Beyond the Thank You: How to Realign Your Stewardship Plan With Your Organization’s Values
DonorPerfect Community Conference 2023 session with speaker Sabrina Walker Hernandez
Beyond the Thank You: How to Realign Your Stewardship Plan With Your Organization’s Values TranscriptPrint Transcript
And welcome to Beyond the thank you how to realign your stewardship plan with your organization’s values. Our speaker today is Sabrina Walker Hernandez. She is the president and CEO of supporting rural hope. She has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and Read More
And welcome to Beyond the thank you how to realign your stewardship plan with your organization’s values. Our speaker today is Sabrina Walker Hernandez. She is the president and CEO of supporting rural hope. She has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and leadership. One of Sabrina’s greatest successes is that she increased operating revenue from 750,000 to $2.5 million over an eight year period, as well as being responsible for planning and operations of a $12 million Comprehensive Cancer capital campaign in the third poorest county in the United States. She has also facilitated numerous workshops with hundreds of nonprofit professionals, and is a master trainer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Sabrina is certified in nonprofit management by Harvard Business School, and as a best selling author. She currently serves on the board of directors for village in the valley, Edinburg, Rotary SOS Foundation, and the ECE cares Foundation’s femme city of the rdv Museum of South Texas history and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. So we welcome Sabrina this afternoon. But before we get started, I have a few housekeeping items. Just a reminder that the sessions are recorded. The handouts can be found on the right side next to the chat button. You’ll find it under details and then files and documents for downloading. If you want additional information about this session, there will be a poll posted in just a moment on the right side of your screen. You’ll want to answer yes to that. So Sabrina, I’m gonna leave it up to you at this point.
Perfect. Thank you so very much. So how is everyone doing? First of all, I am that girl as far as time management, but I will say this, I am going to say I am going to keep on track. As you can see. As you noted, my name is Sabrina and I studied poli sci and public administration attended Harvard for the management certification been in the industry for 25 years. But I’ve worked in direct services, operation and executive leadership. So I bring a different perspective to the table. And as you can see, I serve on a lot of boards. So some of those boards, I’m giving away money. And some of those boards, I’m raising money. So I bring that perspective to the table as well. And so it’s a nice big title, but I narrowed it down to stewardship, stewardship, beyond apologize for the Stewardship beyond the thank you because really, that’s what we’re talking about, we’re gonna rise above the pack and fundraise better with an effective stewardship strategy for your nonprofit that actually aligns with your values. And so I really wanted to make sure that you understand this. And I wanted to clarify this too, because tech gods don’t like me. So if there’s going to be a tech issue, Sabrina is going to have it. So I’m going to ask for grace. And the other thing that I’m going to ask for grace for is I do have one of those nasty summer colds. So I have my Gatorade here. And if you see me sipping, it’s because I don’t want to cough. So that’s that. That’s what we need to go. But I want to start off by saying, on average, only 34% of your donors this year, will be retained for the following year. That means that we are losing and I’m horrible at math, but we’re losing about 70% of our donors. And the question becomes like, why are we doing that? And it’s really goes back to stewardship. So what happens when you don’t do it, your donors or your prospects, donors become less engaged. They are unsure how their donation and support makes a difference. They forget about you. They lose trust in you. Because they aren’t sure again, how their dollars were was being used. They don’t feel valued, and they give give elsewhere. So that’s why only 34% are coming back. So we have to focus on retaining existing donors. Because that is the key for most nonprofits, do nothing to keep your donors involved and they will stop giving. And we see that over and over and over again. You sitting around and I can say it happens in my board meetings you like well, they gave last year but they didn’t give this year. Oh well, I don’t want to call them. I quote because I haven’t talked to them in a year. The last time I talked to them was when we asked for something. So we got to do a better job at this. So I use stewardship for 15 years as the CEO of my organization. And as mentioned, we increased the annual operating budget from 750k to 2.5 million and completed a $12 million comprehensive capital campaign, we started and grew in on an endowment of 500k, and had 180 days cash reserves. And my organization is along the Texas Mexico border, within a third poorest county in the United States. So I say that, for my organization’s I heard, I hear it all. Well, we’re in a metro area. So it’s a great number of competitors, or we’re in a rural area, and there’s not a lot of donors. So you know, everybody has a challenge. And that was my challenge. And if it can be done with my challenge, then it can be done with the challenge that you are, that’s coming up for you right now in your head. So here’s the goal, I want you to leave this workshop ready to deepen and expand your relationship with donors. That is one of the key things that we are going to do here, because when you do that, you will keep more donors. And when you keep more donors, you will raise more money. And so that is the goal. And here’s a formula that I use relationships, plus results equals reoccurring revenue, which is retention. So it starts with relationships, then you got to give the results so you can get the reoccurring revenue, I try not to make things complicated. Think about it is the four R’s, relationships, results, reoccurring revenue, or if you force too many. It’s the three R’s, relationships, results, retention, the goal is you got to get the RS in your head. And so it has to be a priority. If you want to survive and thrive in today’s competitive non mark, nonprofit marketplace, look, I sat in your chair.
And I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed. I know what it’s like to be putting out multiple fires, I know what it’s like to be busy and not productive. You come in one day thinking you’re going to be doing this and something happens. So I get it. But you have to make time for this period. Because ultimately the goal is to raise funds, that is going to allow you to help more people, help more animals help the environment, whatever your your mission is. And so there can be no arguments, and there can be no excuses, right? We this has to become a priority. So securing donors only to lose them is just not good business. Right? It takes more money to secure a new donor than it does to keep the donors that you have. And so we have to do stewardship. So what is stewardship? So stewardship basically, I always say it’s like a marriage, your organization is partner with your donors. And throughout the year, you share special moments, just like a couple, right. So basically the same thing you do to get them you have to do to keep them and you have to celebrate. So you got to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, since thinking of you ticks, we appreciate you videos, shower them with a lot of attention, and it’s gonna make the partnership even better. So if you were in a relationship with someone, and the only time you heard from them was when you needed something, you wouldn’t come back either, right? Because we teach people how to treat us this the same thing that your donors are doing. So you got to celebrate and you got to do the stewardship. And I’m going to answer this question is never too late. It’s never too late to start. Never too late. So acknowledge it. donor gave you something last year, acknowledge it. Hey, I know you you gave us last year and we fail to say thank you. I was thinking about you. And I just wanted to say thank you, that’s a quick text is going to make a difference. So when do you start start now? So stewardship, when it comes to stewardship is three simple things. I call it the three P’s. You have to do a per a prop. Thank you. That means within 24 hours send a thank you within 24 hours of receiving the gift. Send a thank you. And I know that sounds impossible, but I’m going to give you a system Have you sent a personal thank you, and you do and a powerful demonstration of the gifts impact. So the three P’s prompt, personal and powerful demonstration. And if you do those three things, your organization will distinguish itself from many other nonprofits, because as we can see, our retention is not good. And you’ll be better able to maintain and increase the support of your existing donors, while attracting new support as well. Because if someone is treating you well, as a donor, and you become an ambassador for their organization, when you’re talking about that organization, they’re going to tell their friends, as well. So it works that way. So prompt, thank you. Now, this is basics, I do want to acknowledge this, this is not beyond the thank you at this moment, I want to get into some of the basics, because sometimes we don’t do the basics. So I prompt, thank you, donors, again, should be thanked within 24 hours of receiving a gift. And the thank you cards should be heartfelt, it should be genuine, it should assure people that the funds are gonna be be used as attended, and affirm that their investment will make a difference and give concrete examples. So here’s an idea to get you started. Because I don’t like saying all you got to do this in 24 hours, right? That’s great, but not sharing with you the house. So I’m all about the house. So here’s the how handwritten thank you cards from board members. So at the end of each board meeting, have your board members write thank you cards and sign them, what they’re going to do is they’re not going to address them to anyone. And then you’re going to, and so basically what you do is you come into at the end of the board meeting, you have a script, you pass that script out to the board members, it’s a thank you script, it’s going to have a story in there, what and then they’re gonna take that you give them some note cards with your logo on it, preferably, preferably, they write out the thank you note, they sign their name, they don’t address it to anybody. And then you collect those up. If you do, if each board member does this, at the end of each board member, each board meeting at least two to three cards, you’ll have a stack of cards on your desk. And so when that gift comes in, all you have to do is add the donor name and add your signature. And now they have a handwritten thank you card from a board member and from the CEO of the organization. It’s pretty simple. Your board might be like every month, if you meet monthly, and if you meet quarterly, then adjust the numbers that you do. And if you meet virtually, because I get this one too, I have a board that meets virtually and they’re like, Well, how do you do it if you meet virtually? Well, that’s when you have to invest in and a software that looks like handwriting, there’s no way around it because you meeting virtually that’s just a compromise a meeting virtually. But the point is, you have to you have the handwritten cards, and not only when you do the handwritten cards, if you meet every month, you can change, you can update the notes every month with a new success story. And the beginning and the end of the letter itself doesn’t change, what changes is the middle. And then what that is also going to do for your board members is is going to give them to another story to tell. Because if you’re meeting monthly, and you end the meetings every month, with a personalized note with the script, you’re going to give them a unique story every time. And so this is going to help your board members as well, because we work with people we remember stories, right. And so this is a way to help them also become more of an ambassador and advocate for your organization. Because when they’re at other places, they remember that story. And so it’s also going to help your notes stay fresh, right? Regardless of when the donor gives. So if the donor gives once, twice, three times they should get once thrice, three times. thank you note. So beyond the Thank you, you can send your donors personalized videos with each donation, you can start with a warm and personal intro followed by a story or testimonial, or how their donation has already made a difference. And the goal is to make it warm and make it personal. You know, I always say imagine the donor as your favorite aunt to uncle and speak as if you would speak to them. Right? And so that’s the goal. And then you can do that you Using DonorPerfect, that’s a great example of what this system can do for you. So you don’t have to make it complicated. Either, you can use your cell phone as well, and do a generic thank you video, it allows you the ability to text that video, right? Again, I sat in your seat. So I know time sometimes can be very critical. So even sitting there and doing a video and emailing it out, can often take time. So what I did was I worked with kids. So I just had a group of kids that said, thank you, and it was recorded on my phone. And so as soon as perhaps a donor left my office or visited us or sent something, I just quickly text that video, which allowed me time to then go back and like set aside some time where I could send those personal videos so.
So again, that’s what you can do, you can use your cell phone, you can have your client, say to thank you if possible. And if you want to personalize the thank you video, then you can send your email using DonorPerfect, and is nothing wrong with sending that that quick thank you texts, and then setting aside some time where you actually sit. And you do that personal thank you. So here’s some other ideas to get you started. So around the language, the ideas to get you started around the language for your thank you cards for your thank you videos for all of those things, you want to make sure that it is very much donor centric, and not organization century. Now I struggle with this because I love to talk about how great my organization is. And we all do. But it needs to be about the donor. And so that’s why I put this example here. So let’s just take one, I’ll just take, pick a couple of them. I’m that girl, I have to stay on timeframe. And so I’ll take one as an example. So let’s just take the first one organization centric, would say thank you so much for your support. We provide 20 meals to people in our community for every $50 Donate it varies. That’s organization sitter, we’ve twisted just a little bit donor centric will be thank you so much for your support, your $50 gift will provide 20 meals for people in need in your community. So it’s about the donor, it’s got to make it donor centered. And so there are some examples there that you can see. But it really is about making it donor centric, and twist look for more use in yours then eyes and wheeze. A powerful demonstrated a third P is a powerful demonstration of the gifts impact. So this is hard to accept, it was hard to accept for me. donors don’t care about what you do. Those are activities, right? donors don’t care about how many people you serve. Those are outputs. I was the queen of that. We serve as this many kids and none of that talking about the organization and doing all that hard for me to adjust. But because donors what they want to know is they want to understand the impact of your work. donors want to know who’s being helped, not how many is being held, but who’s been held. They want to know how lives are being changed. And they want to know how their investment in your nonprofit is making a real difference in the world. That’s what they want. And so we have to someone gives you money, you need to share how their money helped. And this is the deal. This was another hard lesson for me to learn. Because you can overwhelm people by sending like, you know, we helped hundreds of people apply, you show these pictures and you think, oh good, you know, they their money went a long way. That’s what that’s what they’re gonna think that’s not what they’re gonna think. You overwhelming them, send them one story. That’s why it’s so critical. Send them one story of how something impacted one person because they realize I help that person and they can identify. And so your donors, they want to hear the stories about your successful outcomes. They want to know how they’re your investment had an impact, so that you collect and organize and share amazing and inspiring donor stories with your donors. And you share the stories over and over again. You share them in the newsletter, you share them in the annual report, you share in your social media feed. You share them when you meet the donors, and you share them in the thank you letters. So all of this is how you demonstrate you Your impact. So it’s very critical that you do that. Why is it critical that you do that? Because the research shows, okay, I don’t like to bore people with research. But I think this is very much worth saying, like 53% of donors do not renew their giving, because the organization failed to properly say thank you. Also, 40 46% of donors leave for reasons tied to a lack of meaningful info, or the feeling they’re giving is not appreciated. And in 75%, of donors, list information on results achieved with their gift is their top requirement for motivation for giving. Okay, so demonstrating impact is very key, it is very key. And you need to do that across all your channels, not just your newsletter, not just your social media posts, not just on your board, but across all of those channels and needs to be consistency, and demonstrating impact. So when we talk about being on the Thank you, right, it’s not just sending that one thank you card, and being done with it, it is having a plan in place where it maybe you can sync quarterly touchpoints. And beyond the thank you letter or the video that should be sent to every single donor, that handwritten card is not beyond that is a basic recipe, I want to tell you what the basics are. Receiving a thank you within 24 hours is a basic receiving a video is a basic, those, everybody should be doing that. To go beyond that basic. And thank you, you have to have stewardship. And Stewardship starts with creating touch points on a quarterly basis. So remember, I met girl, I don’t want to tell you, you got to do this. And I know how busy you are. And I don’t give you any ideas like how do we get this started? Here’s how you’re going to do that. So let’s talk about it. So you can send postcards or email messages during the holidays, like New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas, send a minimum of two gratitude message a year by mail. Because they will see those, I only get junk mail these days. That’s it. So when I get like something that’s handwritten or card like it stands out in my mailbox, and so at least twice a year do that. And if you’re fortunate enough to work with kids like I did, and I know I was fortunate, you know, I had kids do postcards on drawing color pages, and then we converted those into postcards. So have your clients do that. If your clients have to happen to be animals, you’re at an animal shelter. So paw print, there you go, make a cute, dress, the animal up and birthday hat take a picture of those are the things that you have to do to get creative. You ask for feedback or advice. That is stewardship as well. People appreciate giving feedback. And what I know is where feedback is given. Money soon follows because they feel value. You make personal phone calls, you pick up the phone, and you thank the donor, I had a board committee, three people, you know, you know your board members, you got to pick the ones that you trust that when a gift came in at a certain amount. I would email one of them and say this is a gift, this is a name, here’s a phone number. And then they would pick up the phone and call them and say thank you for the gift. So there you go. Inviting them into volunteer opportunities, get them in front of your mission, they need to see smell, taste the mission. So if you can invite them in for volunteer opportunities, that is stewardship, get the board involved again, assign each board member five accounts to touch five times in a year. I call that my five by five plan. So as each board member gets five names, that you give them the names and contact information, cell phone, email, all of that. And then their job is to touch those people at least five times in the year and it’s not complicated. One of the things that I say is really around cultivation and cultivation and stewardship. What you do to get them you got to do to keep So those five touches could be as simple as, you know, taking someone out to lunch or breakfast, checking in with them, calling them on the phone, making sure they get the newsletter inviting them into your event, asking them for advice. Those are the five touches. And that’s not overwhelming if one person is in charge of five people. But again, it’s really focusing in on genuine, heartfelt messages, showing the donor how they are making a difference. But again, it takes planning. And so that’s why we’re here. So creating a stewardship plan. And so a stewardship plan for your nonprofit will not only help you build better relationships with your donors, but it will help you increase loyalty and ultimately result in an intimate that says, donation over time. So let’s talk about
creating a plan. Here’s the steps for creating a plan. But I want to backtrack and tell you why you need this plan again, because it’s really about fundraising night, that’s what we need the funds so that we can impact more people. And so why do you need to take the time to plan for stewardship? Well, let’s look at the fundraising process. So the fundraising process is 10% of fundraising is qualified and 10% of fundraising is identifying. And 10% of fundraising is qualifying. That means identifying people and then qualifying if they like your mission, and we have the ability again. So that’s 20%. Right? 60% of fundraising is cultivation, that’s building relationships. So asking advice, vitam, in all those things, and then 5% of fundraising is asking for money. That’s only 5%. That fear of the five, I call it the fear of five because as soon as you talk about fundraising or getting on a board, people are like, Oh, I gotta fundraise? Well, asking for money is only 5%. And then 15% of fundraising is what it is stewardship, that is maintaining the relationship. So the thing that you have to do to get them is the same thing that you have to do to keep them. And if you add those two percentages up, 60% and 15% 75%, of fundraising is relationships, building them and maintaining them. We do all right. We could do better at building them. Where we really suffer is the maintaining them. But your largest pieces of the pie, when it comes to fundraising, is relationships. So we’re going to focus on here, how are you going to maintain those relationships? So stewardship plan, here’s the how, here’s the idea. And the help you because I know you’re busy and productive. But this is going to help you with engagement of your board. And not only engagement of your board, it might help you with engagement of some potential board members as well. So step one is form a donor stewardship Taskforce. We’re not talking big numbers, three to four people maybe five step to segment your donors into categories or levels, ie, new donors, major donors, etc. That’s where you’re that’s where the CRM system comes in. Step three, is develop stewardship and recognition opportunities beyond the Thank you. And in some of those activities could include handwritten cards, like we talked about, especially on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, inviting your donors to participate in volunteer activities, inviting your donors to major events such as lunches, galas, town halls, or other experience sending surveys that ask for feedback or explored donor interests. creating and sending reports are both the impact of the donors gifts and the work your organization is doing, outlining your communication strategy and stewardship matrix. Now, you are getting a sample this is a sample donor stewardship matrix. And if you are like me, when I sat in your seat, I’m gonna learn from my mistakes. You see this you like, Oh, I like that. I’m gonna take this and I’m gonna go to my board and we’re going to adopt this. Yeah, it’s not going to happen like that. Why? Because your board has no buy in to this process. That is why you Create that task force, can you do it? Can you take this and say, This is what we’re doing, guys? Yes, you can. But you’re not going to get the Bible. And you need to have their buy in. And that’s why you create that task force and you go through this process. And when I say a task force, it could be I, when I do my task force meetings, I would like work, you can get into three meetings, and they can be their virtual most at a time. The whole goal is to get them excited getting engagement, make them think as part of this as their idea. So then that they can help implement it. So too, here’s a donor stewardship matrix. And it’s basically broken up into categories acknowledgement, recognition, reporting, and ongoing engagement. And so when we talk about the different categories, you’ll see here, we talked about new donors as a separate category, loyal donors, major donors, and plan giving donors. There’s also some they have monthly donors, please don’t forget about your monthly donor, sometimes we forget about our monthly donors. And so under acknowledgment, it says, who gets the thank you call within 24 hours, who gets the thank you call from the director, who gets a welcome letter, annual donor lunch. So it’s having those different categories and checking off and being intentional about, okay, if they give it if they’re new donor, they’re going to get this if their lawyer donor, these are the things that they’re going to get if they’re a major donor, and you defy major, people always say, well, what’s the major gift? For every organization, a major gift is different, right? I always say, if you get a check in the mail, and you squeal very loud, and you want to go and tell somebody, then that’s the major gift level for your organization. Right. So as you’re going through this, and your task force is going through this, then you decide what each each level is going to get. So here’s some important lessons that I’ve learned early on in fundraising in my fundraising career as a small nonprofit, right, with organization without a resource development team, because I did not have a resource development team until five years before I retired. And then when I got to resource development person, I didn’t know what to do with them, and I ran them off. That’s a whole nother training. But this is what I first day, right? So I can hear people that are really big into relationships like I am, because you know, I said what 75% of motorizing is relationships. But I know that I sat in your seat too. And so here’s a quickie is better than doing nothing. Let me just say that for every zero, a donor gifts, that is the number of touches that they receive within a year. Okay. So for example, if a donor gives $99 or less, that is one touch. And that touch would be that Harun thank you card, because everybody’s getting that right. Not the not the not the automated email. But the handwritten thank you card. donors who give 100 to $999 received two touches. So that could be like the handwritten thank you card and the video, right, and those who give $1,000 to $9,999, get three touches that could be Well, we already know, it’s gonna be the Thank You card, the handwritten thank you card, a video, and then perhaps the director can call them. And then your donors who give 10,000 to 99,999 receive four touches. And that might be thank you card, the video, the director calls, and then the fourth touch will be the board member calls. So that is a simple way that you can do that. As a small organization. Now, don’t go out and tell those other folks I know it’s about relationships, I get that. But what sometimes when you got nothing, you start there. And then you create that task force. And then you do the big pretty, right. And that’s great. So I’m all about predictability is over here. So here’s some examples and ideas and best practices, because that helps when you sit in that seat, right? So here’s the number one thing. If you do nothing else, create a first time donor packet.
And the first time donor packet for your first time donors is going to create a wonderful experience and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Letter, a token gift, not swag. Don’t send nobody nothing with your logo with a pencil. Don’t send nobody nothing with your logo on a cup. Something that brings it back to the mission. Again, I know, I know, I sat in a different seat, because I work with youth. So I always use Youth Art, or arts and crafts or something. And they got a nice little letter from me, they got the 24 hour. And then I gave myself some time, within two weeks, where then I could send them like a welcome letter to the family, right with a handmade gift by kid. So start there first time donor, because the whole goal is to get people to give again and again. So here’s the other lesson that I learned, you got to schedule monthly time for making things thank you calls. So my Believe it or not, I, I didn’t like marketing Mondays. And so I was set aside, like an hour digests market to donors, but it had to be a habit. And so whatever works for you make it a habit, because what happens and you guys know it sitting in a seat, you have to put out a fire or something’s gonna happen. And so if you try to make it a habit, every Monday, I’m gonna set aside an hour or two for this. If it’s every Monday, and you only get to do it, two of those four, Mondays is more Mondays than you were doing before. So try to make it a habit, tell stories as much as possible. Get your Annual Report digitized. To reach more supporters, make special thank you videos, and share those on landing pages sharing by email share most or social media hosted appreciation event. Where you bring people together just to say thank you resolve any donor calm complaints or issues within 24 hours, keep track of significant events for your donors birthdays, anniversary surgeries, life events, I am a social media stalker, I can find out your birthday on Facebook, LinkedIn, all of that. And so keep track of those things. And if you are doing stewardship, right, and you are trying to secure face to face, as you’re having conversations with people make note of those things that they share with you and make sure you go and put them in your CRM system. So the whole goal is to genuinely make an effort to get to know your donors and communicate with your donors with the E newsletter. Now I’m going to say this, email this goal. So try to get donors, you got to get your donors emails, why do I say that? A lot of organizations depend on social media as communicating with their donors, you have to remember that that is Facebook’s data. That is LinkedIn data. And if they go away, or you can’t access it, then you’ve lost contact with your donors. The email is yours. Don’t tell me it won’t happen. Because I remember that day, I still remember that day when Facebook went down, and nobody could get on and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Now imagine if it went down and they weren’t able to recover all that information, then you would have lost it. So that’s why it CRM system is so important, collecting emails, making sure newsletters get done. And then designate an area in your newsletter where you list your donors and thank them for their support. Phone calls again, and visits are powerful. Prepare a news release for your local newspaper on national philanthropy day to thank your community, or when you get a significant gift that you so choose. Always be thinking of new ways to acknowledge your donors and supporters on your social media channels. Make behind the scenes videos of your work in action. conduct an interview with donors and program recipients, share photos of volunteers and work in action. Take Take your donors behind the scenes. Give your donors insider view to help them understand and have a better connection with the with the with your organization and leverage social media to strengthen your relationships with your donors, but don’t just depend on social media. So remember, I said you got to make it a habit. So here here we go. Let’s help you because I hate giving out advice and I’ve given examples. So here here’s a make it a habit called donors the first Wednesday of the month. For me that was the day of our board meeting so I was getting ready for my board meeting and I was knee deep The net and I didn’t want to do anything else. So what I did was I called my donors, one week out, you can run a list no more than 10 calls per person. And when my thought you write a script, most of the voicemails keep it short and sweet. So let me restate this. When I say make it a habit, make it a habit for yourself. But also, you can make it a habit for your board members. And that’s more how this talks about it, too. So it was a habit for me, and it’s something that I did for myself, but I also bought it into the board room. 10 minutes. Thank you, Laurie. And so how that works is in not every board meeting, I didn’t in the board meeting with the thing, I ended the board meetings with the thank you cards, but for this particular habit, what you can do is you run your list, you print out 10 people with their phone numbers, during your Board of Education moment, and you’re in the board meeting, you pass those out, you have your board members, call the donors, and thank them, what’s going to happen is some donors are going to answer some are not but the ones that do answer is going to be great conversation, because this rarely happens. And then you bring your board members back together and your board members can share testimonial about they just talked to this donor and this happened. So here’s a sample follow script for you. So that you can see, you know, I’m Sabrina, I’m a board member with village and valley, I’m calling to say thank you for your generous donation of 500. Because of you, we can continue to provide scholarships, community service projects, to our neighbors through our community closet, we have provided those we need so you get you kind of get the idea. So we talked about focusing in on first time donors, if you can’t do anything else, focus in on those first time donors. Because it’s just like a business and you don’t want to lose customers. You got to have a nurture series, where you love them up to four times over the course of two, three months. And there is what isn’t a first time donor packet. So you have it in writing. I verbally said it, but you want to put some photos of the beneficiaries, a well written story and a small story. Small token No sweat, no swag, no swag. Okay, tokens of appreciation examples, handmade Valentine’s cards by children framed or matted photos of your donors taking into organization event, our joy made by client modest, inexpensive expression that conveys gratitude is what you’re looking for. So the stewardship work? Yes, it does. Research has shown that average gift values increase 39% and donor retention was 70% over 14 months for those folks that received focus stewardship. And for those folks that did not receive that the attrition exceeded 80%. So it’s worth the time. So today, I promise you an understanding of why stewardship is important and understanding on how to deepen and expand relationships with donors, and how you raise more money when you focus on stewardship, and how you retain more donors when focused on stewardship. So now, I say, Are there any questions?
There are a lot of questions. Okay. I did. Okay. Laurie? Um, well, the thing is, everybody just loved the ideas that you were providing. So then, came the questions based off of some of those ideas. And, okay, I’m gonna work with those that have been uploaded. Meaning more people want to know about it. So Jory, asked in these postcards that you had talked about earlier, you know, to gratitude touches per year, would you include a link back to the website in case they want to give again, or steer clear of that?
Yes. So what you can do is not about them giving. So you don’t say you can make a gift here that about? So it’s the postcard. And then you could put like For more information, you know, your standard. Here’s our Facebook link, here’s our Instagram, here’s our email, so that like they see the standard information that you will put because it could inspire them to want to go on and find out more information and donate. So is the image that I say kids drew on the front, right, that’s the focus. And then on the back, your standard stuff would be your address and then your social addresses.
Okay, all right. We have plenty of people that wanted to know the answer to that question. Hopefully, we gave them something that they can walk away with Jennifer’s asking. I’m newer in my role. only six months, and we have some longtime donors that have not been responding to emails. I’d love to get in front of them and build my own relationship. Any tips on how to break down that wall?
Oh, yeah, pick up the phone and call them. Um, phone calls are very personal. everybody’s not going to respond to emails. Look, emails make me nervous. I will tell you that. And it’s another thing to do, right? And emails, you get so many emails. So yes, I do. I oftentimes ignore emails I do. And I think your donors, and you probably are in that position, too. So pick up the phone and call them. It will be the best advice that I can give phone calls are very personal. And if they don’t answer, send a text, it’s okay to say, hey, Jennifer, I want been in this organization for six months, I see you have strongly supported us. I would love to come and sit down and talk to you just to say thank you. And to get to know you. That’s it.
Yeah, it’s funny how texting has become more commonplace now. And sending something like a thank you as opposed to questions or asking for anything. I think people would appreciate that more than than some of the spam that we get. Yes. So
I’m gonna spam. Yes. Because I ignore a lot of emails. I’m sorry. I don’t want to waste your time, Jennifer.
Well, we’ve had quite a few questions about privacy. So the one that Jamie had asked kind of sums it up, I think, for other people. Thoughts on how to share stories of impact while respecting your client’s right to privacy, especially when they are children. Which Yes, you have experience with?
Yes, yes. And so yes. So with that, is we, of course, we got permission, when they sign up for a membership and all that we got permissions. But we always made sure that we never share a full name. That’s one. So it will be like first name only, not last name, and things like that. But it’s also a way that you can tell their story and be respectful, because there is that idea of you don’t want to exploit your clients as well. And so we were very good at telling their story. And but not sharing full names, and not and being respectful in the way that we worded their stories. And also, not only that, was getting permission from the parents.
That were one of the other questions. Yep. That came from. They’re labeled as anonymous, but they were asking if you need release forms. Yes, sir. You do
you do. And our membership form, of course, had that release information. So when parents signed them up, they were releasing that, but still, if it was something, you know, like, we had this huge competition Youth of the Year, and people and the kids had to get up and see what their challenges were, they had to do two minute speech. And for like, 300 people, we even though we have permissions, we still had conversations with the parents, because we didn’t want them to be shocked by anything that was said we share that information with them.
Okay, um, we have a few minutes. People have been asking about your matrix, it should be in the handout, correct? Yes. So it’s in the PDF is I haven’t seen it. Well,
if it’s not. If it’s not, Laurie, I will email it to you.
Okay, it should be right. So what we can do is, is, if I do get a copy of that, I can load it into the Resource Center, possibly. Okay, so yes, they can access it.
Yeah, I will do that. But what I’m warning you is don’t just blank it. adopt that. Get the feed back. Because you need the buy in and you need the engagement. Are you intelligent enough to do it like to create it copy, paste? Yes, you are. And I tell people this all the time, you are intelligent enough to do it all. But that’s what got you here with a lack of board engagement and the things that we complain about is because you’re choosing to do it all. You need to take the time to plan and get their buy in.
For sure, for sure. Okay, so I think that maybe all we have time for one last thing though. A lot of people have been talking about tchotchkes and swag and their manuals. So they were asking, you know, how do you make case for an ad who loves swag that isn’t a worthwhile investment.
So you, there’s not that look, let me be clear, you can get some swag. But that swag should be if you set it up a booth somewhere, you know, a community event and you want to hand out some stuff. It’s not what you get for your donors. Because let me tell you what a donor told me. If you have money to pay for that, then why am I giving you my money? If that’s what you’re sending your donors as gifts, I would rather you take that money and invest it in the mission. That’s what changed my mindset around that. Right. So, you know, we try to give these pretty plaques and we try to you know, send them this nice, you know, that stuff. But that was the quote, and, and since then it’s been focused on the mission, have give create opportunities where people can see touch and smell the mission. And so we were sent again, you know, sweat, get a token could be a picture of a kid in my world with your logo on it. And, you know, thank you from this kid. And I had my, the person who’s a friend of mine now, who was our CPA. He said, We had great conversations around that, because you sent that to us, and I put it in a magnet thing, and they put it on their frigerator. And they’re like, we have people come to our house and say, Hey, is that your grandkid? Or hey, is that you’re gonna die. And he was like, No, this is a kid we sponsored it wasn’t Girls Club, and they got to talk about it. So it’s not as complicated. You can get the swag but swag and not is not going to persuade the donor swag is for your community awareness. Not for your donor relationship building.
Get the word out. Yeah, but not the not the personal part.
Not the personal. Remember the three P’s personal, powerful impact?
Yeah. Okay. All right. So we are, we’re actually a few minutes over. So I apologize for keeping you all if you want to break me for next session that starts at 130. Sabrina, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate your time, and I’m sure everybody else has to your message was a great one. And I hope that they did take advantage of they take advantage of all the takeaways that you’ve given them. Thank you. All right. Thank you
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