Saying Thank You

Thanking your donors and clients is the most important thing you should do. But what's the best way to go about it?

It depends on the size of your organization as well as the time you have. However, even the smallest of charities should have a stewardship plan in place that allows them to thank everyone.

A thank you has power that will garner you many returns. And a thank you is a great way to reinforce your brand as well.

Here are the steps to thanking success:

1. Segment

You need to look at your client/donor list and determine who should receive what thank you. For example, if you have 500 donors and 450 of them give under $1000, but 5o give over that, you might want to consider singling out those 50 donors to receive something extra.

2. Determine what your thank you looks like

Is it a letter? A note card?

Letters are the most popular because they save time, however a form letter time and time again can seem impersonal to the donor. If you do use letters, remember to change up the thank you letter every once in a while to keep it fresh.

3. Budget for Time and Money

It's important to remember when you are budgeting for the year to include thank you letters for all of the responses you think you are going to receive. Also, the amount of time you have available will definitely influence how personalized your letters are going to be.

4. Determine the signer

Who signs the card/letter can have a lot of weight. For your major donors, maybe you want a board member or the executive director to sign it, for everyone else perhaps the fundraising officer.

5. Personalize

This is the most important. Nobody likes a letter that says Dear Sir/Madam. Make sure you have their correct name and address. This goes a long way.

6. Use your brand

Whether it's a letter or a note card, your logo should be prominently displayed along with your tagline or mission statement if it fits. This allows the reader to visually connect your brand with the warm feeling they received from being thanked.

Thanking your donors and clients is an extremely important part of the process, so don't forget to do it.

If you have time, consider sending out special thank you cards at certain times of the year, like Christmas, to your most special donors. They will definitely appreciate the effort.

Twitter for Nonprofits

On to Twitter. What is Twitter do you ask and why does it have a funny name?

Twitter is a great little site that let's you post mini blog posts to let everyone know what you are up to.

But why?

Have you ever thought about connecting with your clients but the thought of a blog is too overwhelming? Try Twitter.

It gives you about 140 characters in which to write your message so you don't have to worry about creating a long blog post. You can display your twitter on your website and collect yourself some followers.


Yes, when someone whats to read all of your twittered info, they follow you. Then they can see all the posts you make. People can also sign up for an RSS feed and receive your posts through their email.

Twitter is a great addition to any blog or website. But it stands on it's own as well.

It's just another great communications tool that can be used to reach more people to tell them about yourself.

But don't forget to update it regularly!

Email Blasts

Email blasts are a great way to get the word out about upcoming events, news and more that you have to share.

How do you set up a good email blast?

First of all, you need to figure out who you want to email to. Before you click every name on your email list, think about it. Are you really going to send every relative all your business materials?

Take time to segment your list and determine who you want to email what to. This way, people won't feel bombarded by your emails if you intend on sending them regularly.

Then start planning out your message.

The key is to keep it short. People are busy and they may not have time for a long email. Add colours and visuals to make it more appealing. Catching their eye is always a good thing.

Then away you go! Email blasts are really easy to do and can let your donors and clients know what's upcoming, whether it be newsletters, mailings, events and more.

Setting Up A Non-profit Newsletter Pt 2

Setting Up a Newsletter Part 2

The last post was about the message you wanted to send, this is going to focus on design and style.

When looking at possible designs for your newsletter, you need to ask yourself:

1. Does the design enhance your message or hurt it?

While it's nice to have a shiny newsletter, the more flash you add to the newsletter, the more the message gets lost. It's good to have a sharp, clean newsletter that conveys the exact meaning you want it to.

2. Does the design reflect your brand?

It's important that your newsletter be cohesive and fit with the rest of your communication tools. It should have a similar look and feel to your website, brochure, etc and definately feature your logo and slogan.

3. Is the content laid out in a simple, easy to read manner?

Your newsletter should have text that is easy to read. Keep in mind fonts, size, colour and more. A good way to test this is by giving your newsletter to someone who hasn't seen it before and hearing their thoughts.

All of these things should help your newsletter be effective.

Setting Up a Non-profit Newsletter Part 1

Setting Up a Newsletter Part 1

I'm in the process of setting up a newsletter to accompany my website and this blog and wanted to share my process. I'm the type of person whose brain is usually on step five before I start step one. But there are many things to consider before setting up a newsletter.

1. Who are you intending the newsletter for?

It's great if all your friends and family sign up, but if the newsletter isn't reaching your target audience. For instance, this newsletter is geared towards small businesses and non-profit organizations. And while I did send out emails to family and friends in case they knew of anyone who needed it, the more targeted email will be to my target audience.

2. What do you want the newsletter to do for you?

A newsletter can do many things for you. It can get people to sign up for things, visit your website and more. Make sure that you are aware of what you want your newsletter to do and make sure the functionality is there. So if you want people to visit your blog, make sure you have a link to your blog.

3. How are distributing your newsletter?

Email or print? Either way, make sure that you have a database set up that is conscise and correct. You need to ensure that people's data is correct as well as secure.

4. What's your message?

What do you want to say in this newsletter? Sit and brainstorm ideas on a pad. And not just ideas for one issue, but for multiple issues to come. You want to make sure that everything is consistent. How many articles? How long should it be? These are important things that you must decide before setting it up.

*check tommorrow for part 2 of Setting Up a Newsletter

Keep It Simple

When it comes to putting together your communications plan, don't freak out. It's very important to keep it simple and to be realistic about the goals you want to accomplish.

There's no point planning for a huge direct mail campaign or a shiny flash website if you don't have the budget or the time for it.

When putting your communication plan together, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What are you trying to convey?
  • Who's your audience?
  • What's the best way of reaching them?

Let's start with the first:

What are you trying to convey?

This can be the most difficult to determine and one of the first things you should do. If you can not clearly and concisely state your position or your cause, then you cannot be expected to have clients and donors understand where you are coming from.

Often, I've heard members of charities wax poetic about their cause, but when asked pointedly why someone should donate, they stumble. Know what message you are trying to convey and make it simple.

Who's your audience?

Who are you trying to reach? Answering everybody isn't good enough. It's important to segment your audience; determine who has the most potential. They are the people you want to communicate to.

What's the best way of reaching them?

This is an important question. Although you may not specifically know the dislikes and likes of everyone on your client list, take the time to think about what would work. Have a group of tech savvy people? Try an email blast as a way of getting their attention.

Answering these questions will undoubtedly help you develop your communications plan better.

And remember, Keep It Simple.

The Power of the Letter

In this electronic age, it's easier to dash off a quick email then to go through the process of writing and sending a letter.

However, sending a letter can be a powerful ally for your business or organization.

I recently received a brochure for an art tour in the mail. The brochure was very well done and contained lots of information, however there was no letter accompanying it.

Without the letter, it felt very impersonal, despite the fact that I knew the sender very well. If even a short note had been attached, it would have changed the meaning of the package entirely.

A letter (and a personalized one at that) makes people feel important and recognized. And that will generate more business.

Despite the rise of online giving, direct mail is still the primary way that organizations receive donations. Having a well drafted letter that clearly conveys your message will ensure that more people will donate to your cause.

Sending letters is not only for non-profits but for businesses as well. Personalized letters can turn one-time clients into multi-year clients. The gesture will make them feel appreciated.

Letter Writing Tips

  • Be clear and succinct. Don't bog down your message in semantics.

  • Don't make your letter too long. You want people to read the letter in it's entirety.

  • Have a strong message. Think about what you are trying convey in the letter and then make sure it resonates throughout the entire piece.

  • Make your letter stand out. These days, people get a lot of mail whether it's bills or advertisements. Be creative in getting your letter noticed.

  • Ensure that your spelling and grammar is correct. Spelling and grammar mistakes make your letter look unprofessional. Also ensure that you have spelled the client's name correctly and are addressing them in the appropriate manner.

How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Their Advantage

I have to admit, I have only recently joined Facebook. I ignored it for so long, thinking it was just to keep in touch with friends that you didn't want to keep in touch with in the first place.

However Facebook, and other social media sites do have a purpose that is useful in business. You can connect with people, find new clients and advertise your business for free.

Here's a brief rundown of the most popular:

Facebook is a great tool for connecting with people you've lost touch with. You never know, someone out there may have exactly what you are looking for. You can also set up a page for your business/non-profit. It's pretty easy to use and you can get started within minutes.

The downside is that you have to be careful about what you post. If you are on Facebook for business purposes, make sure it stays that way. Not that you can't have a little fun, but make sure you don't say anything inappropriate.

Linkedin is the more professional version of Facebook. With less functionality, it's primary goal is to connect business professionals with each other. Once you've developed a link with someone, you can see who they are associated with. It's like peeking into someone's address book.

Ever wanted to start a blog to promote your non-profit/business but didn't think you had the time? Twitter can help! It's a website that offers a mini-blog of sorts, a way for people to keep connected with your news. You can post links to various pages on your website, articles, etc. People can sign up via email or RSS feed to get your news. It's perfect for keeping donors or clients updated about what's going on within your organization.

Stumbleupon is a website that allows people to search for specific websites attuned to their needs. How does this help you? By posting the Stumbleupon link on your website, people can go and rate your site. This will increase traffic and get more people interested.

These are just four of the many social networking sites out there that can help you and your organization. They are easy to set up and don't take a lot of time to maintain. And all have the potential to bring in more donors and clients and help you grow.


Welcome to Notes For Non-profits, the blog that discusses how non-profit organizations can market their organization effectively. You will find tips on social media, newsletters, direct mail, video/podcast, websites, online giving, communication management and more.

Please feel free to email me with topics you wish to discuss, questions and more!

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