How DonorsChoose.org Uses Zapier to Streamline Meetings and Email Campaigns
"Zapier saves me at least two hours for every mass email we send."Danielle Curtis, Senior Donor Relationships Associate, DonorsChoose.org
When you're overseeing weekly and monthly team meetings and managing email outreach to hundreds of people, it's inevitable that something will slip through the cracks. You're pulled in multiple directions at all times and inevitably, something will slip through the cracks. You might miss an important email response, neglect to pull metrics, or forget to put together an agenda for an impending meeting.
To avoid situations like this, Danielle Curtis, the senior donor relationships associate at DonorsChoose.org, a classroom funding site for teachers in the United States, uses app automation tool, Zapier. Using Zapier, Danielle created a network of automated workflows—called Zaps—to notify her and the wider marketing team of upcoming meetings and to save donor email responses in a spreadsheet.
These Zaps ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. The meeting facilitator can put an agenda together ahead of time, metrics can be pulled and analyzed before the big monthly team meeting, and that week's note-taker is prepared to jot down the important details. And because the reminder is posted in team chat tool Slack, everyone on the team can help hold each other accountable or chip in with the meeting prep. Plus, Danielle is able to review the spreadsheet of emails to be sure she didn't miss an important message from a donor.
Almost 20 years ago, history teacher Charles Best had a thought while making photocopies of Little House on the Prairie for his class: He and his fellow teachers spent a lot of their own money on their classrooms; there had to be folks out there who would help with the financial burden if they could see where their money was going.
DonorsChoose.org was founded that same year: The non-profit allows individuals and businesses to read about the projects teachers are doing with their students and donate any amount to help them achieve their goals. Since 2000, DonorsChoose.org has raised over $800 million for 1.4 million projects.
At DonorsChoose.org, Danielle develops relationships with their most donors, manages a small team, and tests and analyzes different approaches to donor outreach.
Zapier helps Danielle manage the more mundane aspects of her work—cataloging email responses in Google Sheets, reminding her and the team about upcoming meetings—so she can focus on the donors and those they help.
Danielle's Tools at DonorsChoose.org
|Slack||Team chat tool|
|Google Calendar||Calendar app|
|Google Sheets||Spreadsheet tool|
Automatically Manage Meeting Reminders and Email Responses
Danielle wanted to make sure her weekly and monthly team meetings went off without a hitch. With a few Zaps, she's able to align her team and the marketing team so that when a meeting rolls around, everyone knows the part they have to play. This helps cut down on any confusion around note-taking responsibility once the meeting starts: No one has to volunteer or be selected; everyone knows since the Zap posts about it in Slack.
There are two Zaps automating Danielle's reminders in Slack. The first reminder goes out when Danielle updates a row in Google Sheets. This row contains the meeting date, who will run it, and who will take notes for it. Zapier then automatically sends that information to the Slack channel.
The other reminder is time-sensitive: It triggers seven days before a scheduled event in Google Calendar. Much like the first Zap, this one sends a Slack channel message, detailing the date, time, and location of the next meeting. Danielle uses another Google Calendar > Slack Zap to remind everyone the day of as well.
But Danielle isn't only working with her internal team. She often emails large numbers of donors at any one time. Monitoring her inbox for every single response is tedious and prone to human error. So why not automate it? Now with Zapier, responses are sent directly to a spreadsheet where Danielle can read, search, and analyze at her leisure.
Danielle uses specific labels for each campaign in Gmail. When a response comes in with that label, Zapier takes the email's information and adds it to a campaign-specific spreadsheet in Google Sheets. With all the responses consolidated in an easy-to-navigate spreadsheet, Danielle's analysis is easier and takes less time to find patterns and notable information.
With Zapier at her back, Danielle is able to shave hours off her weeks. Speaking directly about her email response Zap, Danielle says it saves her two hours of work for every email campaign she sends. And that doesn't take into account the peace of mind she and the marketing team now have around their recurring meetings.
Want to find your own peace of mind and automate reminders and menial tasks? Give Zapier a try for free.
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All images courtesy of DonorsChoose.org.