4 Steps to Keeping Your Give Day Tampa Bay Donors

Give Day Tampa Bay logo

Give Day Tampa Bay is May 5, 2015 – just one week away. Are you ready? Are you ready for what comes next? Give Day Tampa Bay is a 24-hours online giving challenge led by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation. The midnight-to-midnight went showcases our local nonprofits and makes giving easy for first-time donors or long-time supporters.

To get the most benefit from your efforts, make sure you are thinking about how to retain donors after May 5. Across the nonprofit sector, donor retention is very low. Don’t believe me? You can see for yourself at the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. How do you beat those statistics? Donor engagement!

Just like with any fundraising program, you have to plan for the follow-up with your donors on Give Day Tampa Bay. Make sure your plan covers these 4 things:

  1. Say thank you – start with a timely, accurate thank you. Should it be electronic or written? Yes or what about both? However you do it, make sure you convey that you are happy to receive the gift and you will put it to good use accomplishing your mission. Be sure to find everyday language to describe how your mission will change a life and make the world better. For Give Day Tampa Bay, the donor makes the gift to the Community Foundation but that should not change the sincerity and timeliness of your acknowledgement. Make sure the donor knows that your organization is grateful for their gift.
  2. Engage – engage them in what you are doing. Invite them for a tour, tell them good stories about the beneficiaries of your work. Ask them to join you as a volunteer. Make them the superhero. Meet them whenever possible and listen to them. Ask questions like: How did you come to support us? What is special to you about the work we are doing? What other information would you like to receive and how would you like to receive it?
  3. Drip feed your mission – don’t pour it out fast like a fire hose. Organizations do many things and we are compelled to tell the donor everything we do in every correspondence. Stop that! Remember when you first starting learning about your organization? You didn’t understand it all at once so don’t expect your donor to do that. Tell them one story at a time that demonstrates your work.
  4. Tell a story – Stories are the best way to convey information. I had a professor in graduate school who told lots of stories and guaranteed his students we would remember the stories but not the theories in the textbooks. Now it’s 20 years later and I can tell you he was right. That’s what I remember. Your donors will remember the stories and that’s what will move them to make another gift.

I’m often asked, “How soon can we ask for the next gift?” There is no magic timeframe. More important than the number of days, weeks or months, answer this question: how have you thanked and engaged the donor? Once you have done that well, you’ll be ready to ask for the next gift.

Where There’s a Will

I made my YouTube debut this week with an appearance on The Philanthropy Show. Beverley McLain from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and I join host Louanne Walters to talk about planned giving. Louanne opens with the question posed by many nonprofit leaders: “When can we start brining in some planned giving?” The answer: right now. Here are a three highlights from our discussion that are helpful for your nonprofit:

  1. You don’t have to be an expert to get started – many nonprofit employees and volunteers don’t talk about planned giving because they know they aren’t experts. Don’t let that stop you. You need to be an expert on your organization then turn to professional advisors for help with the legal parts.
  2. Listen – as with all parts of fundraising, it’s better to listen than to talk. Conversations with donors are what lead to planned gifts. If you are doing all of the talking, you will miss the opportunities to deepen a relationship with your organization through a planned gift.
  3. Create a legacy society – Beverley has some priceless tips on getting this started in your organization. Be sure to start by asking who has already named your organization in their estate plans. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

As I say in the show, “I’m no planned giving expert.” But 25 years of fundraising experience has allowed me to be a part of raising planned gifts. Don’t be afraid to get started. Be sure to subscribe to The Philanthropy Show so you will know when new episodes are posted. Even the commercials are helpful. This one is from Jennifer Dodd, Education Manager at the Nonprofit Leadership Center. She’s got great tips on blogging.

10 Ways Board Members Can Get Involved in Give Day Tampa Bay

Give Day Tampa Bay logo

Give Day Tampa Bay is a 24-hour online giving challenge led by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation.

The midnight-to-midnight event showcases our local nonprofits and makes giving easy. Whether you’re a first-time donor or a longtime supporter, all it takes is a couple of clicks on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.