For this week’s instalment of What’s In My Mailbox, I’m shining the spotlight on The College of Dentistry at The University of Saskatchewan — namely, their 2016 impact report, aptly titled “The Joy of Giving Impact Report 2016. My interest, as well as the interest of the attendees during this past Motivate Monday, was piqued when Stacey Schewaga, Leadership Giving & Donor Relations Officer, shared her win. Everyone asked to see the impact report. Stacey, a Basics & More alum, explained:

“Sent out my first impact report and included note cards for donors to send words of encouragement for the students to be given at exam time.  I sent out 211 reports and to date have received  33 note cards back and $10,550 in donations.  I have plans to contact some of those who received the report to get feedback and encourage them to send back their note cards.”

To provide a plan to encourage consistent donor communication, the tried-and-true Simple Development Systems model recommends a minimum of 12 touch-points throughout the year. This keeps donors informed of the impact of their gifts and can arrive in the form of newsletters, thank you letters, gratitude reports, personal calls and emails – and impact reports.

When you get on a schedule of regular touch-points and each one is well-executed, good things happen, and trust me on this: your fundraising will totally flow…without an ask! You’ll be at the front of your supporters’ minds, and they’ll give not only readily, but generously.

The impact report Stacey sent my way is undeniably amazing for a number of reasons. For one thing, it illuminates the identities behind the organisation, from the Dean, to Stacey, to current and past students, presenting a picture that goes far beyond that of a degree-granting institution. It’s warm, welcoming, and inviting, and it presents a true picture of what donors are continuing to make possible, as well as how they’re making it happen, and in what specific areas. The gratitude is abundant and overflowing, not to mention genuine, and that is bound to inspire continued support. This impact report is everything an impact report should be, so definitely take a good look, and while you’re at it, take some time to think about how your organisation can work an impact report into your 12 touch-point system.



What’s in my Inbox | How one arts organization takes the Trump Administration head-on

March 21, 2017

During these trying times, we really have to look to ourselves when it comes to creating positive change in the world. I’ve heard the words “be the change” so often these days, they’ve practically become a mantra, whether uttered from lips or contained within emails or blog posts or somewhere within the realm of Facebook. […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017

What’s it like to survive a mass shooting? This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling with a brilliant campaign. Brittany’s Hope is back and they’re showing how to steward those wonderful donors who make a commitment to sponsor a child. This week’s What’s in my Mailbox. IMPORTANT: Our friends over at The Agitator have launched TrueNCOA […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Stewarding your sponsorship donors

March 15, 2017

My fundraising career began in early 2000, and during that time, I became a $35-a-month sponsor via an international children’s organization. Within a week, I received a lovely welcome package featuring my child’s photo and story. I posted the picture of my child on the refrigerator. Every month, my $35 payment was deducted. And then…I’d […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | “I survived a mass shooting. Now, I’m fighting back.”

March 13, 2017

In this instalment of Power of Storytelling, I don’t only want you to notice the story (which in itself you simply can’t not notice), but how Everytown for Gun Safety deftly repurposed it for a second email communication. The story, or should I say, Steve Frappier’s story, aside from being the type of story you […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017

Politiken brings particularly harrowing stories to life using and an ingenious tactic I’ve never seen before. Check out this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling…and be sure to click on the pictures. Students of our Planned Giving | Basics & More class know that we recommend sending out a targeted bequest mailing every year. St. Jude’s […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | St. Jude’s Legacy mailing stands out from the rest

March 8, 2017

In a sea of derivative direct mail, the most recent package from St. Jude’s to land in my mailbox is an absolute standout. Especially because it tackles an area that so many nonprofits struggle with: legacy giving. How do you talk to people in an honest yet compassionate way about lending their support to your […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Beyond the black: Politiken brings child refugee stories to the forefront

March 6, 2017

Politiken is a leading Danish newspaper that, like many publications, has carved out its own space online. Here, stories are released across a new medium, providing the opportunity for the content to gain global readership. On the internet, Politiken’s pieces have the potential to reach places that they normally wouldn’t. On Facebook, I recently came […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017

There have been times when we’ve all wanted to belong. Maybe it was during childhood. Maybe it was last week, or maybe it was just this morning. But this idea of “wanting to belong,” in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling, truly takes flight and expands far beyond the story itself. Do yourself a favor […]

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Google Display Network Plus Direct Mail Equals Better Response Rate

March 1, 2017

According to Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report, although online donations grew 9.2% year over year, more than 90% of fundraising still comes from traditional sources like direct mail. Direct mail is still unparalleled in its ability to accurately target prospects and existing donors. However, if your target audience doesn’t respond right away, they often forget […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Sometimes, it just takes one person to help the world shine brighter

February 27, 2017

I came across this video just last week, which had actually been released this past summer. The title is “Wheels,” and it clocks in at one minute exactly. Not only that, but it tells a beautiful story. I’d normally think of being confined to such a short stretch of time as restrictive, but when the […]

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Fundraising Friday | February 24, 2017

February 24, 2017

“I’d give anything to get my hands on her again.” This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling has a surprise ending. Are you publishing the same ole same ole annual report every year (yawn)? Take a cue from Agents of Good and garner kudos for your Gratitude Report! This week’s What’s in my Mailbox. In Who […]

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The Number One Habit of Successful Fundraisers

February 23, 2017

Happy Birthday Boobaloo Princess! Today is my daughter Abigail’s birthday. Her grandfather called her Boobaloo. My grandmother referred to her as Snickerfritz. And her dad calls her Abs-a-Dabs-a-Doo. But whatever the moniker, she is a gem. At age 18, Abbey enrolled in the US Marine Corps (triggering every mother’s deepest, darkest fears). But my loyal […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | “Annual Report”…or “Gratitude Report?”

February 22, 2017

A little back story… Back in 2006, I was working as a dedicated grant writer for a wonderful organization serving women and children. Like so many of us in nonprofit work, who sometimes wear many hats, I was often called off-task. And one of those tasks was to write and design our annual report. That […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | “I’d give anything to get my hands on her again.”

February 20, 2017

Because we are such visual creatures, stories through video can be ultra compelling for us. Video is a medium that, when it comes to nonprofit storytelling, is rarely utilized, even though it has its own unique advantages. Especially for narratives that are careful, nuanced, and purpose-driven. Obviously, for the video narrative to work, it needs […]

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Find Your Nonprofit Mentor and Make a Bigger Impact

February 14, 2017

The value of being mentored seems pretty obvious: new skills, confidence, friendship, etc. And in fact, the research shows that people who are mentored get more job promotions and earn more than people who aren’t. But mentoring is also great for mentors: networking opportunities, leadership development, and a stronger sense of community. Jesse Bethke Gomez […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | A low-calorie Valentine’s Day can be the best kind when the cause is right

February 13, 2017

What is Valentine’s Day, February 14th, all about, really? Is it a day to express love in a meaningful way? Is it a time to lament being single? Is it a time for all of the chocolate companies to put their brains together and plan 24-hour world domination? What have I said, time and time […]

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Fundraising Friday | February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017

What are the five biggest nonprofit storytelling mistakes you need to avoid at all costs? Guest post from John Haydon. How are you celebrating the donors who make your work possible? 12 Ways to #LoveYourDonor on Valentine’s Day (and throughout the year) What do your foundation grant thank you letters look like? Reader Tim Delaney […]

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10 Sad Facts from a Monthly Donor Retention Check-up

February 9, 2017

Be forewarned, this is a sad story… but it can have a good ending! As you know from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, based upon 2015 data, the typical donor retention rates were 46%, which is why monthly donors are so important as monthly donor retention rates are much higher. The good news is that more […]

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What’s In My Mailbox: “We brought a foundation back from the dead!”

February 8, 2017

2017 has already been a spectacular year for The Portland Children’s Museum in Portland, Oregon. Timothy Delaney, the museum’s Grants Manager, recently reached out to me to explain why, attaching a response letter that PCM’s Executive Director, Ruth Shelly, had written. Tim explained, “I think it’s a good example of “moving beyond the rote” when […]

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