Guest blog by Lomesh Shah, CEO of NonProfitEasy
Your nonprofit’s supporters help with everything from advocacy to donations, making them essential for maintaining high success rates for mission-oriented projects.
So how do you maximize donor retention?
Start with prioritizing donor engagement.
Use available technology to its fullest extent in order to retain your donors by maintaining high engagement levels.
Focus your engagement efforts not just on gaining but also retaining more donors.
More highly engaged donors will result in more reliable future donations for your organization’s next big project.
We’ve compiled 3 online donor retention tips that your nonprofit can use to maintain your all-important engagement levels. These tips include:
1) Save donor information in your CRM.
2) Maintain high levels of communication with donors.
3) Keep your donors involved with various campaigns.
If you want even more actionable tips like this, join me for a 90 minute live webinar, How to Create a New Donor Welcome System for Your Nonprofit Using Your Website, Email, and Social Media. Find the next date: https://hp156.isrefer.com/go/system/campbell/
Let’s dive into the first strategy for maintaining your donor retention.
1. Streamline Donor Information into Your CRM
You already know that the gifts your donors give to your organization is incredibly important.
But did you know you might be missing out if you’re not saving the other other vital information that they submit along with this donation?
When your donors give to your organization, they probably fill out a handful of questions before hitting the final “submit” button to give.
This information includes data such as the donor’s name, age, gender, address, etc.
This donor data can help you with future communications and appeals to engage these donors again.
Store your donor information in your nonprofit’s CRM software.
Each donor’s profile is buildable and customizable so that when you get new information about them, or their old information changes, you can ensure your data is up-to-date.
Look for a CRM that is paired with fundraising campaigns you often host. For instance, if your organization relies heavily on crowdfunding, you may consider a crowdfunding platform which also has a CRM software.
Check out Fundly’s CRM guide to read more about how this works.
Integrating your storage information with your fundraising software can help your organization to:
- Streamline your data storage processes. Integrated tech means you have less manual work to do in order to save and update donor information.
- Triggers automatic “thank you” emails in return for gifts. This can be done directly through your CRM technology to help build positive relationships with donors.
- Open up your fundraising appeals to a wider audience. Easing the process of data storage means your organization can focus its manpower on creating new marketing techniques to recruit more donors.
Once you’ve collected the donor data from your fundraising software platforms, your organization can use the information to better communicate with donors.
Use it to create more personal appeals to donors through your email campaigns and social media posts.
For instance, you may choose to reach out to donors eligible for matching gifts through your emails; or maybe you’ll highlight major donors on your social media pages.
We’ll talk more about maximizing donor communications in the next section.
2. Maintain High Levels of Communication with Donors
Another way to think about retaining donors and increasing engagement levels is that you are building a relationship with your donors.
Just like any relationship, you need to engage in active communication strategies to build rapport.
The communication strategies you need to worry about are those to recruit donors before they reach the donation page, convince donors to complete the donation process on the fundraising page, and continue the conversation post donation.
Communication to Recruit Donors
In order to retain donors, you need strong recruitment strategies to begin with. Be sure you set the conversation off on the right foot with effective donor recruitment.
Send descriptive emails or fundraising letters to prospects telling them about your upcoming campaigns.
You should guide them using effective language strategies from the initial point of contact until the donation is complete.
Take crowdfunding as an example.
Send out informative messages about the crowdfunding campaign through your letters, emails, social media, and other cold outreach strategies.
Tell them exactly what the campaign will fund, how it will affect the community, and where supporters can donate.
Communication During the Donation Process
Once prospective donors follow the link from your recruitment outreach, they will come to your fundraising page.
This fundraising page is where you should convince donors to complete the donation process.
Use descriptive language to include a short description of your campaign and mission.
For instance, for your crowdfunding campaign, you’ll want to write your organization’s story in your crowdfunding description.
This description shouldn’t be too long, but it should include your mission and campaign goals.
Try to keep it between 300 and 700 words.
To convince donors to complete their donation, you should frame your description around the future.
You can focus on the future of your organization’s projects, future donations, or immediate next steps.
Each of these strategies are explained further in the following examples:
- Future projects: Write a description of the exact project that the fundraising campaign will help fund. Let’s just say you have a crowdfunding campaign set up to help your organization buy new textbooks for a school. Use storytelling techniques to emphasize the need for the project and tell donors how they can follow your success.
- Future donations: Your online donation form should be customizable to include a recurring donation button. This button makes it easy for your donors to give to your organization on a regular basis without traveling to the donation page every time. This is a great tool to use while fundraising for your annual fund because it is an ongoing effort.
- Immediate next steps: Directly after the donation has been completed by your supporter, give them an immediate next step to follow through that will help then continue their engagement. For instance, after the donation is accepted, include a link to your social media page so that they can follow your organization.
Including effective communication during the donation process is incredibly important. This method opens up the lines for future communication or engagement.
After a gift is completed by your generous donor, your job isn’t done. Keep the conversation going even after the donation.
Make sure to send a follow up “thank you” message to your donors to show your appreciation for their gift.
Then, open up the conversation for future contact with the donor.
Let them know about the projects you are completing in the next few months or years.
This may be through individual or mass emails, or as a part of your regular email newsletter.
Finally, remember to send your annual report to donors at the end of the year.
Tell them about all the incredible things you’ve accomplished and how their donation helped you achieve it.
3. Keep Donors Involved with Various Campaigns
Different methods of giving are more appropriate for different types of fundraising efforts and different campaigns.
Knowing what tool to pair with what campaign, or what tool best appeals to which donors, can drastically improve your donor retention rates.
Start by considering the online giving processes you can make available to your donors.
Launch this research with Qgiv’s list of top online donation tools, then consider what offerings might be missing from your organization’s toolbox.
This toolbox will help prepare your organization for any campaign you may decide to launch.
Some of the donation methods you might run across in your research include:
- Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a great fundraising technique for a specific event or cause. Make sure you have a specific goal you’re trying to reach in your crowdfunding campaign. This is an incredibly easy fundraising technique for both you and your donors, making it an accessible for a wide audience.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising empowers your supporters to create a fundraising page for your organization to spread among their online network. This outreach is very effective on social media platforms, meaning younger audiences thrive when using this fundraising strategy.
- Text-to-give. Text-to-give technology makes it easy for donors to text in their donation amount to a preset number provided by your service provider. This is a great service for churches who want to expand their tithing options, event hosts to announce a method of mobile giving to guests, and as a part of your email outreach because so many people check their email from their phones.
- Online auctions. If your organization hosts auctions already, you’ll find it even more effective to move those auctions online. This makes it easy for everyone to bid, whether they attend the auction event or not. Plus, enabling donors to watch their desired auction onlines helps them to bid more frequently, maximizing donation amounts.
In addition to using the right fundraising tool for each campaign, be sure you are reaching out to your audience in a variety of methods to keep them involved.
You might include general information about your donation page on your everyday emails and website homepage; however, specific campaigns may be more effectively marketed through your social media pages.
No matter how you promote your fundraising, be sure to appeal to a specific audience of people and keep everyone involved with multiple efforts from your organization.
If they see that one campaign is to help build a new community center, but another is to help buy computers for the library within the center, the donor is more likely to want to help with both causes.
Recruiting donors is only the first step to your fundraising strategy.
While it’s important to get your communication strategies off on the right foot, be sure you’re also taking the extra step to retain the donors you do reach out to.
Recurring donations from the same donors helps reduce your cold outreach necessities, and helps to grow your organization’s donation base.
Armed with these 3 tips, you’re ready to get out there and retain more of your donors!
About the author: Lomesh has over 25 years of experience in international corporate leadership with a strong emphasis on marketing technology and data management systems. Lomesh has worked with small to mid-size businesses, privately-held companies and Fortune 500 corporations in various capacities; from sales and marketing to overseeing automation and re-engineering of processes and operations.
How to Build Your Nonprofit Email List Using Your Website & Social Media
Your email list is essentially the communicative lifeblood of your nonproﬁt.
Okay, that was a little dramatic, but seriously, your nonproﬁt needs a robust and plentiful email list to continue engaging your community and garnering support.
But how does your nonproﬁt go about building this active email list, you might ask?
Via your nonproﬁt’s website and social media proﬁles of course!
J Campbell Social Marketing has partnered with Elevation to bring you this free guide to building your nonprofit email list, using the tools that you already have!