This past summer the Society of Singers, a nonprofit that provides financial support to professional singers dealing with career-threatening illnesses or other emergencies, found itself face to face with numerous challenges. In addition to having to adjust its budget and relocate to a staff member's home, its CEO/president retired, and the organization's new leadership was confronted with the challenge of raising $110,000 in a very short amount of time.
Society of Singers immediately set to work reaching out to its supporters. The organization sent out numerous e-mails and campaign letters—including a link to its profile on GreatNonprofits, where it has 55 glowing reviews—asking supporters to donate money:
"After 26 years of service to the Singers' Community, we have helped over 3,000 singers with nearly $3 million. We can assure you that the need for SOS is still there as the stream of endless calls for assistance continues. Don't just take our word for it, read testimonials from singers helped at http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/reviews/society-of-singers."
Sure enough, donations started coming in. Over the summer, the Society of Singers was able to raise $45,000 and, more importantly, is still around to serve the singers' community.
If your organization is facing similar challenges, as we know many nonprofits are, it's our hope that reviews can help freshen up your fundraising and give you powerful stories that are compelling to donors.
What Reviews Can Do for You
In a survey of nearly 150 of GreatNonprofits' top-rated nonprofits this summer, organizations like yours listed the following benefits of collecting stakeholder reviews on GreatNonprofits:
- Fundraising: including reviews in fundraising materials has helped raise money and find new donors
- Volunteers: incorporating reviews into marketing and outreach materials has helped recruit new volunteers
- Programs: stakeholder feedback has helped shape programmatic changes
- Staff morale: many organizations reported a boost in staff morale as a result of receiving positive reviews from its stakeholders
How You Can Use Reviews This Holiday Giving Season
Fundraising is probably on your mind, so this season, why not let your stakeholders' words do the talking? Donors are having to make tough decisions about where to give in this tough economy, and they are looking for powerful stories of your impact. Maybe a client's life was changed by your organization's services, a volunteer's eyes were opened to a new cause, or a board member found a real sense of purpose serving on your organization's board. These are the reasons your organization is donation-worthy, so share them with your potential donors!
Here are just a few ideas for using your reviews:
- Highlight reviews via social media. A snippet on your Facebook page, for example, might be what draws a new donor to your organization's website.
- Incorporate reviews directly into fundraising appeals. After all, prospective donors want to know why they should donate to you, and who better to vouch for you than people who have been directly involved withyour organization?
- If you don't have any reviews on GreatNonprofits yet, need we say it? Start asking your supporters to review your organization! Emphasize that even if they don't have funds to donate during the holidays, they are helping you out by sharing their story of your organization. Giving comes in many forms.
Xenia Shih, GreatNonprofits
© 2010, GreatNonprofits
Xenia Shih is a marketing manager for GreatNonprofits, a Web site where people who have firsthand knowledge of a nonprofit—board members, volunteers, donors, recipients of services—can tell others about their experiences with the organization.