One of the most important steps in fundraising comes after a donor makes a gift: a thank you is the pivotal step from a transaction to a relationship between an individual and an organization. Knowing how critical a thank you can be, UWATX wanted to find a new way to thank donors during the holiday season.
Research shows donors want to be thanked before they are ready to engage with an organization further. This is a challenge for UWATX, where much of our relationship with donors is filtered or restricted by our company partners. We wanted to find an innovative way to thank donors that would break through the clutter and be memorable.
Thank donors individually via social media by posting their photo and tagging the donor or mentioning them. Run this during the busy holiday season to break through the clutter and build on the spirit of the season.
- There is a trend of day-specific hashtags: From #ThrowbackThursday to #Caturday, hashtags that play with a day of the week are trendy. We could play off this trendiness to create a simple yet cohesive campaign and gain momentum.
- People share posts they have a personal connection to: While likes are a form of validation, shares or retweets come from finding a piece of content valuable for your own audience, finding a personal connection that you want to spread across your network. While building these types of connections to our work is an on-going effort, donors have strong networks built on personal connections. By tapping into those networks, we could spread our message further.
- Social recognition magnifies the impact of a thank you: It is more powerful to thank someone in a public setting where others can see that recognition because the reaction of the crowd can magnify and build on the positive feelings, taking it from a simple thank you to a ground swelling of appreciation.
- The holidays are a time for being thankful: The holiday season is the most important time of year for nonprofit fundraising, so prospects are often bombarded with asks, alongside a barrage of holiday promotions from retail outlets. At the same time, this season (November through December) is a time when family, community and being thankful are on the minds of donors. We wanted to play off this latter seasonality to break through the clutter.
#ThankYouThursday posts had an immediate impact – fundraisers started receiving emails thanking them for the recognition from the first post. More than that, because the cadence of the posts was so regular (every Thursday), internal staff began requesting donors to thank. In all, #ThankYouThursday posts gained from two to 10 times as many engagements (likes, comments & shares) on Facebook as other posts during the same time.
We saw less engagement on Twitter and learned that our audience of donors preferred Facebook as their primary social network. We also learned what factors predicted how far a post would go: (1) if a fundraiser was friends with a donor on Facebook and could tag them, (2) the size of a donor’s social network and personal engagement on Facebook.
Technology: Facebook, Twitter, Illustrator, Photoshop