5 Keys to Grow and Retain Your Online Donor File
In the upcoming December issue of FundRaising Success, our cover story explores how KaBOOM!, an organization dedicated to saving play by building playgrounds, leveraged a relationship with Groupon Grassroots, which activates citizenship and fosters neighborhood advancement through Groupon, to build its online donor file.
Here Amanda Foster, account manager at Salsa Labs — KaBOOM!’s e-mail and donor relationship management partner — provides five keys to grow and retain your online donor file that helped KaBOOM! reach its goals.
Target your audience
It’s especially vital when reaching out to new or prospective donors that your message is relevant to them. Thus, you must target your audience with the appropriate communications at the appropriate times.
“If someone is interested in slides and someone else is only interested in helping build swings for KaBOOM!, then you send people information about slides or swings as opposed to sending everyone everything,” Foster says. “Target your audience — that’s a big thing.”
Consistently keep your list up to date
You have to maintain your list and keep the data clean on a consistent basis if you plan to get the most out of your list and learn where and how you need to grow.
“Take off people who got really excited about an action three years ago and have never done anything since,” Foster says. “As long as you keep your list clean, it can be very, very successful.”
Thank new donors promptly
This is fundraising 101. Donors expect to be thanked and thanked promptly, especially new donors. Otherwise, they feel like the organization doesn’t appreciate them and probably won’t donate again.
“Put in auto-triggers so after someone makes a donation or completes an advocacy action or anything like that, it can automatically say thank you so much for supporting our organization,” Foster says.
For KaBOOM!, new donors were sent a message as soon as they made their donations through Groupon Grassroots thanking them, which was key in retaining the new donors KaBOOM! attained.
Find the right vendor
A vendor can help you sort out and manage your new donors and take some of the back-end work off your plate. However, it’s crucial that you partner with the right vendor.
“Look for someone who shares your ideals if possible,” Foster says. “At Salsa for instance, we only accept nonprofits and progressive campaigns.”
Foster says you should also look for the following when choosing a vendor:
- A platform that integrates all the components you plan to utilize.
- Affordable price for your budget.
- Ease of use.
- Support staff available when you need it.
“When starting out, it’s very, very important to give a clear description of what you’re looking for. That way you can make sure you’re getting matched with the right vendor,” Foster adds.
Utilize social media
Let’s face it, people — including donors — care a lot more about what their friends and families care about than what some charity is telling them. That’s why social media is so popular in the first place.
So it’s crucial to make it easy for donors and supporters to trumpet your cause through social media.
“Social media is huge. It’s another way to grow your donor file,” Foster says. “For instance, I’m friends with someone on Facebook and they care about something, and they say, ‘Hey, give to this cause.’ I’m more likely to give to it than if I hear it from a nonprofit that I don’t know as well as I know that person. That’s another huge thing, to make sure everything is shareable.
“We’re seeing that a lot more,” she adds. “People realize that in their own lives they give to what their friends care about. They are learning from their own experiences that it’s necessary.”