Educate Your Potential Donors
Nonprofits – no matter how big, small, well-known, or new-on-the-scene – should not expect potential givers to know their mission and core values off the top of their heads. It’s important for nonprofits to educate potential donors before asking for their money; people are more inclined to give when they know where their hard-earned money is going.
Your nonprofit likely already has a meaningful origin story and employees with an endless passion for the cause – be sure to tell your purpose and sell it! Educating your potential donors through thoughtful storytelling can help them relate to the cause and start fostering a relationship between the donor and the nonprofit, which can lead to repeat donations.
What to Consider When Educating Donors
· Highlighting successful programs your nonprofit implemented with the funds raised.
· Sharing personal stories of people who were positively impacted by your nonprofit’s work
· Including transparent explanations on your donation page, next to your donation form, of what each donation contributes.
4 Ways to Ask for Donations for Your Nonprofit Fundraising
Once the potential donors are up-to-speed on your purpose and have expressed interest in learning more or helping out, it’s time to make the ask. And since hosting a nonprofit fundraiser is one of the most successful methods for raising a lot of funds for your cause, we put together this list of useful tools that will help convert your community of supporters and website visitors into donors.
Organize a Nonprofit Fundraiser
As we mentioned above, nonprofit fundraisers are a great way to attract more donors. Many nonprofits host various fundraisers throughout the year, ranging from small, grassroots fundraisers to massive campaigns that exist on a global scale. Nonprofit fundraisers include peer-to-peer fundraising, crowdfunding, and online auctions, to name a few. Nonprofits should focus on the type of fundraising experience and personal storytelling technique while also considering ways to incorporate online giving into an in-person fundraising event. (Hosting virtual events is a great way to target specific donor personas.)
Use a Well-Crafted Donation Form
In today’s digital age, online donation forms are a great way for nonprofits to easily solicit funds from donors. Donation forms are digital tools used to collect donor information to process a donation. To personalize the giving experience, nonprofits can invest in technology that allows them to customize donation form questions and fields – such as an option to make the donation a recurring gift, or implement suggested donation amounts – while maintaining the look and feel of the donation form through branding.
Incorporate “Donate Now” Buttons Throughout Your Site
To make donating even more convenient, nonprofits can incorporate “donate now” buttons throughout their site. Once a donor clicks the button, the donation form will pop up for easy completion. Donate Now buttons should be clearly visible on your nonprofit’s site without intruding on the user experience. Donation forms and Donate Now buttons simplify and speed up the donation process.
Thank Your Community for Donating to Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser
One of the most important part of attracting and retaining donors is to always thank them for their charitable contributions. Showing gratitude to donors via considerate donation thank you letters or emails is a surefire way to promote repeat giving. Thanking donors goes a long way toward cultivating lasting donor relationships and is a key part of successful donor retention programs. Here are some simple but sincere ways to show appreciation for your donors:
· Include a thank you note in the donation confirmation page after a donation is made
· Send a personalized thank you email that doubles as a confirmation/receipt to thank them for their donation
· Write a handwritten thank you letter (prioritize this after a second donation, on the anniversary of their first donation, around the holiday season and/or during your Giving Tuesday campaign)
· Thank donors on your social media platforms and be sure to tag them
· Create a donor spotlight page on your website to profile your most active supporters
· Host an annual or semi-annual donor appreciation event, either in-person or on a live stream
Why Do Donors Donate to Nonprofit Fundraisers?
Every donor has a reason – a story – behind why they give. It’s wise to listen to these personal anecdotes to better understand what motivates people to contribute to a cause. With this insight, you can personalize your messaging, increase donor engagement, and raise more funds.
Donors are Mission-Focused Altruists
It’s not surprising that many donors are simply trying to give back and support their local community and causes across the globe. It gives donors great pride and joy to be a part of a mission that is bigger than themselves. Altruistic donors are helpers and problem-solvers with idealistic visions of a better future. These selfless givers should be the main target audience of any nonprofit.
Donors Trust Your Nonprofit Fundraiser
For donors, it’s also vital that they trust the nonprofit they’re supporting. Nonprofits must gain donors’ trust; in fact, according to a recent Give.org Donor Trust Report, 63.9% of respondents rated the importance of trusting a charity before they give as a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. Strategically thinking about why your nonprofit exists, what problem(s) you’re addressing, and the direct impact of donors’ funds helps to build credibility for your organization. Trust, transparency, and effective communication are key aspects of any fundraising campaign.
Donors Enjoy the Social Aspect of Nonprofit Fundraisers
What’s more thrilling and rewarding than helping a cause via raising funds for a nonprofit you care about? Doing it with friends and family! We are all social creatures who love building long-lasting relationships. Peer-to-peer fundraising events – like walks, runs, rides, digital campaigns, and DIY fundraisers – are a great way to encourage teamwork and fun while giving back. Giving is inspirational – when we see our friends getting involved with a charitable organization, we follow their lead.
Donors Are Personally Affected by Your Cause
Whether it’s the donor themselves or a close family member or friend who is intimately affected by the problems your cause is determined to solve, those with a personal connection are likely to want to become part of the solution. Their proximity to the issue at hand extends to their network of family, friends, and coworkers, who often give as well.
By investigating the personal reasons why donors give, you can tailor your fundraising campaigns to attract and retain these donors. In a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, nonprofits must learn to engage with donors virtually. Acknowledging digital donors’ reasons for donating in the first place can help customize email campaigns, website copy, and social media posts to keep them inspired and involved.
Why Do Donors Stop Donating to Nonprofits?
Just as every donor has a story behind why they give, those who don’t give/put their giving on pause – or stop giving entirely – likely have a specific reason behind their actions. Pay attention to any potentially deterrent activities you might do inadvertently that could drive donors away from your nonprofit fundraising so you can quickly remediate them as soon as possible.
Here are some key reasons why donors stop donating to nonprofits:
You’re Over or Under Communicating About Your Nonprofit Fundraising
Communication is everything, and these days, if it’s not clear, customized, and compelling, it might as well not happen. Donors grow frustrated when nonprofits reach out too often or too infrequently, for example. By spamming donors with emails, texts, written mail, or a combination of the three, donors are quickly turned off by the incessant requests for donations.
On the other hand, if your nonprofit doesn’t reach out enough, your request can get lost in the shuffle. Finding a happy medium for how much to communicate with your donors will help you maintain a healthy donor roster.
Donors’ Financial Situation Changed
For many donors, especially repeat or monthly givers, sustaining their donation over the course of their lifetime becomes costly. When certain situations arise – such as buying a house, starting a family, putting children through college, unexpected hospital bills, and more – they might have to pause their recurring donation.
Whether they decrease the amount or frequency of their donations or stop altogether, it’s important for nonprofits to stay in touch with the donor. Don’t burn any bridges – you never know when the donor could come back!
Donors Feel Like They’re Being Taken for Granted
A simple Thank You goes a long way. Donors are altruistic, generous people who give their hard-earned money to support your cause. But, if the donor feels like he or she is being taken advantage of, ignored, or not appreciated, they may call it quits. Nonprofits have the obligation to thank their donors, early and often. In fact, nonprofits should send notes of gratitude to their donors more than they solicit donations. Make sure your donors know how valuable they are to your nonprofit by thanking them.
Lack of Transparency
It might seem like an obvious, but communicating where donor are going is sometimes overlooked by nonprofits. Transparency and accountability are key to establishing trust with donors to ensure their continued support. Think about it – would you continue donating to an organization if you had no idea how your money was being used? Unlikely. Your organization should make it easy for donors to stay updated on your progress and a part of that is providing them with details on how and who they are helping with each donation. Share with your donors how their support specifically helps the cause.
Donor attraction and retention for nonprofits can be tricky, so nonprofits must take extra care that they don’t participate in any of the above fundraising faux pas to avoid deterring donors.
How to Reach Donors in the Digital Age
Traditionally, many nonprofits collect checks and cash from in-person fundraisers, which is then deposited and distributed according to the organization’s mission. In a world where everyone is glued to their screen in the palm of their hand, it’s important to meet donors when and where they are connected and provide other options to donate, including mobile giving options. In the previous section on how to attract more donors, we discussed how utilizing online donation forms and incorporating Donate Now buttons throughout your site are two quick and convenient ways to engage potential donors. We’re taking that one step further to examine the best ways to reach digital donors on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.
Reaching Donors through Social Media
The advent of social media changed the way people consume and share content, engage in social activities, and entertain themselves as we know it – as well as how nonprofits fundraise. Now, virtually every potential donor spanning all locations and generations is consistently active on various social media platforms. Nonprofits should be aware of which groups of donors prefer which channels, such as:
· Facebook being a source primarily for Gen X and baby boomers
· Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter being preferred platforms for Gen Z and millennials
Remember donor personas? Your team can research and discuss internally which social media platforms your ideal donor prefers and, therefore, how to pursue them. Social media is a powerful way to reach digital donors – 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, with 59% of that group donating money.
Incorporating a social media strategy to attract donors, is now a standard engagement and retention plan for reaching new and existing supporters as you drive them to your online giving campaigns. Although some social media tools have digital donation capabilities directly integrated into them, you may want to consider sticking to your own digital hub and events for donation drives. This is because most social media platforms with donation capabilities do not share crucial information with nonprofits to help them grow their fundraising programs, such as donation totals and donor data. Without this information, performing an analysis of your campaign is impossible.
But, utilizing social media to drive traffic to your donation campaign is a bonus that boosts digital donations. Also, communicating via posts and “shares” helps you recruit volunteers, engage with your target audience, and promote your brand and mission. And the more people see their peers promote their charitable giving on social media, the more likely they are to donate themselves.
Maximizing the Use of Fundraising Apps
Fundraising apps are similar to social media but allow for even more control over and customization of the look and feel. 81.6% of Americans, or 270 million people, own a smartphone today.. With that, many potential donors are on their smartphones daily, downloading and using various apps. It’s a no-brainer that nonprofits should leverage mobile apps in their digital fundraising efforts.
Learn how FrontStream can help you attract more digital donors