Thanks(for)giving

You take great pains to add a new donor to your file… And then what? It’s so important to make a donor feel welcomed and thanked! In addition to making them feel like a part of your organization, a thank-you can also serve as their tax receipt. And acknowledgement programs are not just good for donor relations, they can also benefit your organization!

Not only is it a best practice to send a follow-up thanking donors for their contributions, whether online or through the mail (or both!), sending a thank-you note also gives donors another opportunity to give. And it’s not too soon to ask—remember recency is the strongest indicator of likelihood of next action, in this case, to make another gift.

By reducing time to next gift, you’re able to upgrade donors into “multi-giver” status, grooming their giving habits before they become too solidified and tying them more closely to your organization and mission, and making them more likely to become long-term donors.

Acknowledgements also give you a great opportunity to create multichannel donors. Whether you’re including online gifts in your direct mail acknowledgments program (if you don’t already, start doing this!) or sending an email thank you to offline donors (food for thought: how often and quickly do you add emails and sync offline giving into your eCRM?), acknowledgements are an easy way to reach donors across platforms so they have multiple ways to interact with your organization. And, if they reply to an acknowledgment sent in a channel different from the channel in which they made their original gift, they have now raised their hand to receive communication through that medium as well.

It’s no surprise that multichannel donors are some of the best donors an organization can have, so it’s worthwhile to integrate acknowledgments and update your data infrastructure to allow it!

Now for some specifics:

  • To really cement a new donor’s relationship with your organization, try creating a welcome kit to acknowledge first time donors and ask for a second gift. These touchpoints, often direct mail packages, can include lots of information pertinent to new donors—brochures about programs and impact, an explanation of your monthly giving program, information about estate planning for future gifts, and even a member card! Welcome kits are a great way to show new donors that you appreciate their contribution to your organization. Welcome kits can be totally digital too—how are you sending your welcome to new donors over email? Organizations often send  a “kit” spread out over several emails, but you can also create a “supporter hub” landing page where new donors can find all that information in a single location.
  • Once donors are on your file, don’t be afraid to include an ask in your acknowledgments. Keep it soft, and make sure the focus of your copy is on saying thank you, but when given another opportunity—many donors will take you up on it and send an additional contribution!
  • No one has ever said, “stop thanking me so much”, so once you’ve made a basic program turnkey, test expanding your acknowledgments to include other channels like phone (think thank-a-thons, and prerecorded thank you messages from staff or your board) and SMS. Remember: peer-to-peer texting doesn’t require a previous opt-in, so you can text donors a short thank you and then ask them to opt-in for additional updates! (Though if you want to truly grow your SMS program, add an opt-in to your donation forms and reply devices to collect them upfront.)

Investing in an acknowledgement program is a necessity, not only for tax liability purposes and donor transparency, but also to constantly work toward building a better supporter experience and cultivating life-long relationships with your donors. Reach out to CCAH to work with us, and we’ll help you determine the best way to tell your donors Thanks(for)giving!

Brenna Holmes Selected for DMAW Board

We are very proud to announce our partner & SVP Brenna Holmes has been elected to the 2021-2022 DMAW Board of Directors. The Direct Marketing Association of Washington provides education, networking, and professional development programs to help foster a vibrant, growing, supportive, and informed direct response fundraising and marketing community.

At CCAH, Brenna became a partner this year, teaches in our “MBA” continuing education program for our staff members, and regularly speaks at conferences to help share what she’s learned with our larger direct response community.

In her eleven years here, she built our digital program from the ground up, and we know that with a position on the DMAW Board, she will bring the same energy and enthusiasm to helping shape the future of their educational programing.

Brenna is dedicated to bringing more multimedia, data savvy, and technical content to complement the already exceptional marketing and creative-based trainings that DMAW offers to its members. We could not be more proud and excited for Brenna in her newest endeavor in joining the DMAW Board, and we are excited to continue to have her expertise and dedication here at CCAH. Congratulations to Brenna Holmes!

Katie in front of our chalkboard that reads 'welcome to CCAH spirit week'

We’ve Got (Virtual) Spirit!

Each September we have CCAH’s annual spirit week, but this year, spirit week went virtual! This fun-filled employee appreciation week included a lunch hour at the Charlie Hides Funhouse, a team-vs.-team MadLib competition, and our annual award ceremony (this year held over Zoom).

Each day had its own treats and surprises in addition to our weeklong Guess Who game, where employees were challenged to match fun facts with new staff, and the correct answers were revealed at our Thursday happy hour … it was such a fun way to get to know our fellow coworkers!

Monday

CCAH was closed for Labor Day, but we could hardly wait to return to the (home) office to kick off the spirit week festivities.

Katie in front of our chalkboard that reads 'welcome to CCAH spirit week'

Tuesday

It was Mad Lib day! This fun team-vs.-team competition encouraged people to think outside the box as they completed a CCAH-themed MadLib! Teams worked together to come up with the zaniest nouns, adjectives, and verbs they could to impress the judges with their creativity. We also kicked off our New Staff Guess Who game, where everyone worked to match fun facts with the employee who has done it. With facts ranging from a fear of frogs to a world-class ranking on Pokémon Go, to speaking about fundraising on six continents; we’ve certainly hired some pretty interesting people during the pandemic!

Wednesday

For our lunch hour, we brought back Charlie Hides with a brand new gameshow: Charlie’s Funhouse! Staff members went head to head to win fun prizes in a variety of games: the Price is Right (but only with UK food items with interesting names), Name that Tune, and the Masked Celebrity, to name a few. Not everyone was a winner, but we all walked away with a smile after an hour in the funhouse!

Thursday

At happy hour, we kicked off the festivities with a scavenger hunt. Employees rans around their houses and apartments trying to be the first to find a particular item — from something red to something with a face — we had 15 seconds to find our items and run back to the screen before time was up!

From there, employees were recognized — from plaques for those celebrating two years with the company to CCAH monogramed swag gifts for those working here for five, ten, twenty, and twenty-five years.

Quentin Patrick received the Bill Goldstein Legacy Award for his twenty years with the firm. This award recognizes excellence in service and a commitment to outstanding loyalty to CCAH, our clients, and their missions. Twenty years symbolizes a remarkable achievement in one’s career and demonstrates fortitude, grit, and perseverance. Over the years, Bill Goldstein’s work had profound impact on some of the most critical issues facing our country and people around the globe. We are proud to honor his legacy with this award. 

Katie Chambers received the coveted CCAH Spirit Award. This award goes to one individual, voted on by the management committee and partners, who we believe embodies dedication to clients and their fellow colleagues, always lending a helping hand and jumping in if someone doesn’t understand. Katie goes the extra mile for a client with a positive attitude and a smile in every situation.  As one person noted, her “positive attitude is actually infectious for everyone she works with.” Congratulations to Katie Chambers for this distinction!

The Spirit Committee judges also announced the answers to the Guess Who matching game! While only five CCAH employees were able to get a perfect score (congrats to Arwen, Kahla, Srikar, Julia, and me—Becca!), everyone was a winner when we got to learn more about our coworkers.

Friday

Spirit week was finally coming to a close, but not without one final announcement: we changed our name! Jenny Allen officially became a name partner, making our company now Chapman Cubine Allen + Hussey — you can read all about it here if you missed the announcement blog. With this exciting news top of everyone’s mind, it was easy to forget about the MadLib competition (even though that was also a very exciting moment in CCAH history). Team Mia took home the win, and all of the bragging rights that came with it. 

As a final surprise, everyone was excited to find goody bags at their door the week after spirit week. MJ, Katie, and Quentin had worked tirelessly to ensure a sweet snack for all of our employees even though we were far apart.

With that, we closed another wonderful week at CCAH. Now we are back to work, refreshed and ready to take on Q4 and another full year of doing great work for all our amazing clients! 

Pivot Quick in Snail Mail

Right now, the world is changing at a rapid rate. With pandemics, changing work environments, and civil unrest amplifying systemic issues to catalyze important change, it can be difficult to figure out how tried-and-true direct mail best practices and anchor campaigns fit into this new reality. What do you do in the face of the unknown? What tools, tips, and techniques should you use when world events mean your program needs to pivot—and pivot fast—when you work in direct mail (DM)?

Step one: Talk to your digital counterparts

Discuss options to go live with the new messaging on your homepage, over email and social, and SMS and phone. These channels have an unmatched ability to get your message out quickly, as well as giving your organization the option to test language and more fully develop your plan of action for your donors as new details on the topic reveal themselves.

However, if most of your donors are direct mail responsive, aren’t mobile opted in, or if there isn’t much overlap between your email and DM programs, these channels alone won’t get your message to everyone that needs to hear it. If you do not have key techniques ready to implement so you can quickly and efficiently reach your direct mail donors, you will be missing out on a key group of supporters. It’s incredibly important that these people, too, know your organizational response to a changing environment.

Direct mail is not a beauty contest

So a simple and straightforward urgent message received in a timely manner is often more important than providing donors with a highly-produced, design-heavy package. If your mail schedule and cadence allow you to print new material, you can create a simple package to get your message to your audience. Many times, you can use an “urgent-gram,” which is pre-printed material that allows you to simply add your organizational messaging.

Rework what you’ve already done

Recoding data from a recent appeal or renewal can also shorten the time frame from creative development to your drop date. If you are able to truncate your art approval timelines, recoding data (which can mean faster turn times than starting from scratch) can allow you to get your message in the mail quickly.

Look at some production-focused strategies

These can include digital printing, duplex lasering, and multiple-window no-print envelopes, and all of these strategies can shorten timelines. In digital printing, you can print and laser your material all at once, bypassing the proof, or blueline, step of the process. Duplex lasering allows an organization to print material without finalizing their messaging before printing. This gives another week or two to allow a situation to develop, thereby giving you the most information at your disposal before finalizing your stance. By mailing in simple formats with stock that is readily available, you will improve your chances of getting in the mail as quickly as possible.

Have the option to change your signer

Often overlooked, but a useful way to cut timelines for some organizations: if a finance officer, director of marketing, or membership chair can sign instead of going all the way to a president or CEO for approval, you can shorten the timeline you need to vet a package but still ensure your organization’s unique brand and voice are maintained. If a package was planned with the use of a celebrity signer in mind, consider moving that tactic to later in your calendar and swapping in a mailing that needs fewer approvals so that you can move quickly.

But what if you’ve already printed, the signer is final, and your cadence won’t allow you to miss a mailing?

A buckslip can be a quick and easy way to add information to an existing mailing before it goes in the mail. While this does not allow you to tailor your entire message/approach to a mailing, in a pinch, it allows you to connect with these donors without missing a mailing or having to trash your printed material. For programs like acquisition where list clearances only last for so long, a buckslip can ensure your organization isn’t ignoring the current state of the world, but also isn’t missing out on needed funds to further their mission.

Direct mail means planning and working far in advance, but when your plans get turned on their head, it doesn’t mean you have no options. It’s important to make sure your donors know where your organization stands and to reinforce that you are being good stewards of your donors’ gifts—especially in unknown times.

Being able to act quickly gives you the best chance of reaching your donors, and having the ability to be the first in inboxes and mailboxes can make a substantial difference in your capacity to raise funds around a specific issue and keep donors informed. Allow yourself to pivot quickly, or at least, as quickly as we can in snail mail!

Want to join the conversation? Work with us!

It’s Earth Day!

This Earth Day, CCAH is celebrating a little differently than usual. Rather than going outside to enjoy nature and hopefully give back, we are all staying in our homes. However, while there are many serious worries to be had about our current situation, one silver lining of social distancing is an increased appreciation for the world around us, and the ability to see our world through a lens with less pollution.

To celebrate this strange Earth Day, which also happens to be the holiday’s 50th anniversary, CCAH is bringing the outdoors inside to help brighten their workspaces.

Go To Nature...

Many CCAHers are making sure they are getting their exercise by walking outside when safe. According to CDC guidelines, if you do decide to talk a walk, make sure you are keeping 6 feet between you and others not in your household, and you should wear a mask if you are able. Check out CDC resources and local recommendations before deciding if going on walks while social distancing is right for you! 

While at home, you can also take Jenny’s lead with a garden! While Jenny carries her lemon tree inside and outside every day, you can pick low-maintenance plants to start out with! Arwen recommends mint as an easy plant since “it’s kind of a weed, so you don’t need to worry about making it grow!”

Or Bring Nature to You!

One way to make sure you are keeping nature in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic is to bring plants into your workspace. Many people believe houseplants are the key to making your home office feel like a place you want to work, since plants can bring in a splash of color and make you feel less like you’re stuck inside—and, according to a NASA study from 1989, many plants can even help purify the air (although more recent research indicates that this may be a bit of an exaggeration unless you really, really like plants).

And if you didn’t have houseplants prior to stay-at-home orders, don’t worry! It isn’t too late.  When CCAH had a spirit day to show off our plants, Catherine got a special delivery along with her groceries …

No Green Thumb?

If you want to celebrate Earth Day but don’t have the gift to keep plants alive (like me), you can always donate to an environmentally-focused nonprofit! CCAH is lucky to work with several important changemakers, fighting to make a difference for our Earth. Bring your voice to the global conversation around climate change, and check out the Earth Day site for more ways you can get involved for Earth Day’s 50th anniversary!

What CCAH Is Thankful for This Holiday Season

CCAH has a LOT to be thankful for! This year, we’ve welcomed new employees and clients: intelligent, creative, collaborative people and inspiring missions that make our workdays meaningful and fun.

We are proud that CCAH has become a place that feels like home all year round, from raising money for health and disease charities like hospitals who care for sick patients away from home during the holidays, research cures for diabetes and cancer, environmental organizations that help protect public lands and endangered species, to helping elect democratic women. After a year full of progress toward our collective goal to make the world a better place, our hearts could not be more filled with thanks and gratitude.

“I’m spending this holiday season looking back at the year and being thankful for CCAH and the love and support they have shown me this year. I am also very thankful that I get to spend this holiday creating new family traditions as a newlywed.” – Kelsey Sloss, Senior Account Executive, Phone and Mobile Strategies

“I’m thankful for being able to build some great relationships with great people at CCAH!” – Sunny Matani, Account Executive, Direct Mail

“This year I am most thankful for my new friends and work family at CCAH. Having a work place that feels like a second home makes the long days feel like ease.” – Courtney Rojas, Account Representative, Digital

Spirit Week Taylor Swift

“I’m thankful and honored to play my small part within an organization that makes an overwhelming impact in the nonprofit and political communities. Additionally, I’m extremely thankful and overjoyed by the dedication, commitment, and strength that my team has shown this year. We have the privilege of working with outstanding colleagues, suppliers, and clients, and much of our success can be contributed to these relationships, so many thanks to each and every one of them as well.” – Darin Marks, Director of IT and Data Operations

“Outside of work, I’m grateful for my health and that of all my loved ones, as well as the ability to live in and build supportive and loving communities that are dedicated to fighting to justice. And I’m just as grateful to be married to a brilliant and kind partner who spends her days tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time.

At work, I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise funds for so many important and transformative causes, and to play a tiny role in moving this world in the right direction. I’m equally grateful to work with such an incredible group of colleagues who support me every day and never stop pushing me to do my best work.” – David Wolkin, Senior Copywriter

“This year I whole-heartedly thank my family, friends, and doggies for their unconditional love and support, the house that keeps me cool from the Florida sun, a great first year at CCAH—and pumpkin pie.”Margaret Randall, Senior Graphic Designer

“I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, and dreams that turned into reality.” – Jennifer Keenan, Senior Production Director

“I’m thankful for the close friends I have as a support system through tough times in my life, ones who understand without needing much in the way of explanation.  The relationships we have in life make this journey all the more bearable. Starting at CCAH has turned this around for me career wise and I’ll always feel fortunate to have gotten this opportunity.” – Mai Ly, Acquisition Coordinator

“I am thankful for having a strong support system at home and at work to keep me going and pushing me to do great things!” – Mia Mack, Senior Account Executive, Direct Mail

From our CCAH family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!