Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Donors’

YOU the fundraiser supporting philanthropy

In Donors, Fundraising, Uncategorized on September 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

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There has been much written about the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.

I’ve read tweets of support, Facebook posts with negative reactions and have heard rumours of charities trying to “hijack” the fad and/or dismiss it totally.

So as a non-fundraiser for ALS, where do YOU stand?

At the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, we stand with all the participants who are dunking ice water over themselves and/or donating to support ALS. Why? Because we need to support each other in this industry.

As Dan Pallotta recently tweeted, “…non-profit organizations aren’t competing with each other, they are competing with large companies.”

And it’s true. We all have our missions to help those in need; whether that is feeding the hungry, medical supplies for the ill, or shelter for animals – all are worthy causes.

There is no need for us to compete. There is a need for us to cheer each other on when something good happens to the others. Such is the case with the #IceBucketChallenge. A passionate person, with the disease inspired the challenge. It wasn’t an event ALS put on, or a campaign. It truly was grassroots.

And guess what? It is no different than the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign YOU or I put on. So why are fundraisers upset about it? Because it wasn’t done for YOU? That’s a big mistake.

Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we have started to notice that online donations are coming in with a donor message included: “I was challenged to do the ice bucket challenge and I am donating to ALS and to the Alzheimer Society.” What a lovely thing for a donor to do! The spirit of philanthropy alive and well.

My, yours, our job is not to condemn others, but to help them. Donors, or clients. Some may want to do the challenge for YOU and your organization! So tip of the day: don’t be jealous, check your donor’s messages and make sure YOU thank them for doing the #IceBucketChallenge!

(Want to see our #IceBucketChallenge? View it on our YouTube Channel!)

YOU, and Your Year-End Fundraising Plan

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm

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Can YOU believe it? Another year is almost over. For many, the end of the year means celebrations with family and friends, a time to reflect on the past year and an opportunity to give to your favourite charities.

If you’re a fundraiser, I hope YOU are seeing results coming in from your year-end campaign. But how did YOU prepare for this year’s campaign? What did YOU do to make sure it’s your best yet?

I followed advice from fundraising rockstars Tom Ahern and Gail Perry who really know how to make a year-end appeal letter stand out from the pile.

Is there anything else YOU can be doing to make your year-end campaign successful? It’s not too late to make this year your most successful yet!

Here are a few things YOU can do between now and January 1 that will help bring in more donations.

Follow up. So, YOU wrote an awesome appeal letter and it went out in November. YOU are starting to see results come in, but there are donors YOU should’ve heard from by now. Stop what YOU’re doing and come up with a follow-up action plan now. YOU can plan to reach your donors through emails, phone calls, social media and personal visits.  Remember, our donors are busy, especially this time of year. Chances are, they need that follow-up from YOU.

Prompt Thank YOU. YOU can’t put off your thank YOU. A prompt thank YOU shows donors that YOU care about them and their gift and it’s a good way to start building that donor relationship. We have a rule in the office that within 48 hours of a gift coming in, a tax receipt and thank YOU is sent to the donor. Please don’t wait until the New Year to thank your donors! If YOU got a gift from a friend today would YOU wait until the New Year to thank them? I doubt it.

Reach Out on December 30 & 31. Many donors will wait until the last day of the year to give their year-end donation. YOU can set up timed emails to send to your donors on these days. (who haven’t given to your charity already). Be sure to create a sense of urgency and include a message like last chance to help families this year and get your 2013 tax receipt.

Make it easy for your donors to give. Your office might be closed during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean your donors won’t be trying to reach YOU. How can YOU make it easy for your donors? YOU need to update your website and include content that is consistent with key messages and images used in your campaign. Test all of your web links because a broken link is enough to turn a donor away and YOU lose out on a gift. Update your organization’s voice mail so if a donor calls to give a donation over the phone they have other options available, like going online.

Put yourself in your donors shoes and YOU will see things in another light. Get creative and really try to connect with your donors over the next couple weeks. It just might help YOU exceed your fundraising goal!

For more tips on year-end fundraising, check out one of Gail Perry’s latest posts.

YOU, the Campaign Evaluator – #GivingTuesdayCA edition

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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(Yes, this is another post about Giving Tuesday Canada – more of a results update. Click to read what we did pre-December 3 and day of)

Woah. I don’t know about YOU, but December 3, 2013 in our office, was a very special day.  The overwhelming support we received from donors in Nova Scotia and in fact – across the country – was truly touching. We raised over $11,000 to help support education about dementia. We couldn’t have done it without the support of so many – a blog post just about that support will come soon in coordination with Giving Tuesday.ca, because YOU the supporters deserve your own space.

What I want to talk to YOU about today, is numbers.

Still with me?

Good! The Giving Tuesday Canada movement has already released some numbers: there were over 1,300 organizations that partnered to be a part of this special day (Us and our matching donor Deloitte included!) And 169% increase in donations on CanadaHelps.org over the first Tuesday after Black Friday in 2012.

Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we had three goals, only one of which was financial: to raise $5,000. This was the amount we set, because our matching donor Deloitte could match donations up to that amount.

In less than seven hours, our donors met that goal!

While YOU have goals laid out before the special day, it is important to follow up with evaluation and goals for after. This is my Giving Tuesday lesson, because I didn’t make goals for after. I needed to work with donors to raise money to support dementia education and then move on to the next area that needed funding.

Because December 3 was so overwhelming I decided quickly to rectify that.

One of the fun parts about being a fundraiser is pouring over data after an event and campaign. We didn’t do a mass email to promote our involvement. We kept this campaign online via social media ambassadors, and asked people to sign up to receive a reminder to donate on December 3. The only mail out we did, was including a business sized card save the date with our Society newsletter in November. Everything else was word of mouth leading up to the day, and on the day, we received two media mentions on morning breakfast shows (another goal for the campaign was met: be seen as mobilizing philanthropy in Nova Scotia on Canada’s First Giving Tuesday).

Our Giving Tuesday success was built by 72 donors (plus Deloitte).  Of that:

–          12 were mobile donors (which means I can technically say that we had an increase of 120% in mobile giving on December 3….because we had never done a mobile campaign before)

–          14 were over the phone/walk-in donors – two of whom were new!

–          46 were made online, of which 23 were new donors!

Now, the really interesting part: because we are both a small organization, and held a small Giving Tuesday campaign, I can identify more than just the above, to help me get to know our donors better. For instance of the returning donors on December 3, most hadn’t made a donation in several years and most, had only made In Memorial donations.

Why did they donate on Giving Tuesday? Was it the matching donation, the media, did they see it on Facebook? I might never know, because I didn’t ask at the time they made the donation.

What we did, was thank the donors in a timely manner with a personalized message from our Board of Directors, a video YOU can watch here.

I hope to go back to them in January and ask why they gave for a spotlight article. This campaign is a gateway to a conversation with new and returning donors, a special relationship that could last longer than a December day.

YOU, the creative Impact Reporter

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2013 at 11:13 am
The staff says "Thank YOU"

The staff says “Thank YOU”

Donor love can come in all shapes and sizes. Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we’ve shown our donors the love via post it notes, Vine videos and even homemade baked cookies.

This week, I produced yet another donor love item and I am super excited to share it with YOU, in the hopes it inspires YOU to be a fundraiser that shares the donor love (my inspiration as been hash tagged and reported on by @johnlepp).

Three years ago we received our first, five-year, Major Gift in a few (many) years. This was gift was for Programs and Services as we launched new programs for individuals with early stage dementia.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this gift, this donor, changed the life of many Nova Scotians and the course our organization was on.

So how do you thank any donor, let alone one whose original gift has spun off to make a difference in areas that they don’t even know they helped?!?!

Each year we give the donor a letter, thanking them and updating them. This year they won’t hear from us, they will hear from the people they helped. In fact, they will have something so that family and friends can also see the difference they made!

This year their Impact Report is a Coffee Table book. Pictures and stories, some statistics and quotes fill the pages! I am so excited to give this to the donor….I keep checking my order status every hour to see if it is ready for pick up!

So, what was the process we took – that YOU can take – when it comes to being the creative Impact Reporter? Here’s how we did it:

Template leads to outline leads to the "meat" of the project!

Template leads to outline leads to the “meat” of the project!

1. We created a template with step by step instructions for the coordinator working on the report. The template has a check list and recommendations for what kind of impact report should be created. The template helps the creator do everything from creating an outline, to entering the final information into our donor database.

The final version is much, much more professional - I promise YOU!

The final version is much, much more professional – I promise YOU!

2. Knowing that I was going to be creating a coffee table book, I sketched it out by hand. This helped keep me on track and helped give others a sense of what I was working on. It was a handy place to write notes as well, as the editing tool online I was using for the book, did not.

3. I started interviewing. From my outline I knew who I wanted to speak to and about what. Participants in our Programs were so wonderful – eager! – to thank the donor for helping make a program they attended, possible.

4. After researching the various online tools YOU can use, we did settle on the Costco Print Centre to make the book. I have used them plenty of times for vacation photos, so I knew that it was a timely and cost saving measure. YOU can order your book online from many different websites or stores.

Our Executive Director did let the “cat out of the bag” the last time he met with the donor, so this won’t be a surprise. But guess what? The donor is excited to receive this book! Yea!

What creative ways do YOU show your donors impact?

YOU, the Grateful Fundraiser

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

My appreciation supplies

When I was kid, wandering around the house to find something to do, I once stumbled upon a “Learn Calligraphy” kit my parents had. I was intrigued – either because it was something different, or maybe I was completely bored – but it gave me a challenge, so I started practicing my penmanship.

Little did I know how handy this skill would become.

As a fundraiser, I offer gratitude on a daily basis. To the staff who continue to celebrate philanthropy; the volunteer making sure labels are on envelopes and of course to event participants and donors.

When planning your fundraising event, have YOU added in the timeline – right after the event, before YOU even hold an evaluation meeting – time to say thank YOU? I know, you’re thinking, “Of course I say thank YOU.” And I know, people will always say, “I didn’t help/donate/support to receive a thank YOU (or recognition).”  But truly, have YOU taken a moment to send off more than a quick email with a “Thanks.”?

Last year in our Fund Development department, we made it the “Year of the Donor.” And one of the tactics in this year, was for one month, keeping track of how long it took to thank/show appreciation to a supporter.

And YOU can imagine, the time was minimal. Two minutes here, a walk to the post office there.  Not time-consuming, but heart warming.

We all get so wrapped up in the actual coordination of events and campaigns that we may think a quick email and @ Twitter mention of thanks, is enough. But it’s not. Your supporters took time to think about giving YOU a donation/attending your event/volunteering to support YOU. We can do the same. I have learned so much more about our donors because before I write a note, I read their donor profile. It is heartwarming to know that people out there support the same passion YOU have. Embrace and share in that.

While I think our department always made sure to show our gratitude before, during and after events, when we kept a tally of how long a handwritten note took us to write, we realized we could do more. Now, handwritten notes and cards are a staple of our daily lives.

And thankfully, I have years of self-taught calligraphy skills to put to good use.

Tips for YOU, the Grateful Fundraiser

– Thanking a sponsor? Keep a file on your computer with all references (media clips, pictures from the event, collateral marketing materials) burn them a copy to send with your thank YOU.

– Thanking a supporter? If you can, buy a nice pen and a blank thank YOU card. Don’t use other’s words (sorry Hallmark), use your own. As in all things Philanthropy, be authentic.

-Thanking a donor? Take a moment to read their donor profile if YOU have one. The note should reflect their latest gift and recognize the support and contribution they have made to your organization.