Even though I'm currently doing fundraising trainings in Europe, I'm still basking in the glow of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in Seattle.
An amazing experience
I've probably been to hundreds of conferences. But this one was like no other. A couple hundred people came together to shape their nonprofit's stories. Some were "communications" people; others were "fundraising" people; and a fair number were CEO's and board members. And there were a wide range of organizations represented too! The ones that come to mind include animal welfare, land conservation, higher ed, schools, arts organizations, human services, public school foundations.
And did I mention people came from as far as New Zealand and France?
For two solid days, we heard from speakers like Tom Ahern, Jeff Brooks, Vanessa Chase, Shanon Doolittle, Peter Drury, Andrew Means, Susan Howlett, Ian Adair, Erica Mills, and Chris Davenport. (I was honored to be the emcee for the entire event.)
But something magic happened. This disparate set of individuals became a group. Some are even saying a "family." We shared meals together and strategized how to fund our organizations. We shared what is working in connecting donors to our causes.
It was such an experience, that a Facebook group was set up right after the conference for the "Class of 2014." Members are changing their titles and sharing their completely rewritten year-end appeals!
For me, one of the most powerful takeaways from the conference was the power of thanking. The speakers mentioned how thanking donors has been proven to increase donor retention. One study even shows that even one extra thank you can increase donor revenue by 40%! Throughout the event, speakers and participants were thanking each other. Not because they had to. Simply because the gratitude in the room was so palpable.
And then I got a thank you note (shown above) from one key members of the conference, Beth Ann Locke. She'd corralled the speakers, created the #npstoryconf hashtag, and kept panels scheduled. I knew she was writing a bunch of notes, but she took 4 lines and made them so meaningful I've put the note on my desk!
Since I was in Seattle, I got together with Chris Davenport and recorded a Movie Mondays of how you can unlock Beth's brilliance to help your board get engaged in fundraising. Check it out at: http://moviemondays.com/board-thanks/.
Thank someone today
So, still basking in the glow of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, I encourage you to thank some donors today. 'Tis the season here in the USA. But thanking is a human experience, not just an American one.
And if you want to experience some of the magic, the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference videos are still available at: http://nonprofitstorytellingconference.com/video-option/