Analyze when, where, how and how often you communicate with donors.
“Let donors tell you,” Germain says. “They might be very interested in subscribing to your Twitter feed and not receiving lots of mail at their homes. Give them a choice. Let donors tell you how to communicate with them so you can do so effectively. The more involvement they have, the more they feel that you’re being responsive to them as an organization, the more they’re likely to continue to support you.”
Germain cautions that it may be different for different donors. More and more people are giving online and doing research about nonprofits online, “but overall the giving that organizations are getting from online transactions is really still a pretty small percentage — although it’s a rapidly growing percentage of their gifts,” he says. “So you have to balance all these media. You can’t forget that older donors may not be on Facebook, may not be on Twitter. But certainly as a charity you have to be looking at the up-and-coming generations, and you have to go where they are.”
“In terms of involvement, not all donors can contribute significantly financially, but many of them will be glad to contribute their time,” Germain says.
Obviously, it’s wonderful if you can get both donors’ time and money, but sometimes people can do more on one side than they can on the other.
Remember, “any involvement is good. It keeps people engaged, and as they mature, their involvement might change,” Germain says.
For instance, donors may start to involve their friends or family in the organizations they support. They may mature from volunteers to donors to both. And as they mature and pass along that passion to those around them, that passion is communicated from generation to generation.