In today’s competitive, 24-hour media cycle, people are bombarded by appeals to support charities and causes around the world. As more and more data is captured about consumers’ demographics and activities, it’s becoming easier and more common to target donation requests to specific tastes and interests. So how can your nonprofit compete with the slick marketing and social media campaigns of large organizations in order to attract new donors?
1. Refine your marketing
Your marketing should motivate people to donate, take action, and spread the word about your cause. It’s important to step back and evaluate what impressions donors have of your organization and determine if your marketing is really communicating what you want and need it to.
When you’re reaching out to donors is it 100% clear why you want their support? Are your goals and programs outlined in easy to understand and compelling ways? Make sure that potential donors understand exactly what needs your organization is filling and the impact of their gifts. Whether it’s on your web site, in email or direct mail solicitations, or social media campaigns, tell stories that engage people and show in real ways why their help is needed and the difference they can make.
2. Segment your current donors
Most people have very distinct preferences as to how they want to receive communications and how often they want to hear from you. Take a look back at who has responded in the past to your various solicitations. Are there donors that never respond to direct mail but act immediately when they receive an email? Great! You can save money and stop including those people in your direct mail campaigns.
You may also want to look at demographics like age, gender, and geography to determine if some strategies are more effective with certain groups of people. For instance, social media campaigns may be more effective with younger donors. If that’s the case, you can tailor your messages to connect with that demographic specifically rather than using general messages.
Creating targeted appeals based on past donor behavior instead of “one size fits all” campaigns can help improve your response rates.
3. Personalize the donation experience
In this age of social sharing, make it easy for donors to share their passions and experiences with their circles. Put tools in place that enable donors to talk about your cause in various ways, including their own reasons why they want to support to your mission. This could mean easy links to social media outlets, a forum on your web site, and even the ability for donors and supporters to post photos and videos. By making the experience personal and easy for donors to evangelize on your behalf, you can bring in more funds.
4. Let donors choose
Another way of personalizing the donation experience is to give people options for how their money is spent. This is known as directed or direct giving. Individual donors today are often less likely to give money to support general operations. Donors want to focus their support on specific projects or missions. For example, if your organization is focused on helping the homeless, donors could choose from providing money for meals, temporary housing, school supplies for children, or a new outfit for someone to wear to a job interview. The more specific you are in how money will be spent, the more engagement your donors will feel. When donors know that just a little more money could result in more services, they are often inclined to make more significant contributions.
5. Steward your current donors
The most likely donors of the future are those you already have. It is important to properly thank and recognize current donors so that they continue to feel engaged with the organization and will want to give again. It costs much less to retain one donor than to acquire a new one. Think about stewardship events and publications that can illustrate the impact of the donor’s gift and link them more closely with your mission.
Acquiring new donors takes time and resources but following these tips can make your efforts more successful.