Eight Ways to Engage Donors While Raising Funds
Whether the mission of your organization is to raise awareness, support a cause or help find a cure, raising money will always be a major need. For nonprofits, finding and keeping donors is one of the essential keys to success. But donor retention is not always easy. A good way to increase your donor pool is to examine your constituents and identify those already invested in your organization. Your activists are therefore key fundraising prospects. Follow these basic guidelines and expand your donor list significantly.
1. Identify your goals. Develop an image of what success looks like and determine how you will measure your progress. This not only aligns your employees with the cause, it serves to define an attainable objective. A clearly recognized goal will drive your entire campaign and define your messaging.
2. Evaluate your communication and voice. Identify the proper tone for each audience based on their level of interaction. Test your messaging over time and find out what works and what doesn’t. Keep your messaging focused and personal.
3. Communicate your goals. Keep your objective front and center in your communications. Your audience needs to know what you’re trying to accomplish and how they can play a role in that accomplishment. This doesn’t require endless repetition; it simply means to clearly and consistently communicate your primary goals.
4. Reward supporters for your organization’s successes. Keep your rewards simple and easy to manage. Remember that they don’t have to be financial, but should be appropriate to your cause and your supporters’ interests. Many organizations offer tokens of appreciation to supporters after successful efforts, such as financial campaigns that meet dollar goals or activism campaigns that produced the desired number of responses and/or result. Rewards can be as simple as posting a story about someone who made on difference on the Web site, hosting a thank-you event, or magazines designed specifically for contributors and unavailable by subscription.
5. Guide your audience through the process. Tell them what you want them to do and ask them to do it. In this world of information overload, it has never been more important to provide an easily understood list of action items to your audience. Help them find the direction you want them to go, i.e., your donation site.
6. Refine your messages. Make sure your message is asking prospects to give a gift, not just show support. Go back and review your communications — are you asking for general “support” or financial donations? Are you asking your audience to “help you air an ad” or are you telling them what their gift will enable? Make the appeal specific to a donation instead of an action. Also make sure you are tailoring your messages to each audience.
7. Use interactive tools. Use technology and online navigation to your advantage. Have your action pages push to donation pages. This helps guide your supporters through the transition from activists to a financial donors.
8. Remember the real goal. Make it clear to your supporters that raising money is not a sole purpose, but rather a means to an end. Stressing what donated funds will help accomplish keeps your supporters tied to the mission and engaged in your success.
Jon Thorsen is vice president of professional services for Kintera. He can be reached via www.kintera.com