.

The volunteer should be able to reach out to their supervisor with any questions, concerns or scheduling issues they have. Supervisors should plan to meet, preferably in person, with each volunteer monthly — more or less often depending on the schedule of the volunteer.  This is a great opportunity to thank the volunteer for their efforts and dedication.

5. Recognition

Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts — especially when they aren’t being paid.  Showing the volunteers at your organization they are appreciated doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive project. A handwritten thank you card from a board member or a shout out in a newsletter goes a long way.

If your organization hosts holiday parties or other gatherings for their staff, extend invitations to your volunteers as well. After all, they are an important part of your team.

6. Evaluation

Provide feedback to your volunteers on the work they are doing. Keep notes throughout the year on the hours they work, the tasks they complete and their willingness to help. Let your volunteers know you will provide letters of reference should they need it.

This is also the perfect opportunity to ask your volunteers for their feedback. Perhaps they have a suggestion that could benefit the organization. Listen to what they have to say and consider implementing it.


How does your organization attract and retain volunteers?

The Power of Donor Stories

It’s common practice to share stories of the impact your organization has made with l donors. It is a great way to emotionally involve donors and give them a better understanding of what and where their donation is going. Although the stories aren’t always as compelling, organizations should also utilize donor stories as part of their appeal plan.


Why Share

Current donors that are asked to share their stories feel a sense of belonging. They know you appreciate their monetary donation, but by sharing their story, you are also letting them know you value them as individuals.


This peer-to-peer approach entices potential donors to get involved with your organization and further your cause as it adds another layer of connection between you and them. Potential donors are able to identify with the values and beliefs current donors express and want to get involved.


Collect your stories

You have plenty of donors and most likely have a great story to share. Unfortunately, donors are likely not knocking down your door to share them. So, how do you collect them? With a little planning, it’s not that difficult.

You’re likely already making phone calls to major donors to thank them for their contribution – and if you’re not, you might want to start. This is the perfect time to get them to share their stories.


When you make the call, be prepared to ask several open ended questions. Asking questions like “Why do you choose to give to our organization” or “Why is this cause near and dear to your heart” are great springboards. These types of questions should help you harness their passion.


As they are speaking, actively listen and engage in the conversation. Taking notes is important so that you can recount their stories when you are ready to use them. If you have the means to record the conversation, even better. This will not only allow you to put all of your focus into listening, but you can also use the audio file as a means of sharing their story.



Preparing the Stories

Once you’ve collected all of the data, it’s time to share them. You’ve got the content, now you need to compile their stories. The challenge is to share the passion of the donor in an authentic manner.  Keep these things in mind as you prepare the collected stories.


Appeal to a universal demographic. You don’t know who will be reading (or listening) to the stories you share.

Make it memorable. Present the story in a memorable way. Include a quip that is unforgettable if at all possible.

Highlight the donor. Illustrate how donating empowered the donor and made them feel involved.

Evoke emotion. It’s likely that what you say or what you do will be forgotten — but the way you make people feel will always be remembered.



Sharing the Stories

Congratulations! You’ve now collected and prepared donor stories and are ready to share them. Add them into your newsletters, website and share them on your social media channels. By sharing the passion of others, new donors will be moved to take action.



Navigating Your Next Networking Event

Whether you are hunting for a new job, marketing your company’s services or simply looking to increase your circle of business contacts, attending a networking event can help.  Once you’ve invested the time to identify the event you want to attend and registered for it, you will want to ensure your time (and money) has been well spent. With a little bit of preparation, you can make your time worthwhile!


Get Ready for the Event!

Set your goals! Determine specifically what you want to accomplish at the event and the types of contacts you hope to make.

Do your homework. Research what hashtags are being used and engage in the conversation before the event. Additionally, take the opportunity to look at the profiles of other attendees. Take note of things you have in common and recent accomplishments so you have something to discuss when you meet at the event.

Prepare your commercial.  Be prepared to give a 30 second elevator pitch about yourself. You’ll want to share you you are, what you do and something memorable about yourself. Keep in mind, you have just one opportunity to make a first impression…don’t waste it!

Stock up! Check your inventory of business cards and if you’re running low, place an order. You will want to have a good supply of these to hand out to all of the new contacts you make. While you are at it, consider ordering a customized lanyard for your name tag.  It’s a great way to show off your organization’s logo and be easily recognized.


Event Time! 

Be the early bird! Arrive early so you can scope out the location, meet other early birds and ask any questions you may have of the event staff. Use this time to get organized and ready for the event so you aren’t frazzled as the bulk of other attendees arrive. 

Say “CHEESE”! A smile lets those around you know you’re approachable. Other attendees will be more inclined to talk to you.

Be an engaging conversationalist! Networking is a two-way street. Actively listen to what others have to say. An occasional nod of the head shows you are truly listening. When speaking, use the name of the person you are speaking to at least twice. This will help you remember their name as well as show them you have paid attention to them. 

Take note. As soon as possible after speaking to someone new, write something on their business card to ensure you will remember who they are after the event. You are bound to be meeting many people and it is easy to forget what you spoke about.

 Spread your wings. There are plenty of people to meet at the event so do your best to meet as many as possible. If you are having a great conversation with one person, let them know you would like to continue it after the event. Get it on your calendar and then head off to make additional connections.


After the Event

Follow-Up! Whether you choose to send a personalized email or make a phone call, take the time to follow up with each of your new contacts. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting with them and reference a topic you spoke about just in case they don’t recall who you are.

Get Social! Engage with your new connections on social media. Depending on the type of connection and your ultimate goal, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great platforms to connect on.

Are you ready to navigate your next networking event? Let us know what other strategies you use before, during or after events to help you effectively network.