Category Archives: Non profits

donors
Donors are an essential part of your operations, and they deserve meaningful thank yous. While all nonprofits know the importance of saying thank you, we often neglect adding personalization. And unfortunately, our thank you’s tend to be a one and done deal. Relationship building is crucial in the nonprofit world, and it’s time we start doing more than the bare minimum! There are so many fun and creative ways to show donors your appreciation. If you’re running out of ideas, here are a few options to explore. 

donors

  1. Send food from a local bakery or restaurant

    Think about some of the best gifts you’ve ever received. Chances are, they were the ones where a lot of thought was put into it. Do some research to see if you can find a local bakery or restaurant near the donor’s headquarters — one only the locals would know about. Or alternatively, send them some goodies from a local restaurant or bakery near your nonprofit headquarters. One thing to be weary of with this tactic is allergies, so make sure you take note of any dietary restrictions before ordering.

  2. Record a video message

    Nonprofit teams are typically crunched for time, which means it’s all too easy to resort to a simple thank you email. If you really want to stand out, go for a video message! There are tons of formats you can experiment with. Maybe you can showcase a way their donation is being used, or do a compilation video of everyone at the company saying thank you. They’ll also be able to use it in their marketing efforts — a big bonus! 

  3. Send greeting cards (but go the extra mile)

    If you’re going to send a thank you card, don’t leave it generic! Make sure it’s handwritten, addresses specific people, and discusses how the donation has improved your funding efforts. Instead of sending a one off card, we recommend celebrating continuous milestones. So for example, make a note on the calendar of the day you received the donation, and send them a greeting card on an annual basis. You could also keep tabs on personal milestones and send thank you cards for those — like if the donor was recently married or had a child. 

  4. Incorporate the donor into your marketing efforts

    Make sure you’re showcasing the donor on social media, email newsletters, annual reports, etc. This also helps build up your nonprofits marketing efforts, and facilitates continuous conversations online. We’ve seen a lot of nonprofits do donor spotlight blogs, webinars, and other interactive content as well. 

  5. Send some swag

    Everybody likes free stuff right? Consider sending the donor some customized company items that you have on hand, like a tshirt, coffee mug, or bottle opener. Encourage them to share pictures utilizing the swag and tag on social media. 

  6. Visit them in person, or offer them a tour at your headquarters

    Unfortunately, the pandemic makes this one a bit tricky right now. When operations resume in the future, consider inviting the donors to take a tour of your headquarters, or make a point to visit them in person if you’re near their headquarters. Even a special Zoom call could make someone’s day.

 

What ideas do you have for thanking and engaging your donors? We’d love to hear from you! And if you’re looking for funding help, we’ve got you covered. RBW Strategy specializes in services like prospect research, grant writing, grant review, and more. Contact us to learn more today.

image including diversity equity and inclusion
image including diversity equity and inclusionAt RBW Strategy, we will forever stand behind and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has been an incredibly uneasy, confusing, yet powerful time to make a change. While times are turbulent, it is often these unsettling moments that open our eyes and kick our brains into high gear. As we support nonprofit space, it’s our focus and duty to advance social welfare by accepting responsibility for implementing effective management practices and holding each other accountable to our communities.

We believe actions speak louder than words, and the first step in those actions is acknowledging intersectionality. But how do we turn those acknowledgments into conversations? And how do those conversations become deeply rooted morals and core values that your organization lives by? Based on our work with nonprofits and their work with diverse populations and people of color, we want to reiterate some of their best practices.

  1. Know that every space is not your space. It is important for those who are privileged to understand that not every space is their space to occupy. People of color need places where they can gather and be free from the mainstream stereotypes and disempowerment that take over other societal spaces the privileged occupy. Fostering and respecting spaces for people of color, LGBTQ, and disabled people to be with others who share their identity and unique challenges, is an important responsibility if you are committed to equity. These group spaces are not segregation; they’re solidarity. In the same respect, it is important that these groups feel comfortable talking freely, transparently, and candidly with everyone in the organization.
  2. Put the right people in place to make a change. As organizations begin their journey towards greater equity, they must think carefully about leadership, and who will work best together to create positive outcomes. In organizations that are majority-white, executives will oftentimes hire a person of color to address the organization’s lack of diversity. Although this can be incredibly beneficial, it can also be daunting, as this person is tasked with changing deeply rooted norms and practices with little authority or training. Directors, CEOs, and Presidents alike should be conscious of the dynamics of oppression in the organization and be equally as committed to making change.
  3. Strip the hierarchy and make room for feedback. Most organizations are structured in some sort of hierarchy. These structures are helpful for streamlining the flow of communication and putting decision making power in the hands of those in specific roles. However, in the case of improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, new models of leadership that share structural power have proved to be a fundamental step in decision-making. In other words, collaborative leadership means including your beneficiaries in decisions that impact them. In addition, your organization should have concrete tactics for gathering and listening to all perspectives in the workplace, as people might not always be apt to come forward on their own to share their opinions.
  4. Educate yourself. Especially in the convoluted media world we live in, it’s easy to surround yourself only with those who are like-minded. In the same sense, social media tends to reinforce those viewpoints, therefore extending our bias. To counteract this way of thinking, start finding town halls and allyship trainings in your area. If you cannot find in-person trainings right now, see what you can find online. As humans, we become too prideful. We become closed off to new ways of thinking because it’s uncomfortable. Go forward with a willingness to learn, and accept that your viewpoints will be challenged.

The journey towards great diversity, equity, and inclusion is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t have a fixed end point, and obstacles will occur at every turning point. But the results are not intangible. It is incumbent on nonprofits to demonstrate a real commitment to diversity and inclusion by ensuring their board members and leadership teams reflect their local communities and the populations they serve.

 

Additional Resources:

Nonprofits
This week I sent my first born child (my baby) to kindergarten for his first week of school. All parents have felt the same – nervous, excited, sad and excited. Change is difficult, no matter how old you get, and everyone has some level of anxiety related to trying something new. The same can be said for startup nonprofits. I am frequently asked to write grants for startup nonprofits who are eager to get started. Like my son, I am offering some advice to prepare you for the road ahead.

  1. Advanced Preparation – My son received a packet in the mail in advance of school to prepare him for his first day. As an organization, what have you done to prepare yourself? Did you conduct market research? Do you have a strategic plan? Do you have a budget and program specific budgets (as applicable)? These are some of the basics in order to move forward to meet you goals. Nonprofits
  1. Playing Well with Others – We always teach our children the importance of being friendly and playing well with others. Within the nonprofit sector, collaboration and partnerships are essential. Have you made inroads with other organizations? Can you leverage their expertise and also support on collaborative grant proposals? Are there certain programs that you can do together? Does your board of directors have the skills needed to govern the organization? Does your organization have the human capital and other resources needed to succeed?
  1. Clarity and Focus – You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” If I didn’t purchase school supplies and add lunch money to my son’s cafeteria account, he would be less able to be successful in school. When you think about what you hope to achieve as an organization, can you articulate your mission, vision, goals, objectives, outputs and outcomes? How will you focus on what is important in order to achieve your goals and adhere to your mission and vision? Start little by little and avoid the trap of taking on too much at one time (including fundraising).

While these represent a sampling of what a startup nonprofit needs to set a path towards success, it is a start. Need coaching? Contact rachel@rbwstrategy.com to discuss your next steps in more depth.