CFC Fundraising Secrets – Thank you to all volunteers – National Volunteer Week
April 10-16th, 2011 National Volunteer Week
Please make sure to thank all the volunteers that make your community a better place to live!
Wwhat are some of the critical ingredients to developing stronger and better relationships with your CFC supporters? I’m going to focus on some practical keys for generating awareness about your non-profit in the CFC community, including your anonymous donors. There are Seven Keys to CFC Success, but I’m highlighting two as a lead-in to the April CFC Secret:
• CFC Success Key #3: Use all 12 months of the year! It’s true that the solicitation period is only in the fall, but there are many actions and activities that you need to be doing during the rest of the year as well, including in April. One important element is to keep communicating about the CFC, in part to combat misinformation about it. Following the “Law of the Harvest,” planting some seeds of success now, in the spring, will help you reap more in the fall.
• CFC Success Key #7: “Say Thank You Early and Often!” This is probably the most important key, yet it is frequently the most violated by many non-profits.
The April CFC “Secret”
Every year, National Volunteer Week is celebrated during the third week of April. This is a huge event, with a Presidential proclamation and a lot of media attention. It is one of the signature events of the Points of Light Institute, and has been a nationally recognized week since 1974. Since as non-profits you don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising and marketing, it’s critical to leverage onto events that have significant and widespread coverage, and provide an easy “hook” for traditional media to base a story on.
As part of National Volunteer Week, many non-profits have recognition events, days of service, open houses, and, at minimum, news releases thanking all their supporters and volunteers for helping the non-profit work on achieving its mission during the past year.
This is where you get to combine CFC Success Keys #3 and #7, and add a few “Thank yous” to both your known and unknown CFC supporters. Whatever your non-profit is doing to celebrate National Volunteer Week, make sure that you include a paragraph or two in written materials, or a sentence or two at live events that thanks both your known CFC donors and supporters, and your anonymous CFC supporters, including the CFC workplace giving volunteers. As I already said, if they are CFC donors to your non-profit, they will see the story that gets picked up in a local paper, or may be in attendance at “Volunteer Recognition” event. Saying “Thank You” in the non-profit world is analogous to advertising in the business world, it doesn’t have to wait for a transaction to be meaningful and appreciated. The CFC workplace giving volunteers on the other hand, may not know anything about your specific non-profit, but since they helped raise money for the CFC charities, they deserve a “Thank You” from your non-profit. I call this “planting seeds of awareness,” some will bear fruit, some won’t, but regardless, the CFC volunteers deserve a thank you.
In addition to press releases and speaking opportunities, don’t forget that you have much more control over internal information, including your website, annual reports, newsletters, podcasts, etc. Do you thank your workplace giving donors and volunteers on your website and in your publications?
If no, why not?