Thank ALL the donors! (and volunteers)

If nothing else, social media is a brilliant tool for reaching out and thanking donors and volunteers – delighting them with a little bit of nice, unexpected appreciation and attention.

Every year, the Norwegian Cancer Society has a big fundraiser that lasts for two weeks. It’s a door-knocking campaign, where 25.000 volunteers with donation boxes raise 30 million NOK (around US$5 mill, €3,6 mill or £3 mill) in cash. Most of the volunteers are high school seniors, 17-19 years old. We want to make sure each and every one of them knows just how important they are to us. So for those two weeks, we do this:

"Thanking all your donors" - Post by the talented Fundraisergrrl - go check out her brilliant and hilarious tumblr!

“Thanking all your donors” – Post by the talented Fundraisergrrl – go check out her brilliant and hilarious tumblr

This wouldn’t be possible without social media.

Those two weeks, a few employees and some amazing temporary social media volunteers make up a near 24/7 thanking-patrol. We start at 7 in the morning, and finish at 1 AM, replying to comments on twitter, instagram and facebook. We look at our mentions, and search for relevant keywords on all platforms. This year we answered with a staggering 20.000 comments. And they are not cut and paste-answers, each and every comment is a personalised reply, often including geographical details or a reference to something seen in the photo.

Can you imagine how much more powerful an immediate direct response and personal thank you from the charity is, rather than a diploma sent to the school a week after you’re done? Anecdotal evidence says that this is greatly appreciated by those we thank, who react with pleasant surprise that we notice their actions and bother to reply. About 90% of thankyou-tweets get retweeted by the recipient. Some people screenshot our thankyou-comment on instagram and post it to their feed again. Some people thank us for thanking them. Which we then thank them for. That’s a circle that’s hard to get out of;)

I firmly believe that this leads to more money raised. If you receive a thank you and some attention from the charity as you are walking out the door to start your round – a message that what you are about to do is saving lives – I think that you are more likely to knock on a few extra doors. I definitely think it’s less likely that you’ll cut your round in half! And quite possibly we have made the beginning of a strong bond between the charity and the supporter, leading to them supporting our cause when we cross paths again in the future.

I’m doing the “I love social media”-dance right now.

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