Written by: Kimberly Proffitt
Looking for ways to further engage your donors and supporters once your event ends? It’s a given that a fabulous thank you letter will be sent, the sooner the better. Here are a few additional ideas for building connections:
Call donors and supporters to thank them
Phone calls are one of the most underutilized tools for thanking donors. This is surprising, given studies have shown how effective they are for influencing donors to give again:
- Fundraising expert Penelope Burk found 34% of donors receiving a thank you phone call said their decision to give again was influenced by that call. New donors receiving a thank you call from a board member within 48 hours of making a gift increased their next gift by an average of 39%!
- Donor management software company Bloomerang studied the data of their client base and found retention of new donors increased from 33% to 41% if one thank you call was made. Additionally, the size of the second gift from these donors nearly doubled!
How often do we receive a pure thank you call, with no ask attached? In the era of automation, it feels special. Even leaving a voicemail has the same positive effects. Gather your board, committee members, staff, and volunteers and start dialing!
Email registrants with a thank you and update
Imagine going to the movies and having the theatre shut the projector off ten minutes before the end of the film. No one wants to be left guessing how the story ends! Guests at events can feel the same way if the event closes without announcing the total raised or showing a thermometer.
After they’ve invested the time to watch, we owe it to our supporters to let them know the results. Send an email thanking them for participating and sharing how much was raised. Emphasize how their support is truly furthering the mission.
And if you didn’t make your goal? Be open about that. It may inspire someone to give again, share your organization’s story, or become more involved.
Send a short survey to event registrants
Another easy way to engage supporters is by asking for feedback. Who doesn’t like to offer an opinion?
Send a short survey (no more than five questions) within a few days of the event, so the experience is still fresh in the minds of registrants. Include questions such as what they enjoyed, what wasn’t as interesting, and whether they’d attend a virtual event in the future. Most important, ask if they would like to receive further information or be more involved.
Those who say “yes!” to further involvement – even if it is just receiving a newsletter — are some of your best prospects for a deeper relationship. Make sure to note their interests and preferences, and continue to reach out in the coming months.
The work of engagement and building relationships with donors is ongoing and should have a solid plan behind it. Remember to thank often and authentically, connect donors with opportunities to be further involved, and report back on the difference donations have made. It’s the small steps that often have the longest-lasting reward.
Need help crafting a stewardship and engagement plan for donors? Reach out to learn how we at Fladeboe Advancement can help you get started!
Kimberly Proffitt, Research, Analysis, and Donor Engagement Consultant at Fladeboe Advancement, has worked in the nonprofit sector her entire career, focusing on fundraising and philanthropy for the past 22 years. She takes a special interest in helping organizations understand the stories data tell, strategizing on developing long-term relationships with donors, and reframing fundraising from “asking for money” to engaging with the passions and values of donors.