During the frenzied holiday season, your nonprofit likely acquired a number of new donors – congratulations! The sad truth, however, is that, according to recent national studies, for every hundred donors your organization gained last year, another 96 left.
Most nonprofits are always on the hunt for new donors but fail to pay proper attention to their current donors. Without care and encouragement, one-time donors will remain one-time donors rather than becoming repeat donors. Here are just a few ways your nonprofit can cultivate new donors to ensure sustainability.
1. Welcome Them To Your Organization
A donor’s first impression of your nonprofit is how you welcome them, so make it count! Send an email welcome series to new donors to foster engagement. Another option is to send new donors a welcome package with information introducing them to the organization and giving them an idea of what to expect from you. Plus, encourage donors to connect with you in other ways, like through social media or by subscribing to your e-newsletter.
2. Stay in Touch
Thanking a donor will likely be your first means of keeping in touch. Sending a thank you note is a given, but try going above and beyond. Calling a first-time donor, even for a reasonably sized donation, will make a lasting impression. Very few charities call donors, especially below the major donor level, so your phone call could mean the difference between choosing another organization and a second donation.
A phone call isn’t the only way to contact donors. You should begin a digital dialogue with a welcome series of emails, social media posts, digital messaging, newsletters and appeals – but not all at once! Plan a sustained and sequenced program of delivering new information about your nonprofit and stewardship success stories. These multi-channel contacts will help invite your donor into deeper engagement and subsequent contributions.
3. Ask Them to Get Involved
According to research, 43% of donors were volunteers first. Instead of asking new prospects for money right off the bat, try asking them to volunteer instead. Suggest a short-term commitment, such as running the registration table at an event, or ask them how they would like to participate. If a prospect doesn’t want to commit to volunteering, simply ask for their input or advice on your organization. They will likely be flattered that you’re interested in what they have to say!
4. Make It About Them
While it may be tempting to show off your nonprofit’s accomplishments, remember that none of it is possible without donors. Highlight your donors and what you’ve achieved thanks to their support, talking directly to them rather than at them. Use newsletters and custom emails to inform them about what their gift has accomplished.
Making your communications donor-centric will facilitate more donor involvement as well. Encourage donors to serve on committees, work with clients or take leadership roles, even small ones, as this involvement boosts the importance of your nonprofit in their minds.
5. Publicize Your Nonprofit’s Story
Donors who truly comprehend your nonprofit’s work tend to give more since they understand where the money goes and whom it helps. That’s why it is essential to let donors know how their gift made a difference. After an informational meeting or tour of your facilities, individuals should be able to explain how your efforts helped a specific person or family and how meaningful that is.
Social media is another essential way to build brand recognition. Broadcast your mission by sharing poignant stories, using relevant hashtags and interacting with your followers. The more people who hear about your organization, the more prospective donors who will reach out to learn more, volunteer or contribute.
Cultivating new donors is no easy endeavor, yet the journey is rewarding for all when you share what you believe in with others who want to engage and support your efforts. With the right strategies, communication tactics and sincere attention, your prospects and one-time donors will become invested and involved supporters.
If you would like to know more about donor cultivation, Summit Marketing can help you! We have over 30 years of partnering with organizations we believe in and expanding their multi-channel communications efforts to increase funding for their missions.