10 ways community foundations can deepen connections to donors + partners with personalized videos

Strength relationships with donors

Fun + creative ways to make your donors feel extra special

One of my favorite things about using Gratavid is how easy it is to celebrate and recognize your community foundation donors and partners in fresh and fun ways. Having a creative way to connect with your supporters is especially important now, as the pandemic has made it more difficult to get together in person.

When I first began to use Gratavid, I reflected on the research that all donors and community partners are looking for these three things when they connect with any organization:

  1. They want to be a part of something. Your videos can help them feel like they are part of your team!
  2. They want to be known and valued. Use Gratavid to show them they are so much more than a name in a database!
  3. They want to make a difference. Sharing stories of impact with your videos will mean the world to the folks who helped to make those stories possible.

Let’s take a look at how Gratavid can help meet each of these needs.

Your donors, volunteers + partners want to be part of something

Show them that they are a part of your team by sharing stories behind the scenes, introducing them to staff or board members and welcoming them into your community foundation family.

1. Bring supporters behind the scenes to be the first to know about staff changes

Share personal farewells from staff who are moving on or welcome new staff with a short video. 

2. Celebrate and welcome new members of your legacy society with a video from your CEO or board chair

Leaving a gift through your estate is typically one of the largest philanthropic gifts any of us will make. Honor this significant decision with a personalized thank you and welcome from your CEO or board chair. 

3. Welcome new donor advised fundholders with a video from the staff members with whom they will work at your community foundation

Seeing the faces of the team that will be supporting them will help them feel more connected and more likely to stay engaged. This video would also be a great time to mention the causes that matter most to this donor to remind them that you are here to help them make a difference. 

4. Thank first-time donors and introduce them to the team

Often the first gift that someone gives can be a bit of a test to see what it will be like to work with you. A personalized video to thank them and welcome them to your team is a fantastic way to connect people with your work. As a bonus, they get to see your faces and will feel more connected to your staff.

Your donors want to be known + valued

Let your donors and community partners know you are thinking of them by recognizing special anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones that let your donors know that you appreciate them and are thinking of them.

5. Celebrate a fund anniversary

You can mark milestone anniversaries with a quick video to thank donors for 5, 10,15 or 20 years of giving through their donor advised fund or scholarship fund. Think of this as a birthday greeting for their philanthropic fund and have fun with it. 

6. Wish community members a happy birthday with a personalized video

Work with your team to record birthday greetings for your donors or board members. The team at Community Foundation of North Central Washington put together a personal birthday greeting for a long-time donor and volunteer who was turning 60. They scheduled it to be delivered at 7am on her birthday and it turned out to be the first thing she watched that morning. Talk about making someone’s day!

Here is another wonderful example of a birthday greeting:

7. Share a personal thank you from your CEO or board chair

Share a personal thank you from a leadership role to recognize a significant gift or to express gratitude for significant grants the donor recently made to the community. Share a short script to make it easy for your CEO or board chair to record their video—and don’t forget to have them write “Thank you, (person’s name)” on a piece of paper or whiteboard, so the recipient will know the video was created just for them.

Your donors + community partners want to make a difference

Gratavid is ideal for sharing stories of impact in a memorable way. Finding stories that highlight how a donor’s gift is making a difference is one of the best ways to show your donors how critical their support is to the community. Tell stories about people—not problems. You can weave in the numbers and data but focus on the person or the people whose lives were changed. 

8. Share a meaningful impact story

We all want to hear more about how our support made a difference. I find that stories shared via video have a stronger emotional appeal than written stories. If you can include a short video—or even a photo that you can incorporate into your email—directly from the grantee, that is even better! 

Here is a story I shared this summer: 

9. Invite scholarship recipients to share gratitude with the donors who made their scholarship possible

Imagine how fun it would be for the donor to see the recipient walking across campus or recording their video in front of an iconic building at their school! Providing the scholarship recipient with a short script or a couple of talking points will make the process fast and easy for them. 

10. Celebrate the impact of a recent grant round or initiative

Invite grantees to share a story of impact from a recent grant they received. Using that story as your jumping-off point, you can also share the overall impact of the grant round with your supporters and thank them for helping to raise $X, resulting in grants to X organizations that are helping X people in our community. You may even want to write the numbers on a whiteboard and hold it up to really emphasize the success that they helped to make possible. 

One last tip: Remember to look directly into the camera on your computer or phone, and picture one of your wonderful supporters smiling right back at you! 

As you can see, there are so many different ways to deepen your connections with your donors and community partners through videos. We would love to hear more about how you and your team are spreading joy and gratitude through Gratavid!

Interested to learn how Gratavid can help you deepen your connection to donors and partners? Get a demo.

About the author

Rachel Myers is the founder and chief consultant at RM + Co where she uses her 20+ years of experience in nonprofit leadership and development to help organizations do more good work. Rachel served as an Executive Director for 12 years, and for the past 9 years she was the Philanthropic Services and Programs Director at Whatcom Community Foundation in Bellingham, Washington. 

She believes the best part of Gratavid is the joy that recipients feel when that little video pops up in their email. Who doesn’t love to share joy?

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