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Holiday Fundraising Special: Using Technology to Change the Way We Thank Our Donors

It’s the holidays, and that means nonprofits everywhere will be thanking their donors. Since we all understand that expressing gratitude is essential for connecting and building relationships with donors, saying "thank you" is paramount. Traditionally, we send blast emails or write hand-written notes. However, blast emails rarely get opened, and hand-written thank you letters take time and resources. Let’s change that.

Thank You Cards with Videos: ThankView.com

Holiday Fundraising Special: Using Technology to Change the Way We Thank Our DonorsIn an attempt to sum up this platform in one sentence, ThankView is Paperless Post or Constant Contact with the capability to send videos and customizable messages. JD Beebe started ThankView with the idea to merge the paperless “e-card” post with a video component to further personalize messages. What started as a straightforward consumer product was then modified to meet the needs of nonprofits and universities. The process itself is as simple as choosing a theme to act as the opening and closing of your message, uploading your guest list, recording your messages (general or personalized), and sending your videos. These e-cards can serve as invites to an event, acknowledgement of a donation, or simply updates from your organization.

For many nonprofits, there’s a struggle to bring the programs to the donor. ThankView provides a solution. Videotaping the benefits of your programs shows the true impact of the donor’s investment.

Oh, and did we mention—messages sent through ThankView have an 80 percent open rate. That's 60 percent better than the average open rate of blast emails.

Features like view receipts are included to let you know which recipients have watched your message, taking the guesswork out of mailing. You can see your results and metrics in real time and evaluate the effectiveness of your outreach strategy. The interface is as straightforward as possible, but focused on the user experience and design. The bouncy animation of opening a message is an example of the little whimsical elements that the make the message feel more fun and impactful. ThankView’s pricing starts at $1,200, per year with a 50 percent discount for nonprofits with annual operating budgets under $1 million.

Contact: keith@thankview.com

Hand-Written Notes Automated: Bond.co

Holiday Fundraising Special: Using Technology to Change the Way We Thank Our DonorsBond, another company that provides a personalized way to communicate with donors, was created in 2013 by Sonny Caberwal. The company helps organizations make the process of sending large amounts of “handwritten” personalized notes less of a headache. Within the market, Bond is at the intersection of traditional and technological.

Bond is able to mass-produce thank you notes using a machine with a robotic arm, capable of writing with a pen, paintbrush, or marker. The robotic arm, able to assume dozens of different handwriting fonts, writes your message. The paper is moved using static electricity to eliminate the possibility of wrinkles. The note is then sealed with wax, stamped, and mailed off. Pricing is $5 per note, including postage and handling.

The service minimizes the administrative workload. Each nonprofit is assigned an account manager who will guide you through the steps of setting up your account and uploading your custom stationery, your handwritten signature, and your client address list. In addition to their card services, Bond provides address verification and data normalization (cleaning up your data). If there are missing addresses in your data set, Bond will reach out to you to fix the issue.

Save hours of time writing hand written notes with Bond.

Contact: Visit Bond.co

What This Means

We all want and need to thank donors. These two options give us the ability to do it faster and more effectively. Companies like ThankView and Bond make sharing stories more personal and accessible while allowing small nonprofit teams to connect with their partners and donors on a tight budget and time frame. Individual thank you cards provide a personalized medium to retain and engage donors. No one wants to give money to a faceless void. If you care about a cause, you want to feel a relationship with the people you’re helping directly. These two platforms simplify the process.

From all of us at Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI), we hope these recommendations make everyone’s holidays a little more fun and fruitful!

The preceding is a guest post by CJ Orr and Quincy White of Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI). Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI) is a dynamic consulting firm to the nonprofit industry that takes a change-management and entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy. We pride ourselves on building custom and unique solutions for nonprofit fundraising needs. Our mission is to help our nonprofit partners raise funds to make a greater impact on the lives of us all. We are grateful and humbled to be a part of an industry that makes the world a better place.

Topics: Donor Relations