How to Follow up with Volunteers

INTRODUCTION

Acknowledging your volunteers is just as important as acknowledging your donors, and you can do that by sending out a follow up!

In this article we are going to be looking at why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. Volunteers are the powerhouse of the organization! Knowing how to send follow ups and how to make them effective is KEY. Sending out those follow ups as soon as you can will result in a good volunteer experience and increase the likelihood that volunteers will return for more work, and even become donors!

 

WHY FOLLOW UP?

graphics-01

Following up with your volunteers is important because volunteers are what keeps your nonprofit organization going. Volunteers donate their time and effort for a cause as long as it provides them with the personal satisfaction of doing good for others as well as a positive network of individuals who all care deeply about the cause. It is not only courteous, but necessary to follow up with them to gain valuable feedback about their experience with your nonprofit and give them more opportunities to donate. Follow-ups help volunteers feel in the loop and keep them involved in the work.

Apart from helping with your nonprofit’s mission, volunteers also seek charity work to gain experiences, network, learn new skills, add to their resume, and more. Sending out follow ups to gain feedback is beneficial to your organization and to volunteers. You can then use that feedback to improve your programs and it will increase the likelihood of volunteer’s returning, sending referrals to your organization, and building relationships.

Once you have established good relationships with your volunteers, it could result in them turning into donors down the line!

 

HOW?

graphics-02

Following up with your volunteers can be as easy as sending an email. The point is to maintain good communication. But it is a good idea to show effort in the way you follow up with them. The way to show effort can be evident in how you follow up and what you say in your follow up.

 

3 Points to Always Include in your Follow Up:

  1. Acknowledgment of Gratitude: saying thank you in a personal way

  2. Progress Made: letting them know how their efforts have helped the cause

  3. Include a Survey: to gain insight of their experience

 

Make sure when you follow up with your volunteers, it reflects that you spent time and effort in contacting them. Volunteers put their time and effort into helping your organization, so you should do the same! Handwritten and personalized notes are an excellent way to show volunteers that their contribution is valuable and recognized. You should make it easy for them to respond back to you by including your email, phone number, or social media information.

 

WHEN?

graphics-03

A good time to send a follow up is as soon as possible! Try to aim to get those follow ups out within one week of their experience. This is especially important when you want to gain feedback from your volunteers. This is because their experience will still be fresh in their mind. It will also add to their experience to get that extra thank you soon after they spent time volunteering. When you maintain good communication, it builds relationships. Strong relationships with your volunteers will turn into strong donor relationships! It is all about the long game!

 

CONCLUSION

To wrap things up, we covered why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. It is important because volunteers are essential to keeping operations running. A follow up can be sending an email to writing a letter, but remember to put in effort so that volunteers feel their work is being reciprocated. The sweet spot of sending out follow ups is within one week or as soon as possible.

GET OUT THOSE FOLLOW UPS!

 

BONUS TIP

Want to know how to increase your average donation amount? Here are 9 easy steps that will tell you just that!

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Authentic Communication with your Donors

INTRODUCTION

The nonprofit sector is in the business of people-helping-people. What better motivates people-helping-people than being authentic!?

This blog contains vital information about maintaining authentic communication with your donors. The 3 main takeaways are: Be true and consistent, attend to your donors, and create personal experiences. Adding personalized and specific details to your communication methods will make all the difference.

 

BE TRUE AND CONSISTENT

graphics-01

All nonprofit organizations have a cause that they are passionate about. Before you communicate with your donors, you need to establish a set of values and beliefs that your organization follows. Make sure when you set up those values, you are being true to yourself and to your cause. To have authentic communication, you need to BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify your core principles, you must represent them in every message and any form of communication. You may not be popular with everyone, but at least you will be showing community members that you are true and consistent. The main point is to stick to your set of values and beliefs, but there are more Principles for Authentic Donor Communications that Build Relationships.

 

ATTEND TO YOUR DONORS

graphics-02
Make sure to put effort into focusing on your donors. Remember, without your donors you can’t support your cause! Maintain relationships with donors by consistently communicating and creating opportunities to connect with them.

There are various ways to stay connected with your donors and maintain authentic communication. You can schedule regular meetings in person or virtually to provide the opportunity to interact with them. This is the time to have discussions about your organization’s progress and get the opinion of the members. You can ask questions like: Why are you passionate about the cause? What is your preferred method of communication? How would you like to take action?

You can also connect with your donors by sending them information via digital and physical communication methods.

 

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR DONORS

Social Media
Community Events
Newsletters
Impact Reports
Thank You Notes
Website Blog
Google Forms Questionnaire

 

The main focus should always be on your donors, so you can build authentic relationships.

 

CREATE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

graphics-03
To keep up with authentic communication, you can create personal experiences! How do you do that? Well, make sure to keep donor profiles and use their names when sending emails, newsletters, donation cards, impact reports, and postcards. It is also important to consistently send messages to donors and volunteers to let them know your organization is working hard for the cause.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, especially when you want to create personalized  experiences. Emails and text messages only go so far and are often overlooked, so it is important to seek other forms of communication. Sending handwritten note cards and direct-mail packages addressed to specific donors, tells your members that you value their support.

 

CONCLUSION

To summarize, figure out what your nonprofit is passionate about helping, stick to your values and beliefs, focus on including your donors, and organize personalized experiences that show your donors how much effort you put in.

BONUS TIP

Put the effort in and delight your donors with a handwritten note!

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Tips for Effective Storytelling for Nonprofits

INTRODUCTION

Nonprofit storytelling is an essential skill to have to maintain a successful nonprofit organization. Storytelling informs your donors about how their donations are being spent and who their donations affect.

This article provides 4 essential tips to effective storytelling. You will learn how and why it is important to be intentional, how to evoke emotion and empathy, how to initiate connections, and the importance of saying thank you to your donors through storytelling.

 

1. BE INTENTIONAL

graphics-01

Organization is key to effective storytelling. The first thing you want to do is create a plan for the story you want to tell. Begin by setting your goals on what you want to communicate with your audience. Next figure out the Who, What, Where, When, Why , and How of your story. Once you have a proper outline figured out, you will find it much easier to tell the story.

Be intentional about how much detail you share by keeping content short and attention grabbing. Try to only include important facts that are vital to the story. Good storytelling keeps the audience interested by finding a suitable balance between the story’s length, timing, and authentic content.

 

 

2. EVOKE EMOTION AND EMPATHY

graphics-02

Keeping in mind that it is important to be intentional with the details you share, choose specific facts to build your story that will evoke emotion and empathy. Your aim is to help your donors feel personally connected to the cause, and you can do that by using the names and photos of those in your story. Videos are also a great tool in effective storytelling because it quickly visualizes and humanizes the story.

There are many ways to evoke emotion and empathy in storytelling, and this short article provides 4 examples of effective nonprofit storytelling.

 

 

3. INITIATE CONNECTIONS

graphics-03

A key element of effective nonprofit storytelling is initiating connections between the story and the audience. Once the story has been told and donors become emotionally invested, you can connect them even further by explaining how their donations impact the cause. Let your audience know specifically where donations go and how they are used.

This is where you can point out how change will happen and why it matters. To compliment your story, visual aids can be a helpful tool that highlight these facts. Many Nonprofits use infographics as an effective storytelling tool. Infographics can be displayed on a variety of mediums from social media platforms to printed media.

 

 

4. CLOSE  WITH A MEANINGFUL ‘THANK YOU’

graphics-04

Don’t forget about gratitude! Always remember to appreciate your donors and say thank you. Acknowledging the efforts of your donors is another key element specific to effective nonprofit storytelling. A good thank you has the ability to seal the connection your story made and builds personal relationships with donors to increase donor loyalty.

 

 

CONCLUSION

To review, always begin with a plan where you organize your facts of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. It is important to be intentional in your storytelling to maintain the interest and attention of viewers. Evoke emotion and empathy by providing specific details about those in the story. Things like names, photos, and videos allow donors to see the story at a personal level. Create connections between the viewer and story by explaining how donations directly affect the cause. Infographics are a great tool to put a focus on this information. Perhaps the most important element of effective nonprofit storytelling is wrapping things up with a thank you. Acknowledgment goes a long way!

 

BONUS TIP

Consistency is key! Make sure to update your donors often about how their donations are impacting the cause. Monthly impact reports, newsletters, and handwritten notes are great tools that can be personalized and sent directly to your donors. Storytelling is only one way to Increase Donor Loyalty with our Best Practices.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.