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7 Strategies That Will Elevate Donor Engagement

Published: Aug 15, 2018

The best way to build up a steady stream of donations lies in building and maintaining donor relationships. Because once donors connect and engage with your organization, they are likely to contribute again.

The value that a retained donor brings to your organization is immense in the form of recurring donations and as loyal advocates for your cause. And the easiest way to go about retention is through donor engagement.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your donor engagement, look no further. Here let’s look at 7 strategies to elevate donor engagement.

Include a Call to action (CTA)

One of the main reasons that supporters don’t act is because they’re never asked to. If donors aren’t sure of what the next step is, the chances of them engaging with your organization reduce

To increase engagement, include a compelling CTA to all your posts and landing pages. This way you can build trust and better relationships with your donors.

Your CTAs don’t have to be donation asks, there are other ways to engage your supporters to build lasting relationships with them.

What you can include in your CTA:

  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Follow your social media accounts
  • Ask people to volunteer or attend an event
  • Take part in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
  • Share your posts with friends and family
  • Signing a petition Visit your nonprofit’s website

Avoid adding multiple calls-to-action to each piece of outreach as they can confuse and distract donors.

Get active on social media to elevate donor engagement

Most of your donors, especially millennials, have a social media presence. And with the amount of time people spend on social channels, it’s important for your nonprofit to play an active role in that area.

Social media is a great tool for you to be visible to donors. Through this channel, you can show your donors what your organization has accomplished with donations.

You can take a multi-platform approach and target a specific audience with each social channel.

Present information that educates viewers about your organization and its work. The information you post must be able to evoke an emotional response and viewers must be able to connect with it.

Remember, social engagement is key to elevate donor engagement. So up your social media game and stay active!

Send out a newsletter according to donor preferences

Besides sending campaign emails in your fundraising efforts, newsletters help in boosting communications between your nonprofit and its supporters and is a great tool to strengthen donor engagement and communication.

Sending a newsletter helps drive traffic to your website, brings in potential donors, and keeps your supporters engaged with your mission, whether you have a campaign going on or not. Besides, it also updates supporters on what’s happening with your organization.

And it keeps the conversation going on between you and your donors. It also shows you value their involvement in your organization and cause.

Make personal phone calls to major donors

Other than sending emails and thank you cards, having personal conversations is the best way to elevate donor engagement.

So, pick up the phone and thank donors for their contributions. Express gratitude and let them know you appreciate their contributions.

Personal phone calls also give you the opportunity to understand the donors motivations, which in turn is incredibly valuable for donor cultivation.

Gail Perry explains this really well,

Each conversation with your donor will reveal more about them and help you develop a personalized cultivation program

Gail Perry

To make calling easier, use a phone banking software that also allows you to take notes during calls to get more insights on donors and donor preferences.

To make a real impact, you can have your CEO or chairperson record a voice message and broadcast it to all your donors.

Plus, making phone calls or sending voice broadcasts takes only a few minutes and is a cost-effective way to engage with donors.

Send out text messages to current and lapsed donors

SMS campaigns are among the prevalent method of communication, and you’re missing out on an opportunity if you’re not using this method to communicate with your donors.

So, how to get started with texting?

You can use several services to send out messages to your donors. Similar to an email marketing platform, the SMS marketing software lets your organization send out mass texts to all donors. You can use the software to have personalized conversations as well.

Personalized texts have the possibility to be interactive and is an excellent technique for engaging with donors.

You can use texts to:

  • Provide donors with information and news about your campaigns or projects
  • Send out reminders to donate, volunteer, or register for an event
  • Give live updates about your events or campaigns
  • Encourage donors and supporters to complete an advocacy action
  • Encourage recurring donations
  • Collect vital donor data

Read Next: 3 Pro Tips for Driving Donor Engagement and Boosting Revenue.

Host events for donor engagement

While digital communication is an excellent way to engage donors, nothing beats personal interaction. Besides making phone calls, hosting events is a good way to interact with your donors.

Hosting events helps in fundraising efforts and has several other benefits such as:

  • Establishing a better rapport with donors: face-to-face interactions helps your organization build personal relationships with your donors and keeps them invested in your organization.
  • Knowing your donors better: by having long conversations with donors, you’ll know how they feel, and you can hone donor engagement down the line.
  • Making donors feel appreciated: hosting exclusive events according to your donor preferences will make them feel special, appreciated and recognized, which encourages them to contribute more or give recurring donations to your organization.
  • It’s fun: be it a luncheon, black-tie, a silent auction, or a concert, events are fun. When your donors have a good experience with your organization, they’ll think positively about you and will indeed boost engagement.

For maximum donor engagement, host a fundraising event or an exclusive donor engagement event to coincide with one of your social media campaigns or other efforts.

Implement a membership program

Membership programs can boost engagement. With such a program in place, major donors won’t just show support by making contributions to your organization but also makes conscious choices to identify themselves.

Because your organization determines what the membership program will offer donors, it has plenty of engagement opportunities built in.

The engagement opportunities you offer members depends on your organization. For example:

  • Send a newsletter with exclusive content and ask them to share it
  • Provide volunteering opportunities
  • Host member-only events
  • Give special tickets to your fundraising events
  • Provide opportunities for members to meet like-minded people

Create peer-to-peer campaigns

Peer-to-peer fundraising helps you engage your donors and supporters through social media and grows awareness for your cause.

It is an excellent form of engagement as your organization comes in contact with people who don’t know about your cause and would have never reached you otherwise.

Benefits of running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign are:

  • It’s one of the most proactive forms of donor engagement
  • Helps your organization expand its reach as you make use of donor data and your major donors’ networks
  • Takes the stress off fundraising and helps you raise more money

These are just a few tips on how you can not only build a better donor experience but also elevate donor engagement.

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