Establishing your Nonprofit Brand: 3 Brand Design Fundamentals

INTRODUCTION

Establishing your nonprofit brand can be intimidating, but let’s start with some basics! This article discusses 3 vital design aspects to consider when designing your nonprofit brand. You will learn about important design fundamentals: logos, colours, and typography. Having a preliminary understanding of brand design, will help you and your designer use your brand assets and establish a distinct and cohesive nonprofit brand. Legitimizing the look and feel of your brand will inevitably bring recognition and success.

LOGOS

First off, what is a logo? A logo is made of text, shapes, and colours that indicates the purpose of your organization. Your logo is a key part of your brand because it is going to appear on all things that pertain to your organization’s charity work. Your logo is also a symbol that volunteers and donors will remember and use to differentiate you from other nonprofits.

It is common to want everything but the kitchen sink in your logo design, but that is not realistic and frankly, it’s bad design. You want your logo to be: simplistic, memorable, scalable, readable, and distinct.

Take a look at a few of these nonprofit logos. They are displayed in black and white to show the impact and recognizability of a good logo design, even with no colour. In the next section, we will discuss colour.

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If you want to see more examples of logos, check out this article that shows 75 Top Nonprofit Logos.

 

Your logo will appear in many places such as: websites, impact reports, banners, fundraising material, documents, presentations, merchandise, and more. It’s important that you keep the appropriate logo file formats for use in digital and print media.

Before you read the next part, if you are not already familiar with Raster(pixel) vs. Vector files, check out this quick read article that explains the difference between the two.

 

Here are 4 common logo file formats to know:

PNG – Portable Network Graphic

File extension: LOGO.png

  • Raster file – Pixel based format
  • Can be compressed and decompressed without losing quality
  • Supports transparency
  • Easy to read and access, can be opened on computer, mobile, and tablets
  • Use on: website, blog, as favicon(icon that shows up in browser tab), presentations, letterhead on documents, social media profile, as an image (e.g. watermark on document)

 

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

File extension: LOGO.svg

  • Vector file format
  • Can be scaled as big or small as needed, without losing any quality
  • Supports transparency
  • Small file size compared to PNG and JPG
  • Editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator
  • Web-friendly XML language
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Should be used when sending your logo to a designer to make changes

 

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

File extension: LOGO.eps

  • Vector file format
  • Can be scaled as big or small as needed, without losing any quality
  • Editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator and photoshop
  • Tricky to open in softwares other than Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop
  • Supports transparency
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Can be used when sending your logo to a designer to make changes, but make sure to check with your designer or printer first

 

PDF – Portable Document Format

File extension: LOGO.pdf

  • Can be vector or pixel-based, it depends on how the PDF was created originally
  • Easy to read and share
  • Supports transparency
  • Format is consistent on every device
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Only editable on Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop

 

It can be intimidating to grasp file formats, so here is a resource that goes more in depth into the 4 common logo file formats.

 

COLOURS

Colours are important to establish to maintain a cohesive look and feel for your nonprofit brand. It is important to keep in mind that a good brand has no more than 4 colours. When choosing your colours, you will want a light colour for backgrounds, dark colour for text, a neutral colour, and a contrasting colour. You don’t have to choose 4 colours, but you shouldn’t have more than that.

This is Google’s colour palette, it follows these rules.

 

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There is meaning associated with colours. If you are not sure where to begin when choosing your colours you can think about what certain colours mean.

 

Green – Light shades represent growth, freshness, eco-friendly. Dark shades represent wealth, money, and cash.

Yellow – Happiness, positivity, and welcoming attitude.

Blue – Light shades represent stability, openness, flow. Dark shades represent trust, security, and comfort.Red – Passion, excitement, and energy.

Purple – Creativity, spirituality, luxury.

White – Peace, purity, calming nature.

Black – Bold, serious, authoritative, elegant.

 

Circling back to the logos shown in the last section, take a look at how colour enhances logos.

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After you have chosen your colours, you must keep a record of the specific HEX code, RGB values, CMYK values and Pantone® (PMS). This can be an intimidating concept, but your graphic designer will know what these are. Each colour format is used for different purposes.

 

Pantone® (PMS) and CMYK are for printing purposes.

HEX and RGB are for digital purposes.

 

This is how each colour format is listed for the specific blue Google uses.

HEX code: #4285F4

RGB Values: (66, 133, 244)

CMYK Values: (71, 47, 0, 0)

Pantone®: 279 C

Here is a link that shows the rest of Google’s colour palette https://www.brandcolorcode.com/google

 

TYPOGRAPHY

Font selection is another beast when it comes to establishing your nonprofit brand. There are an endless number of fonts out there.

To make it simple, here are a few tips you can use to make the process easier:

  • Choose a font that is different from your logo
  • Only use a serif or sans serif font (Serif: Bodoni, Sans Serif: Helvetica)
  • Make sure it is readable and legible
  • Get a designer to help guide you through font choices

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There are a few options for how you can obtain the rights to use a font. You can either buy a font or find a free font. It is crucial if you are downloading a free font that it is free for commercial use. There are a lot of instances where you can download a font for free but it is NOT for commercial use.

List of places to buy fonts:

https://fonts.google.com/

https://www.fontshop.com/foundries

https://www.typography.com/

https://www.fontspring.com/

https://www.myfonts.com/

https://housefonts.com/

List of free font downloads:

*https://fonts.google.com/ *

https://www.1001freefonts.com/

https://fontesk.com/license/free-for-commercial-use/

https://www.dafont.com/

NOTE: Google Fonts (https://fonts.google.com/) is the best when it comes to free fonts. They are all open source, high quality, easy to download, and can be embedded directly into your website.

 

CONCLUSION

This article covered 3 basic design fundamentals: logos, colour, and typography. It touched on what a logo is and the various aspects you should consider when figuring out its design. There was also information on logo file formats and when to use them. The colours section talked about how colour enhances a nonprofit brand design and how to specify your brand colours for digital and print use. Finally, this article ended on typography, what you need to consider when choosing your fonts and where you can find them.

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5 Reasons Why Handwritten Notes Are Powerful

Technology is omnipresent in our lives. We live on our phones, use laptops to do work, and communicate through social media. But there’s an impact that can be made through a handwritten note that simply can’t be created with digital communication.Research shows that up to 100 instant messages can be sent by one person alone each day, with corporate email and text accounts receiving a massive amount of messages each and every day.

We are so used to this daily deluge that we quickly devalue the meaning behind a quick “thank-you” or “hello” in our inboxes. Receiving and reading so many messages can sometimes be overwhelming, and a lot of what is said is quickly forgotten.

It often seems like the world has gone almost entirely paperless – but there are still quite a few instances when it’s best to employ a handwritten letter when communicating with donors or clients.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at five compelling reasons why handwritten notes are powerful.

 

I Want to Discuss Postalgia’s Handwritten Note Service

 

1. More personal and thoughtful than emails or text messages

Although emails are quicker, they’re impersonal. When you handwrite a note to someone, it’s more thoughtful than an email and even artful – each letter is unique.

A handwritten personal note is an excellent way to show someone you care about them. The process of writing something down in cursive, then sending that note to another person in physical form prompts the recipient to appreciate the words on the page – and how much thought you put into the interaction.

A handwritten note to say thank you demonstrates a deeper investment than just texting someone or emailing them, which can help to strengthen a personal connection. It takes time, effort and money to buy paper, stamps etc., but the appreciation you receive in return will be greater – if done well.

 

2. Handwritten letters are not deleted

The permanence of handwritten messages is a big advantage. The physical nature makes them a powerful tool – more engaging and easier to read than electronic ones.

In today’s world, where most of our communications disappear into a black hole of our inboxes, we all realize the importance of preserving items that are important. A handwritten card or letter can be stashed away in a memory box or kept as something to remember for years to come – more so than an electronic message that may just stay unread if it isn’t opened right away.

Sure, it is true that handwritten follow-up letters take a lot more effort than email or text messaging, but it is definitely worth the extra effort. Personal notes are more intimate and have a greater impact on your clients.

 

3. Handwritten notes are authentic

Handwritten thank you notes are better at conveying genuine feelings and intentions. Text messages often come with a certain sense of insincerity. The sender can revise their message many times before sending it out for everyone else to see.

The ability to edit text messages can lead them to feel fake and inauthentic. Handwritten letters, however, preserve the true intent of your message without being edited before sending it off.

 

4. Letters (with a stamp) stand out

The handwritten note is fairly rare these days. When people receive a letter or card in the mail, they know it’s important. If you received a hand-addressed letter in the mail, would your first instinct be to throw it straight into the garbage? Unlikely.

The assumption is that whoever sent this particular note took the time (and care) to put what they have to say in writing. So even if the recipient doesn’t initially recognize the sender, they will open up that envelope for sure.

A handwritten note can serve as a powerful reminder of the interaction – a donation, a sale, even a conversation – that prompted the thank-you in the first place. It’s like refreshing your customer’s memory every time they receive a handwritten note.

 

5. Handwritten notes make your organization look professional

Handwritten notes go a long way in making you look like an organized professional. People will be impressed by your attention to detail and the effort that went into sending them something personal, even if it’s a follow-up related to a business transaction.It also takes planning and organization to draft the letter, put it into an envelope and send it off with a stamp. Your customer will know that you took the time and effort to get that letter to them.

You don’t have to pen handwritten notes yourself

Thanks to modern technology, you don’t have to spend your precious time handwriting notes for the same effect. Postalgia’s robots create handwritten pieces at scale for every organization’s size and budget. Customize your messages using your own writing style choice, with what you want to say and how you want to say it. We use genuine ink on paper and your unique design to ensure you stand out.

Let Postalgia write your notes for you!

Postalgia makes it so easy to send off personalized thank you cards with just a few simple steps:

Customize your design

Every aspect of your postcard or note, including the graphics and layout, is unique to you. We can even help create a brand new design if you need one.We print all images on a full-color, digital press. All cards and letters come with custom printing – logos, letterheads, and/or photographs.

See Postalgia’s Handwritten examples HERE

 

Choose your handwriting

Pick the style and ink color that best suits you and helps to convey your message more authentically. But, the customization doesn’t stop there. Choose from one of our dozens of handwriting styles, or write in your own handwriting. We offer handwriting styles ranging from neat to messy, from professional print to artistic script.

To write in your handwriting, all you will need to do is print off and fill out our handwriting capture form and send in a scan or clear photo of the form back to our team.

Craft your message

Personalize your note with the recipient’s name by carefully selecting from nearly limitless options. These messages are then inserted right into your letter.With Postalgia, there is no limit on how many variable fields you can use in your message; personalize the recipient name, the PS, or every single word.

It’s as easy as populating a spreadsheet with your variable fields – just like you would do with any mail merge – and our robots will swap in your variables for you. The result is a flawlessly crafted, personalized message to your recipient.

 

Print envelopes, fold stamps, and mail

We do everything for you – so you can concentrate on building your non-profit!

 

Make handwritten notes your competitive advantage

It’s time to integrate more personal and thoughtful communications with handwritten notes to stand out in a world of unlimited, on-demand communication channels that prioritize convenience over quality.

You can make handwritten notes your competitive advantage in only a few steps. Deepen your relationships and grow your business right now with the help of Postalgia.

Get A Sample

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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!

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Donor Retention: Structure Your Fundraising Operation for Success

What requires more effort, acquiring new donors or retaining the existing ones? Most nonprofits are likely to answer that acquiring new donors requires significantly more work, but that doesn’t mean retaining donors is an easy task. Still, maintaining a high donor retention rate is absolutely crucial.

Nonprofits with a high donor retention rate have long-term supporters who come back year after year. Nonprofits with a low rate need to continually acquire new donors, ultimately costing them more time, money, and effort in the long run.

This article will discuss how to structure your fundraising operation for successful donor retention.

 

Challenges Nonprofits Face Today

Sadly, the outcome of neglecting your donor retention efforts is one that most nonprofits wouldn’t willingly face if they had the choice. If you don’t worry about it, there’s more at risk than you might have thought.

The rate at which donors are lost is referred to as the “attrition rate,” which can significantly impact the number of donors in your donor database from year to year.

The other red flag nonprofits need to be aware of is what happens when donors stop contributing. If donors stop giving, there is a very small chance they will ever give again.

Don’t overlook this concern. Instead, always assume that if a first-time donor didn’t contribute the second time around that, it’s highly unlikely they will come back because that’s what the data shows.

 

3 Elements of a Strong Donor Retention Strategy

You’ll be happy to know that building a donor retention strategy doesn’t require much investment, even relative to most nonprofits’ notoriously strict budgets. Here are three key elements to implement for building strong donor retention.

 

 1. Rely Heavily on Proven Data
Why is it important to have good data? Data helps you identify where to focus your efforts for the largest impact. Using data will also allow you to track your retention and attrition rates, ensuring your strategy is as effective as you are hoping it will be.
To become an effective donor manager, donor management software is integral to your nonprofit.

 

2. Put a Special Focus on First Time Donors 
It’s crucial to retain donors from the beginning of their relationship with your organization. Data shows that if they don’t contribute at the next opportunity after their first donation, statistically, they are not likely to donate again.
Knowing this information, it’s important to make a special effort to get the first-time donors to give a second time. Find creative ways that speak true to your nonprofit and its mission.

 

3. Choose Tactics You Can Execute Well On
There are hundreds of guides and lists of things you can do for donor retention. Try not to get lost in the shuffle of trying to tackle all of them at once. Instead, choose a select few and  execute those in a fashion that will stand out.

What you should NOT do is go through the motions so that you can check them off your list.

Some popular donor retention tactics include:

  • Thank donors quickly
  • Segment communications
  • Update on outcomes
  • Create a personal touch via phone calls and handwritten notes
  • Survey donors
  • Offer recurring gift options

Read our article on best practices for increasing donor loyalty HERE

Conclusion

The best ways to increase donor retention are linked to your nonprofit’s relationship with each donor. Getting to know your donors, what they like, and what you can do to maintain your relationship with them are critical components of donor retention.

Postalgia can help you focus on deepening your donor relationship by sending written thank you cards. The services Postalgia offers include design, copywriting, list hygiene, mail preparation, as well as the full suite of direct mail production services and much, much more!

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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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’

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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.

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9 Steps to Increase Your Average Donation Amount

Fundraising is a year-round concern for nonprofit organizations that rely on donations and contributions to operate successfully.

Those tasked with this challenge must focus on multiple levels, expanding their list of contributors, turning them into repeat contributors, and finding ways to enlarge the contribution sum.

This article explores ten things nonprofits can do to increase donation amounts.

Challenges with Donation Amounts Today

Budgets indeed limit most donations, but there is always the possibility that you can increase donation amounts. While your supporters can’t be forced to give a certain amount, you’ll be amazed at how responsive they are to some tried and true tips and tricks.

When making future financial assessments based on donations, we review our performance from previous periods to establish a basis to work off of. However, we must always consider the possibility of dramatic changes, especially in times of economic instability.

Even if the previous year’s contributions from your donors met or even surpassed the amount required for your foundation’s operational costs, it does not mean that you can be confident that this next year will repeat the same numbers. Each contributor can be experiencing different situations, and in hard times, donations are the first to be reduced.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way around. In terms of looking at the correlation between one’s existing contributions and changes in their financial status, the general rule is that when a donor’s financial situation changes negatively, their contribution can be reduced. In contrast, at best, a positive change in a donor’s financial position will result in their contribution staying the same as in the previous period.

 

Top 10 Ways to Increase Donation Amounts

Keep in mind that looking to add new donors to your list is always a top priority, but that’s not the only way to boost your contributions. In looking to increase donation amounts, often, you must get creative.

A recurring donor is most likely to contribute a set amount over each period. But there should always be a strategy in place for deepening your relationship with your existing donors with a focus on increasing the recurring contribution amount.

 

9 steps to increasing the contribution amounts from your existing donors

1. Prioritize Repeat Donors

Change your mindset to increase donor loyalty instead of focusing your efforts on more donors. You want to view your relationship with donors as an opportunity to make a more significant impact in the long run rather than funds being the ultimate end goal.

Your donors will be more invested in the growth and success of your organization the more you have a two-way relationship with them.

 

2. Reach Out to Major Donors

Building a relationship with your donors after they make a gift is known as donor stewardship. Encouraging your donors to increase donation amounts is the main aim of stewarding your donors. Make donors feel loyal and increase future fundraising by creating a relationship with them.

 

3. Build a Dedicated Sustainer Program

Although you want to consciously thank all contributions to your cause, sustainer donors need to be thanked with a bit of extra care. To help maintain the momentum of your top supporters, create a donor loyalty program. Ideas for these types of programs might include:

●      Exclusive member-only newsletters

●      Special tickets to events

●      Branded gifts

●      Member-only events

●      Networking opportunities

 

4. Personalize Outreach Efforts

Having a one-on-one relationship with every donor is the ideal situation in the perfect world for an organization. Unfortunately, that’s not the most realistic expectation to have in most instances.

Still, you can begin tracking and measuring all of your interactions with donors to start personalizing your content as much as possible. Some critical information you should constantly be monitoring includes:

●      How new donors are driven to your organization

●      Motivating factors

●      Preferred communication channels

●      Donor demographics or segments

 

5. Establish a Sense of Urgency

Many donors might be under the impression that your cause isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future. That means they are in no rush to donate a large sum right away. Creating goals for the quarter, year, etc., develops a sense of urgency that helps put a timeline on some of your efforts for supporters who may be more incentivized to increase donation amounts.

 

6. Show Supporters Where Donations Go

Showing your supporters where their donations go is another powerful tool to increase donation amounts. Donors might be more motivated to raise more significant amounts when they can see the actual results of their contributions.

7. Ask For More Support

Another surefire way to increase donation amounts is by asking for more support. Consider interacting with donors face-to-face to help promote confidence in and amongst your organization. There are plenty of different ways to help build support in your organization. Some ideas might include:

●      Ask donors to join your team for a hike

●      Hosting an in-person event for supporters

●      Invite donors to tour your offices

●      Hosting a virtual event

 

8. Say ‘Thank You’

Any contributions your donor makes towards your cause should always be thanked. It doesn’t matter what the size of the donation is. Believe it or not, something as simple as a thank-you can make or break a relationship with a donor.

A great way to show donors that you appreciate them is by writing thank-you notes, while it can be challenging at times. Luckily, you can get the job done quickly and easily with the help of services like Postalgia.

Taking care of all details, including the address verification, postage, and mailing, Postalgia will pen your individualized donor thank you notes on your letterhead with high-quality card stock.

These days, a handwritten note is rare. Many of us have grown accustomed to receiving countless messages by email, social media, and text every day instead. Instantly stand out and create a unique and personal connection with the recipient by sending a handwritten thank-you card or letter.

Postalgia handwritten letters, notes, or cards to your stakeholders are written using genuine ink and penned by robots, although remarkably human. Postalgia will print and mail these personalized handwritten donor thank-you notes on your behalf for the ultimate convenience.

 

9. Create a Donor Database

More than simply donating money, remember that your donors can contribute to your efforts. Even if donors don’t have the funds to donate at this time, always have opportunities for your donors to get more involved with your organization. Through this, you can create a donor database that keeps them in the loop for opportunities that may arise in the future once they have the funds available again.

 

Conclusion

Personalizing the experience is the best way to increase donation amounts. Critical components of the donor-stewardship include getting to know your donors, what they like, and what you can do to maintain your relationship with them.

Of course, you can do more to help increase donation amounts. Follow these 10 steps to increase gift giving from your donors and jumpstart your fundraising efforts.

By producing beautifully handwritten personalized thank you letters to donors at scale, Postalgia can help you deliver that personalized touch by creating physical media such as newsletters and fundraising campaigns.

 

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How to Make a Thank-You Note More Memorable

Thank-you cards are a straightforward concept: they convey gratitude for a kind deed, statement, or gift. For the writer, the formality of a handwritten thank you might be overwhelming. Many individuals underestimate the impact of a handwritten thank-you note. With so many new forms of communication, it seems like a hassle to do anything more than send an email, text message or phone call.

A handwritten thank you note, on the other hand, conveys far more. It says that you took the time to sit down and say thanks to those who did something that helped you out. A handwritten thank-you card is the perfect way to express gratitude to someone, regardless of the context.

We understand that many individuals struggle with deciding what to put in a thank-you note. Many folks think that the wording must be flawless before it is signed, sealed, and sent, which might lead to procrastination on the part of the writer. However, a poorly-worded letter brimming with sincere passion is preferable to one that was never written in the first place.

We know that people often struggle with what to put in a thank-you card. In an attempt to make the process of writing personal notes easier, we’ve compiled a short list of instructions to make sure you get it right with your thank-you note – even if you use a service to write them at scale.

Use a Friendly Tone

As previously said, writing a thank-you note creates a more personal connection with your recipient than sending an email or text. However, if you use the wrong tone, you can harm the relationship you are trying to create.

If you write in a formal manner, you run the risk of creating separation between yourself and your customer. Instead, try and maintain a friendly and approachable tone. Forget about formalities, even if you’re writing on behalf of a company or to a business contact. Consider how you would express yourself if the receiver were present and conversing with you in person. Use ordinary turns of phrase rather than overly complicated or advanced jargon simply because it sounds impressive.

Remember to be genuine. Even if you maintain your tongue firmly in cheek in your note, humour might get lost in the written word. If you don’t know the receiver well, forgo humour and communicate from the heart. Don’t go overboard, since gushing might come across as insincere; but write with genuine thanks.

Maintain a Positive Approach

Some gestures, no matter how noble the intent, might fall flat at times. You know you should thank them for what they’ve done for you, but something didn’t seem quite right. For example, the customer wasn’t all that polite, or a donor gave less than you had hoped. Perhaps an employee or volunteer worked extra hours, but you did not receive the desired outcome. A thank-you note is not the appropriate venue for conveying what went wrong. Instead, concentrate on what you liked about the gesture.

For what it’s worth, there may never be a good time to express your displeasure with the gesture. It is frequently preferable to think long game and maintain excellent relationships as a result. Criticize individuals for their efforts, and they will be less willing to volunteer for you in the future.

Leave Out Any Sales Pitch

The purpose of a thank-you message is to express your thanks. Refrain from turning your message into a sales pitch. When drafting thank-you cards for professional objectives, this step might be quite challenging. We know that communicating with customers is often about marketing or promoting, but you’re better off resisting the urge.

When you include any kind of a sales pitch in your thank-you card, it contradicts your original goal and makes your note appear disingenuous. Sales pitches should be reserved for marketing campaigns. They have no place in thank-you notes or cards.

Mention Specifics

To personalise each thank-you card, it is critical that you include precise information in your expression of gratitude. Do you want to say what this individual has done to deserve this gratitude? You want to personalize their acts as much as possible, to avoid your thank-you coming off as generic or cookie-cutter in nature. Mention a specific transaction or the circumstance. Reference as many details as possible and why they are important. It is rewarding to know that someone appreciates you.

Remember: the impact they had may not be apparent to them, so it is critical you get specific so they can connect the dots. Examples of how to add detail include: “You really went above and beyond during our latest fundraising drive” or “I appreciate you referring XXXXX to me.”

End Your Note Warmly

Make sure the way you conclude your thank-you note makes a good impression. Your closing remarks should be friendly and personal. Both “Warmest regards” and “With gratitude” are safe bets. Try “With love,” or “Love and appreciation” if you’re extremely close to the recipient. If you’re communicating in a religious context, “God bless you” or “Blessings” may be appropriate.

Reduce the number of official sign-offs to a bare minimum. While “With Regards” and “Yours Truly” are appropriate business letter closings, they will seem cold and uncaring on a thank-you note.

Write Your Thank-You Note Today

Your thank-you note should be short, sweet and sincere. Long messages sound like a burden to read and might seem insincere. Don’t write lengthy stories in these notes; simply convey your gratitude without fanfare or fuss.

After all, the purpose of a thank-you note is to express your gratitude. Keep your message short and personalized, limit the sales pitch if at all possible, use specific and clear details, end with a warm sign off. If you keep these proven approaches in mind, before you know it you will be a total pro when it comes to writing thank-you notes.

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6 Ways to Shake Up How You Say ‘Thank You!’

It isn’t always what you say that matters nearly as much as how you say it. That is something businesses, charities, non-profits, and individuals need to understand when it comes to saying “thank you.” To give you some help, here are six methods that can completely transform the way you say thank you to others, setting the stage for more robust, more meaningful relationships.

1. Send Handwritten Thank-You Cards

It’s just two little words. But saying “thank you” can shape the scope of future relationships, business partnerships, and friendships. In other words, saying thank you mattress – much more than you may realize.

This is why handwritten thank-you notes carry so much weight in our almost fully digital world. Not convinced? Here are a few reasons why it’s better to send handwritten thank-you notes than their digital equivalent:

  • In a digital world, handwritten notes and messages stand out.
  • Taking the time to write the message makes it look and feel more personal and heartfelt.
  • Carries more meaning to those receiving the thank-you message.
  • A handwritten note comes across as more thoughtful on your part.

As you can see, there is a lot to love and appreciate about the beauty and benefit of sending handwritten thank-you notes to customers, donors, business associates, and those who have given you gifts or to whom you are grateful for any number of reasons. They can make a world of difference in job interviews, scholarship applications, and so much more.

2. Be Specific About Why You are Thanking Them

Brevity may be the soul of wit, at least according to Shakespeare. But it is specificity that is the soul of gratitude. Be specific about why you are sending a thank-you card if you want your card to carry more weight and meaning to those receiving it.

If you’re thanking donors, mention the specific monetary donation, donation of time, or donation of items (dog food to animal shelters, for instance).

If it is for your business, mention specific details to make the message meaningful and ensure that those receiving your thank-you message understand it was intended for them, for their particular gift, and not a blanket response sent to everyone.

The goal of handwritten notes when email and form letters are so predominant is to make those receiving the notes feel special and appreciated. Make sure the content of your letter or message serves that purpose. Specificity helps.

3. Include Something Extra

This is your opportunity to really stand out and be memorable when sending thank-you notes to your target audience. It doesn’t have to cost you much at all, other than a bit of time and creativity to send a little something extra, but it can carry a world of meaning to the person receiving your thank-you message.

For instance, businesses might send a gift for a specific discount, free shipping, or some other perk concerning future orders. Or, you could send a particular item you offer or a promotional product you reserve for VIP clients, trade shows, expos, and other similar events. The nicer the item, the more weight it will carry when it comes to being memorable. However, you do not have to spend loads of money to make your message feel heartfelt.

For non-profits and charities, that little something extra can include photographs of their donation dollars in action. Whether it is photos of wells being dug for clean drinking water, children being educated around the world, gift bags for cancer patients, or something else entirely, people love to see their good deeds in action. Use this as an opportunity to show them the results of their donations.

4. Address Recipient by Name and Include Personal Details (If Possible)

Relationship-building is vital in the world today. Relationship marketing is undoubtedly a valuable tool for marketing goods and services. It is an essential tool when working with donors for charitable organizations or non-profits.

It is a two-way street, though: you have to get to know the people who support your business or cause – and you must allow them to get to know you.

Make your thank-you notes personal by addressing them by name and revealing personalized details about why their gifts, time, talent, donations, help, etc. are so meaningful to you on a personal level. It may be business for you, but it is often personal for them. Giving them a little bit of yourself in return helps them feel engaged in the process and better inclined to participate again, whether through donations, purchases, or some other method.

5. Communicate Your Gratitude

This one is a little more difficult for the average person. However, it is something that will transform the way you say “Thank you!” It will also kick the impact of your thank you message up a notch or two to those who receive the message.
Saying “thank you” is important. However, when you make them understand how truly grateful you are and the other person’s impact on your life, business, cause, etc., the message becomes more meaningful. They feel your gratitude because they understand better what their gift, time, attention, purchase, or donation meant to you.

When people feel appreciated for their efforts, no matter how large or small, they are more likely to go out of their way to make an effort again. In many cases, they will even double their efforts in the feature because they felt your gratitude and appreciation.

6. Showcase Your Personality

Another great thing about a “Thank you!” note is that it is a more informal means of communication. That allows you to showcase your personality a little. Whether you (and by extension, your business or organization) have a fantastic sense of humour, are a little bit of a geek, or are a total nerd at heart, let your personality shine when sending thank-you notes. This helps your audience feel a greater kinship with you and aids in the relationship-building process. The more of your personality they see, the better it is for your future interactions.

Now all you have to do is get started. Our writing services help will take your “thank you” notes to the next level. We can help you write authentic handwritten thank-you notes at scale that stand out from the crowd and make an impression with your audience. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Win Donation Dollars

Donations are the lifeblood for non-profits, charities and political parties. The relationships you build with your donors today make a world of difference for future donations. That’s why it is essential for you to focus on developing those essential relationships in order to keep funds flowing into your organization. In this post, we offer a few key steps you can take to build better, stronger relationships with donors so that they open their hearts and their wallets for your cause.

Show Supporters How You’re Using Their Donation Dollars

People like to see the results of their efforts, and this certainly applies to donations. By providing details on how donations are making a difference, you are highlighting the good work your organization is doing. At the same time, sharing this information lets your donors know their funds are being spent on legitimate purposes. It makes them feel better about giving and makes them more likely to give the next time you ask them for their help.

You can show them their dollars in action with photographs, videos, brochures, and more. You can even invite major donors to the location where you’re doing your work so they can see what is happening on the ground. Whether you’re gathering building supplies, food, clothing, toys for children, school supplies, etc. they can see you working to gather and distribute the gifts where they will do the most good.

Be Transparent with Spending Reports

This is an important add-on to the previous tip. Sadly, the actions of a few unscrupulous charities and non-profits have subjected all organizations to additional scrutiny. This is especially true among larger donors. And if you’re interested in winning bigger donation dollars to support your cause, you’re going to have to go after the big fish.

The best way to do that is through transparency in your financial disclosures. The easier you make it for people to see how and where the money is spent – not just on good work, but line items such as administrative costs and executive compensation – the more likely they are to donate to your cause. That is, as long as you are spending an appropriate amount of money on the cause at hand rather than oversight and administrative expenses. People want to know their money is going to support a cause and not to create a lifestyle for those at the top of the organization.

Ask for Monthly Gifts and Automate the Giving Process

As we noted in this post, most donors only give once, which can create a cashflow challenge. Automated giving is a great way to ensure a steady flow of money coming in to help you meet your organizational goals. It allows donors to identify an amount of money that works with their budgets and give that amount month after month. More importantly, it is effortless giving on their part.

The easier you make it for people to donate to your organization or cause, the more likely people are to actively donate. Especially if it is a cause they believe in or one that supports their own beliefs about the world.

Create Deadlines to Generate Sense of Urgency

This doesn’t mean creating false deadlines and making things up. What this does mean is to create specific goals for your charitable works.

For instance, if your non-profit is dedicated to building tiny homes for homeless vets, you might have a goal of 50 percent completion prior to the first day of fall and 100 percent completion by the first day of winter. This will help keep more vets off the street once bitter cold temperatures set in.

You need the funds to make this happen well in advance of the goal dates. Create a sense of urgency among your donors by citing statistics about the cold and its impact on the homeless, how veterans are disproportionately represented within the homeless community, and how you need $XXXXX by August 1 and an additional $XXXXX by October 1 to meet these goals for your organization.

Solicit Matching Donations

This is where building relationships, particularly relationships with big businesses, entrepreneurs, and “mega” donors in your community can help. It’s a great way to encourage small-dollar donors to give so that their smaller gifts to your cause can be matched to create even larger gifts.

As we advise here, never neglect to remind donors of all dollar amounts that their gifts are important. Without the smaller donations, bigger things cannot happen within your organization. The more you drive that point home to donors, the larger your pile of donation dollars has the potential to grow. Additionally, never neglect to thank your donors, no matter how larger or small the donation.

Tell One Person’s Story, Not A Group’s

Sometimes, a little psychology can help make a big impact. While your non-profit or charity is undoubtedly creating a positive impact for many, focusing on an individual can help increase donations. This is referred to as the identified victim effect, which is the tendency to provide more help to a specific individual rather than a broader, nameless or generic group of individuals. This effect implies that concentrating on individuals instead of bigger groups or statistics would drive more donations.

Researchers have confirmed that scenarios focused on a single person’s narrative produced more donations than those focusing on a greater number of unidentified individuals. In a study performed by University of Pennsylvania marketing professor Deborah Small and her colleagues argue that “spontaneous affective reactions” frequently inspire charitable donations. To put it another way, donors are more inclined to contribute based on their emotions rather than reasoning. And stories that centre on the misfortune of a single person appear to have a larger emotional impact.

It makes sense. Your supporters, like all people, are hardwired to emotionally connect with others. The most effective approach to motivate them is to introduce them to individuals they can relate to. So make use of this narrative potential in your messages: highlight individual stories that lend a face to your cause in all of your appeals.

Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes for Their Donations

Lastly, showing gratitude is an important first step toward securing future funds from those who have given to your cause. As you can guess, our viewpoint is pretty clear: the standard typed form letter is way too impersonal and formal. A handwritten note stands out from the crowd of junk mail littering your donors’ mailboxes.

As we outline here, handwritten thank-you notes are more likely to be read by the people they were intended for. Plus, they carry more meaning for the recipients. Your donors are far more likely to feel appreciated when receiving handwritten notes. Something they will remember the next time your organization reaches out for funds.

Appreciation and communication are essential, which is why handwritten notes work best. Consider sending out handwritten donation letters and thank-you notes to donors to see what a difference it can make to your entire organization.

Wrapping Up

Donations keep your non-profit or charity going. If you want to build a successful organization and keep funds flowing in, it’s essential that you focus on cultivating those relationships with your donors today so they can feel appreciated and motivated enough to open their hearts (and wallets) for your cause.

It may seem like an intimidating task at first, but by soliciting matching donations, highlighting individual stories (not just statistics), writing thank-you notes by hand, showing gratitude for every donation – no matter how large or small – and telling one person’s story instead of a group’s narrative, you are well positioned to steadily grow your donations. With these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way towards achieving, and even exceeding, your annual fundraising goals.

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