Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat!

Later today our neighborhoods will be filled with children in costumes ringing doorbells and enjoying the fun and games that Halloween provides to children around the country.  Among the key portions of this holiday is the fun of getting dressed up and then asking folks to give you something, candy, for nothing but a smile and a thank you.  Sound familiar?

We all ring houses each night in our phone program and ask them to give us something out of their pocket in exchange for a smile and polite thank you.  We even do it without costumes!  But are you doing a good enough job with sharing that thank you and using appropriate manners?  I have had terrific success in using students to sign the post commitment letters and have also used students to hand write thank you for your time messages to refusals.  We are putting our students in the front line of not only the calls but the follow up communications because that is who our donors are supporting - not a trick but it could be a treat for a donor who really believes in what you are doing.

The next generation of many of these post contact and even outright contact efforts is social media.  We are talking about creating a group of student ambassadors for whom we create "personal" accounts that they can use to communicate and solicit from in much the same way as we provide phones and data to them in the phone programs.  The trick here is for them to engage, not just solicit.  The analogy is to having students attend events where they are making asks on your behalf - you doing that yet?  If not, give it a shot.  In that environment, this works where the student visits with, talks with and shares with the alum as almost a host/hostess and then is responsible for bringing the conversation around to support and making an ask.  I see the same thing working on social media - the trick is going to be to convince the engaged alumni that providing you with a treat is their idea.  I will update this in a couple of months with a progress report - something fun we are playing with today.


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