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Communicating with donors

3 Communication Tips to Increase Donations to Your Nonprofit

Donors expect a personalized and streamlined experience, not just a mass newsletter. Engagement tools can make this a reality.

I bet you have some donors or constituents who open all your emails. And I bet you have some donors who don’t open any, and others who are this close to unsubscribing if they get just one more email from you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a communication strategy that accounted for these three types of donors and everyone in between? A strategy that engages donors about what they’re interested in, rather than pushing them away?

With a strategy like this, you could make a significant contribution to your nonprofit’s fundraising initiatives. How? Even the communications that aren’t about fundraising are vital to engaging your donors or pushing them away. And with the right communication strategy, you’ll advance your ultimate fundraising goals.

To help you fund your projects and further your cause, here are three communication tips to help you maximize donations to your nonprofit.

1. Communicate on a Data-Based Schedule

Effective fundraising communication takes its cues from donors’ behavior. Just like everyone else, your donors are busy people who expect a certain level of personalization in their experience. On top of that, a personalized experience can make them feel more engaged, inspired, and appreciated, which in turn can encourage more donations.

Tap into data that can inform your decisions about their interests and ensure you’re reaching out to them not only with personalized content, but at the time when they’re most likely to find it valuable.

Personalized Communication Gets Results

The truth of it is there’s a direct connection between personalized communications and improved business results. Although the stats below aren’t specific to nonprofits, they show that people are motivated to action through personalized and segmented campaigns. What more could you want?

  • Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10% [Aberdeen]
  • Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue [DMA]
  • Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates [Experian]
  • Marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns [Campaign Monitor]
  • 81% percent of consumers want brands to understand them better and know when and when not to approach them [Accenture]

How to Get the Data You Need to Personalize the Donor Experience

So now that you’ve seen the effects, let’s get back to how you get this data. This type of responsive communication needs data to work. If you have the right software, you can harness the data you need.

Your constituents are giving you data all the time. This is how big companies like Netflix create personalized recommendations – they track what shows we click on, how long we watch them, whether we watch them on our phone or laptop or TV – and you can use this same principle in your communications. And it’s not just for big companies. Nonprofits can do this too.

Engagement software like online communities and marketing automation have the tools you need to understand your donors’ interests and habits. As potential donors click around your website, your software can track where they lingered, what articles they read, and so on.

Is it starting to become clear how this impacts fundraising?

With this online activity data available to you, you’re much more ready to send relevant communications to donors. You’re at the point where you can use online activity to identify a donor who’s ready to donate.

Expert Tip: Give people a place to gather online, like an online community, where they can learn more about your organization. Include videos, blogs, or podcasts on projects and efforts taking place. Pictures and testimonials can also be compelling, as can peer-to-peer discussion forums and networking options that give your constituents and donors a way to actively engage.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

2. Nurture Your Donors with Automated, Personalized Campaigns

To shift gears slightly, let’s talk through donor retention. You’ve got your personalized, relevant communication strategy all set, and it’s time to apply this strategy to keeping your donors and encouraging them to give again.

As you communicate with donors in a personalized way, on their timing, use these campaigns to encourage them to give again. How does this work?

Example: Events

Let’s say you have donors interested in your live events. You know this because of their online activity. Maybe they’ve shown their interest through participation in your online community, or maybe they’ve clicked on email links about event registration and visited your event webpage.

Since you know these donors are particularly engaged about your event, it’s your chance to create a tailored, automated campaign (a series of emails on a certain topic where you can track engagement) with special content and offers tailored just for them. Make the intent of your communication fostering your constituents’ and donors’ involvement.

Not only are these campaigns scalable, reducing the workload burden on staff, but they’re also repeatable. You can try them out for things like onboarding new donors, re-engaging donors, or finding volunteers.

Expert Tip: Look for people who regularly visit specific project pages. These people may not want to make a general donation, but they may be interested in channeling their contributions to a specific area. Reach out to see if they’re willing to help fund that specific initiative. Tailoring your outreach with a personalized approach will go a long way toward securing a partner and contributor.

Read more: Create the 3 Most Common Automated Campaigns in No Time

3. Put Your Donors First: Prioritize a Positive User Experience

As you communicate with donors, think forward to the final piece of communication they see before donating: the online donation form. This is a place where streamlining is essential.

Make Navigating the Online Donation Process Easy

Even your most dedicated supporters will give up if you make them jump through hoops to donate. Simplify the process and make giving easier by adopting these three tactics.

  • Streamline – Reduce the effort constituents make by asking only for essential information on donation forms. This may include name and address, as well as preferred donation method. Anything your organization doesn’t need should be optional. You can even add pre-set ‘recommended’ donation amounts (in addition to letting donors fill in their own amount) to make it a little easier.
  • Prepopulate Forms– With the right online community, constituent database, and fundraising software integrations you can set forms to prefill with names, addresses, and other information. This only works when a constituent is already in your database, but it makes repeat donations much easier for your loyal supporters.
  • Add Recurring Donation Options– Add a checkbox to all your donation forms that automatically sets up recurring donations for your supporters. The most common option here is a monthly, where donors choose to ‘make this a monthly donation’. This is a quick and easy way to keep constituents involved and maximize your fundraising efforts.

Great Communication is the Foundation of Great Fundraising

Donor communication needs to be more than a mass newsletter, if you want it to make a difference on your fundraising. Your audience expects a personalized and streamlined experience. The good news is that engagement tools can make this a reality.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Elizabeth Bell

Elizabeth Bell is the Content Marketing Manager at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.