As your mother said, saying “thank you” is really important. For nonprofit organizations, it’s essential. In fact, if you don’t express gratitude quickly and well, your donors are likely to give somewhere else.
As federal and state officials faced criticism about response time in the days following Hurricane Katrina, donations streamed into nonprofits, and individuals fundraised for relief efforts in record amounts at an unprecedented pace.
Maj. George Hood, secretary of community relations and development for the Salvation Army, says that organization processed $28 million in 10 days over the Internet alone.
The pumps are working again, belching putrid water out of New Orleans and back into Lake Ponchatrain. There was even a parade on Bourbon Street. But at this writing, America was still falling asleep to nightly images of bloated corpses, starving animals, armed patrols floating on boats through rivers that once were the streets of this country’s most joyous and charmingly decadent town, and the weary, misguided people who wouldn’t leave it.
Generation Y is one of the first population segments that knows the true meaning of instant gratification, according to Kelly Mahoney, president of marketing agency Newport Creative Communications. A three-week fulfillment window as a standard response is not going to help you cultivate a long-term relationship, she explains. Here, Mahoney discusses what Generation Y’ers mean for fundraising.
The Salvation Army rolled out its Online Red Kettle program nationwide this past holiday season, after testing the concept in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington, D.C., in 2002. The way it worked: Volunteers who signed up to be “virtual bell ringers” had their own Web pages from which they could send e-mail messages to family and friends, asking for contributions. The pilot produced $60,000 in online donations during the months of November and December, but when the program was given a national stage a year later, total donations reached only $45,000.