An Evergreen Strategy to Engage With Your Donors Every Day

Proven strategies to show up differently for your donors every day of the year

Frank Mumford, CFRE
March 1, 2021 · 4 min read
An Evergreen Strategy to Engage With Your Donors Every Day

As Black History Month comes to a conclusion, I am inspired by the number of posts, articles, and stories from nonprofits, and businesses alike, and the individuals that were lifted up.  I hope we continue to capture these examples and change the narrative when it comes to BIPOC employees and what implicit bias truly is, a false internal understanding of race & culture.

When I prepare my engagement strategy for the year, I always look ahead at key dates and ideas that would resonate with those with whom I work. Too often, nonprofits come from a place of reaction rather than being proactive, so here are some ideas to be proactive!

At the end of 2020, I purchased my annual 2021 calendar, but instead of the beautiful beach scenes (I live in cold Minnesota dontcha know!) I bought one called “Celebrate Every Day.”

Celebrate every day

Within this calendar, there are some really awesome days and ideas and some really funny ones, like National Dog Biscuit Day.  So you are probably wondering, Frank, what do I do with these random things?

For example, on National Dog Biscuit Day what comes to mind for me is a couple of people I work with who love dogs, and I worked with the head of an animal feed company in the past.  So today, I would randomly email them with a note or video of my dog, simply stating, Happy National Dog Food Day!

These odd days help really showcase that you know your donors and that you are reaching out for nothing more or nothing less to say hi, and I am thinking of you.  

Real-world examples

A big date coming up on March 8th is International Women’s Day, which I happily celebrated last year by lifting up my wife and daughter and shared the below image with donors.  I engaged specifically with female donors and shared a message of hope, equality, and appreciation for them. I am truly inspired by so many women and the adversity they face in the workplace and overcome, as well as, proud of my wife for what she has accomplished.  

Women's international day

Another big date that is also quickly approaching on March 2nd is National Read Across America.  Last year, when my son was in his Montessori pre-school, they were encouraged to come ready to read all day and they shared the improtance of learning to read.

How can this translate to you or your organization?  If you are K-12 or deal with early learning or education, this is a great opportunity to showcase your favorite children's book.  Send a video out with your head of school, dean, executive director, etc, sharing their favorite book, have some students share their favorite books and why, and celebrate the day with your donors.  

Upcoming days in March

  • March 1st: National Invest in Veterans Week

  • March 2nd: National Read Across America Day

  • March 8th: International Women’s Day

  • March 12th: National Girl Scout Day

  • March 16th: National Everything You Do Is Right Day

  • March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day

  • March 19th: National Certified Nurses Day

  • March 21st: National Corn Dog Day

  • March 23rd: National Puppy Day

  • March 29th: National Vietnam War Veterans Day

  • March 31st: National Tater Day

Visit https://nationaldaycalendar.com to see a full list.

Beyond March

So here is what I would say: You know your organization and what you solve or provide throughout the year. For example, if you do youth programming, you know that at the start of summer, you can share an article about summer slide and what you are doing to prevent it.  If you are an organization that provides shelter, in northern states, winter is a time where you are trying to keep people warm and for southern states, summer is a time when sweltering heat can do the same thing as the cold, kill someone.  For post-secondary, August is when you welcome most students back.  Build-in updates around those things that are big "events" that your organization takes care of.

Individual Giving Ideas

When it comes to individual fundraising both in leadership giving and major gifts, you know your donors.  That is when the fun and unique days come into play and where you really can show your donor that you listened and know them personally. 

Here's the idea, instead of you sharing a day that represents your organization, share a day that represents your donor, their passions and, interests and lift that up. For example, if they love dogs (and hopefully have one), then instead of sharing a message on National Dog Biscuit Day, drop off dog biscuits (or have them delivered) to them on that day. 

Something I did was baked cookies! I remember delivering homemade cookies to donors who worked for a company that makes butter and cheese.  I went to that company's recipe website, found two great recipes, baked the cookies with my partner and son, and then dropped them off as a thank you for their gift.  I later followed up with a photo of all of us making the cookies via email (photo below).  Imagine I provided a video of us thanking them, and sharing how much fun we had, and my son sharing his love for baking.  The possibilities are endless, but when you put the donor at the forefront of how you build your engagement strategy, you can't go wrong!

Emily and Arthur make cookies

Video & Note Ideas

There are so many things to do when you utilize video and the Gratavid platform in creating a unique donor experience.

True authenticity comes from when you show up as yourself, unpolished, with zero rehearsal, with no expectation of something in return.  Set yourself up for success and apart from others and take a look at zany days to share out to your donors, students, and audience.

I have so many more examples of what I did as a fundraiser, so if you want to connect, feel free to book time on my calendar, or if you aren’t using Gratavid, schedule a demo.

Keep showing up as authentic you, and always be thanking!

WRITTEN BY
Frank Mumford, CFRE
VP of Customer Success @ Gratavid
Frank serves as the VP of Customer Success with Gratavid. Previously he was a Senior Donor Advisor at The Greater Twin Cities United Way where he was first introduced to the opportunity Gratavid presented in connecting and engaging with donors through video. He holds a B.A. in entrepreneurship and a B.S. in economics from Northern Michigan University, where he got his start as a student telethon fundraiser. He has more than 13 years of fundraising, sales, and marketing experience across the higher education and social service sectors. Frank is a Board Member of AFP Minnesota Chapter and the NMU Alumni Association.
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