Archive | February, 2016

Gain Conversions, Write a “Thank-You” Letter!

23 Feb

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. In fundraising, expressing gratitude is the key to building relationships with supporters for the long-haul. There are many methods that fundraiser’s can use say “Thank You”. But there’s nothing quite like a personal letter to show supporters how important their thoughts and gifts are to meeting your fundraising goals.

In fact, studies by Cygnus Applied Research, Inc. found the likelihood of receiving a second donation increased by 39% after a “Thank You” was received within 24 hours of the gift[1]. Convert your gifts into long term supporters using our guide to build an effective 3-section “Thank You” letter.

  1. Opening Section: Focus on Cause, Action, and Impact

The opening section of your “Thank You” letter should focus on how the gift has impacted your fundraising goals. It should address your cause, the actions of your fundraiser to meet its cause, and how their donation has helped move your fundraiser further. For example:

“Dear Sarah,

Thanks to your support, Midtown High School’s football team has new helmets and cleats to charge the field for a 9 and 10 season! The Bulldog’s will be competing in their State Championship game this Winter and would love it if you joined us.”

Illustrating the cause, action, impact will help communicate the most important information first to set-up the rest of the letter.

  1. Middle Sections: Tell Your Story

Use the middle sections to build up the important points of your opening section through a story. The purpose of this section is to make supporters feel like they are part of the action. The more vivid the story, the more invested supporters will feel in helping the cause.

Offer details in how your fundraiser took steps to accomplishing its goals. Use these questions to organize your thoughts:

  • What challenges has your fundraiser overcome?
  • Who is on the team and how did they grow from the fundraiser?
  • Are there milestones or visual markers that show progress?
  1. Conclusion: Detail New Horizons

The ending sections of your “Thank You” letter should discuss upcoming challenges, milestones, and phases of action. Use the momentum built within the middle sections to inspire your supporters for further action and describe how they can participate.

Invite Supporters to Follow-up

The postscript portion of a letter is the second most important part of your letter after the header. Most people who receive a letter will read the first few lines and the bottom-most information first, accessing whether or not to continue reading. If you have social media handles, video links, and contact information, be sure to include it at the bottom to remind readers to follow-up on your fundraiser.

Don’t forget to attach a reply envelope! According to Andrew Olsen, author of Rainmaking, “Nonprofits that include reply envelopes in their thank you letters have 2nd gift conversion rates that are anywhere from 8%-12% higher than those organizations that don’t include them”[2]. Follow these steps and you’ll convert single-gifts into fully invested supporters for the life of your fundraiser.

We at Popcorn Palace are excited to Create Joy with your new fundraising initiative! We’ve changed the design of our brochures to help your fundraiser meet its goals by speaking to your cause. For more information about Create Joy and how it will help your fundraising efforts, fill out the contact form below and one of our fundraising experts will contact you soon!


[1] Gail P. “How to Increase Donations by 39%”. Guide Star. https://www.guidestar.org/Articles.aspx?path=/rxa/news/articles/2010/how-to-increase-donations-by-39-percent.aspx

[2] Andrew O. “Should you include a reply envelope in your thank you letters?”. AndrewOlsen.net. http://www.andrewolsen.net/should-you-include-a-reply-envelope-in-your-thank-you-letters/

“Thank You” Goes a Long Way

16 Feb

Nothing makes supporters feel better than being thanked for their contribution. It’s a major step in strengthening the relationship that you’ve made and it can help keep your support rates high. It provides a personal touch to your fundraising campaign and allows them to have an emotional connection to your cause – furthering the success of your campaign.

The Power of “Thank You”

Inspiring supporters to gift again is much easier than gifting for the first time because they have already invested into your cause. According to research by Bloomerang, after their first contribution, 13% of supporters never gift again because they were never thanked[1].

The power behind expressing “thank you” comes from giving supporters the opportunity to see how their contribution impacted your cause. It allows them to celebrate in the progress of your fundraiser and builds excitement for more success in the future. Although a simple “thank you” can be highly impactful. The way you say “thank you” can make all the difference in how appreciated they’ll feel.

The Different Ways of Expressing Thanks

There are plenty of ways to express thanks and each have their own distinct advantages. Here are 3 popular methods that you can use to express thanks:

Emails

The two main advantages of sending a “thank you” email is its cost effectiveness and the ability to spread a message quickly. You can also link your social media accounts to the email, allowing supporters to follow your fundraiser. However, email is the least personal platform and many emails go unread, limiting its impact.

“Thank You” Letter

Sending a “thank you” letter allows your fundraiser to be personal and memorable. It also allows you to be creative in the materials and format, such as bright colored paper and expressive hand-writing. However, creating a personal “thank you” letter is highly time consuming, and it requires postage, envelopes and materials.

Web Video

Creating a web video can be both personable and easy to distribute. It is the most time consuming out of all 3 methods, but it is also the method with the most opportunities. Creating a web video that visually illustrates the progress of your fundraiser is the most impactful way of expressing appreciation.

For example, if you’re fundraising for new football uniforms, sharing a highlight reel with a “thank you” message by the team captain is a powerful way to show that their contribution helped make a difference.

Whatever method you choose to express thanks, the most important thing is to make it personal. It should clearly illustrate how their contribution has impacted your fundraiser and the progress that the fundraiser has made. This will allow supporters to feel ownership over their investment, inspiring them to maintain the relationship and make further contributions overtime.

We’ve started a new initiative at Popcorn Palace called Create Joy! We’ve made exciting new changes to our brochures that will help your fundraiser share its cause and meet its contribution goals. Free Shipping on Orders over $499! To learn more about how our Create Joy initiative will help you reach your fundraising goals, fill out the form below and a fundraising expert will contact you soon!

[1] Jay L. “Why Donors Stop Giving”. Bloomerang. http://fundraisingcoach.com/2013/04/15/guest-post-why-donors-stop-giving/

The Essential Fundraising Checklist

16 Feb

Part of having a successful fundraiser is creating a plan. Fundraisers have many details, stages, and moving parts that must be accounted for to run smoothly. We recommend making a checklist all the essential components of your fundraiser to ensure that you’re prepared to succeed.

To help you start, we’ve created a checklist template that will guide you through the planning stages of your fundraiser:

Purpose and Fundraising Goal: A good fundraiser has clear goals. Make sure you have an understanding for what it that you want to do.

“The purpose of the fundraiser is to…”

“My fundraising goal is to raise $_____ by _____ for _____.”

Is this your first time fundraising with Popcorn Palace? If yes, you can always contact Popcorn Palace for more product information and ideas on how to make this fundraiser your best fundraiser.

My Fundraising Budget: Consider the startup costs of your fundraiser. You’ll need a reliable budget to reach your fundraising goals.

I have itemized and totaled my projected startup expenses for:

  • Promotional Items (posters, flyers, brochures)
  • Equipment (tables, inventory sheets, signage)
  • Organizational Costs (local registration fees, school organization registration fees)
  • “My other costs are ___, ___, ___, and ___.”

“I have added all of my projected startup expenses and will need $___ to start fundraising.”

Remember, you can start fundraising today by selling Gourmet Popcorn with Popcorn Palace at no startup costs!

Organizing My Team: Fundraising is always more fun when you do it with friends. If you’re starting a team, decide who has what responsibilities and when the team will hold meetings.

“We will have team meetings every ____ at _____ and discuss _____.”

Within my team, I have:

  • Team Leader
  • Treasurer
  • Promotion Team
  • Logistics Team
  • “My other team roles are ___, ___, ___, and ___.”

A Plan for Operations: Be sure to have a plan for where your equipment, promotional and fundraising materials will be held. If you’re working with a team, consider asking them if they can help with transportation, setting up, and packing after each fundraising day.

  • Equipment will be stored at ___.
  • Promotional materials will be stored at ___.
  • Fundraising materials will be stored at ___.
  • “Our other materials like ___, ___, ___, are being stored at ___.”

A Plan for Promotions: For people to make a contribution, they’ll need to know about purpose of your fundraiser and how the it will help make a difference. This is where you can get creative on ways to promote your fundraiser.

To promote my fundraiser and its cause, I have:

  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Social Media Accounts
  • “We will also promote using ___, ___, ___, and ___.”

If you are promoting at a school, church, or on private property, do you have permission to place promotional materials there?

  • I have permission.

All of the stages listed are the essential steps needed for a successful fundraiser. Use our template as a guide to help you plan your goals, budget, team, operations and promotions. If you feel that your fundraiser may need more development in any of these areas, consider a more detailed plan to make sure that everything you need is accounted for.

At Popcorn Palace, we provide fundraisers with an enormous selection of all-natural Gourmet Popcorn flavors, from tasty Cheddarific to sweet Cookies & Dream. For more information on how Popcorn Palace can help you reach your fundraising goals, fill out our form below and a fundraising specialist will contact you soon! Or visit our popcorn fundraising page for more fundraising information.

Our Best Fundraising Advice

10 Feb

It’s easy to raise the funds you need for your school or organization’s campaign with the help of Popcorn Palace’s delicious gourmet treats – but a little extra planning can go a long way!

We’ve gathered our best step-by-step fundraising advice, to set you on the right track towards meeting your goals.

  1. Get the word out! Communication is key – so make sure you spread the word about your fundraising goals, and communicate your plans to key players as early on in the process as possible. If your campaign requires special planning or approval, you’ll want to address this with your organization or school administration early on, so you don’t run into any snags, later.

    Ask the person in charge of your organization’s community outreach for fundraising advice – and ask them to make an announcement, or put out a call to action. Their assistance can help you gain interest, gather volunteers, and rally community involvement.

  2. Form a team. Ask parents, teachers, and other members of your community to get involved. Once you’ve gathered a team of dedicated supporters, get together to review the helpful info provided by Popcorn Palace’s Fundraising Team. Go over your campaign goals, and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
  3. Create a cheat sheet. Prepare a list of questions which might arise, and give your volunteers suggestions for helpful responses. Make a cheat sheet which describes your sales prices, dates, and other important details, in case your fundraising team needs a little reminder. This will help you avoid any confusion, in future – and help you save time.
  4. Practice your pitch. While it’s true that our gourmet popcorn is so good it sells itself, it’s important to empower your team with a great sales speech. Prepare them to educate others and improve their outreach, by rehearsing a few lines about your cause. They’ll feel more comfortable interacting with others – and your fundraiser will gain more support.
  5. Outline your schedule. You’ll want to make some decisions about when things will happen, in order to keep your campaign running smoothly. Some important milestones to consider include:
  • Collection Dates. Set a clear, defined period of time in which you’ll collect orders – and make sure your volunteers know exactly when your campaign will end. Campaigns which last less than two weeks are ideal – but give yourself a few days of grace time to collect and receive orders from every member of your campaign team.
  • Order Delivery. It’s important to know when your Popcorn Palace Gourmet Popcorn will arrive. Schedule some time to unpack your order for distribution, and you’ll help ensure a smooth experience. All items are pre-sorted by participant.
  • Customer Delivery. Let customers know up front when you expect to deliver their order – you’ll not only avoid confusion, you’ll save time responding to inquiries, down the road.

Remember, stay organized – and stick to your plan! You’ll avoid confusion, create a great fundraising experience for your volunteers, participants, and supporters – and ensure the success of your Popcorn Palace fundraiser.

For more information on how we can help your school or organization launch a successful campaign, and reach your fundraising goals – contact Popcorn Palace today, for expert fundraising advice.

Let’s get popping!

 

Fresh Goals for Fundraising in the New Year

3 Feb

The holiday season is a great time to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year – and to begin considering your fundraising goals for the year ahead.

At Popcorn Palace, we want to support your organization’s efforts, and help you meet your fundraising goals – which is why we’ve composed this list of our best fundraising strategies!

  • Set SMART goals. In this article on Classy Blog, Allison Gauss discusses a fundraising strategy based around the “SMART” acronym – Specific, Measurable, Ambitious/Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Consider your previous successes and failures, and ask yourself how you can carry those lessons into your current efforts – then outline some basic goals which align with the SMART strategy. By making sure that each goal you set for fundraising meets these requirements, you’ll help set your organization up for success!
  • Examine the gap. Don’t focus simply on beating your fundraising numbers from last year – examine the gap between your previous numbers, and this year’s budget. Then, take a hard look at your identified donors list – do your expected donations cover that gap? If the answer is no, it’s time to consider launching a new fundraising campaign or activity to help you gain fresh support, reach and engage new donors, and raise funds to close the gap.
  • Get personal. According to statistics, 80% of non-profit donations come from individuals – which means it’s time to get personal! Make a list of your organization’s top donors, and reach out to each of them individually. Take the time to develop relationships with these individuals throughout the year – not just when the “giving season” begins! Thank them for their support throughout the year, and remind them how important their contributions are to your organization.
  • Consider planned donations. Creation of a monthly giving program or other scheduled donation plan can be a great addition to your organization’s fundraising goals. Start by asking previous donors to commit to a small planned donation, and see if you can build a network of regular supporters. You may find that such a program helps your organization build a great baseline for fundraising projections, and gain clarity regarding the year’s expected donations.
  • Boost your social media presence. The best way to reach new donors, these days, is to meet them where they are at – online. Join a few networking groups, online meet-ups, or forums dedicated to the causes your organization supports, and start a dialogue regarding your efforts. Social media can be an excellent avenue for creating connection with others who are interested in your cause – and a wider network of supporters will help you more easily meet your fundraising goals.
  • Try something new. Plan a new event, fundraising activity, or campaign – something fresh, fun, and interesting, which adds value to your audience. Not sure where to start? Visit the Popcorn Palace blog, for some inspiration – or contact our fundraising team today! We’re happy to provide the guidance you need to meet your goals, and we would love to help create joy with a new fundraising initiative.

Congratulations on another successful fundraising season! We wish you and your organization the best this coming year, and always. Feel free to contact us below for more fundraising information or visit our fundraising page.