You may want to check out the follow up to this piece regarding e-mail.
Candidates and campaigns spend a lot of time figuring out how to communicate with their supporters and solicit them for contributions. That is important as campaigns can’t run without funding, but we should not forget another equally important step- thanking your donors!
When individuals make a contribution to a campaign, they become invested in the outcome of the election. Candidates and campaigns should always thanks donors for making this investment.
At the most basic level, (and let me stress this is the bare minimum) a campaign should be sure that the donor gets a receipt or confirmation that their contribution was successfully processed. Leaving a donor without the knowledge that their contribution was properly received will work against your efforts to solicit a contribution from them in the future. Plus, it will create general confusion and distrust- don’t leave them hanging! (For contributions made via ActBlue, a receipt is automatically generated and emailed to the individual.)
The accepted campaign practice is to send a thank you note in addition to the receipt. This can be done via e-mail, postcard, or stationary but be sure to tell your donors what their contribution is going towards. What value does their contribution have? Will it help the campaign mail 50 swing voters or pay for training volunteers? Donors are more likely to give again in the future when you ask if they know their contribution is being put to good use. Including some ‘inside’ information about the campaign can make contributors feel more invested and included so consider that option as well.
Regardless of what a campaign or committee chooses to write, with ActBlue, you’ll have access to all of the donor data (in real time) in downloadable formats making it easy to prepare those thank yous. You can make use of mail-merge tools to integrate any of the fields in the download to customize your thank you responses. It’s like micro-targeting your conversation with your donors to make your follow up as personal as possible- increasing the likelihood that they will donate again!
But you can take all of this a step further. Last week I talked about Fundraising with Online Video. As a follow up to that, I’d like to present three great YouTube videos where candidates themselves thank their donors- a new concept in replying to donors. There is no confusion here that the candidate is indeed the one sending along their thanks as they appear in person to deliver the message. It’s practices like this which are shifting the concept of funding campaigns. We’re moving towards a more communal effort where candidates and their supporters are in it together and away from the one-way ATM fundraising machine which disassociates the act of giving from being a part of campaigns.
Watch the videos in the extended entry.
First is MN-Sen candidate Al Franken thanking the online community for their contributions to his campaign.
Looks like hanging maps of your district in the background is a common theme here as well! The third example is from today where Darcy Burner thanked the enormous $100,000 online effort as part of the Burn Bush campaign.