This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

Let's Bring Personalization Back

Over the last three years, we have shifted our focus to be on the donor (we call the partners in mission), not on the money we are raising.

We focused on building relationships and getting "personal." We are not talking invasive personal, but relating to our partners in mission so they know we care about them and care about what they do for us. We began a special occasion campaign in eTapestry.

This included:
  • Taking notice of the partner.
    • Find out information that pertains to special celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries and Jubilees.
    • Send a card or call.
  • Remember other dates that have made an impact on the partner. This could be a death date of a loved one or a graduation date.
    • Drop a note to them.
  • Just call to say “hello” and extend an invitation to coffee, lunch or for a glass of wine.  This can be done virtually too.
     
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Donors really appreciate that you want to spend time with them. We have increased our donations significantly (close to double in the first year) not by just asking for a donation, but by understanding why the donors are giving and giving them some attention and being personal.
Posted by Karen Tuecke on Jul 24, 2017 11:57 AM America/New_York

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What a lovely idea!  I like your "partners in mission" designation over "donor"
  • Posted Tue 25 Jul 2017 11:42 AM EDT
Karen,

I love this! The organization I work for is working through data cleanup and notifications for our constituents. This helps us determine if they're a board member, a big time donor, an artist, teacher, etc. It gives it a personal touch that I think is really appreciated! :) 
  • Posted Tue 10 Apr 2018 11:38 AM EDT
Thanks for sharing. You bring up several good points to remember.
  • Posted Tue 17 Apr 2018 04:13 PM EDT
For some reason my spelling became fumbled and I apologize for some of the misspellings. - Karen
  • Posted Tue 17 Apr 2018 04:20 PM EDT
How would you go about tracking a robust stewardship plan? Was thinking action tracks, but the idea of setting up 10 different kinds with numerous one-off exceptions sounded painful and hard to write a procedure for.
  • Posted Mon 07 May 2018 04:28 PM EDT
Beautiful - I really like this idea and I also like that you clarify 'not invasive personal.' But generally partners in mission (and how great is that!) already have a personal connection with us and our mission. All you are doing it beautifully bringing that relationship to light. I'll be sharing this blog post - lovely. Thanks for sharing.
  • Posted Mon 07 May 2018 06:43 PM EDT
@Katie, we use eTapestry and have created a code to track each communication. Of course, we mass update every month notes are sent out but if they respond with a gift (which is not the intention but is nice), we record the response and obviously the gift with a journal entry marking the approach. Otherwise, we run reports to compare who has given gifts and who has received personal notes to understand if this format is working for relationships. In 2017, we only lost eight partners that did not give in 2017 as compared to 2016. To me, this means we are maintaining the current relationships. By the way, four of those partners died, so we really only lost four:) The partner gifts given in 2017 were 1,794. Please let me know if this helps.
  • Posted Tue 08 May 2018 11:58 AM EDT
I hear location personalization performs well. Truth?
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 06:16 PM EDT
Relationships, relationships, relationships.  Personal touch goes so very far.  Thanks for the tips.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 07:52 PM EDT
These are great ways to follow up and build relationships, thanks for sharing!
  • Posted Tue 12 Jun 2018 01:15 PM EDT
Stewarding gifts in a personal way just feels good, right? It makes the job easier to make people happy!
It can be hard to sustain depending on the number of donors you have, but you are right that it pays off.
  • Posted Mon 18 Jun 2018 02:41 PM EDT
Does anyone have some ideas for getting up and running quickly to track these details? I see that eTapestry works, but that takes a lot of time and money to get started.
  • Posted Thu 21 Jun 2018 05:28 PM EDT
Jim, what exactly are you looking for... a technology piece or something else. I feel that eTap does a great job tracking the details. Do you want to chat sometime?
  • Posted Thu 21 Jun 2018 06:08 PM EDT
Great idea, thank you for sharing!
  • Posted Thu 19 Jul 2018 05:05 PM EDT
Good idea.
  • Posted Tue 24 Jul 2018 02:24 PM EDT
Great advice.
  • Posted Wed 15 Aug 2018 11:45 AM EDT
We don't have eTapestry, but we do use reports to pull specific information so we can acknowledge specific dates (i.e. birthdays).  I like the "partners in mission", great FRIENDraising! 
  • Posted Tue 28 Aug 2018 11:40 AM EDT