Friday, April 13, 2012

quick hits - FY start communications

For today's post, I thought I would go in a slightly different direction. One of the primary communications that we need to be responsible for is updating our constituents on the impact they are having on our organization. Most of us do a very good job of doing so at the point of the donor making the gift, acknowledgement letters, receipts and thank-a-thons often cover this for the individual donor. We also do a good job in our solicitations, with messaging that covers "why" and "what we did" last year. Hopefully your magazine does a decent job of covering your major donors and ideally includes an annual "thank you for your impact" piece that talks about the impact of the masses and why the $10 gifts were important.

I would suggest that a FY start campaign be built around a public thank you based on some successes from the last year. This needs to be pervasive, covering all media that you fundraise through, coordinated and segmented. The segments are simple and direct - your gift mattered, this is why, thank you or gifts from donors mattered, this is why, and we missed you.

Use social media, create a badge for your donors and ask them to proudly add it to their pages at the same time as you do a voicebroadcast message from a known entity. This can be a campus celebrity, a beloved faculty member, a famous spokesperson who values your organization among many options. Follow this up with a simple direct mail piece - a post card or very small notecard both work, with a "tweet" sized explanation of why they matter and what their impact on the organization is.

Fiscal year start works because it also allows you to share the message of "the next time you hear from us it is for another effort" or "we missed you (implying that we don't want to miss hearing from you this year)".

Cheap and effective, this also provides a fundraising centric effort that is not an ask, a communication that we tend to skip over but one that helps lay the foundation for long term success.


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