When your organization wins a major victory, what do you do? Celebrate? Throw a party? These are both normal reactions to a victory, but do you take the time to stop and thank your supporters?
These folks helped make the victory possible, so it’s important to reach out to them and thank them for their support. In a way, they’re a part of your larger team, so including them in the celebration is only natural. In this case study, we will look at two organizations that did just that.
The Petition that Started it all
Recently there has been public pressure on companies to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a nonprofit organization that drafts legislation at a state level. Many people find fault with the organization due to its anti-climate change messages and legislation supporting pollutive energy over newer, cleaner options.
Recently, eBay joined the ranks of those companies asked to dissociate from ALEC. Mom’s Clean Air Force and League of Conservation Voters both ran campaigns urging their supporters to demand eBay to drop ALEC.
Shaun Dakin from MCAF shared that this was their first push against ALEC and eBay. They had
“started with traditional email and actions using engaging networks as the platform”.
For LCV, ALEC was an established enemy amongst their supporters. Kristin Brown from LCV stated:
“The petition on the whole went well, in part because I think we’d already introduced ALEC as a bad guy by the time this campaign launched. Our members were quick to jump on the issue because they already knew what kind of organization ALEC is and the work they’ve been doing to halt climate change progress at the local level.”
Both groups’ actions were successful at engaging their supporters and moving them to action on Facebook. LCV reported that:
“More than 2,000 actions [were] completed via ActionSprout, a large chunk of which were new to our list. The posts themselves received more than 6,000 likes/comments/shares and were very well received by our audience.”
Due to the public pressure from these petitions and others, eBay announced that it would sever ties with ALEC. The battle had been won!
So what happened next? I’m sure the folks at MCAF and LCV were celebrating in their offices, but what about their supporters who helped make it happen?
They did not forget them! Both organizations followed up on Facebook, announcing the great news and celebrating their supporters with statements like: “Thanks to YOU” and “We want to thank the more than 2,000 who joined us.”
Mom’s Clean Air Force took it a step further by crafting its follow-up message as another call to action.
Shaun Dakin from MCAF stated:
“Once eBay announced that they were not renewing we immediately went to Facebook via ActionSprout to thank eBay and let our supporters know that they had an impact.”
This engaged and moved even more people to take action by thanking eBay for its decision. The conversion rate on this action was a whopping 72%! (For context, anything over 30% is considered good conversion.) This action took it above and beyond.
Thanks to the positive impact of their campaign, MCAF plans to publish follow-up actions in the future after major victories such as this one.
LCV felt the same way, sharing that they:
“Would have expanded upon this campaign and done an email alert or two. That would have made our role in getting eBAY to leave ALEC feel more concrete, which would have given us more to report back on. It would have been great to do an email-specific report back to a larger audience.”
Kristin went on to say:
“When you have a fight you think you’re likely to win, go out on all platforms (email, social, mobile) so you can report back on all platforms.”
We couldn’t agree more! Reaching supporters on as many platforms as possible is always a good idea. It’s important to reach them where they feel the most comfortable, and in this day and age, that could be numerous places.
So why is the follow-up important?
Sure, it feels nice to be thanked and have our work and support recognized. It can boost our confidence and make us feel good about ourselves – but is that all?
I would argue that there’s more to it.
The Winning Team
Supporters like to support those whom they view as the “winning team”, because it makes them feel like they’re winners too.
Don’t believe me? Think about sports teams. Did the Seahawks win a game or did I win? Well technically the Seahawks did, but regardless, I feel like I won too! The relationship here is created because I feel like I am part of the team.
In terms of nonprofits, it’s even more so. I can “join” the nonprofit team of my choice by donating to them, signing their petitions and volunteering with them. I would feel more involved with this team than that of the Seahawks, because to some extent I can directly influence their work for the better.
By posting victories and success stories, you’re positioning your cause as the winning team. It also gives back to your team of supporters and recognizes them as being part of this victory. Over time, this builds up a group of loyal supporters – or shall we say team members?
Here are some of the comments from folks enjoying their win.
Supporters will continue to support organizations they feel good about and are confident in.
If month after month, year after year, people can’t see the progress that your nonprofit has made, they will probably get discouraged and stop supporting you in favor of someone whom they think can get the job done.
The sad part is that this probably isn’t even true: your organization is making progress towards your goals all the time, but your supporters don’t know that because you never update them! It’s your responsibility to keep folks in the loop. That’s why it’s so important to publish victories on Facebook, especially ones that your supporters helped bring about.
Some supporters were so confident because of this victory that they started suggesting future ways that LCV could fight ALEC.
We Just Like to be Thanked!
Here are the three keys to any human being’s heart:
- Genuine appreciation
- Truly listening
Supporters like to be thanked for their support, donation and hard work. This is more than a warm fuzzy feeling; it means money. If you follow up with and thank supporters, there’s a much higher chance that they will support the organization in the future.
In one study, previous donors were 19% more likely to donate again and gave around twice as much as people who hadn’t donated to that charity before. Which brings me to my next point…
Build Lasting Relationships
Your goal should be to forge lasting, long-term relationships with folks, not one-time supporters.
Think about how much easier it is to keep the folks you already have onboard happy, by giving them recognition and saying “thanks” often, versus what it takes to bring in completely new supporters each and every time you need something. In terms of time and money, you’ll want to maintain the existing relationships.
Long-term supporters are your grassroots team of evangelists; they are as passionate about your cause as you are. They tell their friends and family about your organization and encourage them to get involved as well. It’s important to keep these folks happy and confident in your cause.
By posting the victory and thanking folks for their support, MCAF and LCV brought back supporters that had signed the petition to re-engage a second time. In the process, they began a relationship with these supporters and reminded them of their cause and mission.
The moral of the story is that your supporters are part of your team, so treat them as such.
Share your victories with them and thank them for their support in getting you there. It’s as simple as a follow-up post on Facebook.
How have you celebrated victories in the past while making your supporters feel special? Let us know in the comments!