The Art of Appreciation

Blog Post by: Allie Duggan

While attending a couple events this year and working on various graphics projects for different clients recently, I have seen an emphasis on how important appreciation is and its profound impact on human behavior. Appreciation enhances well-being by boosting self-esteem and strengthens relationships, because it makes you feel valued and fosters a sense of trust and connection. It boosts morale, which in turn creates an environment of kindness and giving. And as long as the appreciation is consistent, it creates a positive feedback loop.

In the world of nonprofit organizations, it’s not just about fundraising, it’s about building meaningful relationships with the supporters and advocates in your community and showing your appreciation. While every supporter of your cause deserves gratitude, recurring donors hold a special place in the heart of any nonprofit. They are the steadfast champions of your mission, providing consistent support that helps drive your organization forward. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of appreciating your donors, with a special emphasis on the significance of recurring donors and the small gestures that make a world of difference.

Beyond the Business Relationship

One of the fundamental aspects that set nonprofit-donor relationships apart from business transactions is the element of trust and belief in a shared mission. Recurring donors aren’t just customers; they’re your partners in making your community a better place. They’ve committed to your cause, and they’re in it for the long haul. It’s crucial to recognize and celebrate this unique dynamic.

The Power of Appreciation

Donors who choose to support your organization on a regular basis are essentially saying, “I believe in what you do, and I want to be a part of it.” In response, it’s vital to show them that you value their commitment. The power of appreciation cannot be overstated. Here’s why it matters so much:

1. Strengthening the Connection

By showing appreciation, you’re strengthening the emotional connection between your nonprofit and your recurring donors. You’re not just thanking them for their financial support, you’re acknowledging their role in making your mission a reality. This acknowledgment deepens the sense of belonging and attachment.

2. Encouraging Ongoing Support

When donors feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to continue their support. They become more invested in your mission and are willing to increase their contributions or extend their commitment. Appreciation fosters loyalty.

3. Spreading the Word

Donors who feel appreciated become your most effective advocates. They are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues, helping you expand your support network. In this way, appreciation has a ripple effect that goes beyond the immediate donor relationship.

Small Gestures, Big Impact

Appreciation doesn’t always have to be grand or elaborate. Sometimes it’s the small gestures that make the most significant impact. Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Handwritten Thank You Notes

A simple, heartfelt thank you note can convey your appreciation more effectively than a generic email. Personalize the message, mentioning their specific contributions and the impact it has had on your organization’s work. We encourage our partners to tie a donation amount to an impact in their organization during the event and reiterating this while acknowledging your donors’ generosity packs a big punch.

2. Quick Phone Calls

A brief phone call to express gratitude can be a pleasant surprise for your donors. It shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make them feel valued. 

3. Exclusive Updates & Access

Share exclusive updates about your organization’s progress with your recurring donors. Let them know how their support is making a difference. This helps them understand the direct impact of their contributions. Additionally, make sure they have exclusive access to event tickets and tables before they go on sale to the general public. You can do this through a phone call or a specific marketing piece and it is sure to go a long way.

4. Special Recognition

Consider creating a donor recognition program where you publicly acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of your recurring donors. This can be done through your website, newsletters, or at events.

Appreciating your donors, especially recurring donors, is not just a formality – it’s a vital element in maintaining and nurturing the relationships that drive your nonprofit forward. These dedicated supporters aren’t just a source of financial assistance, they are advocates for your mission, and they deserve to know just how much their commitment means to you. So, take the time to express your gratitude in meaningful ways and watch as the bonds between your organization and its donors grow stronger, ultimately enabling you to achieve even greater positive change in your community.

Recipe for Success

By Kim Perry

When it comes to cooking up the perfect STUDIO 4Forty fundraising event, there’s definitely a proven recipe for success that boils down to the basics: the right ingredients, timing, and following our step by step best practices. 

But as the best cooks in the event kitchen will tell you (aka our expert Project Management dream team), thankfully we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to applying our formula. Just like recipes can be adjusted based on desired serving size, our event formula is not one-size-fits-all with signature ingredients being measured and appropriately scaled. 

From budgeting, venue capacity, market size, sponsorship and ticket pricing, to name a few key variables, every detail (aka essential ingredient) is assessed to ensure we advise our nonprofit partners on proper measurement so the end event results achieve every goal. 

Case in point: For our Farm to Table(aux) nonprofit partners in Pontiac, Illinois, and Sun Valley, Idaho, we modify our recipe accordingly for markets of their size, which are vastly smaller than our significantly larger markets like Atlanta and Los Angeles.  

While we always mindfully tailor our measurements, the winning formula never changes, which is why many of our smallest markets have become our most successful events. Take our Wine Women & Shoes Midland, Texas, team as a shining example: they launched our event with barely any emails in a database, applied our recipe with ingredients re-measured and added over the years. Tomorrow, the Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center celebrates its glorious ten-year WWS anniversary with over $2 million raised {net} and a sellout crowd of over 500 in attendance. 

But with every recipe, the best chefs agree there’s always a secret ingredient that sets their masterpiece apart. What’s ours you ask? You’ll just have to join our STUDIO 4Forty nonprofit family to find out! 

Contact our Director of Business Development Kim Perry to bring one of our signature events to your community.

Timing is Everything

Blog Post by: Ashlee Meier

Is it a good time to chat/learn/commit to something? Isn’t that always the question in our fundraising worlds!

When it comes to hosting a successful event, there’s a saying that certainly holds true: timing is everything! From selecting the right date, to approaching sponsors, to releasing ticket sales and orchestrating the event day schedule, strategic timing plays a crucial role in maximizing both the guest experience and potential revenue. 

Our fabulous Project Manager, Christie Howard, discussed the nuances of balancing communication timing with the start of a new school year in our most recent blog post, Balancing Communications. Today, we’ll dive into the numerous ways that timing can make or break your fundraising event, because it is, indeed, EVERYTHING!

1. Picking the Perfect Date:

Choosing the right date for your fundraising event is paramount. A date that clashes with other major community events, school closings, popular travel weekends or holidays can significantly impact attendance. Research local calendars to ensure your event doesn’t coincide with competing events. Also, consider the time of year – outdoor events may be better suited for mild seasons, while indoor events can thrive in any weather. 

We recently kicked off our fall event season the last weekend in August with 3 events that, although wildly successful, struggled with both ticket sales due to events happening so quickly after the start of the school year, and event day heat for outdoor elements. Avoid that when selecting your event date if at all possible! 

2. Sponsorship Outreach Timing:

Securing sponsors is a pivotal part of fundraising events, and timing plays a vital role in this process. Reach out to potential sponsors well in advance of your event date, giving them ample time to consider your proposal and allocate funds. Aim to approach sponsors when they’re finalizing their budgets for the year or quarter and build in plenty of runway for follow up. 

3. Ticket Sales Timing:

Releasing ticket sales at the right time can make a significant difference in maximizing ticket purchases and event attendance. Launch ticket sales when there’s enough excitement around the event without getting lost in the shuffle of other activities, travel or holidays. Create a sense of urgency with strategic pre-sales and limited offerings of VIP or table packages. 

4. Curating the Ideal Event Day Schedule: 

The flow of your event day (or evening) can have a huge impact on guest engagement and revenue generation. There is a delicate balance between having enough time to enjoy all the elements and having too much time, giving guests space to warm to the idea of participating, while focusing them on key activations. You’ll want to ensure the big picture event schedule is structured strategically, and that the Run of Show and/or speaking elements fall within the window of critical mass. High-energy segments, such as live performances or auctions, are best placed when attendees are at their peak enthusiasm.

5. The Fundraising Focus:

While it’s important to create an enjoyable experience for your guests, don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal – funding your incredible work! Strategically time moments throughout the event when you’ll make fundraising appeals. Placing revenue activations thoughtfully in your space layout so guests experience them in the proper timing is key, along with the placement of live auction and paddle raise within your show flow. 

6. Post-Event Follow-Up:

Timing doesn’t end when the event wraps up. Within a day or two after the event, send out thank you emails to attendees, sponsors, and volunteers. Include a recap of the event’s success, the total amount raised, a link to event photos on your social media site, and how the funds will be used. This swift follow-up reinforces the impact of their participation and keeps your cause top of mind. Better yet, start solidifying commitments for next year’s event while they are still enjoying the after event glow!

Mastering the art of timing is a crucial factor for the success of events. From selecting a date that avoids competition, to approaching sponsors at the right moment, timing can determine the level of engagement, attendance, and ultimately, the funds raised. By paying attention to these key timing considerations, you can create an event that not only captivates your guests, but also drives significant support for your cause. Remember, it’s not just about when you hold your event, it’s about making every moment count!

Our team at STUDIO 4Forty are pros on all aspects of event timing and would love to help you increase your impact through one of our signature fundraising events. Contact Kim Perry to learn what’s available in your market! 


Blog Post by: Allie Duggan

Influencer is no doubt a term you have heard a lot lately, and in my mind it is not something I initially associate with nonprofits or fundraising, but it is an association we should begin to make. With the next generation being the future of fundraising, influencers represent a key aspect of continued philanthropy for your nonprofit. 

The Role of Influencers in Nonprofit Fundraising

Influencers can play a significant role in nonprofit fundraising by leveraging their large social media followings to promote your mission. This is the perfect opportunity to promote your campaigns and events, encouraging their followers to become donors and attendees of your cause.

Working with influencers can also help you to reach a new audience that you may not have been able to reach otherwise. Influencers cast a wide net with their audience and typically have followers from a diverse range of demographics, allowing nonprofits to reach a bigger audience.

Nonprofits can also use influencers to reach younger donors. Many influencers have a significant following among younger audiences, who are often less likely to donate to nonprofits, especially without being introduced to them in some sort of social way. By partnering with influencers, you can reach these younger audiences and encourage them to support your causes and steward them to become life-long donors.

How Nonprofits Can Work with Influencers

Nonprofits can work with influencers in several ways to promote their causes and raise funds for their organizations. Here are a few ways you can collaborate with influencers:

  • Sponsored posts – Nonprofits can partner with influencers to create sponsored posts promoting their cause or event on social media. These posts can include a call-to-action for followers to donate or purchase tickets to attend their event.
  • Social media takeovers – Nonprofits can have influencers take over their social media accounts for a day or a week. The influencer can promote your cause and give their following a closer look into how they can help support your mission and impact their community.
  • Event hosting – Nonprofits can invite influencers to host events promoting their cause. This would be a great opportunity for committee recruitment. Not only are you building your committee, but you would be broadening your donor base as well. 
  • Event personality – Nonprofits can invite an influencer to attend or even emcee their fundraising event. Aligning your organization with a familiar face in the community can bring a fresh new aspect to the event.

Working with an influencer brings a fresh approach to donor procurement and can open a lot of new doors for a nonprofit. Jump on social media and see who is making an impact in your community, they just might be a perfect fit to partner with you!

What to Look For In An Event Software

Blog Post by: Krista Elmore

You’ve made your preparations, carefully strategized ticket prices, and are ready for an incredibly successful event day. So the big question is, how will you capture all of your event sales quickly and efficiently?

Ideally, you’ll have an event software that can capture all of your pre-event and event day sales in one comprehensive system. As you’re exploring different platforms, I’d suggest considering the following:

  • Donor Software Integration – Does it easily integrate with your donor software system? Many programs do not necessarily automatically integrate with your donor software system, but they will allow you to capture the same information, export the data, and import it into your donor software with minimal disruption.
  • Ticketing – Be sure to select a system that allows you the flexibility to create different ticket types at different price points, has a user-friendly interface for guests when purchasing those tickets, and will allow you to capture the necessary contact information for each guest.
  • Revenue Packages – Is it easy to add all of your event revenue packages, from sponsorship levels with their associated ticket allocations to raffle and auction packages? How easy is it to track and add those sales on the day of the event? 
  • Bid Numbers – We’re big fans of bid numbers per guest/couple over here at STUDIO 4Forty. Does your software system allow each guest or household to have their own assigned bidder number? How easy is it to assign that during registration?
  • Mobile Bidding – While using mobile bidding for silent auctions was growing in popularity already, the pandemic really made mobile bidding a necessity. Now, many nonprofits implement this fundraising tool to great success. Is mobile bidding offered through the software, and if so, can you send text messages directly to your guests to encourage them to bid?
  • Registration & Check Out – Take a tour of the user interface for registration, entering sales, and check out to get a feel for how user-friendly it is. You’ll likely have volunteers of various skill levels and familiarity working registration and check out at your event, so be sure that your chosen system is easy to navigate. We want the registration and check out process to be as quick, simple, and efficient as possible. 
  • Keeping Credit Card Info – This goes along with the necessity of bid number association. Make sure your event software can swipe a guest’s credit card at registration and keep it on file (securely) throughout the event duration. This will make entering sales quick, will allow guests to purchase or bid without having to pull out their credit card each time, and will expedite your post-event sales batch to close out your event.

Want to know our favorite event software? Email me at and I’ll connect you to the best!