When running a nonprofit organization, there’s no such thing as too many donations. Your donors are the lifeblood of your organization. Their contributions help you to do the good work you do and help the people you help. Without them, your operation simply cannot function. Yet, getting donors to part with their hard earned money can be a challenge, especially in these economically uncertain times. We live in an age where donors are growing increasingly fickle, and who can blame them? They have more demands on their time, attention and money than ever before. As the cost of living rises and more brands, products and services clamber over one another to grab their attention — on social media and in the real world — nonprofits face a steeper uphill struggle than ever before.
The key to regular donations is donor engagement. The moment that your organization or your cause ceases to resonate with them is the moment they cancel their direct debits. The moment being a donor seems too difficult or too thankless is the moment they withdraw their support. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase donor engagement that are neither costly or disruptive to your operations. Here are 5 suggestions which can aid any charitable organization.
Today’s donors are busier than ever. They work hard and for long hours and their every waking moment is filled with some brand or other trying to get their attention and separate them from their money. As such, they appreciate brevity and transparency. It’s tempting to “bury the lede” and obscure your “ask” behind a veil of pleasantries. Still, this could impede engagement rather than helping it.
Don’t shy away from your “ask” or be afraid of it. Your cause is worthy and your expectations are reasonable. Don’t be afraid to put your “ask” front and center in your online presence and in your personal interactions. Not only do people appreciate your openness, it brings them face to face with the urgency of the cause.
We live in an age where convenience is king. The digital era hasn’t just brought the world to our doors, it’s put it in our pockets. Today, we expect everything, from ordering a pizza to choosing a new kitchen, to be quick and easy.
Thus, if you don’t make it quick, easy and convenient to donate, your prospective donors may be less likely to engage with you. Make it easy to contribute in a range of different ways. Accept donations via cash, card, direct debit or services like Apple Pay. Encourage them to use apps like CoinUp which allows them to send change from e-commerce transactions to your organization.
As noble as your cause is, a macro perspective is rarely the best way for potential donors to view it. As a society, we are conditioned to respond to stories. Stories help us make sense of the world around us and engage feelings of empathy.
Thus, to engage your donors remember the power of one. Tell one person’s story or focus their attention on one example of how your organization has helped an individual overcome their adversity. Don’t be afraid to use pictures, emotive language or personal testimonies. This approach is more likely to engage them emotionally. When you’ve elicited an emotional reaction, donors are much more receptive to the facts and stats.
Peer pressure, when used properly, can be a good thing. Some donors will be happy and proud to donate in a social vacuum. Others will feel better about donating if others in their peer group are also donating.
This is where your social media presence comes in. Show donors other people in their peer group who have engaged with your organization and some of the good that they’ve done. Not only will they realize that they are not alone, they might be inclined to up their game to demonstrate their kindness to friends, families and colleagues.
Finally, one of the most effective things you can do to engage your donors is also one of the most simple… Give your thanks! Help your donors to feel appreciated. Show them the good work that’s being done with their donations.
We live in an age where greed and selfishness are treated like virtues. We’re conditioned by advertising and social media to believe that we are the center of the universe. When someone gives their hard earned money to a nonprofit organization, they’re voting with their wallets for a better tomorrow. And if that’s not worth at least a thank you, what is?
Having trouble engaging your donors? We can help. From graphic design to direct mail and more, we’ve worked with many nonprofit organizations to get their message to potential donors. Contact us to learn more!