The Bridge Conference is always a highlight of the summer for the Impact team. We look forward to the chance to reconnect with and learn from smart friends and colleagues in the fundraising industry. This year’s virtual Bridge Conference was a little different than previous years, but we still had a lot of fun and learned a lot. And the best part is, we all can keep learning throughout the coming weeks. Book the Bridge site and enjoy more sessions during a coffee break.
Here are a few interesting takeaways from the Bridge sessions we attended:
Use personalization. In her session, Four Key Tools of Effective Fundraising for Today and the Future, Melissa Wyers from EveryAction talked about the growing importance of personalization in fundraising communications. Why is it so important? Because Baby Boomers are growing older and therefore, phasing out of their prime giving years and Gen X is phasing into their prime giving years. Since Gen X aren’t nearly as large of a group as Baby Boomers, nonprofits will need to raise the same amount of money from fewer people. Because commercial marketers are employing lots of personalization, Gen X donors are coming to expect the same personalization from nonprofits. Targeted data and tracking engagement will be key to building a donor centric journey in order to retain the next generations of donors.
Get creative with stewardship. In her session, How to Steward and Cultivate Major Donors in a Virtual World, Rachel Muir shared some great tools for jazzing up your donor stewardship. One tool that we really liked was the Felt app which allows you to create beautiful, personalized handwritten cards for your donors. The cost is about $4 to $6 per card.
Multi-channel integration is even more important than ever. We’ve experienced it with our own clients – when we talk to donors through multiple channels we receive higher response rates. In her session, Let History Be Your Guide: Fundraising Through Challenging Times, Allison Porter of Avalon reported that multi-channel performance is trending upwards for their clients during the Pandemic. At this time, many donors want to make donations quickly and are even more concerned about efficiency and effectiveness.
Talk with donors about their deepest convictions. Shout out to Tiffany Neill from Lautman, Maska, Neill. In her session, How To Authentically Tell Your Donors You Care – While Still Asking For A Gift, Tiffany urged us to remember that our donors are amazing people who deeply care about making an impact. She provided great advice about how to honor our relationships with our donors. We need to revisit and focus on the authentic reasons our donors are motivated to give to an organization. Think about conversations you’ve had with donors. What have they told you about why they give? These core reasons will continue to motivate them regardless of what’s going on in the economy and the world. By focusing on these deeper values, you can inspire your donors to continue to give during challenging times.
Thank you to all the Bridge organizers, volunteers and speakers who made this year’s virtual conference a great success. We hope we can all be together again in person next summer!