Prepare to please

February 17, 2014

Organizations can raise big money with fundraising stunts around holidays, like the delivery of Valentine’s flowers for example. It can be risky, however, because you’ve set up a specific expectation on a day that’s already filled with its own set of emotions. To fail to deliver could do irreparable damage to your donor relationship.

So before you embark on a campaign like this, be certain that you’re not only prepared to deliver, but that you have a plan to handle the unexpected.

Last week, with the threat of even more big winter storms on the east coast, Connecticut Public Broadcasting got it right with their Valentine’s flower fundraiser.

On Tuesday, they sent a pre-delivery email encouraging donors to keep their eyes peeled for the delivery. “If it’s too cold out for us, it’s way too cold for the roses.” It was a friendly and effective way to raise awareness of the situation; deliver a preemptive strike against the possibility of things going wrong; and show donors that the organization truly cares.

And indeed, when the snow arrived, and some of the flowers did not reach their destination on time, they had another communication at the ready that was warm, reassuring, and personally signed by the staffer who spent the weekend manning the phones and emails to ensure that everyone was taken care of.

Not only did the station get all of the roses delivered in the end, they also received numerous emails of appreciation for their willingness to make sure everything was right.

That’s how to make the most out of a less-than-ideal situation.