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How To Raise Money Fast For Your Community!

Posted on . Filed under: How To.

Only have two weeks to raise money for your community? There’s no need to stress! By sticking to a 15 second pitch, utilizing the right friendships, and being tech savvy you won’t have a problem. Just follow these three tips on how to raise money in a timely fashion.

Cash

“cash” by Sean McMenemy is licensed under CC by 2.o

 

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

With a time crunch, everything needs to be short, sweet and to the point. Make sure you have your elevator pitch ready and are able to share a compelling and emotional message about your campaign. There’s no time for people to stop and think about it! State your mission and your goal so you can convince people right at that moment to get involved. At this time, make yourself stand out and let them know why they should support your campaign over another one.

Make Use of Social Media

It’s called snail mail for a reason. Get your tech savvy friends on board or your children that somehow have 5,000 Instagram and Twitter followers. The utilization of social media is crucial because you can send messages out in a matter of seconds to a mass group of people. Organize those email addresses and phone numbers you have on hand so you can send out your campaign mission ASAP.

Utilize Special Relationships

Is your neighbor’s friend’s friend a big wig in your community? Don’t hesitate to reach out! It can’t hurt and more often than not will benefit you in a major way. In a short amount of time it’s important to utilize relationships, especially someone high up in your community who can get the word out to their friends. Here, being able to state your sense of urgency without being pushy is key because chances are they have a busy schedule. Establishing these relationships and retaining them will help for your current and future campaigns.

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Parent’s Day Activities

Posted on . Filed under: Holiday.

Although we’ve already celebrated both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year, why not celebrate both parents together? It’s only fitting to have another day to celebrate the people in our lives who do everything and anything for us, and family activities are endless in the summer. Here are some activities that you can do for and with your parents on Parent’s Day this year.

Family Bike Ride

“Playground Ride, Family Style” by Russ is licensed under CC by 2.0

 

Make A Meal

Thrill your parents by making them a meal that day, whether breakfast in bed or their favorite dinner. It’s bound to be an act that they’ll never forget (hopefully not due to the fire department making a visit!). You may even have them create the meal with you, which can involve shopping for the ingredients as a family then all enjoying something you created together.

Homemade Gift

We all know the endless homemade grade school gifts we’ve made for our parents, from the Christmas ornaments with our pictures, to the cards with horrible grammar stating what you love most about them. Regardless of how silly they may seem, I guarantee your parents still have a majority of the gifts you made for them throughout the years. It’s these little, sentimental gifts that mean the most. They can include anything from creating a scrapbook of family memories or something as simple as a homemade card.

Local Sporting Event

Enjoying a sporting event as a family doesn’t have to require hundreds of dollars. Consider a minor league Single, Double or Triple-A baseball game. Most tickets won’t exceed about $10 and the majority will have deals for little kids. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to stock up on ballpark food? Grab your ball caps and enjoy a fun day in the sun!

Family Bike Ride

We all know the age of rolling your eyes when dad mentions a family bike ride, but remember this day is about the parents! So, if the day grants you with beautiful July weather, propose a family bike ride. Whether riding through a local forest preserve or to grandma and grandpa’s house, it’s a great way to all be together while staying active and enjoying the summer weather. It may even be worth it just to see dad’s face light up when it’s all your idea.

Play Hometown Tourist

Keep it local by playing tourist in your hometown. Go to the local farmers market, forest preserve, or explore your town’s downtown attractions. The park district website as well as other various websites will have lists of your town’s hidden gems and daily events that you may have never known existed. This is a perfect way to incorporate that family bike ride as well while enjoying other summer festivities together!

Family Movie Night

End the day by watching a childhood classic that you would always watch as a family, whether you would watch it around the winter Holidays or on family vacations. This is also a perfect time to dust off those old home videos or even go to a drive in Movie Theater. The whole family is bound to enjoy any of these fun movie options.

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Small Things that Make Me Happy When I’m Stressed

Posted on . Filed under: Hobbies.

Life is more fun when the small things make you happy. It’s too easy to get caught up in daily stresses, but here are some small things that I’ll always appreciate no matter what mood I’m in.

happy dog

Happy.” by Britt Selvitelle is under license CC BY 2.0.

Calling a Friend

This is the best pick-me-up. Whether it’s calling just to say hi, to tell them a story, to vent, or to hear about their day to distract you from yours, a friend can always help. Even a ten minute conversation with a friend or relative will separate you from your stress for a moment long enough to give you some perspective, center you, and give you some human contact that’s sure to take you out of any rut, big or small. You might get some great advice or you might just get to have someone listen to you!

Getting a Postcard

This can’t be as planned as calling a friend, but there’s something about getting a postcard or any real snail mail that’s exciting. Nowadays, any real contact will be in person or digital, but it’s fun to get a postcard from a friend or family member who’s traveling or a letter from a friend away at school. It’s more personal and it usually comes as a fun surprise. Next time you go away, consider doing this yourself to help make someone else’s day!

Sitting on a Hammock

Anyone who knows me knows that I spend all of my free time at home sitting on my hammock if it’s not pouring rain. Huge bonus if it’s warm and sunny out, but even in cool cloudy weather, I love using my hammock for napping, reading, watching Netflix, or just sitting. Getting outside is known to be a healthy de-stressor. It’s a simple accessory to put outside and it’s incredibly relaxing. There are portable ones too that you can bring anywhere to set up between trees!

Wearing Sunglasses

I love wearing sunglasses. No, I don’t wear them indoors or when it’s raining. That means that when I’m wearing them, I’m outside and the weather’s great – lots of things to be happy about! There’s something about the small action of wearing sunglasses that makes me feel good about myself and about my life – when have I ever been wearing sunglasses and doing something unenjoyable? I’m picturing myself at the beach, adventuring with friends, or on a picnic!

Finishing my Laundry

This one seems silly, but don’t you feel great when the hamper is empty? Despite being a mundane task, needing to do your laundry can be a pressing and stressful activity because you need to be home to change loads. The worst feeling is when I want to wear a specific pair of jeans and they’re waiting to be washed. When I have what seems like a hundred things on my to-do list, checking off my laundry makes me feel accomplished and ready to tackle the others!

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Weddings Around the World: Russia

Posted on . Filed under: Travel, Weddings.

Next stop in our Weddings Around the World blog series – Russia! Learn about some cool traditions that Russians have to celebrate marriage.

St. Petersburg Russia

St. Petersburg, Russiaby haylee is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Holding the Bride for Ransom

Just the heading on this tradition may shock you if you’re unfamiliar with it, but Russians have a lot of fun with this tradition. The bride’s family and friends will kidnap the bride and hide her from the groom when he comes to pick her up for the wedding, only willing to budge for a ransom of money or jewelry. They might give him a fake bride with a veil covering her (or even his) face, only requiring a larger ransom for the real one. He may even have to complete a series of tasks such as singing a song for his bride or identifying her kiss on a napkin of multiple lipstick kisses. Families extend this as long as they please to have some fun with the groom!

Crowning

This is an old tradition of the Orthodox Church, in which placing crowns on the bride and groom serve as a sign of marriage and the sacrament rather than exchanging rings. Many weddings will do both, in separate ceremonies. In old times, brides and grooms had to wear their crowns for eight days! Imagine how royal of a bride you’d feel like if you got to wear a crown for over a week after your wedding.

Breaking the Glass

During a civil ceremony that takes place after the church ceremony, the couple is offered two crystal glasses. They’re wrapped in a napkin, placed on the ground, and jumped on by the bride and groom. Custom says that the more shards they create with the break, the happier the couple will be. It’s also traditional that guests throw their champagne glasses during the reception – even more luck for the couple if the glasses break!

Touring the City

After the civil ceremony, the bride and groom tour the city, accompanied by their witnesses (best man and maid of honor) and close relatives. They take wedding photos at historic sites in the city where the wedding takes place. This is an official part of the wedding preceding the actual reception!

Multiple Days

The celebration doesn’t stop after the ceremony and just one reception! The festivities continue on with singing, dancing, and drinking for an even more fun day than the first to honor the bride and groom and their marriage to come. Weddings are generally at least two days but often three.

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Top 5 Things People Crowdfund For

Posted on . Filed under: Crowdfunding 101.

With crowdfunding on the rise it’s no secret that people are turning to it now more than ever instead of traditional fundraising tactics. One of the best things about crowdfunding is that the options are endless for campaigns but here are some of the most popular things people crowdfund for:

Money

School Fundraisers

With schools constantly faced with the need to raise money and put on fundraisers to fund supplies, trips, and much, much more schools have turned to crowdfunding to do so! Schools are one of the biggest advocates for what many would consider traditional fundraising but the ease of crowdfunding has helped them throw away the candy bars and avoid having to sell coupons or magazines ever again!

In Times of Grief/Loss

Loosing a loved one is never easy but using crowdfunding to help during a difficult time is! Crowdfunding makes raising money for those in need easier than ever and takes the stress away from an already tough and strenuous time. It also allows others to reach out to show their love and support. Because of this, crowdfunding in spite of one’s passing or a difficult time has become one of the main reasons people turn to crowdfunding.

Traveling

It’s a no brainer that traveling, in particular plane tickets, can be very costly and out of the budget for most people. Because of that, crowdfunding offers the perfect solution and since it’s a mobile tool, it can be accessed at anytime and anywhere. Raising money for your next trip is the best way to get to where you want to go with the support of those around you! Especially for college students planning to study abroad or those wanting to participate in mission trips or help unprivileged people around the world, crowdfunding has become their go to fundraising method.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can become beyond expensive and lead to eating away at one’s savings and take a large toll on finances. The ease and convenience of using crowdfunding to help pay off someone’s medical bills or at least ease them of their financial burden due to built up medical bills are some of the main reasons people have turned to crowdfunding for help.

To Benefit Nonprofits

Nonprofits are always looking for donors and ways to raise money to help out their cause which has led them to turn to crowdfunding! Crowdfunding is the perfect outlet to help out nonprofits. It helps create campaigns that anyone can donate to, gets the word out, and gives people the chance to do a little good. Even if it just involves donating a few dollars!

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5 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals to Start Your Morning

Posted on . Filed under: Food.

Cereal – everyone’s favorite easy and quick breakfast option for the mornings when you’re running low on time or want to add a crunch to your meal. Cereal is a great way to start your day, but some cereals are deceptively unhealthy as they can be filled with preservatives and loaded with sugar. Read below to find some cereal options that won’t drag your day down with unhealthy ingredients.

Bowl of Cheerios

“middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy” by Rosemary is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

 

Peace Berry Cereals

The Peace brand cereals with berries mixed in are fairly low in sugar and the berries are packed with antioxidants that will jump start your day with lots of Vitamin C and E. Try the Peace blueberry pomegranate, blueberry walnut, raspberry ginger, goji berry, or wild berry cereals to add some fruity flavor to your morning!

Wheaties

There’s certainly a reason why Wheaties cereal is known around America as the “breakfast of Champions.” The cereal, known for its slogan and featuring famous athletes on its boxes, is actually quite a healthy breakfast option.

Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds

The name of this cereal is not false advertising – just one bowl of fiber one nutty clusters and almonds cereal contains half the fiber you need in an entire day! Aside from the health benefits of the fiber, the nutty flavor of the cereal provides a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

Van’s Natural Foods Cinnamon Heaven

Are you a Cinnamon Toast Crunch fan but want to cut your sugar intake? Try Van’s Natural Foods Cinnamon Heaven cereal. This gluten-free cereal contains the same cinnamon flavor you crave, but with less sugar and more fiber to give you a healthier start to your day.

Cheerios

 This simple and iconic cereal beloved by people of all ages is actually quite a healthy breakfast option. Cheerios, whether you like to eat them in a bowl of milk or just plain, contain fiber, a multitude of vitamins, and iron. But watch out for Multi Grain Cheerios because this version of the cereal actually contains a lot of sugar!

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Best Flea Markets in America

Posted on . Filed under: Food.

Flea markets are known for their variety of vendors and merchandise. They’re a great opportunity to snag some rare items as well as spend time with friends and family. Here are some of the best flea markets in America!

Smorgasburg

“Smorgasburg – Porchetta” by Erin licensed under CC by 2.0

Smorgasburg
Smorgasburg, launched in 2011, features a large variety of food and beverages. Initially, it was a spin-off of the Brooklyn Flea Market. Now, Smorgasburg has over 10,000 visitors and has become one of the most popular attractions in Brooklyn. The market has 75-100 vendors each weekend! It’s located on the Williamsburg waterfront on Saturdays and at Prospect Park on Sundays from 11AM – 6PM.

 

Randolph Street Market
The Randolph Street Market is located in Chicago, Illinois. It features both the Chicago Antique Market and Indie Designer Market. The Randolph Street Market is family friendly and encourages people to both shop and socialize! The market is open for just one weekend each month so be sure to plan accordingly! People come to the three-level market for its variety of vintage clothing, ceramics, glass, paintings and jewelry. When the weather is nice, the Randolph Street Market extends its experience outdoors. You can find Chicago city blocks that are transformed into antique shopping with food and live music. You can purchase tickets online for $8 or at the door for $10.

 

Rose Bowl Flea Market
The Rose Bowl Flea Market is the perfect market to search for rare items. The market is located in Pasadena, California and costs only $8. It is held on the second Sunday of every month. Because it’s a market for many professional pickers, The Rose Bowl Flea Market opens as early as 5 in the morning for VIP admission. Early bird surely catches the worm! This VIP perk is available for those who are willing to pay $20. The market is unique because it has several miles of booths that are each grouped by categories. The booths are filled with furniture, local crafts, clothing and more. Celebrities such as Madonna, Cher and Clint Eastwood have been known to attend!

 

Treasure Mart
Looking for buried treasure? Be a pirate for the day and search for “gold” at this flea market. Treasure Mart is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in a historic building. At the flea market, you can find a variety of art, antiques, and collectibles. The three-level market has a wide range of vintage fabrics, picture frames and jewelry boxes. Locals love this flea market for its great selection of items and prime location.

 

Chelsea Market
This New York City flea market is complete with a food hall and shopping mall. The Chelsea Market has become one of the the best indoor markets in the world! They have more than thirty-five vendors. With more types of food than you can even imagine, the Chelsea Market is the perfect spot for lunch or a family weekend activity. You can find books, delicious food, knick-knacks, and clothing. The Market attracts 6 million national and international vendors a year! It is one of the most talked about destinations in New York City so you won’t want to miss out.

 

Check out these well known flea markets across the United States for some great food and interesting finds!

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Why I Make My Bed Every Morning

Posted on . Filed under: Organization.

My friends call me neurotic. While that may or may not be true, I make my bed every morning for much better reasons than routine and obsession. My room isn’t always in perfect condition and I certainly let my laundry pile up, but my bed is always made.

made bed

Comfort” by Jayme del Rosario is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

There are two main reasons for why I make my bed every morning and always have. The first is that it makes me feel more put together. By doing this first thing in the morning, I have already accomplished something. With my bed made, I can move on to my day and accomplish other feats. Additionally, it makes an entire room look neater, even if there are other things on the floor.

With a clean room, I feel more organized and more prepared. I can go through my whole day knowing that I will come back to a put together bedroom. If I had a great day, it will feel even better when I return to a made bed. If I had a bad day, it will feel good to return to a made bed that is waiting for me, reminding me that I successfully completed a task at the beginning of the day and that my bedroom is in order. One small task leads to another bigger task, and feeling on top of things inspires me to maintain that streak. As a college student who sets five alarms and snoozes every single one of them, I understand what it’s like to be in a rush in the morning. I also understand that making my bed takes about 30 seconds and it makes me feel a lot better, both when I leave for the day and when I return.

 

The second reason I make my bed is so that my every morning feels fresh, both physically and mentally. To me, sleeping in a made bed is just more comfortable. Sleeping on smooth sheets is a feeling unlike any other after a long and tiring day. And, metaphorically, I believe that everyone should sleep in a made bed so that no one takes the previous night and day’s tosses and turns with them. No matter how stressed I am the night before and no matter what surprises come at me during the day, I want my bed to only reflect an upcoming new start. A good night’s sleep can fix a lot of problems, and a freshly made bed might make that feel even better. Tomorrow will always be a new and opportunity-filled day, and making my bed every morning reminds me of this. If you’re skeptical or think I’m crazy, see how Admiral McRaven agreed with me in this inspiring commencement speech in 2014!

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Crowdfunding for Veteran Needs/ Causes

Posted on . Filed under: Crowdfunding 101.

Veterans current and past have worked hard to provide us with the most basic privileges. This includes, but isn’t limited to our civil rights and freedom. After all their hard work and dedication it’s time we give back to show our appreciation. There are tons of foundations and causes to donate to but here are some of the most common and beneficial that you can crowdfund for:

War Memorial

Wounded Warriors Family Support

This organization was created by a fellow marine to help the families of men and women who have been wounded, injured or killed during duty. To make light of these difficult situations, the organization provides free family- friendly retreats. The goal of these retreats is to help the families reconnect  and strengthen their bonds in addition to heal the emotional and physical trauma inflicted by war.

Home For Our Troops

Home For Our Troops is a great organization that focuses on helping severely injured veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to do so, it build homes for injured veterans. Not to mention, it also renovates existing homes to become wheel chair accessible for handicap veterans.

Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House is most known for its network of comfort homes provided at free of cost for families of veterans receiving treatment. The homes are located at major military and VA houses across the country, close to many major hospitals. Over the past 20 years, the organization has helped over 200,000 families and continues to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Wounded Warrior Project

This organization is one of the most well known for its wide scale efforts towards helping veterans in need. The Wounded Warrior Project works to raise awareness and provide aid to injured veterans to ensure they receive a proper recover and assistance. As of January the organization has helped almost 85,000 veterans with more to expected in the future.

 Check out some Deposit a Gift campaign examples created to support veteran causes here:

http://buildthedesertstormmemorial.mydagsite.com/

http://helpdesertstormveteranmarch.mydagsite.com/

 

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Donor Thank-You Letters: 8 Top Tips

Posted on . Filed under: Crowdfunding 101.

We’ve all been told how important it is to say thank you and show gratitude to others, however, there’s so much more than just saying the words. Actions can speak louder than words! Today’s featured blogger is Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider.

 

Congratulations! You’ve been fundraising for awhile, and you’ve successfully built up a steady stream of donors who are supporting your nonprofit both online and off.!

Before you start celebrating your success, make sure you sit down and spend some time writing thank-you letters and emails that will make a great impression on your new donors.

We’re going to cover the top eight tips that your organization should keep in mind when crafting your acknowledgements.

 

Here’s a sneak peek of the strategies we’ll discuss:

  1. The sooner, the better!
  2. Start with the donor’s preferred name
  3. Genuinely thank the donor
  4. Explain what the donation will go toward
  5. Don’t ask for another donation
  6. Encourage other involvement
  7. Use the acknowledgement as a donation receipt
  8. Include contact information and a signature

 Thank you

“Thank you” by Patrick Hoesly is licensed under CC by 2.0

Let’s get going!

And check out Qgiv’s Guide to Thank-You Letters, too.

1. The sooner, the better!

 

qgiv-deposit-the-sooner-the-better

It wouldn’t make much sense to wait six months before sending a thank-you letter to a donor. In fact, half of donors think that getting their acknowledgements promptly is even more important than making those thank-yous very personal; getting your acknowledgements out to donors quickly is very important!

The sooner you can get your acknowledgements in the mail, the better!

In fact, there are some experts that would say that you need to send out a thank-you letter or email within 48 hours of receiving a donation.
Now, if it’s a busy time of year (like #GivingTuesday or the entire month of December, two famously hectic giving times), this deadline for sending thank-yous can be extended to a week, but no longer.

Of course, emails are much easier to send in large batches and don’t cost as much as physical letters or cards do. But don’t assume that automating everything is always the way to go. Personal letters, when sent out promptly, can play a large role in strengthening the bond between your organization and your donors, especially if they’re handwritten or signed by a board member or other volunteer.

Additionally, donors who receive thank-you letters and emails within two days of making a donation are far more likely to make contributions in the future.

Those who receive acknowledgements after a week (or—gasp—not at all!) will start to feel neglected by your organization and probably won’t ever give to your nonprofit again. Late acknowledgements can have a serious negative impact on your donor retention rates!

The bottom line: Send out those donor thank-you letters and emails as soon as you can!

Bonus: Check out this article with tips on how to thank your donors!

 

2. Start with the donor’s preferred name

qgiv-deposit-start-with-the-donors-preferred-name

You’ll never get a second shot at a first impression, and starting your acknowledgement with “Dear Donor” or misspelling a donor’s name is definitely going to start your organization off on the wrong foot.

If you know a donor’s preferred name (i.e., if her name is Elizabeth, but she goes by Beth), use that as the salutation for your acknowledgement.

If you don’t know their preferred name, it’s always safe to use a last name instead.

Under no circumstances should you open a letter with “Dear Donor/Supporter.”

This kind of salutation is extremely impersonal and shows a lack of forethought on your organization’s part.

This point is equally as important for sending out letters to first-time donors as it is for loyal supporters. If someone has just given to your organization, but you’re already addressing them as “Dear Donor,” the relationship isn’t likely to go far. On the other hand, misspelling a long-term donor’s name makes it look like you don’t value your existing relationship with them.

The bottom line: Set the tone for the rest of your donor thank-you letter and greet the donor the way they deserve to be addressed: by their preferred name (spelled correctly, of course!).

3. Genuinely thank the donor

 

qgiv-deposit-genuinely-thank-the-donor

I feel like this point might seem a bit obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so important.

Acknowledgements are all about your nonprofit expressing gratitude for a donor’s support.

If you want to genuinely thank a donor, you should:

    • List out the donation amount (i.e., “Thank you for your contribution of $30”).
    • Write the letter in first-person (i.e., “I wanted to personally acknowledge your contribution” instead of “[Name of Organization] would like to thank you”).
    • Reference previous involvement (when applicable).p

When you express sincere gratitude for a donor’s contribution, it helps to establish a more personal connection with them. A donor therefore becomes more likely to give again!

This rule goes for donations of all sizes. Whether it’s a monthly contribution of $10 or a major gift, showing appreciation for your donors’ support is crucial.

 It’s easy to write a thank-you letter that sounds overly formal and insincere. Taking the time to write a letter that really expresses true gratitude for your donor and their involvement is well worth the effort.

The bottom line: Your acknowledgement needs to thank a donor genuinely and recognize their donation. This will help with donor retention in the long run.

 Bonus: Take a look at what makes a great thank-you letter.

4. Explain what the donation will go toward

 

qgiv-deposit-explain-what-the-donation-will-go-toward

Whether a supporter gave to your capital campaign, your general annual fund, or another part of your organization, they deserve to know how their donations will be used.

You probably won’t be able to give detailed, down-to-the-penny explanations for each donation, but you can use your acknowledgements to give donors a general idea of what their contributions will go toward.

If a donor contributed to a specific campaign, then you can probably be more targeted with your explanations.

If a supporter gave a general donation, you can offer different projects or areas of your nonprofit that could benefit from their donation.

Either way, explaining where a donor’s contribution is going is a crucial component of the acknowledgement process.

Donors are more likely to give to an organization that practices transparency when it comes to donations and how they’re used. Letting your supporters know how their donations will be used is a good first step in establishing trust with them, and it will help encourage them to continue their support later.

The bottom line: Use your donor thank-you letters and emails to spell out (or at least give an idea of) where donations are going.

5. Don’t ask for another donation

 

qgiv-deposit-dont-ask-for-another-donation

Let me say this loud and clear: donor thank-you letters are not fundraising appeals.

Donor acknowledgements are for thanking supporters for their contributions, not asking for more money.

If you say thank-you and follow up with, “How would you like to donate again?” your donors are not going to feel like you’re authentically thanking them for the support they just gave you.

The bottom line: Don’t use your acknowledgement as a springboard to launch another appeal. Instead, genuinely thank the donor for their contribution and leave the fundraising for another day.

6. Encourage other involvement

qgiv-deposit-encourage-other-involvement

You know you shouldn’t make appeals in thank-you letters. What you can do is invite your donor to get involved with your nonprofit in other ways.

Your donors, especially those who have been giving for several months or years, might want to have a relationship with your nonprofit that extends beyond a monthly or yearly donation.

You can use your thank-you letters and emails to offer other engagement opportunities to your donors.

 For instance, you could use an acknowledgement to:

Acknowledgements are the perfect format for encouraging further involvement.

Wondering why?

Think about it: a donor was inspired enough to give to your cause and receives a letter of appreciation in their mailbox or inbox shortly after donating.

They’re probably still excited about contributing to your organization, especially in the first 48 hours after their donation (fun fact: donors are most engaged with you 48 hours after they donate; engagement starts to drop off after the first two days).

By immediately encouraging your donors to interact with your organization in another way, you are demonstrating that you aren’t just after their money—you really want to have a relationship with them!

This can go a long way for your donor retention numbers as well as donors’ perceptions of your organization.

 The bottom line: Use your donor thank-you letters and emails as a way to offer donors other ways to interact with your nonprofit. You might recruit your next volunteer leader or find someone who will take charge during your upcoming peer-to-peer campaign. You’ll never know until you ask!

7. Use the acknowledgement as a donation receipt

 

qgiv-deposit-use-the-acknowledgement-as-a-donation-receipt

It doesn’t make sense to send out twice as many letters or emails when you can easily combine them and only send one. As a general rule, people don’t like to have their email inboxes (or regular mail boxes) inundated with letters right after they make a gift.

That’s why you should include donation receipt information somewhere on your acknowledgements.

Donation receipts are proof that a donor made a contribution. Individuals use them to claim deductions on their tax returns, and they must have written proof that a donation was made in order to claim those deductions.

Your donation receipt must include the following information:

  • The donor’s name
  • Your organization’s name, federal tax ID number, and statement indicating 501(c)(3) status
  • Date and amount of the donation
  • A statement indicating whether any goods or services were provided in exchange for the contribution
  • Name and signature of an authorized person within the organization (department head or board member, for instance)

As long as the above information is somewhere on your acknowledgements, donors can use them as proof of their contribution.

You’re already emailing your donor a sincerely-written thank-you letter for their support; why not include the tax receipt in the same letter? Not only does this strategy save your organization time and money (you only need to use one stamp instead of two!), it also makes claiming tax deductions easy for your donors.

The bottom line: Use your acknowledgements as donation receipts. Just make sure you include all of the necessary information!

 Bonus: Learn how Deposit A Gift can add a custom message to the automatically-generated donation receipt!

8. Include contact information and a signature

 

qgiv-deposit-include-contact-information-and-a-signature

You’ve started your acknowledgement off on the right foot by using a donor’s preferred name, and the body of your thank-you letters is genuine and showed appreciation for the donor’s contribution.

Now it’s time to finish the letter the right way!

Before sealing the envelope or hitting send, make sure you include the contact information and the signature of someone in your organization.

The signature makes the letter a bit more personal and shows the donor that an actual person is writing the acknowledgement. A real signature is especially powerful if it’s from a volunteer board member or other volunteer staff.

Adding contact information is a safety net for your organization. If something goes awry or a donor has a question about their contribution or your organization, they can use the contact information you provide on the acknowledgement to get in touch.

Provide donors with a phone number, email address, and mailing address of someone in your organization who will be able to help them with any questions or concerns they might have.

The bottom line: Round out your thank-you letter or email with a signature and contact information. It will make the acknowledgement a bit more personal and will give donors a way to get in touch with your organization in the future.

Hopefully these eight tips have shed some light on the donor acknowledgement process.

What strategies would you like to share? What’s worked for your organization in the past? Let me know in the comments section!

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About the author:

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Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

 

 

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