By Dave Kubal
Two forces are working against you in communicating with your organization and all whom it touches. First, there are tons of messages barraging people today. When communicating to people involved in your organization, you want to make sure that you are being heard through all that media noise. For instance, keeping information flowing to your donors about the good things your organization is doing is imperative! Even people who are interested in your organization may not always take the time to read what you want them to know. You have got to do something different to get your message through surface from the business of people’s lives.
The second force out there that needs to be reckoned with is the economy. Costs may be making your choices for communications more limited. Guaranteed, those donors you are trying to communicate with are also distracted by the economy and what it means to them personally as well.
So, how do you get an effective message out there to donors, and do it in a way that maximizes your resources? Organizations are forced to get creative to get their message heard and understood. No matter where donors fall in the donor cycle (Awareness-Education-Asking-Thanking-Demonstrating Results-then back to Asking), keep in mind that it is much easier to keep a current donor than to recruit new ones. With that in mind, here are three ideas to communicate to current donors.
- Creative Communication. If you don’t feel the urgency to creatively communicate like never before, you need to! Here are some ideas:
- Send out postcards instead of a printed newsletter with a simple message of thanks. People will turn over a postcard to read 25 words in a heartbeat. Plus it’s cheap. You could even do a campaign of postcards.
- Record a video testimony – 30 seconds is plenty long – email the link to the video (if you don’t have anyone that can do this find a college student that can) or put it on a memory stick that can be mailed or personally delivered (these can be bought in bulk for as low as $3.95 each).
- Divide up your list of donors– board members, staff, and program participants– and have a team of people personally call them to thank them.
- Have your president or a high-profile supporter record a video message and burn it onto a DVD.
- Have people who benefit from your program write a letter of thanks in their own handwriting and then mail them to supporters.
- Focus your message. We need to segment our donors so that particular levels receive a specific, personal touch. Here is an example of a plan:
- Donors of $1-$100 – Receive a thank you letter and a newsletter (printed or enewsletter).
- Donors of $101-$500– Receive a thank you, newsletter and a quarterly call from the organization to thank them and to ask for prayer requests (this is a great job for an intern or split up names among your staff/board members).
- Donors of $501-$1000 – Receive a thank you, newsletter, quarterly call and a memory stick message personally delivered.
- Donors of $1001+ – Receive all the above, but take them out for lunch where you insist on buying.
- Keep your message simple: “Because you are a part of our organization look what happened and look what is going to happen!” Say it with pictures, quotes, videos and as few words as possible. Speak to the heart not to the head.
I am sounding the alarm! You must be creative, focused and simple in your communication. Sit down soon with a group of people that you trust and brainstorm how you will communicate the great things that you are doing. Commit to doing something different!
Dave Kubal is the former Vice President of Training and Leadership Development for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is currently the President of Integrity Leadership Development. In addition, he is personally involved in starting and running numerous non-profit ministries.