[Cause Camp] Roundup: Donor Appreciation, Avoiding Crappy Chairs and Other Key Lessons We Learned

That’s a wrap on Cause Camp 2015. If you weren’t able to attend, no worries. I went for you. My excellent penmanship combined with my need to write meticulously detailed notes will hopefully serve you well.

Unfortunately, my abilities enabling me to be in more than one speaker at the same time are severely lacking. While I wasn’t able to attend every presentation that day, I know that every speaker dished out some seriously awesome knowledge to our lucky attendees. So for those of you who weren’t able to make it, here are a few of my favorite moments:

1. “Our efforts are diluted and often we end up doing not a whole lot for anyone,”

Kristina Halvorson said in reference to why nonprofits need to streamline their content strategy by creating a plan for creation and delivery of content marketing. According to Halvorson, too often nonprofits focus so much on the “what” of content creation that they overlook other essential questions such as “Qhy are we doing this?” “What is our desired outcome?” Or “Why do we think our audience will respond to this specific content?” Halvorson went on to compare our content to landfills. A lot of times, we have no idea what’s in there. Nonprofits continually push out content without an end goal in mind—and this may hurt you in the end.

2. “Appreciation is key to donor retention,”

Steven Shattuck stated in response to the statistic that nearly six out of 10 donors do not give more than once. Shattuck went on to recap the events of The Great Donor Communications Experiment of 2014. He donated $5 to 50 nonprofits and was shocked and saddened by the gift acknowledgement habits of many. According to Shattuck, gift acknowledgement needs to be be fast, personalized and communicate impact.

3. “We cannot sit on crappy chairs while helping the world,”

Vu Le said on why nonprofits need to be willing to lose funding in order to get people to support the organization as a whole, and not just the things that make us feel warm and fuzzy. Le observed that funders regularly restrict funding, making it difficult for nonprofits to function. No one wants to pay our electric bills, but electricity is vital for nonprofit offices to function (as are comfy office chairs). Le advises nonprofits to stop perpetuating the idea that 100% of donations go to programming, as it makes it difficult for organizations to find funders willing to pay other components. “The message it sends to our donors and funders is that programming expenses are good and everything else is like fundraising terrorism,” he said.

4. “Know when to DIY and when to hire and expert,”

Mike Sukraw said about video storytelling. Sukraw explained that when there’s a critical objective and your video needs to impress someone, it’s often worth it to hire an expert. When looking for a video production company, nonprofits should look for budget and culture alignment, work that moves them and a group that knows how to tell stories.

Were you at Cause Camp 2015? Let us know about your favorite highlights in the comments. Thanks to everyone for making it a success, and we’ll see you at Cause Camp 2016.


Kathryn Pauley

Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Nonprofit Hub. Soon to be college graduate, she enjoys helping nonprofits understand better how to reach the millennial demographic—cause we are living in a millennial world, and Kathryn's a millennial girl. With experience leading the largest student-run charity event on her campus, she looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Hub team every day.

April 13, 2015

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