What Nonprofit Donors Want To See in Your Marketing and Social Media
Nonprofit donors have become very sophisticated in the information age. So many opportunities exist for them to do social good, that they've become much more discerning. For instance, as we know, late last year, some users and nonprofits made moves to leave Facebook because of the lack of trust. That changes up fundraising on Facebook if you use it.
What's happened is that we live at a time of immense transparency and authenticity because of the way data is consumed. Donors could hold nonprofits and their leaders accountable if they realize something isn't quite right. Therefore, in this time of easy communications, you want to ensure quality and value marketing and social media.
Here is what your nonprofit donors want to see in your marketing, especially your social media. By keeping these things in mind, you'll increase engagement — the fundamental metric for all your online marketing — and, ultimately, your fundraising revenue.
What Donors Want From Your Nonprofit
Your nonprofit may do quite well with small donors. For example, the average online donation to nonprofits is $177. And while that’s great, according to the Blackbaud Institute, 29% of first-year, off-line donors gave the following year again. That's a bit on the low side, wouldn't you say? And the average retention rate for multi-year gifts is 59%. Better.
So, what does it mean as it relates to marketing? Simply, it means that maintaining a relationship and presence with your donors is essential. In other words, they have to see you, and you have to be seen wherever they congregate. By doing so, you increase your chances of them supporting your cause when they feel like donating.
Therefore, you always want to ask yourself, what is your nonprofit doing to engage your prospects and donors?
The Importance of Transparency and Loyalty
The donor relationship is at the core of every nonprofit's work. Nonprofits must be open and transparent with their donors. It begins with fully setting up your profile on your social media site. Make it easy for donors to contact you, respond to your posts and see an event calendar. When a nonprofit connects with its donor on social media, it's a matter of building and maintaining a relationship — beyond just the donation.
The most important thing you can do is be a thought leader and continually provide insights and commentary on essential topics to your donors. It’s necessary because your donors want meaningful, credible connections with you and your organization's leaders. And that's why you must provide timely responses to their questions and comments.
So, all those times as the marketing executive that you find yourself with loads of notification, but so many other priorities, remember that responding remains essential. In fact, the chances are that there's nothing more important than communicating for every question or comment made because it's how to keep your supporters engaged. And when people are engaged, they're more likely to respond when you request financial support.
How To Attract a Donor's Attention
If you know what your donors want and how to deliver it, you can increase your outreach and fundraising revenue. However, if you don't know how to deliver the message your donors need, you can turn them off. Realizing and internalizing this idea is critical because donors likely have several organizations they support, and you want to be one of them.
Donors are very selective about what they will contribute. They want to know that they are making a real difference to the organization. They also want to know how their dollars will make a difference. More specifically, how their gift will help advance the organization's mission and where it will go to make the most significant impact.
Therefore, it can't be said enough; you have to demonstrate impact. In other words, you have to share qualitative stories with your audience of supporters about the people you serve and even your team members. But, you also have to give donors facts and stats. How much have you raised? How many people have been served? What’s the cost per capita? These are just some questions people want to know.
How To Grow Your Nonprofit Audience
There are two critical components to increasing your donor base:
1) Creating engagement
2) Generating donations
In fact, engagement is the top metric that you want to measure in marketing. Think of it as digital gold. The more you engage, the higher visibility your brand obtains. And the greater the visibility (because of responsiveness and insightful thought leadership), the higher the opportunity for donations. In short, people want to be a member of a winning team. And if you demonstrate success, people naturally want to become a part of the magic.
A Secret to Learning Why Donors Engage With Your Nonprofit
A nonprofit may have high social media metrics (likes, shares, clicks, followers, etc.) but few donations. The two are usually related, but when you ask donors why they donate, it's always the same answer: "Because I support your mission."
So, if you have high engagement but low conversions, take the time to get information. For instance, when a donor engages with your content, why not ask what brought them there in the first place? Were they inspired by an article you published? A video you shared? A campaign? You can then see if you need to adjust your marketing to grow donations.
Do Right by Donors, and They'll Donate to Your Cause
Nonprofits are under constant pressure to be cost-effective and efficient, and often cut costs to get the most bang for their buck. Donors want to feel confident in your nonprofit and that you're providing good value. You need to be a good steward of their dollars, along with your nonprofit leadership team possessing the right competencies for success.
Your marketing needs to show that you do a lot to support your cause, address the mission’s needs and respond to your donors' needs. Donors want to feel your authenticity, and they want to know your brand's life story — how you got where you are and why they should support the organization. Do that well, and you'll increase engagement and convert supporters to donors.
Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising and brand strategy. As the chief marketing officer at Funds2Orgs and Elsey Enterprises, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands and manages national campaigns for her clients. She hosts a monthly webinar with Funds2Orgs, teaching nonprofits how to make an impact with their social media strategy. Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.
Kristy also contributes monthly to her NonProfit PRO blog, “Marketing IRL.”