Creating a fun and unique experience for donors can increase giving from an existing donor base more economically than spending the time and money to reach new donors. Social media and online interactions provide endless possibilities to engage your donors and make giving easy. Just think about the ALS ice bucket challenge. That was just one highly publicized social media donor engagement campaign.
Other nonprofits have done things like offering custom-recorded messages from celebrities, throwing ugly holiday sweater contests and parties, and creating virtual characters in online games for donors to purchase, with proceeds going to their charities. It’s innovative ways like these that enable nonprofits to energize and mobilize their existing donor base for profitable and supportive fundraising.
Making “Thank You” a Fun Experience
Thanking donors is a great opportunity to engage and entertain them, as well as encourage them to continue supporting your cause. Rather than just sending a letter acknowledging receipt of a donation, use that opportunity to create a memorable impression on your donors,
The days of the form letter thank you are over. In today’s media-rich, social network online environment, nonprofits have to take advantage of every opportunity to make an impression on the people who give them money and support their efforts. This includes saying thank you for donations.
So toss out the form letters and use postcards with recent photos of your staff working hard or a recent event instead. If you send an email thank you, include a link to a video message from your staff or clients who benefit from your nonprofit. You could even make your thank you an invitation to tour your facilities or to attend a free event. And don’t forget about social media – it’s easy to post a thank you to all your supporters in a status update after an event or fundraising drive.
Content is King
Does your nonprofit organization have a blog? If not, you are missing out on another huge opportunity to engage your existing donors, keep them informed of your organization’s progress and activities, and encourage them to give more than just one time. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter updates, YouTube videos, and articles for the local newspapers may not take as much time and expertise as you think, and the return on investment is powerful.
A weekly blog post about your organization’s mission, staff accomplishments, or fundraising goals can help inform donors of your current work, your need for funding, and how giving can help your donors in tax savings. A video blog can also help acquaint donors with the people who use their support to have an impact. Finally, a blog from the executive director or board of directors helps donors understand the organization’s mission better from the people who set and implement it.
Make it Easy to Give
It’s important for nonprofits to make it easy for donors to give, and in today’s tech-driven world, that means online tools, widgets, and mobile optimization are more important than ever. A good place to start is with your website. If you have donation tools, or even simply accept donations through Paypal, your site should be optimized for mobile so it looks great no matter where donors are accessing it – whether from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
From there, look to social media and widget donation acceptance options (such as Google Wallet or Razoo) which allows repeat donations quickly. More robust tools like FirstGiving’s donation tool easily integrates with CRM, social media, analytics, and email tools.
Make sure your efforts to connect with your donors is an easy, fun experience that also informs them of things about your organization they don’t know. It pays to develop a relationship with your donors so they don’t just donate one time and move on. At the end of the day, you want to give them a way to have fun and learn new things so they want to stay and continue supporting your cause.