Fundraising Training Video Series: Nonprofit Donor Communications via Letter, Handwritten Note and Email

By Betsy Steward

Communication is necessary at each juncture of building the relationship with your donors. Good writing builds the donor’s trust and strengthens the relationship. Bad writing chips away at your credibility and weakens the relationship. Whether the writing occurs in an email, a note or letter, it needs to represent you and your organization in the best possible light.

Below are 3 brief instructional videos I put together to help you polish your written communications with your donors.  I hope watching all three videos will help you find your unique “writing voice” so that whatever you write, your donor will recognize YOU. Whether it’s snail mail or an email, every correspondence is an opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with your donors. 

Watch, learn, and then, start writing! And feel free to email me if you have any questions.

How to Write Thank You Notes to Major Donors (4 minutes)

Does it really make a difference to send a handwritten thank-you note to donors? Absolutely! Research shows that a handwritten thank-you note sent immediately after you receive a gift helps ensure a repeated — and often increased — gift. Watch this short video for tips on writing notes that will touch your donors.

How to Email Major Donors (8:49 minutes)

Summarize, clarify, confirm, and continue building relationships with major donors via email! Yep, email. I outline best practices and highlights common mistakes in email correspondence with major donors and potential major donors. 

How to Write Proposal Letters (12:43 minutes)

Why would you write a proposal letter to a donor? Mostly to follow up a meeting! Or maybe it’s the only way to reach this particular donor. What should your letter contain? Can you really solicit a gift via a letter? Watch this short video and learn the ins and outs of proposal letter writing. 

If you enjoyed these videos, imagine how successful you will be with a tailor-made training program for your organization. Contact me today to discuss how the Heller Group can support your work!

Betsy Steward is Senior Consultant at the Heller Fundraising Group. She advises clients on capital campaigns as well as major donor cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. betsy@hellerfundraisinggroup.com

Combating Hunger One Sandwich at a Time

One Sandwich at a Time is a nonprofit organization with a mission to combat hunger and homelessness through volunteerism, kindness, compassion, and our two hands! It is the simple action of making a sandwich that creates a ripple effect of change.

Erin Dinan is from Chicago and went to college at Auburn University and graduate school at Harvard University. She moved to NYC to pursue photography and one night, while going through a personal struggle, said a prayer for guidance, to make a change in this world that can help those in need.

Shortly after, while running through Grand Central Station to catch the last train, she shared her sandwich with a man who was hungry. This eventually led to One Sandwich at a Time!

Dinan lives in NYC and loves art, travel (have been to over 30 countries!), family/friends, and humanity. They are her greatest passions!

Watch the whole video show as it streamed on Facebook.

Learn more about One Sandwich at a Time here.

This interview is brought to you by Philanthropy in Phocus.

Goldstein to Present Nonprofit Legal Update

Cerini & Associates, LLP, a leader in providing accounting and auditing services to nonprofits, invites you to join their virtual annual Nonprofit Update conference. The major focus during this half-day training will be on what the “Next Normal” for the Nonprofit sector will be. Much has changed over the last year, so we have brought together experts in multiple fields to share their insights as we continue to pivot and adjust to the “Next Normal.”

On June 29, our Nonprofit Partner David Goldstein will be speaking at this seminar, presenting the Nonprofit Legal Update. He represents international, national, regional and local not-for-profit and religious entities across a wide variety of nonprofit sectors. He serves on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Business Law Section, and is the Chairperson of the Not-For-Profit Corporations Law Committee of the State Bar Association’s Business Law Section.

Attendees will be eligible for up to 4 hours of Accounting Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

To register: https://www.accelevents.com/e/NFPUpdate2021

https://www.accelevents.com/e/NFPUpdate2021

Using Philanthropy to Give Back To Veterans

Feelings of patriotism around national holidays can motivate people to do more to support veterans. Here are some suggestions for shaping your approach.

Craig Styles | Philanthropic Advisor | Morgan Stanley

One of the most common questions we receive from clients around national holidays that inspire patriotism is how to best help veterans. With more than 18 million veterans living in the U.S. today1, and countless nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of these brave men and women, I want to highlight a few different approaches.

To start, it is important to note that veterans make up a very large, diverse population, and there is an assortment of ways you can support them. In Philanthropy Management, we encourage clients to really hone in on what interests them the most to best leverage their resources for greater impact.

To help with narrowing the scope of your support, I have broken down the different issues that veterans’ organizations address into distinct categories, so that you can focus on areas you are most passionate about:

Health

Many veterans return home to find that their time in the service has taken a significant toll on their health. Facilities throughout the U.S. strive to help physically injured vets recover by giving them access to top-of-the-line prosthetics, providing comfortable combat-wound rehabilitation centers, and offering the opportunity to engage in adaptive athletics and mobility programs.

While it may be easier to see the physical effects of war, the unseen psychological effects weigh heavily on service men and women, and the invisible nature of these wounds requires a different approach. Mental health counseling can help pave the road to recovery, in addition to medical care, group therapy, and long-term support programs. 

Re-Integration

After spending extended time away from home in a considerably different environment, some veterans struggle to re-integrate into civilian life. Various organizations focus on easing that transition by providing family counseling, skills and technical training, and job readiness programs. For example, Team Rubicon is a disaster-response nonprofit that harnesses the experiences and natural leadership skills of veterans to help populations affected by catastrophes. Through this organization, vets build social connections, gain fulfillment from their continued service, and acquire skills that help advance their careers.

Additionally, a variety of organizations allocate funds to ensure that veterans in need of handicap accessibility receive necessary upgrades to their homes and workplaces to make the physical transition after service more manageable.

Family Support

If you feel connected to the veteran cause through a friend or family member’s service in the military, family-support organizations may be the best route for you to achieve your giving goals. From providing support to Gold Star Families after the loss of a loved one to presenting scholarship opportunities to the children of veterans, a wide array of organizations strive to serve the needs of the broader veteran family unit.

Animals

For all the animal lovers, many organizations that you may support serve both veterans and animals. For example, studies show that equine therapy helps veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Some evidence also supports how service dogs can have similarly positive effects on the psychological well-being of veterans. Meanwhile, we can’t forget about the combat dogs that served alongside our soldiers; rehabilitation programs exist with the mission of finding homes for these service animals, once they have completed their combat service.

The Power of Veteran Engagement

While we tend to think of giving back to veterans during certain holiday seasons, continuous support of these organizations throughout the year is vital to supporting their investment in long-term projects that will increase their future positive impact on the veteran population and communities at large. Once you identify which area(s) within veteran-giving most resonates with you, tools like GuideStar and Charity Navigator can help connect you with specific organizations that align with your giving goals.

Your philanthropic interaction with veteran groups can go further than just a donation. You may wish to volunteer and work directly with veterans, gaining a deeper understanding of the sacrifices they made. Volunteering also gives veterans the opportunity to share their stories and hardships. This can be inspiring to volunteers and fundamental to the veteran’s own healing process. By putting charitable giving in this greater context, it is clear how important it is to support organizations committed to the well-being of those who have served our nation.

1 United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/acs-43.html

Important Information:

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC is not implying an affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement with/of the third party or that any monitoring is being done by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) of any information contained within the website. Morgan Stanley is not responsible for the information contained on the third party website or the use of or inability to use such site. Nor do we guarantee their accuracy or completeness.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning, charitable giving, philanthropic planning and other legal matters.

The article is provided for informational purposes only. The information and data in the article has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley.

It is important to note that Morgan Stanley has conducted no review or diligence of the organizations which are the subject of the article. Further, the article should in no way be considered to be a solicitation or endorsement by the Morgan Stanley on behalf of organizations named or described. If you choose to support the subject organization, or any other organization that you separately identify, we recommend that you evaluate the organization or philanthropic endeavor, and make your own independent decision as to its legitimacy and merits.

1 United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/acs-43.html

Important Information:

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC is not implying an affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement with/of the third party or that any monitoring is being done by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) of any information contained within the website. Morgan Stanley is not responsible for the information contained on the third party website or the use of or inability to use such site. Nor do we guarantee their accuracy or completeness.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning, charitable giving, philanthropic planning and other legal matters.

The article is provided for informational purposes only. The information and data in the article has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley.

It is important to note that Morgan Stanley has conducted no review or diligence of the organizations which are the subject of the article. Further, the article should in no way be considered to be a solicitation or endorsement by the Morgan Stanley on behalf of organizations named or described. If you choose to support the subject organization, or any other organization that you separately identify, we recommend that you evaluate the organization or philanthropic endeavor, and make your own independent decision as to its legitimacy and merits.

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