Tag Archives: Thank yous

Did You See My Thank You Video?

It was also an example of how easy it is to do a quick thank you video for donors. And I am hoping YOU will make one of your own today.

Film a thank you video

This article is not going to teach you how to set up formal acknowledgments. Hopefully, you have that set. Now is the time to start stewardship.

According to a report from Kindful and the NextAfter Institute, the first 45 days after a donation is when you are most likely to have the highest open, read and click rates. And, donors are most likely to give a 2nd gift or upgrade to become a recurring donor.  If you want to be remembered, here is an easy way to be grateful, stand out from other nonprofits, and maybe even get a 2nd gift.

How do you film a video to thank donors?

Just do it. You can decide if you want to do one for all new donors welcoming them with a new fact. One for major donors reminding them of some of the things you have been able to accomplish thanks to their donations. Or, one for your whole organization.

Decide, and then:

  1. find the best cell phone in the office/house
  2. find a decent background that does not distract (the viewer should not be able to read book titles)
  3. figure out how to prop up the phone (you can DIY it or buy something on Amazon)
  4. make the space as light as possible by adding warm lights (table lamps can help)
  5. start “filming”
  6. Macs have software to edit clips but try not to spend too much time doing it – it is an easy way to delay getting it out.  
  7. send it out

Here is what I learned when I did my video:

  1. I bought a ring light for $35 on Amazon. I like that it makes propping up the phone easy and has a remote to turn on and off the camera, but the ring light doesn’t work well if you wear glasses. I think my glasses-free kids will use it in the future for fun things. 
  2. It will not be perfect – so don’t try for that. I can pick out 6 things that I would have liked to be different in my video. I am guessing you didn’t notice most of them. And if you did, I am betting that it didn’t change the impact.
  3. I gave myself one hour to film. I did do it a bunch of times because it takes me awhile to get comfortable and not flub what I want to say
  4. I had a script that I turned into bullet points and put it up right next to the phone so that I could glance at that. (One of the things that bothers me is that I am looking in a strange direction but I think that is because of how I placed the camera and will change it next time). Keep it simple. This is a thank you with maybe one fact.
  5. I spent less than 10 minutes editing it.
  6. I felt really good when I hit send on the blog with it! You will too!

If you create a thank you video, please send me a copy at abigail@merskyjaffe.com or tag me on social media (LinkedIn or Facebook). I love seeing them and learning from all of you. I promise not to notice any flaws.

Originally published in January, 2021

15 Holidays You Can Celebrate with Donor Stewardship

Donor Stewardship ImageHolidays come and go. We take days off, we celebrate with friends and family and, hopefully you express appreciation to your community through personalized donor stewardship.  At least, I hope that is what you are doing.

Any holiday can be used as a good excuse to call, send a handwritten note, send an email, highlight a beneficiary, or send a token gift.

But think of the holidays and how they align with your nonprofit.

New Year’s Day?  Talk about your hopes, dreams and resolutions for your nonprofit that you can achieve thanks to their gifts.

Groundhog’s Day?  Consider a cute gif thanking your donors that loops and references the holiday.

Valentine’s Day?  Try a short IPhone video with a beneficiary talking about how much they love the opportunity they were given thanks the donors support. Of course, handwritten valentines from children or chocolates are always nice too.

St. Patrick’s Day?  Send someone a link to a unique piece of Irish music.

Purim?  Arrange for mishloach manot – traditional food and sweets sent to friends and family

April Fool’s Day?  Send a few jokes to make people laugh.

Mother’s Day?  Why not ask a donor to make a donation, to a different organization that helps mothers, in honor of your nonprofit’s donors. Nonprofits acknowledging that the world needs help and we can help in small ways shows you know you are not the only organization in need of support.

My birthday? It should be a national holiday, shouldn’t it? Throw a huge party on May 29th.  Or, you could send a birthday card to your donors in honor of their birthdays. Whatever seems more appropriate.

Father’s Day? There are more and more organizations that focus on the positive role of fathers. Consider sending a list of organizations that you think do wonderful work and need more awareness.

Juneteenth? You may have noticed this holiday auto populate your calendars along with some others you can Google like Holi, Eid al-Adha and Diwali. You are not the only one who has to Google them. Consider giving a little information along with a way in which it connects with your organization. It could be as simple as sending an email that shows your nonprofit prides itself on helping others learn about the world or support people of all faiths.

Halloween? Send images of the things that scare your organization or just send a note thanking them for making every day less scary in your world.

Thanksgiving? Thank your donors. Or offer them ways to be thankful.

#GivingTuesday? This nonprofit celebration can be very useful if you know how to celebrate. Sending emails asking can help. But thanking donors for their giving can go a long way too.

Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa? Each holiday has special traditions that talk about giving, miracles, and supporting each other. Think about how you can do more ask at this time of year. But, make sure you are also asking.

Determine what is right for your organization. If you would like to talk about ways Mersky, Jaffe & Associates can help your nonprofit, email me today.

What Would You Do With 1,000 New Donors?

1000 New DonorsImagine if an article about your nonprofit started getting forwarded on Facebook. By a lot of people. Suddenly, you receive 1,000 new donations from 1,000 new donors. Seems like it would be a good problem, wouldn’t it? But, it would still be a problem.  In all likelihood, you could not accept, acknowledge, and begin stewardship on 1,000 new donors with your current structure. In fact, many organizations can’t handle 50 new donors at a time.  Or 10 if they come at a busy time of year.

That is because most nonprofits don’t have a solid organizational structure for stewardship and development.

Whether you have a one-person development shop or fifty people working the task, there have to be formal processes in place to make sure you keep your donors happy. And retain those donors next year, and for many years into the future.

What should you consider when assessing your current structure? Do you have:

  • Goals for your fundraising efforts?
    • Are they realistic?
    • Is there data to back up your goals (vs. wishful thinking)?
  • Prospect and donor research?
  • An updated case for giving?
  • An understanding of the steps you take after someone gives you a gift? Including:
    • How many acknowledgements go out and from whom?
    • Who enters the gift into the system and how is it tagged so you can gather data at a later time?
    • Do you do something different if it is an oral pledge vs a written pledge vs a check or online donation?
  • Written gift acceptance policies?
  • Board involvement in fundraising (and expectations for involvement)?
  • 100% board giving to your annual fund (money, not just time and talent)
  • An effective development committee?
  • A stewardship plan?
  • Processes to update the different thank you letters on at least an annual basis?
  • A planned giving gift acceptance policy?

This is not an all-inclusive list for what to do with 1000 new donors.

In fact, it’s just an overview of considerations to create long-term financial stability and growth.  But, just as it will take additional funds to secure your nonprofit’s future, it will take additional work – from everyone – to be able to accept those funds with confidence.

If you are planning to go viral with a story to help you find 1,000 new donors, or you want to  have the kind of donors who will help your nonprofit succeed for the long-term, email me to today to talk about MJA’s Organization and Development Assessment. A full assessment will help you in untold ways.  To learn more about what we can do for you, click here.