Involving Donors on Giving Day
An ancient proverb goes like this: Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.
Annual giving programs are well-equipped to show and tell. Letters, emails, infographics, and videos are useful tools for telling stories and showing why a donor’s support is needed. Our institution is doing important things! Your support is necessary to achieve those things!
One of the benefits of show and tell is that it has economies of scale. The cost to reach an individual prospect goes down as the size of the target audience goes up. Unfortunately, scale isn’t as easy to take advantage of when it comes to involving prospects. That requires a little extra creativity.
Union College came up with a great way to involve large numbers of constituents in their giving day. Two weeks prior to the online event in April they sent a mail piece to 24,000 alumni, parents, and friends. It provided details about the day and included a detachable blank sign with the header, “I support Union because…”
Recipients, including past donors as well as those who had never supported the college before, were asked to do three things:
- Write in their reason for supporting the college
- Take a selfie picture
- Post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the giving day hashtag
Participants could then visit Union’s giving day website to view all the selfies and get updates on the day’s fundraising progress. The idea involved a lot of new and existing donors and helped them better understand the important role philanthropy plays at the college. In 24 hours, Union College secured gifts from 1632 donors—nearly 25 percent of whom had already made a gift earlier in the fiscal year.
Don’t limit your fundraising efforts to show and tell. Take the extra step of getting your donors involved. There are many ways to do this: ask them to host an event, invite them to participate in a focus group, recruit them to serve on a committee. Though sometimes, simply asking them to take little actions—like a selfie—will be all you need to create energized and successful fundraising campaigns for your institution, as well as more interesting and rewarding experiences for your donors.
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