5 Online Fundraising Best Practices to Retain More Donors
When it comes to perfecting your online fundraising strategy, nonprofits often focus on leveraging software to enable convenient digital donations.
Making giving easy for your online supporters is certainly important. However, if your nonprofit wants to bolster your online fundraising strategy over time, you need to take into account the way these software strategies can boost donor retention rates.
Not only can expert online fundraising practices help increase giving among your supporters, they can also be leveraged to retain more donors. This means your team can rely on more supporters to give more gifts to your cause campaign after campaign.
Retaining donors at your nonprofit begins by abiding by these key online fundraising best practices:
- Know which tools you’ll need to grow and retain donors.
- Perfect the giving experience for your donors.
- Offer supporters different ways to engage.
- Engage in expert donor stewardship strategies.
- Extend the impact of your community’s support.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive into these ways your team can start holding onto more donors!
1. Know Which Tools You’ll Need to Grow and Retain Donors
We all know that smart online fundraising depends upon having the right tools in hand to process donations from supporters.
But, did you know that these same tools can be part of your long-term donor retention strategy? Check out some of these ways you can leverage online fundraising software to boost donor retention rates:
- Invest in the right giving software. The more seamless your donors’ giving experience is, the more likely it is they’ll return in the future to give again. Take advantage of all your online giving software has to offer to customize intuitive donation forms and pages for your nonprofit that you can share with your community.
- Share event registration forms. Another way your team can hang onto donors is by making it easy for them to engage with your nonprofit at events. Specifically, you can implement event registration forms online to make it more convenient than ever for supporters to sign up for fundraising events.
- Offer peer-to-peer fundraising. Sometimes, past donors are unable or unwilling to make additional contributions to a campaign no matter how strong your stewardship strategy is. In these cases, why not steer them toward peer-to-peer fundraising? Turn supporters into fundraisers with this unique fundraising method.
- Implement digital marketing automation. Part of successfully retaining donors is maintaining a strong connection with them from campaign to campaign. With digital marketing automation software, your nonprofit can manage communications across channels and ensure that previous donors feel like members of your team.
The bottom line? The easier you make it for supporters to continue to engage with your organization, the more likely it is that they’ll want to keep giving to your nonprofit. For this reason, be sure to invest in the right online fundraising tools for the job.
2. Perfect the Giving Experience for Your Donors
Let’s expand on this idea. It seems pretty intuitive that when your supporters have an enjoyable giving experience, they’ll be more inclined to give again, right?
If your nonprofit is looking to retain more donors, then you’ve got to perfect your giving process. This starts by putting into practice the following expert strategies:
- Customize your giving forms. With the right fundraising software, your nonprofit should be able to fully customize your online giving forms and pages. With these tools, you can add images and videos; tailor the form to your brand; and include custom form fields to collect key donor data.
- Optimize forms for mobile. Since most of your supporters will access your giving pages with a smartphone, you need to optimize your form for mobile users. One of the top reasons supporters abandon forms before completing them or don’t return to give again is that the forms in question were too difficult to use on mobile.
- Add gift suggestion boxes. Another way to ease the giving process for supporters is to include gift suggestions boxes. These boxes take the guesswork out of giving by showing supporters exactly the kinds of donations you need to reach your goal. By doing so, donors are more inclined make another gift to your cause.
- Show how gifts will be implemented. Similarly, donors like to know how you’ll implement their gifts. On your giving forms, you can include brief information on how gifts at different levels will be utilized or include images of your constituency in action. This increases a supporter’s sense of connection to your cause and encourages repeat giving.
The bottom line? When giving to your cause is a positive experience for donors, everybody wins! Be sure to put into practice these giving form strategies to ensure the giving process is optimized for your supporters.
Bonus tip! These giving form best practices can also be applied to perfect your organization’s online petition form strategy. For more insight, check out Salsa’s online petitions guide!
3. Offer Supporters Different Ways to Engage
Part of having a robust donor retention rate is understanding the fact that if your donors only ever interact with your team when you’re making a solicitation, they’ll be less inspired to continue giving.
Luckily, there are many ways your nonprofit can engage with your community that aren’t solely based around solicitations. You can offer alternate engagement opportunities to your community by:
- Sharing advocacy petitions to spread the word about your cause.
- Extending invitations for supporters to participate in volunteer events.
- Holding fun networking and stewardship events (like galas and mixers).
- Engaging with supporters on social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter).
- Asking supporters for community feedback via online surveys.
- Emailing long-term supporters messages of thanks between campaigns.
- Encouraging supporters to fundraise on your behalf in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
The bottom line? However your team chooses to engage with supporters, adding variation to your interactions can help build a sense of authentic community. When you do extend solicitations to donors, they’ll feel more connected to your cause and more inclined to make a gift.
4. Engage in Expert Donor Stewardship Strategies
Something to keep in mind about strengthening your donor retention strategy is that hanging onto past donors depends upon smart stewardship techniques.
If your stewardship strategy is lacking, you’ll lose donors over time. Check out some of these best practices you can use to increase retention through good stewardship:
- Start by generating the right prospects. Before a donor can become a repeat donor, they are a prospective donor. Leverage prospect development strategies to build lists of strong contenders for giving. The more data-driven your prospect lists, the more likely it is these prospects will eventually become repeat givers
- Build rich donor profiles. Your team should also look to donor data strategies to better understand what makes donors tick. How can you utilize their affiliations, wealth information and other data to better tailor your asks? Be sure to build informative donor profiles in your CRM that you can return to to improve your retention efforts.
- Hold meaningful stewardship events. Stewardship events shouldn’t simply be bald-faced attempts at securing a gift from donors. Instead, they should offer something of value to your supporters, so they will want to attend them. Consider hosting professional development events or inviting influential guests to pique their interests.
- Segment marketing messages to different classes of givers. Automate your email and social media marketing by donor segments. For first-time donors, acknowledge that you appreciate their gift and hope they will continue supporting your cause. For donors who have a history of giving, your marketing should reference their pattern of support.
The bottom line? Smart donor stewardship strategies show your supporters that their contributions mean something to your team. With the right online fundraising software tools in place, you can bolster support and boost retention rates.
5. Extend the Impact of Your Community’s Support
When donors feel like their support makes a difference to your nonprofit’s mission, they’ll be more inspired to give and give again.
This is why your team should take a look at some of these ways you can extend the impact of their gifts with online fundraising technology. Your nonprofit can:
- Offer easy recurring gift opt-in boxes on your customized online giving forms.
- Empower supporters to become peer-to-peer fundraisers to help grow your community.
- Promote matching gifts by using a matching gifts database (like Double the Donation’s).
- Market volunteer grants to reward volunteers for their efforts.
- Share educational information on donation upgrades over the course of a campaign.
Not only do tactics like these help your team retain donors from campaign to campaign, but they’re also great strategies for securing that first gift.
Supporters are more likely to be converted when they know their gifts will have a far-reaching impact. Why not boost the reach of their first gift (or fundraising effort) and incentivize them to come back and give more?
The bottom line? When your nonprofit shows supporters how far their contributions will go toward your cause, this actually makes it more likely for them to contribute. For previous donors, this could be the push they need to decide to make another gift to your cause.
Holding onto your nonprofit’s donor community can be tough. However, when you put into practice expert online fundraising strategies, you’ll find that the same tactics that help you secure new givers will help you retain old ones.
Dan Quirk is the Marketing Manager at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Dan's marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.