Saying "Thanks!" Instead of Asking "Please?"


Published on

Presented by Jann Schultz, AVP Donor Services, Operation Smile and Stacey Baxter, USA Retention and Engagement Director, Compassion International, July 2013. Two organizations with very different acquisition strategies review the results of their welcome and acknowledgement programs, sharing how thanking donors on a regular basis and expressing gratitude without an ask for a gift is an important piece of the donor relationship puzzle.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • DMANF Presentation – Saying ‘Thanks’ Instead of Asking ‘Please?’July 2013Moderator: Tim Beloyed, SFI NonProfitCase Study – Compassion International and Operation SmileOperation Smile and Compassion International will review the results of their acknowledgement programs and share how thanking donors on a regular basis is an important piece of the overall donor relationship puzzle.  Intended Audience: All Session Applicable to: Mid-size Nonprofit ($5 - $10 Million) and Large Nonprofit (Over $10 Million) Learning Outcomes (session objective) -- At the conclusion of this session, participants will:1. Learn How to say, “Thanks”2. Learn How often to say, “Thanks”3. Determine…Is there such a thing as saying, “Thanks” too often?
  • TIM:Why we are here – use Domino's pizza example –Here is the info on the Domino’s example too:(From Adrian Sargeant in Donor Retention Project interview)  Domino's pizza exampleWhen marketing think about future LTV (i.e. $1 present to market; but $3,500 future revenue) Dominio’s Old way of thinking was $10 for a pizza, out of it costs $5 to make; $2 to deliver and make $2 profits = $1 for marketing                How most of us viewed market spend for  long time                But over full duration of their lifetime, average customer actually worth $3,500                They then relaxed about how much prepared to spend on front end - could spend couple hundred dollars instead of $1Better to spend more on cost of acquisition and lower response rates and ensure had higher lifetime value Spend more to bring in people with loyalty capacity to have higher lifetime valueWhat we’ll cover today – we have 2 different organizations today with 2 different situations<<Introductions of Stacey Baxter and Jann Schultz (one at a time) - bullets of background (Bio’s from J and S)>>Stacey – BIO Points -Completing first year as USA Retention & Engagement Director at Compassion International-Previously worked 7 yr at Merkle, helping variety of non-profits achieve their revenue goals -Prior that, spent 5 years in Advancement/Development at graduate theological seminary  TIM: Stacey, why are you here today? I believe in the importance of a sincere thank you; it makes a difference in any relationship. Our donors deserve to be properly thanked. At Compassion, we are working to constantly improve how we do it. I’m glad for opportunity to share with you some things we are working on.  Jann – BIO Points20+ years of sales and service experience in for-profit & non-profit world Thrilled to be able to combine knowledge and expertise with passion to help children at Operation SmileIn 2007, introduced a “Donor First Philosophy” to the work of constantly improving and enhancing the donor experience at Operation Smile  TIM: Jann, why are you here today?When there are so many great causes to choose from, Operation Smile recognizes that great customer service is a key-differentiator within the non-profit sectorHave had a “Thank You” Strategy in place for 5+ years at Operation Smile, and have begun the process of evaluation and enhancement – so I think I have some good learning to share with everyone here.
  • Stacey:Compassion International is a Christian child advocacy ministry. We believe that poverty isn’t just physical, but spiritual, economic, and social too. And you have to fight all four fronts to loosen it’s grip and break the cycle. We began doing this 60 years ago in 1952 helping Korean War orphans. Today we help more than 1.3 million children in 26 developing countries.Our child sponsorship is a $38/monthly commitment with typical seven year tenure. We accept no government funding. Instead we have almost 6,000 Implementing Church Partners and they work diligently to tailor our holistic child development model to the local, contextualized needs of each project. The implementing church staff knows the children on an individual basis; therefore they know each child's individual needs.Our USA division supports 690,000+ sponsors yielding $300+million in annual sponsorship revenue.We appeal additional donations requests for child’s Birthday, Christmas, funding for medical/urgent needs per child and proposal based Critical Intervention funding. More than 75% of current sponsors have donated beyond their monthly child support commitment alone. Finally, we have about 140k constituents who have made a one-time donation to non-sponsorship funds (within past two years.)
  • JANN:Operation Smile: <SLIDE – Before/After images>Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity with programs and foundations in more than 60 countries, is dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery for children and young adults around the world who suffer from facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates.Operation Smile has mobilized a network of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from over 80 countries who offer their time and talents to help children and families who can’t afford surgery or in some countries – there simply are no doctors to provide these surgical servicesUnlike a sponsorship organization like Compassion, our fundraising is based on the donor helping to provide a cleft lip surgery – with a $240 price point here in the US, and we have~###,### active donors on our house file.Similar to Compassion, we have have had NO government funding for the past 30 years – however, we have successfully applied for received approval for a USAID grant for a new care center in Paraguay, so we are receiving government funding for the first time.Our US organization has been the primary source of revenue for our international programs for many years, however we have successfully launched direct response fundraising in Japan, the UK, Italy, Sweden and Canada since 2008 and those programs are now reaching a maturity level to be able to add significant support to our funding as we look to the future and moving into additional new global markets.
  • Tim: Tell us about Compassion and a bit about your fundraising strategies and primary acquisition channels.COMPASSION: StaceyHold up photos of Freddy and Selena letters. (Share my own sponsorship story.)And that’s how we acquire majority of our new sponsors. (Attend an event, feel compelled to do something or a mom in mid-30s teach children about giving and abundant wealth here in America.)We acquire around 150k new sponsorships each year.70% - Live events (Christian Concerts, Artists, Speakers at local churches and annual nationalSponsor advocate volunteer event)20% - Internet (attribute a large majority of this traffic to attendance to live event, but looking for a specific child (country, age, birth date.) 10% - Other Marketing efforts – Radio/Mail 0% - Direct mail acquisition So, our focus in acquisition is really on live events, personal presentations, including videos that share sponsorship stories (illustrate impact and call to action), honing our distinctive of being child focused and church based into digestible talking points. Overall, we strive for annual 90% retention rate. Not unlike other non-profits; when we lose a sponsor, we also have less than a 1% reactivation rate.
  • TIM: Tell us about Operation Smile and a bit about your fundraising strategies and primary acquisition channels. Operation Smile - SLIDE – multi-channel icons? Circling an image of an OR?> launched direct response fundraising with some direct mail in the early 00’sThe direct response program really began to take off with the launch of DRTV in late 2003. In 2007 we consolidated the various channels for consistency of messaging and to develop an integrated fundraising strategyOur multi-channel approach really took off in 2008 with management of all acquisition channels – DRTV, DM, Digital under one teamOperation Smile acquires ~90,000 new donors each yearWe have conducted studies that tell us that our significant online acquisition can be attributed to our DRTV programIn 2011 we layered in telefundraising as an additional acquisition channelWhile our primary offer is the $240 to help pay for a surgery – we include a step down $20 a month, Smile Partner offer.
  • TiM: Can you tell us a bit about your overall strategy for welcoming new donors at Compassion?(Compassion slide 1 of 1)Stacey:12% AVG. LOSS IN FIRST 9 MONTHS – Crucial timeframe to onboard well. Welcome Series – 5-6 Specific cultivation pieces to foster relationship with child and Compassion spread during start of sponsorship. Make sure sponsor gets first letter from their child around month 3. Black out period – no asks during 6 mos. expect for child Birthday and Christmas giftsWe start every one of these cultivation communication pieces with variation:“Thank you so much making a difference in life of your sponsored child Maria.” Restarting Welcome Calls this July.
  • THREE CLICKS ON THIS SLIDE TO LOAD ALL GRAPHICSTiM: Can you tell us a bit about your overall strategy for welcoming new donors at Operation Smile?Operation SmileOur welcome strategy at Operation Smile has been driven mostly by channel or source of the donation.<CLICK>For DRTV donors, we have a “Welcome Kit” that is featured on TV that includes their acknowledgement of their donation or a pledge fulfillment letter, a brochure with information about our work and a photo album with before and after images.<CLICK>Donors acquired by TV are also offered a t-shirt premium for immediately donating by credit card – this offer is included in our TV show and is used to convert donors at the call center.
  • OPERATION SMILE:For DM donors, we have a modified “welcome kit” that includes their acknowledgements and a brochure with information about our work. This is also used for our new TM acquired donorsIn 2011, we did a test – we recognized that our DM donors didn’t have the benefit of the storytelling and images that takes place during our TV show. So we tested an “evergreen” newsletter insert. The results of the test demonstrated XYZ (requested details again from Russ Reid Team) so we have implemented the insertion of an evergreen newsletter going forward.<online welcome series> in 2010 we implemented a multi-touch online welcome series. (get details from online team) As a result we have scaled back our onboarding to <# touches>, etc. (need more details – HAVE REQUESTED, BUT DON’T HAVE YET.)
  • TIM: Tell us about your acknowledgement process. Do you have a “Thank You” strategy for your existing donors? And what metrics do you use to measure success?(Compassion Slide 1 of 3) Acknowledgment process driven by sponsors payment method.70% our sponsors are on recurring auto-pay (ACH/EFT/RCC) (which we LOVE!) -Have self-serve access to monthly giving reports through web account profile -Only receive one annual Thank You/ tax statement 30% on check-pay -Receive a monthly acknowledgement statement (we will see on next slide)This one very critical annual communication is this End of Year Thank You email. Subject line, header and landing page have bold – “Thank You for YOUR faithfulness!”57% open rate and 23% click through rates; average time on web page verifies that a really high percentage viewed the video once they got to the page(CI average is 32%/6%)No second ask on this page – all about appreciation and reporting back donor’s impact. (Still yields another 75-100 new sponsorships each year.)
  • TIM: Tell us about your acknowledgement process. Do you have a “Thank You” strategy for your existing donors? And what metrics do you use to measure success?(Compassion Slide 2 of 3) For the 30% (less than 200k) on Check-pay – We provide a monthly Contribution statement w/Thank You message (attached form visual) -acknowledges last months donation & acts as a statement for next month too -change the default thank you message quarterly -88% - 90% response rate on child commitment gifts -appeal for additional gifts and get a another 5% gift response ($5m annually)In messaging – Be as sincere and as specific you can. We list child’s name and specific funds.
  • TIM: Tell us about your acknowledgement process. Do you have a “Thank You” strategy for your existing donors? And what metrics do you use to measure success?(Compassion Slide 3of 3) A gift to a child beyond monthly sponsorship commitment triggers a “thank you letter” from the children. We let kids say thank you in own words, our only request is that the child shares how money was spent. For additional child gifts over a certain gift amount, we provide a photo of child withfollow up of how money was used. Photo speaks for itself.
  • TIM: Tell us about your acknowledgement process. Do you have a “Thank You” strategy for your existing donors? And what metrics do you use to measure success?Operation Smile:Our strategy for acknowledging donations from existing donors is to AVOID like the plague generic acknowledgements. I’ve spoken to many peers in the industry over the past year about our strategy, and I regularly hear “we have one acknowledgement that is updated annually.” Or, “we change our acknowledgement quarterly.”REALLY? If you are mailing your donors 12+ times a year and they are giving 2 or 3 or 4 gifts – are they really getting the SAME acknowledgement every single time???It is vital that we tie the acknowledgement back to the appeal, that is what generated the emotion and moved the donor to action. In the PS we have a soft second ask.If the donor gives to the acknowledgement, they receive a generic TY series for the second, third and fourth gift to the same appeal. So what does that look like?<next slide> 
  • REQUIRES 4 CLICKS TO LOAD ALL CONTENT ON THIS SLIDE.OPERATION SMILE: Ship Now Appeal – this appeal uses a multiplier offerYour gift will have 12x the impactWe have donations of supplies (shown in a list)From our corporate partners (noted in the body of the letter)The appeal acknowledgement reinforces the messaging that inspired their gift:First and foremost – thanks them for their gift…” I cannot thank you enough for having twelve times the impact to bring bright new smiles and hopeful futures to children born with cleft lip and cleft palate.”In the very first line, we remind the donor that their gift will have 12x the impactBecause their donation will help ship critical supplies – including many of the items from the list on the letterThe P.S. includes a soft ask…1. As we receive more donations of medical supplies, we also need the funds to ship them to upcoming medical missions. If you can send an additional gift in the enclosed envelope, you’ll help bring smiles to even more children.
  • OPERATION SMILE:This is an example of reporting from one of our acknowledgement series. Because we code all unique acknowledgements to their original appeal, we can track the revenue back to that fundraising effort.On this appeal, we had an 8.1% response rate to the acknowledgement. We average between 7 and 8% response on all of our acknowledgements. Our average gift is right around $20 to the acknowledgements, so these additional gifts fall right in line.As you can see, we generate net revenue on our acknowledgement series.
  • TIM: Do you do anything special for your donors during the year? Holidays? Thanksgiving? Other?Compassion –Every child gets a gift at Christmas. Christmas Appeal – 55% sponsors send money to our Christmas Gift appeal, $13m. Immediate video thank you message with photos of kids opening their presents!
  • TIM: Do you do anything special for your donors during the year? Holidays? Thanksgiving? Other?Operation Smile<SLIDE – Thanksgiving> Every year we send a special thank you message at Thanksgiving. This is a voice mail blast that we send to all active donors on our file (append phone numbers.)NOTE FOR TIM – imbed our 2012 message(s) from Operation Smile CEO, Bill Kliewer AND our Spanish TY message that we did for the first time from Dr. Ayala. Will need audio speakers to hear.
  • Tim - Charity Water's example - Valentine's Day video
  • TIM: Other ways to say thank you? (Compassion 1 of 2) Yes, let your donors say it for you. Use a lot of social media. It’s Free and Engaging!Blogs, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest. Current Following: 176k FB fans, 112k Twitter, 12k Instagram and 5k Pintrest; also 45k average monthly blog visits Recent success with Blogger Network Tour – a week of real life stories from real ordinary people as they happen in country There are over 2,300 bloggers signed up to this network. – have incredible social reach through them Over 6,000 children have been sponsored through the Compassion Bloggers Network -Peer to peer impact – resounding; we can say it all day long, twice on Sunday this is 1:1 sponsorship, real kids – but hear a middle age mom talk about hugging these kids, seeing their living conditions, making toys out trash -think about ways for your org that your current donors can say thank you to other supportersThis November we will be traveling to Uganda to celebrate our 5 years of the Compassion Bloggers Network. 
  • TIM: Other ways to say thank you? (Compassion 2 of 2)Also in social space, we made use of many different infographics in last year. Post to blog, FB, Pintrest and in our eNEWS. -Really all visual people, helpful way to digest information -Good way to do a simple stewardship snapshot – way to show impact of gift -Way to say thank you by honoring donor with relevant information in an interesting way.
  • TIM: Other ways to say thank you? Special Handwritten Note Cards and Before After Cards send monthly to donors who give $2500+ in the past month. (no ask)We send special update reports to our mid-level donors who give to our three multi-channel campaigns each year and include updates on children or programs mentioned in the appeal. (no ask)We have also inserted a letter and the translation of a thank you letter from a grateful parent into specific appeal acknowledgement letters.
  • TIM: Is it possible to say thank you TOO much?OPERATION SMILE:Jann: I would not have thought it was possible, but I now have to say that for Operation Smile we have been over thanking some of our donors.We have had a very active outbound calling program for the past two years where EVERY donor who gave to Operation Smile received a thank you call to provide a personal touch.We knew it was the RIGHT thing to do – to thank our donors.Even the best laid plans have unexpected consequences.Our telefundraising donors were receiving TOO many calls and as a result, donors were opting out of all telephone contact.We have put a three month PAUSE on our outbound TY call program and are revising our strategy with the help of the team at Donor Voice to move to a Gratitude Strategy for new donors and identify specific milestones for thanking existing donors to reducing the volume of telephone TY touches to our existing donors.
  • TIM: Is it possible to say thank you TOO much? (Compassion 1 of 1) No! $3,192/LTV per sponsorship -Quarter of file 10+ tenure -Giving realm of mid-level and major donors, but sponsorship and large base – manage by mass marketing not regional/relationship managers.I feel like we don’t say thank you enough for what our sponsor’s sacrifice to help these kids. For us, this is life changing, eternal impact. I strongly believe part of our 90% retention rate is how often we say thank you – it’s in every letter, every communication piece. “Thank you for your heart of children in poverty.”So yes, say the two words “thank you” often but beyond that show it – show the impact, can never do that too much. Nothing feels more sincere than actually seeing results.
  • TIM: Are you showing gratitude to donors without an ask? Compassion (1 of 1) Example I’m going to share is about seizing opportunities and how Impact can be gratitude said a different way. (Explain Wydick) Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of Economics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, set out to explore if child sponsorship really works. He conducted an in-depth study of 1,800 formerly sponsored Compassionchildrento determine its program’s impact on the adult life outcomes. He/team of researchers concluded that Compassion’s program has large and statistically significant impacts on the educational, employment and leadership outcomes of our children. Research been featured in USA Today and Christianity Today.Wydick Research Announcement Email: -44% open rate; 13% click through No direct ask, only same subtle “Sponsor a Child” button in all email templates. Yielded (get latest updated count before DMA) X new sponsorships. Only if there is time – two other seize opportunities examples:Disaster – often think of the org to the disaster. Had two examples in last year of children said we are thinking of you to sponsors -Hurricane Sandy Notes -GU video
  • TIM: Are you showing gratitude to donors without an ask?(Note: Need additional CLICK to load second image.)OPERATION SMILE:I shared with you a moment ago our handwritten notes and campaign reports. Those don’t have asks.Of course, we are very lucky at Operation Smile. Our work is very visual, tangible. Our supporters can immediately see the difference they are making in childrens lives. Online - we have the opportunity to share rich media – which is a tremendous way to say thank you to donors. The purpose of our “Stories from the Field” emails are to thank and connect our donors with the work they have made possible. For example a video that was taken by one of our plastic surgeons who volunteers for us that went viral – we recently shared that with all our donors when we hit the 2 million mark on YouTube. The letter sharing the video was from Dr. Chong, thanking our donors and letting them know that he had returned to Brazil and had repaired Thahlita (the little girls) cleft palate.<CLICK>Social media is really a conversation of with our donors. A sharing of inspiring images, messages and thanks.   (FB Post & FBPost for Jeff) This is an example of one of our top performing posts. It has the before and after photo,  pledge language with a call to action to share with friends. This resonated with our followers and moved them enough to take action, which was to share the post.  Currently we have a presence on Facebook (~60K) and Twitter (44K), as well as a presence on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and FB causes.
  • CLOSING:Stacey and Jann’s top 2-3 takeawaysJann – acknowledge the gift in a timely fashion – 48 hours after processing the gift is the benchmarkJann - it is possible to fatigue your donors with too many thank yous – so pick key milestones rather than ALL giftsJann – find “other” ways to say thank you beyond the receipt/acknowledgement like the annual Operation Smile Thanksgiving VM Thank You callStacey – Keep the tension between reporting back the success /communicating the need in check in your Thank you process. You really do have to do both well. We all need to feel needed. Can’t go to extremes and either over affirm or under ask. Stacey – There are pockets of appropriate places to just say “thank you” and show impact without “please give again.” You just need to figure out when they are specific to your organization. The proper timing is everything.
  • Saying "Thanks!" Instead of Asking "Please?"

    2. 2. Introductions Tim Beloyed – SFI Non Profit Stacey Baxter, Compassion International Jann Schultz, Operation Smile
    3. 3. Primary Offer: Sponsor Child $38/Month 15o,000 New sponsors acquired each year  70% Live Events/Speakers/Advocates  20% Internet  10% Other (Direct Mail, Radio, Partnerships) Compassion International
    4. 4. ~90,000 new donors acquired in 2012  19% DRTV  21% Online  40% Direct Mail  12% Telefundraising  8% Other  Primary Offer: Single Gift @ $240  Secondary Offer: Monthly @ $18 or $20
    5. 5. Welcome Series: The Important First 6 Months
    6. 6. Onboarding New Donors Welcome strategy driven by channel Goal: Second Gift Conversion DRTV Donors Direct Mail & Telefundraising Online 2011 TEST: Addition of an “evergreen” newletter DRTV Thank You Kit (English)
    7. 7. Modified Welcome Kit
    8. 8. 57% Open Rate 23% Click Through Rate
    9. 9. 88% - 90% Response Rate on Child Commitments Another 5% additional gift response Add UCF Insert
    10. 10. Operation Smile Acknowledgement Series Specific to each appeal or campaign Each appeal/campaign has it’s own, unique acknowledgement copy All acknowledgements have a soft ask in the P.S. on the letter In addition – we have a generic TY Series that follows a second gift given to the same appeal
    11. 11. Thank You Example
    12. 12. Thank You Series Example Reporting Spring 2012 Appeal Results from the initial Acknowledgment and the three generic responses.
    13. 13. Christmas Presents!
    14. 14. Annual Thanksgiving Gratitude “Voice Blast” Delivered by member of Exec Team Bill Kliewer, CEO (English) Dr. Ruben Ayala, SVP International Programs (Spanish) AUDIO ENGLISH AUDIO SPANISH
    15. 15. Other ways to say thank you… Show how donations make a difference Handwritten notes cards with before/after photo and story Campaign reports with updates Include a letter from a grateful parent (in our appeal acknowledgement)
    16. 16. Major Gifts •Acknowledgement signed by Co-founders •$10K+ - Personal Thank You Calls •Major Gift Officer •Co-founder •Handwritten note from Co-founder Donor Care Program-Mid-Level Gifts •Acknowledgement •General File - $1000+ - Personal Thank You Call •DC Program - Gifts of any size receive personal TY Call •Handwritten note from Donor Care Associate General Donors-Direct Response •Acknowledgement •<$99 – Thank You VM •>$100 – Personal Thank You Call •If unable to reach by phone – e-mail or handwritten note from Donor Relations Specialist or Volunteer Thank You Strategy
    17. 17. Say the two words “thank you” often. But also show it. You can never do that too much.
    18. 18. Seize opportunities! A recent independent study reveals that child sponsorship really works! 44% open rate; 13% click through rate
    19. 19. gratitude to donors without an ask: Visuals for Operation Smile answer go here
    20. 20. TOP TAKEAWAYS?
    21. 21. Thank You! Saying ‘Thanks’ Instead of Asking ‘Please?’ Tim Beloyed – Senior Director Client Services at SFI NonProfit #651.233.5011 or Stacey Baxter– USA Retention & Engagement Director at Compassion International #719.272.4660 or Jann Schultz– Associate VP, Donor Services at Operation Smile #757.321.7645 or