Here's the final instalment of the 12 tips of Christmas series we've been doing with Craig Linton the Fundraising Detective – click on the links for part 1, part 2 and part 3. I hope the tips have given you some food for thought. We'd love to hear your feedback…
Tip 10: Personalise as much as possible – though make sure it’s cost effective!
One of my colleagues asked me the other day why I bothered writing a personal message in each of the Christmas cards I was sending to donors. She wanted to know “Why don’t you just sign them?”
My answer was if I just signed them, then it would make me the same as everyone else. By adding a little note and personal message it would make my card stand out from others and show the donor we cared.
Similarly, I’ve received lots of Christmas cards from agencies and suppliers. I won’t name names, but the ones that I remember are those who’ve gone the extra mile and added a personal note. It definitely makes me feel valued.
There’s an important caveat to this though. As much as I would love to write a personalised card to every donor, it would take over my life and in the end wouldn’t be cost effective. You need to make a judgement call of when it stops being a good use of time and stick to it.
Tip 11: Get your beneficiaries and service colleagues involved in your storytelling
Let your beneficiaries tell your stories wherever possible for you – and I don’t mean just having a photo and a copywritten quote underneath in an appeal pack… This is a perhaps a given but it’s about moving the game along:
a. I got our nursery children to design our Christmas Card this year and our legacy fundraiser went a step further and commissioned a special thank you card for one of our biggest donors. These examples show the importance of building good relationships internally. Having trust and rapport with service colleagues is a key fundraising and marketing skill and allows you to get access to great content and stories.
b. Aldingbourne Trust is one of the first charities in the UK to complete its entire social accounts using video shot by and of the adults with learning disabilities they support… their stories demonstrate all the strategic objectives and achievements of the charity and numbers can be overlaid as captions or explained with voiceovers
Tip 12: Look after yourself and take time to appreciate what you’ve achieved this year
Our jobs can be stressful, time consuming and hard work. The final tip is a plea to let your hair down, have a laugh and a joke with your colleagues and look back over the past 12 months and think about what you’ve achieved.
Taking the time to reflect, contemplate and consider what you’ve achieved individually and collectively is a great way to end the year on a high and prepare for the challenges ahead.
So, as we approach the holidays, don’t feel too guilty about resting and recuperating over the break and charge your batteries for 2013.
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