How Do You Present?

By Heather Thornton, Project Manager

Recently, I dressed up for my first “picture day” in over 10 years, as the firm is updating our website’s company photos.

This time, instead of excitedly pulling on the brand-new thoughtfully purchased and carefully laid out outfit (bought by my mom) and waiting in line with other classmates while using the standard plastic black combs to tame our unruly manes, I donned a more professional suit and heels (bought by myself).

Nevertheless, the worry of “finding my good side” for the photo and presenting my best self to the camera was ever-present.

This got me thinking about the importance of presentation and how this also applies to our organizations, especially during this time of year.

The holidays are times for family, tradition, stuffing ourselves so full with food that we start to resemble the turkey we just ate…but it is also time for year-end gifts, and how we “present” our year end appeals to our donors and potential donors is important.

According to the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, 41 percent of wealthy families have giving traditions, such as giving to charity during the holidays and volunteering as a family.

What are some steps your organization can take to present your organization well to your donors and potential donors?

  1. Make giving meaningful.

The 2014 U.S. Trust® Study also found that for wealthy households, believing that their gift can make a difference (74 percent) was the top motivator for giving, followed by personal satisfaction (73 percent) and supporting the same causes annually (66 percent). Tell personal stories of individual impact, and let donors know how their gift will help and for what it will be used.

  1. Make giving easy.

For online donations, make sure your website it up-to-date and easily navigable. I recently tried to make a small donation to an organization as a first-time donor, and I could not even find where to submit an online donation on their crowded and difficult-to-navigate site. The site looked as awkward as I did in my 7th grade picture, and needless to say, I did not end up making a gift.

Make sure potential donors know where to go to make a donation to your organization and do not have to hunt for it. Also, since so many individuals use their phones to surf the web, answer emails, etc., consider making your website mobile-friendly.

  1. Make giving timely.

Make the case for your organization and why donations are needed now, while also remembering the spirit of the season. The holidays are times for gratitude and giving, and be sure to thank your past donors and let them know you are thankful for them and their generosity. Your gratitude may just inspire another gift.

As we quickly approach this holiday season, consider how your organization will present year-end giving appeals and how you might show gratitude to your donors in the process.