6 Key Drivers for Donor Engagement

Let’s talk about donors. Your organization needs them to survive and thrive, they’re an essential part of the nonprofit ecosystem, but how do you attract new donors (and build relationships so they become returning donors) over the long-term? There are a lot of causes out there, which means a lot of places for people to choose to donate their money. How do you attract audiences passionate about your cause and instill them with the confidence that YOU are the RIGHT CHOICE?

To help you out, we’ve put together six tips to help you attract, engage, and re-engage your donor base.

1. Personalize All Outreach and Communications

Developing one-one relationships with every one of your donors may not be possible due to resource constraints, but you should still strive to personalize communications as much as possible. Break donors into segments or demographic buckets and tailor outreach accordingly.

For example, older demographic cohorts may prefer direct mail calls-to-action over social media calls-to-action. Look for ways to group audiences based on issue areas, past engagement history, and communication channel preferences. 

2. Always Remember Your Thank You Communications

Expressing gratitude for support is a fundamental pillar of donor engagement. Donors want to know their gifts are making a tangible difference and feel appreciated. Provide them with critical impact metrics illustrating how their donations are helping to further the cause.

3. Keep Engagement Consistent

Communications don’t need to be lengthy, but they should be consistent throughout the year! Fundraising experts will often recommend a minimum of 12 “communication touches” per year per donor. This helps keep your organization top-of-mind without overwhelming the donor (and potentially putting them off) in the process. Consider sharing impact stories to remind them of the difference their support makes.

4. Host In-Person and Virtual Donor Appreciation Events

While thank you communications and impact storytelling are a great way to keep donors engaged and enthusiastic about your organization’s mission, nothing galvanizes the sense of community and significance behind your efforts than an in-person or virtual event.

This is an opportunity to celebrate donors, foster community amongst stakeholders, and remind them why they are committed to supporting your organization. Invite stakeholders involved in your work to share program highlights and successes, and paint the picture of what future good things can be accomplished through continued support.

5. Stretch Goals and Challenges

Setting a fundraising stretch goal is a healthy competitive challenge to deepen relationships and camaraderie in your stakeholder community while ultimately increasing giving. Try experimenting with stretch goals for specific, short-term initiatives with clearly communicated wins/unlocks at the end. Examples of possible stretch goals include:

  • Matching. Encourage donors to make a one-time gift with a matching incentive.
  • Doubling or tripling donations. Create a challenge to double or triple donations, especially reoccurring donations, for a given period.
  • One-timers becoming recurring donors. Encourage one-time donors to become recurring donors.
  • Spreading the word. Have donors reach out to their personal networks and encourage friends and family to make a first-time donation.

6. Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media channels provide your donor audiences with an easy way to stay engaged and follow your organization’s brand story. You can also activate your followers to reshare and repost content, which is a great way to amplify your message to your current donor audience as well as reach new potential donors.

By utilizing these six tips and tapping into your donor audiences in new and captivating ways, you are sure to see growth in donor engagement. Want to learn more about donor engagement and how to stay in touch with your donor base? EarthShare has you covered. Check out some of our other available content to take an even deeper dive and learn more about becoming an environmental Nonprofit Partner.

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