Live Q&A – August 2023


Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:03
Well, hello, everybody and welcome to our August live q&a. My dog has decided that she’s very needy right now. So hopefully we don’t hear her too much. But my name is Sami Vidal Mulhern. I’m one of the cofounders of the nonprofit boot camp. So welcome. Patrick Kirby, who is our other co founder, who’s usually here with me has a client fundraising emergency, they’re gearing up for a big ask. And some things happened as they do. So unfortunately, he’s not able to make it here today. But no worries. If you have questions, Rachel, I know you’re here, you can go ahead and put them in the chat. Otherwise, I’m just going to do a quick little mini training, what we typically do on these calls is a quick little 1015 minute training for something that we’re seeing kind of happening out in the field. And then going in to Q and A, and I am just pulling up a question that we also got emailed to us. So if you go into your dashboard, you can submit questions to us ahead of time and those questions we also ask or answer while we’re here. So we will go through that question as best as I can, although that question is definitely more suited to Patrick, but we’ll get through it anyway. So if you are new to me, or newer to the bootcamp, like I said, my name is Sammy, I’m a digital marketing strategist, Patrick is a offline fundraiser, more event focused capital campaigns, grants, major gifts, things of that nature. So what I typically bring to the table are digital marketing strategies to help you raise more money online and retain those donors once you’ve got them in your world. And so that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about today are some digital marketing strategies that you can utilize to increase and build that donor retention. Because we know that that’s really a big deal. Right, especially right now, especially with all of the economic conversations, recession conversations, what have you. And I think, you know, we have a lot of folks in the bootcamp that are also in rural communities. So retaining those donors is a big deal, because there’s just that an endless amount of them walking around. It’s also, I think, a very important topic, because we don’t put strategies in place for follow up and retaining donors, at kind of the entry point of when they are starting their experience with us starting to give to us, they haven’t yet become major donors, we focus a lot of that retention and effort on the major donor side, and with the one on one copied aids, you know, really having that personal connection. And that’s still really important. But that’s where digital strategies can really come into play to how we follow up with our donors and how we engage with them share our impact, when we have somebody who has maybe given a first time gift, or is a monthly donor, or somebody that we don’t have a strong relationship with yet, but we want to keep in our circle so that we can get them to give us another gift in the future. Especially as we’re gearing up for year end, giving campaigns I know it’s beginning of August, but you’re in giving campaigns are just around the corner. And so this is critically important so that we can convert more of those first time donors into those repeat donors. So a couple of things that I just want to throw out here. And I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options, but really paying attention to how you’re touching your donors immediately after they give. And this is, again, regardless of gift, size. And the easiest. And the best way to do that is an email marketing, welcome sequence. So our new donor email sequence. And what that is, is a series of three to five emails that they get right after they’ve make their initial gift, their first gift. And so this is going to take some coordination between your CRM and your email marketing software, but I promise it’s not complicated, that this is separate from that tax receipt that they’re going to receive. That is just the receipt for Hey, you’ve made this. You’ve made this donation to this organization. So the first one goes out immediately. It’s a thank you, preferably from your CEO, or if you’re a larger organization, maybe your development director, but this email is simply stating Thank you sharing some impact statements and giving people a peek into who your team is and who you are, and and what that gift is going to allow. You to do for your organization, you’re also going to set the stage for how they can expect to hear from you in the future, we’re going to be sending you a few more emails over the next few weeks so that you can get to know us. And then we’ll put you into our monthly or our weekly email newsletter so that you can stay on, stay on top of all the amazing things that we have going on at insert your organization, right? Second email is going to be a very just an impact story, something that is from the perspective of somebody that you serve, or somebody that has been impacted by your organization, telling it from their perspective. So it’s almost like it’s an email coming from that person to your donors. And again, no ask this is literally just an opportunity for people to really understand they’ve given you money. And here is how that money is being utilized over the course of emails. The third one might be a personal letter from a board member or a volunteer or somebody that’s engaged in working inside of your organization, so that you can kind of share the culture, what it’s like to be a part of your organization, why people are participating with you for a long time, it’s going to build trust and show that you are keeping people around for a period of time that you’re being responsible, again, responsible for the dollar for building that trust. And we’re showing people that we are doing the work that we say that we’re doing, and that we’ve got people that are alongside us for the long haul. And the last email is going to be you know, hey, we hope that you’ve really enjoyed getting to know your organization, reiterating how they’re going to continue to hear from you in the future, asking them to, you know, share with their friends, put information on their social media, that they are participating with your organization, make sure they’re flagging your emails as safe. So they continue to get them all of those things. So this email sequence is really just connecting with them on a deeper level in a way that is automated, so that you don’t have to be sending these emails all the time, they’re just working in the background for you. And then they go into your regular newsletter for you to continue to nurture. So a couple of key elements here, one, there are no asks in these emails, they just gave a gift or not asking them again, to making sure that if you do have other emails that are going out that are promotional of some sort, that these folks are not getting those emails, because again, they just gave a gift. So we don’t want to hit them right away. And three, making sure they’re coming from people. So we don’t want these emails to come from like a no reply email or an info at write like they need to come from people inside your organization that you know, these folks can connect with. So each email might be a little different, because maybe you want them to be able to reply to the development director, or you want them to reply to the CEO. But just keep in mind that these are emails coming from people to people, even though they are automated. Excuse me. So that is just one quick and easy way, it does not mean that you’re not still connecting with folks on a personal level, doesn’t mean you’re not sending handwritten cards, it doesn’t mean that you’re not making phone calls. Um, you can build that into the structure and the timeline with which your welcome sequence goes out. But it means that you have a very intentional and thoughtful process. Now the last thing I want to mention about this is that I just totally lost my train of thought, Oh, my goodness, my dog was just nipping at me. Anyway, it’ll come to me, the last thing that I wanted to mention about your email sequences. That’s so funny. I literally just completely and totally lost my train of thought. So sorry, I’m sure it was real good information that, you know, like the linchpin, like the thing that no, it wasn’t. It’ll come to me at some point, and I will remember it and we will share it with you. But I love email marketing, for the purpose, oh, you may have multiple email, welcome sequences for different things. So you might have one that’s a general anybody who donates on your website, they get this sequence, anybody who’s part of your monthly donor campaign gets a different sequence, because maybe there’s different perks that you have for those monthly donors or members that you want to make sure you’re highlighting in those emails, you might have a separate welcome sequence for your corporate sponsors or people that are donating through events. So start with one start with the easiest one for you to execute. And then you can kind of just duplicate edit and kind of update from there. That’s what I was going to share with you. So with that, if there’s any specific questions related to welcome sequences, I’m here for them. I’m also here for any other question that you have. We have a small can tinge of Rachel here today. But that’s totally fine.

But I’m going to bring up a question that Tammy emailed us earlier and give my thoughts but we might need a follow up to me if you’re watching this. Because, again, Patrick might be more suited for this question as this is a board meeting or a board management question. So Tammy says, here’s what I’m grappling with. There’s conventional wisdom around regular Board President and Executive Director sync ups, as the board president, I’m trying to reconcile, talk with the whole board and speak with one voice, versus President and Executive Director sync ups as one on ones seems like double delegation, even if these thing cups are expanded to include the executive committee, that’s still not the whole board. So I’m curious how other organizations handle this, especially given all the conventional wisdom around Board President and Executive Director meetings. So she’s asking or they’re asking, I’m not sure. Tammy is asking, what recommendations are for board and Executive Director communication. So we do have some of those resources. If you go to the nonprofit Boot Camp And you download the workbook, there is a job description and things in there that will walk you through kind of that relationship between the board and the executive director, as well as kind of the job description for what a board president might look like. Are there any outside of board meetings in or special sessions, should there be any special meetings between any elected officers and the executive director outside of board meetings or taskforce meetings. And so here’s, here’s my feedback to that. And again, it’s going to vary depending on the space that your organization is in. So if you are a, if you have a very active board, you might have more meetings outside of that with separate board members and your executive director, for example, you know, the fundraising chair or the marketing chair, if those folks are really involved in the actual day to day, then yes, for sure, you might need to have some more specific one on one meetings. If you’re a larger, more established organization with a larger team, then probably not as much of that one off, you could probably handle those in committee meetings, and things like that. So it really just depends on how active your board is, in your organization at this point, as far as what what that would need to be. And I would say you don’t have to follow a specific structure. But make sure that it’s something that everybody is in line with, that everybody is on board with, that everybody knows kind of this is what the expectation is. So if I’m stepping into a specific role on the board, but you’re gonna have to give me just one second, please. Okay. Or like 10 minutes. My kids aren’t back in school yet. Um, if you’re, if you’re bringing people on to specific committees or task forces, and I think it’s really just setting that expectation on the front end of this is where we’re at as a board. This is where we’re at as an organization, these are the types of things that we need to have happen, you might have some things that are more time sensitive, so they do require more outside things, you might have things that aren’t. So I wouldn’t say there’s a one size fits all situation there. It’s more, ensuring you set the expectations, you’re not blindsiding anybody in Hey, this is what your role responsibility is, and tasks are. Rachel says, I have two board members that are planning to lead next year, and we’re already at the bare minimum of members. What are some recruitment methods for new board members? Yeah, and this is something that is also playing a lot. Right now. I’m really wish Patrick was here, because he’s my board guru. Again, there’s a whole board training in the on demand section in the nonprofit boot camp one on one, there’s tons of stuff in there. But when it comes to board recruitment, I think it starts with really understanding what you need that role to fill. So, Rachel, I don’t know how big your board is. So two board members leaving is that like a huge impact on your organization? Or is that, you know, maybe you have a board of 10. So two, you can take a little bit more time to replace, or if it is like maybe have a board of five. So losing two is pretty significant. That’s a great opportunity. Also, just to take a look at who’s on your board. What roles are they fulfilling for your organization? And are we looking for do we need to change up who we’re looking for? Do we need to replace the people that are leaving in the roles that they fill and the ways that they support the organization or is this an opportunity for us to kind of shake things up a little bit, have some one on ones with the board members that are exist? hang out and figure out okay, what would you like to do moving forward? How would you like to support this organization? What does this look like? And then collectively, start with, okay, these are the these are maybe the two or three types of folks that we’re looking for. We’re looking for something in finance, we’re looking for somebody in legal, we’re looking for somebody in marketing, we’re looking for somebody that has fundraising capacity, like what exactly is the role that you’re looking for? And then, just like you would in any other situation, hiring a staff person or whatnot, it’s really kind of right now, I think, putting your ear to the ground and having conversations with people who do you know that you could introduce us to talking to some of your key donors, talking to some of your key volunteers or board members, because you never know, there’s, there’s people that are probably in your circle that have just never been asked, if they want to be on the board, or if they know of somebody who could be on the board. This is a big thing that we see with a lot of organizations is that we don’t necessarily ask for the specifics of what we need. And so then people don’t know that we need that. So it could even be an email blast that goes out once you know exactly what you’re looking for, hey, to your supporters, we have two board member openings. These are the types of things that we’re looking for these would be the roles and the expectations for the board members that we’re looking for. Is this you? Or do you know somebody who might be interested or somebody you can connect us to. Because even as somebody who supports an organization, I am always looking for ways that I can make impact and make a difference without having to necessarily give dollars, I might not be able to give a gift as high as I used to. Or maybe I have to take a year off this year, for whatever reason. So giving me a way that I can still support and give value and figure out a way to support the organization is awesome. So asking me for things, or anybody on your list for connections? Or is this you? Are you the right person to join the board, or these are some places where we could use some volunteer support. All of that is great to do. And you never know where that might start conversation. So I think that’s a great first place to start and then see what happens, especially if you have time, they’re not leaving till next year, you have time to kind of take those first steps and working within your inner circle, first of people that you know, are fans of what you do is a great way to get people that are already in line with your brand and your vision and your mission. Rachel, I don’t know if that answers that question. I think sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things. And they’re I say this all the time. My favorite people in an organization are the lurkers. You know, the ones that read your emails or your social media posts, but they’re not

verbally like so forward, or they’re not the ones that are making the most noise. And so we always have, like, there’s a base of people at every organization, big or small, that are kind of lurking in the background, and just haven’t been given the opportunity to make that impact with your organization in a meaningful way, yet, they haven’t been asked in the right way. And I know it’s hard to find them and pull them out. But that’s why using things like email and social media and making very specific targeted asks, we need a board member who can do and bullet it out. Like it makes it super, super easy for them to say, Yep, that’s me or no, that’s not me. But that’s my friend Sue who lives next door, I’m gonna go talk to them, right, you’re allowing them to kind of really know how they can support you. The other example I’ll give you is I’m working on a post for a client of mine social media posts. And we’re getting ready to kind of end our solicitation for silent auction items. And so we’re putting a post out on social media saying, hey, last call, you know, if you want to provide anything in kind for our silent auction, we’re sharing a little bit about how the auction like how their items would be promoted. But also being very specific, hey, we’re looking for items like XYZ to help us round out some of the packages that we’re putting together. Because when we put it out there and we just say, Hey, we’re looking for social media or social media, we’re looking for silent auction items. You know, some people might not they might see that and be like, oh, yeah, no, I can’t. That’s not something that I can do. But if in that post, it says, we’re looking for a spa package, or we’re looking for some sports memorabilia, or we’re looking for airline miles, whatever it is. Having that specific thing is going to spark that creativity in somebody’s mind and say, Oh, I know so and so that I could reach out to they would totally love to do this. But they might not make that connection if they don’t see that trigger in that post. So we want to be super clear, we want to be very specific in our asks, and the more that we can do that, then the easier it’s going to be for us to get the results that we want. Because we have to remember too, that it’s about self selecting. So we want to be clear so that we know exactly what we need. We also want to be clear so that we don’t waste our time having conversations with people that aren’t the right fit. And so if we can very clearly say this is what we need an board member, this is the expectation, you might have less conversations with people, but you’re going to have the right conversations with people that are more likely to be the right fit for you and your organization. When a pause and take a sip of tea, Rachel, any other questions?

Friends, if you’re watching this in the replay, or live q&a calls are so much fun, but they’re smaller. So take advantage of the opportunity to ask us questions to show up live and you know, get some one on one or two on one or whatever consulting with us. We are here to support you. We talk about anything and everything from like I said, from marketing to event fundraising, we’ve talked about social media, we’ve talked about email, we’ve talked about, obviously board management, all the things. We are here for it. So if there are not any more questions, then I’m going to wrap this up this recording will be in your dashboard within the next few days, along with some timestamps for where the questions are. So you can go back to other episodes, also the recordings and see what topics we’ve discussed there as well. But otherwise, I thank you, Rachel for being here. And again, send Patrick’s apologies for not being able to join us, but we will see you next month. So check out the calendar again in your dashboard for all the upcoming dates or in your email. We have our guest expert training coming up on August 24, I believe, talking all about how we can share the value of the memberships that we have in our organization, and how we can communicate that value often and regularly to get more engagement and more registrations. But for now, thank you so much for coming and we will see you all at another live event soon.

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