The gift of saying “Thank you” to your volunteers

The gift of saying “Thank you” to your volunteers

For many of our LemonTree members, volunteers play a massive role in their fundraising efforts; including The Salvation Army, Vinnies, Surf Life Saving Foundation, Food Bank, Cancer Council, Guide Dogs and many more.

Saying “Thank You” is often cited as the most powerful communication you can deliver to your donor and we truly believe this logic also applies to your volunteers – after all they’re your walking – talking – breathing mascot! Your volunteers give their time freely for a number of reasons; for some its an opportunity to give something back to the community, for others there is an emotional connection to your cause or their just so incredibly passionate about the impact your cause has on the world and for many its just because volunteering makes them happy. 

I recently read an interesting article title ‘The Power of Thank You – Gratitude can change the world for the better’, by MJ Blehart, a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. According to MJ ‘hearing “thank you” conveys a sense of accomplishment, positive reinforcement, of appreciation. Saying it expresses your gratitude for people and things… Don’t you love how it feels when you are thanked for a gift, for a compliment, for a job well done, for helping, and/or for thinking of someone? I have not met anyone who did not receive sincere thanks and NOT felt better and more positive because of it.’

Here is what Volunteering Australia has to say about National Volunteer Week…

National Volunteer Week (NVW) is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers. From Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd May 2021, NVW will celebrate the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers. Each year these volunteers dedicate over 600 million hours to help others.

The theme for NVW 2021 is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine. which acknowledges that it is time to: 

  • RECOGNISEcelebrate and thank volunteers for the vital role they play in our lives.
    Never has this been more evident than after a year where Australia has dealt with drought, devastating bushfires, floods and then a global pandemic. Amidst the pandemic, while many of us stayed home, volunteers continued to deliver essential servicesorganisfood packages and offer care, comfort and more to support the well-being of Australians. Volunteers make our communities stronger, especially during times of need, crisis or isolation.
  • RECONNECT to what is important by giving our time to help others and ourselves.
    In a year
     when many of us have experienced increased loneliness or isolation, mental health or financial stress, volunteering can help. Evidence shows that volunteering connects us to others in our local communities, to better mental well-being or to potential pathways to employment. When we help others in our community or give our time to a cause we value, we also give back to ourselves. Explore volunteer opportunities by visiting www.GoVolunteer.com.au.
  • REIMAGINE how we better support volunteers and communities they help.
    Since 2014, Australia has seen a 20 per cent decline in the number of hours volunteers give. During COVID-19, two-thirds of volunteers stopped working and a recent study highlights that social purpose organisations continue to lose one in four volunteers due to illness or caring responsibilities. In the current changing environment, where Australians are time-poor and experiencing higher degrees of uncertainty and stresswe need to reimagine how we do things. We need to collaborate more and adapt our volunteering practices and programs so we can better support and engage volunteers to continue the necessary work that they do.

Volunteering Australia has created a wonderful resources page to help you show your appreciation for your volunteers using certificates, posters, social media tiles, and more. We encourage you to nurture these special charity-volunteer relationships, just as you nurture your donor relationships. Why not take the time to show gratitude by saying “thank you” to the people who freely give their time and energy to support your cause?

Article sources:

https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/get-involved/nvw/

https://mjblehart.medium.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-dyer-30589a46/

LemonTree hosts FIA networking evening

LemonTree hosts FIA networking evening

LemonTree hosted the first Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) networking event for 2021, on our panoramic rooftop, on the evening of 14 April. It was wonderful to catch up and network after the recent COVID-19 restrictions, as well as have the opportunity to meet so many new NFP crusaders!

We were also thrilled to have the opportunity to share more about our award-winning solution Primed; recent winner of the FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising – Most Innovative Campaign. This year, the awards program featured 13 categories and 173 entries judged by 44 senior fundraisers working for a range of fundraising organisations.

Primed is our end-to-end engagement solution that can be constantly optimised and is based on understanding your supporters and their emotional connection with your cause.

Ft. Matt Small, Regular Giving Manager at Bush Heritage Australia

Thank you to those who joined us on the evening and a special thank you to our Primed partners and co-sponsors of the evening More StrategicConversr, and Cornucopia Fundraising.

Thank you to our partner FIA for extending the invitation to host this event:

Donor Relationship Stage 3: Teach Me – ft. Jody Crooks

Donor Relationship Stage 3: Teach Me – ft. Jody Crooks

Continuing with our 8-part blog series reviewing the different stages of the donor relationship, this blog delves into donor relationship stage 3: Teach Me. 

For this session, we were joined by guest NFP speaker Jody Crooks, the resident Head of Donor Engagement & Retention at WWF. Jody expanded on maintaining donor loyalty, aligning donor and cause values, listening to your donors and more (Queue the famous Julie Andrews line from The Sound of Music – “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.”) 

When I think about the ‘Teach Me’ stage of the donor relationship, I draw parallels with the early stages of a romantic relationship. You’re acclimatising to each other and working out whether you’ll still like them when you scratch below the surface. Will this be marriage or just a short fling?

We all know attrition is at its highest in those crucial early few months. So it’s really important that we help our donors avoid ‘buyer’s remorse’. It’s when they’ll start noticing first debits and will consider whether they really can afford it, or is it really the best use of their money. Will you deliver on what you said you would? To me, if we’ve delivered a successful experience in the ‘teach me’ stage, then our donors will be thinking “It’s so great to know more about WWF and how I’ll be helping for the long-term. I’m going to stick around!”

Ideally they’ll be feeling informed, more knowledgeable about your work, maybe even a little bit obsessive, and that they’ve found their tribe – they belong and they’re proud to be a part of this.

Whilst you’re in this familiarity-growing stage, you’ll want to be setting the groundwork to maintain loyalty. Some key principles to consider to help do this are: 

  • Ensuring the donor can see how your cause aligns with their values
  • How can you help your donor trust you
  • Making it clear how the core benefit you deliver is impactful and what they expected
  • Communication touch-points and personal interactions are positive
  • You make supporting you an easy experience – you are convenient.

A donor will have made the choice to support your organisation because your cause aligns with their values and interests. Like many NFPs, WWF has a wide remit, and our staff are often keen to tell them about everything we do! However, just because someone joined because they love tigers, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re inclined to care about the impact of climate change on people in low income countries – despite both being focuses of our work. They may choose to learn more over time, but it’s important not to overwhelm a new donor. That’s why we’ve developed our communications during this stage to deliver a gradual introduction and exchange of information, specific to the area of work they joined us, before opening it up to broader areas.

Knowing your donor’s motivation is obviously critical in helping you do this. Perhaps it’s based on the product or proposition they signed up on, creative messaging testing, or perhaps you have a post-up sign up survey to help you determine this.

Trust is another key factor to establish at this time, and including a supporter promise in welcome materials is a great tool for letting your donor know what they can expect from this relationship. At WWF we’re always focusing on demonstrating impact as a way for donors to feel confident we’re putting their funds to best use. For example, by sharing regular impact updates, inspiring stories from the field and transparency on use of funds.

We also take the time to welcome all of our new regular givers by calling them to say thank you, and to check that they’ve received their welcome pack. A personal touch-point early on in their relationship is a really positive way to help us both get to know more about each other. We’re seeing great retention uplifts too.

As the relationship develops, it’s time to start peaking their broader interests as we introduce other ways they get can get involved. For example, including advocacy asks in the later on-boarding journey, value exchanges such as advice on sustainable living, bequest normalisation in supporter care newsletters or opportunities to fundraise on our behalf. We find the more actions a supporter takes, the higher their engagement and the relationship is stronger as a consequence.

It’s so important to get this stage of the relationship right if we want to see those depressing early month attrition rates go down. Focusing on the key principles of loyalty should really help you do this, and never losing sight of the donors’ ‘why’. This is a person that cares about your cause – let’s make sure they know how grateful we are that they’re here!

We hope you enjoyed reading Jody’s experience in the Teach Me stage of the donor relationship journey; if you missed out on reading more about stage 1 Catch Me and stage 2 Welcome Me we invite you to check these out. WATCH THIS SPACE for our next guest blog post on the Grow Me step – This is the enrichment stage. It’s a time of excitement and opportunities. It’s time to demonstrate the value each of you brings to the relationship and highlight the impact you can have on the world if you work together.

DID YOU KNOW? Our free donor-centric community – The LemonTree DCC attracts more than 1000+ members across the nation, ranging from small to large NFPS’s?!

Thank you to Jody Crooks for sharing her knowledge on the Teach Me stage in the donor relationship journey.

Previously in this series:

 Next up in this series:

  • Grow Me
  • Keep Me
  • Endear Me
  • Renew Me
  • Win Me Back
Primed wins FIA award for ‘Most Innovative Campaign’

Primed wins FIA award for ‘Most Innovative Campaign’

The LemonTree team is beyond excited to announce, that our end-to-end engagement solution, Primed, is the winner of the ‘Most Innovative Campaign’ award, at the recent Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. 

Together with our Primed partners, ConversrMore Impact, and Cornucopia Fundraising, we have collaborated our unique services and created a multi-stage engagement solution, designed to assist fundraisers in finding the huge untapped potential sitting on their databases.

 

How Primed helped Bush Heritage Australia connect meaningfully with their donors 

We worked closely with Bush Heritage Australia, an independent not-for-profit that buys and manages land, and also partners with Aboriginal people, to conserve our magnificent landscapes and irreplaceable native species forever, to identify where they could potentially grow their existing regular giving base.

Bush Heritage Australia wanted to actively engage with people in a way that went deeper than just getting their details, then making a phone call and expecting people to commit to their cause.

Step 1: The LemonTree team, started by auditing and consolidating a wide range of dormant donors and leads that most charities have typically given up on. Then through best practice hygiene techniques and leveraging LemonTree’s large collaborative insights universe, we were able to identify the most contactable donors. Finally, with machine learning, our unique collaborative propensity models identified the most likely donors to be regular givers to Bush Heritage Australia.

Step 2: This is where More Impact and Conversr stepped in, to design the customised multi-channel engagement journey, informed by behavioural economics.

Step 3: From here, 24,000 people were put through a three-step engagement journey using Conversr’s SMS and email platforms. The idea was to educate people around Bush Heritage Australia’s purpose, give them a gift (which was a downloadable calendar full of beautiful images of wildlife and bush landscapes) and finally, ask them for their opinion on what Bush Heritage Australia does and why, through a short survey.

It’s been really beneficial for our organisation so far in terms of the number of regular givers that we’ve generated and the outcomes, but also the fact that we’ve engaged so many people in such a positive way and that helps to make sure they keep on giving.

Matt Small

Regular Giving Manager, Bush Heritage Australia

At LemonTree, we believe the most powerful relationships are founded on human connection. One person, engaging with another, over time. Something so simple, but it can translate into loyalty that lasts a lifetime.

The power of relationships

The power of relationships

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that donor-centricity has really taken off around the globe. However, as Adrian Sargeant, renowned author, Fundraising Professor and co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy asks in his recent blog post, how far have we really come?

Whilst some charities are doing ground-breaking work, too many are merely swapping out a few keywords in their communications, ticking a non-existent donor-centric box and hoping for the best.

Why is this?

Well, according to Sargeant:

“Because the metrics organisations use to assess fundraising are still all about the money. Very few charities measure the quality of the donor experience, and how giving makes donors feel or contributes to their sense of wellbeing. Almost no-one rewards their fundraisers for improvements in any of these latter relationship metrics, so financial measures continue to dominate.”

As detailed in our recent publication, The Donor-Centricity e-Book, we believe that donor-centricity is the ongoing dedication to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding, so you can connect more meaningfully, collaborate more effectively, and – most importantly – genuinely care for your donors in order to create ongoing value exchange, build trust and increase loyalty.

By continually seeking to understand your donors, you gain insights that can be used not simply to tailor your communication, but also to adapt your engagement efforts, provide a more positive donor experience, and demonstrate to your donors that they are at the heart of your entire organisation. This builds trust and loyalty – the critical foundations of any lasting, sustainable relationship.

How do we know this?

Because we’ve seen it before in the commercial world, with our parent company Marketsoft.

Whether we’re a customer or donor, a positive experience makes us feel good and – as humans – we are motivated to act based on how we feel. We tend to make decisions based on emotion, then find a way to justify that decision based on logic.

To deliver the best customer experience and earn a sustainable competitive advantage, businesses need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a customer-centric approach. They do this by:

  1. Understanding what their customers want, need, like, dislike, hope, fear and value at each stage of their life;
  2. Infusing these customer insights across all their business functions to help shape decisions;
  3. Creating a unique and ongoing value exchange for their customers;
  4. Engaging in open, honest and transparent two-way conversations with their customers, across many different channels; and
  5. Empowering customers to interact with their brand on their own terms.

This same applies to not-for-profits looking to generate sustainable giving, you need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a donor-centric approach.

Sustainable giving will only ever come from sustainable relationships, and therein lies the source of donor-centric gap. Too many organisations underestimate the power of building and nurturing meaningful relationships. Instead, they measure fundraising teams purely on the literal sense of the word.

But fundraising’s true power comes not from focusing on the dollar, but from focusing on the relationship between donor, charity and beneficiary. If an organisation can keep their focus on the donor, on finding ways to forge genuine connections, of caring for them whether they are giving or not; if they can listen and learn from their donors; if they can involve them in decision-making, and if they can make them feel heard, recognised and a valued member of the ‘family’, then trust and loyalty will follow.

So, yes, we’ve come a long way on the journey to donor-centricity, but there’s still a long way for organisations to go, especially when it comes to where their priorities lie.

“Let’s focus instead on what we ourselves are well placed to do best; the building of deeper, more fulfilling relationships, that can grow the human capacity to love others. That should be the real purpose of fundraising.”

….

If you’re guiding your organisation towards donor-centricity, you’re not alone! We invite you to join our FREE donor-centric community and learn from your peers, share the successes (and the failures!) and together we can grow sustainable giving in Australia.

Primed nominated for FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising!

Primed nominated for FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising!

The LemonTree team is beyond excited to announce, that our end-to-end engagement solution, Primed, has been nominated for ‘most innovative campaign’ in the FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising!

We have worked closely this year with our Primed partners Conversr, More Impact, Cornucopia Fundraising, and Australian charity, Bush Heritage to improve the donor experience and unlock the opportunity to do things a little bit differently, more efficiently, and smarter.

We are truly humbled by the nomination and wish to congratulate our LemonTree members for their category nominations:

 
– MACA Cancer 200 – Ride for Research
 
– Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria – Support Crew
 
 
– The Smith Family Digital Birthday Packs
– For their partnership: The Smith Family & Officeworks – Back to School Appeal Partnership
 
 
– YOTS Loyal Donor Program
 
 
– The May 50K
– With age comes…Innovation! The MS Readathon steps up to 2020
  
– Dance for Sick Kids
   
– The Red Zone Crisis Tax Appeal
 
 
– 7 Bridges Walk

”Primed sits at a really interesting crossroad between the supporter journey and the technology available. If you mix those two things – as Primed does – you can really improve the experience for the donor and really engage people who you thought were in the ‘too-hard’ bucket. It’s an opportunity to do things a little bit differently, more efficiently and smarter.”

Matt Small, Regular Giving Manager