Donor Engagement After Disaster

by | Nov 3, 2017 | 1 comment

Development directors are almost always thinking about how to improve donor acquisition and retention – and for good reason, as nonprofit organizations continue to compete for the attention of donors. The issues of donor acquisition and retention are particularly pressing during disaster relief fundraising. Disaster relief fundraisers are often able to secure large donations in a short period of time, yet struggle as they work to turn these one-time disaster donors into regular, recurring contributors.

As a result of the recent hurricanes, high response rates to appeals from across a wide range of social and economic demographics have provided many non-profit organizations with a lot of new supporters.

During a recent conference hosted to address disaster donation concerns, another topic arose that has begun to reshape the thinking of many in the nonprofit world. It’s the topic that centers around how to turn newly acquired donors into engaged fans of your nonprofit’s mission. This accelerated loyalty campaign can be a tough nut to develop, but it’s imperative that nonprofits pursue this path to gain valuable information about what motivates a generous and potentially devoted audience.

Appeal to a Donor’s Values

It’s important to remember the enduring value of a donor giving to an organization. In many instances, individuals responding to an appeal for a donation during a natural disaster may not have heard of the organization previously, and if they had, it was during the last earthquake, flood or hurricane. Disaster donors simply want to make a positive impact on the lives of others during times of emergency and disaster. The ability to understand a donor’s intent is imperative in making a lasting connection.

Start a Dialogue

Many organizations don’t strategically continue specific disaster stewardship conversations with new donors who have given financial support to a disaster appeal. However, for nonprofits that do nurture dialogue, the impact their donation made can be sustained. Developing and implementing multi-channel communications strategies with each donor based on their initial gift level enhances the organization’s ability to effectively identify specific times to engage and how frequently.

Maintain a Relationship

Donor engagement activities cultivate relationships with donors, giving respect to their decision to give and to the reason they give, whether for a natural disaster or a local ongoing need. Organizations can improve donor acquisition and retention by using tailored channels of communication and frequency levels. Additionally, content should educate and engage each donor and inspire him/her to continue giving at a level with which they are comfortable.

Using Summit Marketing’s donor engagement strategies to determine communication strategies will help your organization enhance the lifetime value of your donors as well as impact the dollars they contribute. When it comes to successful donor acquisition and retention, a tailored donor engagement strategy based on the specific targeted audience can make all the difference.


Seeing Disasters from the Donor’s Perspective

The American Red Cross – Middle/Major Donor Programs

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