Playbook for personalized video messaging

Personalized video messages for fundraising stewardship

Your guide to creating a streamlined personalized video strategy to engage + retain donors, alumni, volunteers and community members

So much of what makes us human has been stripped out of digital communication. In a time of robocalls, texting, mass emails and remote work, it’s critical to the success of an organization’s donor and alumni relations programs to spark a human connection with its prospects. In personal life and in business, people are your most precious asset. They shouldn’t be talked to like a line item on a spreadsheet. 

Read on to learn how to create and maintain a personalized video strategy for your digital fundraising program.

Get the full playbook

Playbook for personalized video messaging

Step 1: Create a plan

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that your constituents are human. They are surrounded by digital communication 24/7 on their phones, work computers and even on their daily commute (if they don’t work remotely). It’s crucial to break through the digital clutter they are inundated with daily through personalized video. With Gratavid from Gravyty, personalized video is easy. Show off what makes your organization unique with staff or volunteer testimonials, send introductory messages, or add a personal touch to your digital engagement and fundraising initiatives.

When developing your personalized video strategy for fundraising, it’s important to consider these best practices:

Make it personal

There is no substitute for a genuinely personalized video. Just like how your constituents can spot the difference between a printed and hand-written card, they can spot the difference between a generic and personalized video. 

Write your contact’s name on a piece of paper

If you take the time to personalize a video, you want to make sure the contact sees the video. One of the most effective ways to ensure they see it is by writing the contact’s name on a piece of paper (or a whiteboard, chalkboard or something else you can write on!) so their name is front and center on the video thumbnail. Imagine seeing a video still of someone holding a piece of paper with your name on it. Would you click to watch?

Share a powerful testimonial after the video

Now that you’ve captured your contact’s attention with their personalized video, it’s time to include a more generic, brand-promoting video to the end to bolster your organization’s name and story. 

Use Gratavid’s Story feature to add a generic video after the personalized video portion. The generic video could be a powerful testimonial from a brand ambassador, a thank you message from the board, a professionally edited brand video or all three.

Send through Gmail or Outlook

Need to be able to send videos at the click of a button without hassle? With Gratavid, you can send your personalized videos directly through your own Gmail or Outlook email account. A good email reputation is key to beating spam filters and it depends on the domain (i.e., @ school.edu) and the server (IP address) sending your email. 

Sending through a known, safe email client like Gmail or Outlook ensures your video is sent from your domain and a highly reputable server.

Automatically resend if not watched

The truth is not everyone will click to see their video right away. Your constituents are busy and they might miss the email at first. Gratavid’s automatic resending feature ensures people have another chance to see their video if they missed it in their inbox the first time. 

HTML-heavy emails are a red flag for spam filters. HTML-heavy emails often contain formatting, color and graphics. Consider the emails you might receive from a retailer sharing their upcoming Independence Day sales. Those are typically HTML-heavy emails. Because Gratavids contain your branding and a video preview, our emails are considered HTML-heavy too. Because of this, they can sometimes land in the promotions folder of an email inbox.

This is why it’s so important to enable automatic resending. When Gratavid resends a video that has not been watched, it’s resent as a plain-text email which does not contain any HTML, avoiding the spam filter.

Get the full playbook

Playbook for personalized video messaging

Assign a task owner

For larger teams, empower a stewardship or relations team member to manage the task process for the team. They can be responsible for gathering the list of contacts, uploading and managing the list and assigning tasks for the individual fundraising campaigns. 

Simply put, the organizations that have been the most successful build strategies around the task list. From consistently thanking first-time donors to following up personally to prospective families to extending your top donors a random thank you, there are endless ways to engage and retain constituents using personalized video.

Step 2: Stay engaged

Once you’ve documented your personalized video plan for fundraising, it’s time to roll it out. But your video strategy shouldn’t be “set it and forget it,” quickly forgotten and ignored as other pressing things arise. Stay engaged with constituents who are reaching out to you from the videos. These are the people most interested in what your organization is all about and they should be prioritized. Here are some tips to stay engaged:

Respond promptly and make it relevant to your organization

93% of donors said they would definitely or probably give again to a charity that provided a prompt and personal thank you.

Penelope Burk, Donor-Centered Fundraising

Responding to a constituent after an action they have taken is key. Sending a thank you within 48 hours of receiving a gift from a donor lets them know that you care, respect their generosity, value your relationship and respect their time. It will encourage them to donate again. 

Additionally, when creating the note template that accompanies the Gratavid video, it’s best practice to prompt a response such as adding a question or comment at the end of the message to encourage someone to reply. Make the prompts relevant to your organization, such as “What do you miss most about our campus?” or “Do you have any prayer requests?” This shows constituents you care about their feedback and they will value knowing they have a say in your organization.

Create a note template featuring their interests

Showing constituents you know they are individuals that have unique personalities, hobbies and interests reinforces the care and consideration of your organization. Create note templates specific to various interests like sports or theater to show them how much you care.

Change the email subject line

This is a simple and yet effective tactic to get your constituents’ attention, especially if it’s personalized and engaging. Some engaging subject line examples include “I made you a video today, [name]!” and “A special thank you, [name].”

Step 3: Measure success

Before a program is rolled out, it’s important to document how success will be measured. While it’s clear Gratavid engages and delights constituents, executives in your organization will likely ask “What’s the Return on Investment (ROI)?”

Let’s break down how adding Gratavid to your fundraising toolkit can directly benefit your organization’s bottom line.

Improve donor retention

Donor retention is a major pain point for organizations focusing on fundraising. On average, three out of four donors leave without making a second donation. This means you have to replace more than half of your donors every year to break even.

For example, 500 donors give $360 in year one. After year one, a 5% increase in donor retention will boost giving dollars by $9,000. A 20% increase in donor retention boosts giving dollars by $36,000!

If you look at the impact over three years for those same 500 donors, a 5% increase in donor retention will save your organization $14,000, and a 20% increase in retention saves you $61,000.

How to improve donor retention

Before you can fix donor retention, you need to understand the root cause. The top two reasons donors stop giving are 1) the organization did not communicate its effectiveness and 2) too frequent solicitations from the nonprofit organization.

Communicating effectively is hard. Writing takes time, and everyone has an opinion on what should be included or excluded.

This is where video can help. Video can communicate in one minute what would take hours if not days to write. Here are some stats that show the effectiveness of video:

The second reason donors stop giving is over-solicitation. Over-solicitation happens when you fail to report on your donor’s gift.

If you don’t close the loop with donors by thanking or reporting back to them before asking again, they will perceive it as being over solicited.

Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE

Video is not a solicitation tool but rather a stewardship tool. Gratavid is your touchpoint between asks and your tool to report on impact, communicate gratitude and bring your donors back again.

Save time + resources

One of the biggest benefits of using Gratavid is no longer having to rely on the marketing or video staff to create effective content, saving you time and resources. With Gratavid, anyone can record, request or upload files and share them via email. It can also save you time when it comes to thanking donors.

Get the full playbook

Playbook for personalized video messaging

Prioritize the thank you process

As Julie Cooper said on the Build Good Podcast, “Thanking is not the effect of a gift. Thanking is the cause for the future relationship… The gift should start the process of bonding the donor to the cause. The thank-you communication forms the bond.”

We shouldn’t treat the thank you as an obligatory choir or task. We should treat it as an opportunity.

The reality is it’s hard to thank every donor without a system in place. With Gratavid, you can connect your CRM/payment system to automatically send videos or automatically create a task each time a donation is made.

If your system doesn’t integrate with Gratavid, you can put a system in place to thank a list of new contacts from a CSV file each month.

You can’t automate relationships, but you can automate your thank you process with Gratavid.

Book more meetings and close more gifts

One of the most popular strategies is using Gratavid as a hook to catch your donor’s attention and then asking your donor to take action. You can use call-to-action buttons to link to a donation page, share a blog post or book time on your calendar.

When Frank Mumford was at United Way, he used Gratavid to help close over a million dollars in gifts. Frank sent a Gratavid to all his donors asking, “I thought it might be easier to schedule 15 minutes where I would share your impact and what this year’s donation request would be. Click the link below to find a time and we can meet virtually.” 

This booking strategy led Frank to visit virtually with 60 donors. He presented six simple PowerPoint slides, shared their impact, an update, the community’s need and that year’s request. Frank closed 100% of all virtual asks and increased year-over-year giving by more than 10%.

Your force for personalized video messaging

Gratavid helps organizations transform digital communication into a personal experience. Retain, grow, and tell stories with personalized video.

Interested to learn how Gratavid from Gravyty can strengthen your donor relations and fundraising efforts through personal video messaging? Get a free consultation.

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