You've probably thought a lot about how to win donations - and donors - to your crowdfunding campaign. But what about saying "thank you" to those donors? Do you have a stewardship plan beyond a quick thanks?
Maybe you've won a couple of donations already. If so, ask yourself whether you see those gifts as simply a completed task - a checked box - or an opportunity to bring that donor into your community. Is it just a transaction or perhaps the beginning of something more?
With a little intentionality, you can say "thank you" to your donors in a way that gives them warm fuzzies while establishing a long-term relationship between them and your organization or cause. Here are five ways we've seen our crowdfunders say "thanks" with style.
1. Send a personalized video
Perhaps you've considered sending a video out to all of your donors once your campaign ends, thanking them for their gifts and support. Videos are, after all, incredible tools for stewardship, as they add a human element to the "thanks" by putting faces to impact that donor has made.
But what if you could take it one step further by sending a personalized video to each donor with their name included? Companies like ThankView let you do just that. For less than the cost of a postage stamp, you can send customized videos to each of your campaign's donors, and it's no more difficult than creating the video in the first place! And, as a bonus, the video pops out of a virtual envelope, bringing the entire card-sending experience to life. You can see a ThankView card in action here, and the first five are free to send!
2. Social media shout-outs
During your live campaign, say thank you to every donor who gives to it (and tag them, if possible). Use whichever social media platform(s) your group is already utilizing, or campaigners can participate by using their personal accounts.
You can even take it a step further by creating a customized visual to catch your followers' eyes. For example, I just whipped this up in less than a minute (for free) on Canva.com, and it's already the perfect size for Instagram and other social media platforms!
Especially true for younger generations, you can also galvanize new donors with social media shout-outs. Thanking donors on social media provides social validation around your campaign. If Sarah sees that her friend Ben gave to a campaign on her social media feed (and that his donation mattered to the team enough for them to post about it), she is much more likely to give to it.
We have spoken with many campaigners who have validated that the social media shout-out approach connected them with donors and engaged new donors in the process, so try it out!
3. Send a handwritten letter
Timeliness is of utmost importance when communicating gratitude, so we always recommend that campaigners send a customized email to a donor as soon as the donation comes in.
However, an email can't compare to a handwritten note. It may take a little more time to reach your donor, so plan to send the immediate email thank you as well. In your letter, make sure you share why their donation was meaningful and what it will help your team accomplish. Include a picture as well! Or why not do both with a customized postcard?
In a world where we're inundated with junk mail delivered to our mailboxes, handwritten letters are like treasure. They have the ability to light up a person's day. And don't your donors deserve to have their day made a little brighter?
4. Include the donor in your initiative
This one involves a bit of creativity, but you're a crowdfunder, and that's what crowdfunders do best, isn't it?
Consider ways to include your donors in your project or initiative. For example, are you putting on a performance of some kind? Add your donors to the program in a "thank you" section or invite them to a rehearsal. Are you competing in a robotics competition? Sketch your donors' names on the robot (we've had a team do this and it was awesome!).
Whatever it is that you're raising money to do, think of how you might be able to extend your gratitude to your donors within it. Taking them on the adventure with you is a meaningful way to "show" your thankfulness for their gifts.
5. Keep it going all year
The most important aspect of stewardship is continuing the conversation. Share your gratitude by keeping your donors updated throughout your project, and beyond! Whether it be through email newsletters, videos, social media, or letters sent via the mail, continue to build on the relationships you cultivated during your campaign. Share your challenges and wins. Share what you're learning. Ask for advice or even help (your donors could become passionate volunteers!).
Reminding your donors that they haven't been forgotten is not only a great way to say "thanks," but in the event you do launch another crowdfunding campaign in the future, who do you think will be first in line to make a gift?