Nonprofit Partner Post

4 Ways to Improve Donor Engagement

Online Giving is Up

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Why is getting your donors to upgrade such a difficult task sometimes?

Getting your donors to upgrade should be at the top of the list for your fundraising program, but upgrading isn’t as simple as just asking your donors to give more—it’s about fostering your relationship with them and becoming an organization that they trust and are inspired to donate even more to.

Having a good membership management system and implementing the tools and functionalities that it provides is a great way to start. Here are 4 ways to increase donor engagement and encourage your donors to upgrade:

1. Tie down a good process for thanking your donors.

Donors will be generous if you show them that they matter to your organization. You can show them this by immediately thanking them for gifts they made in the past, and also detailing what exactly it was that those gifts helped your organization to do. You can do this by sending them an email, giving them a phone call, or even just mailing them a card that you’ve personalized. These actions will inevitably encourage your donors to be faithful to your organization and give more the next time they have an opportunity. Jay Love, Co-Founder and CEO at Bloomerang, discusses some great guidelines for writing donor thank you letters. He goes over the flaws he’s seen in the way that many organizations manage and write their donor thank you letters, and then discusses a list of things that should be included in it, emphasizing that adding emotion to your letters is important. When you simply structure your thank you note as more of a receipt than a thank you, you are less likely to form a relationship with your donor.

2. Practice continuous donor outreach.

Constantly foster and improve your relationship with your donors. If you are putting the time and effort into the relationship, and making them feel appreciated for their gifts and assuring them that they have a relationship with you, you can count on them continuing their donations and increasing them as well. Write them handwritten notes, keep in touch via email, call them up, and make sure that not all of your communications are about asking them for money. Donor surveys are a great way to reach out as well—Simone Joyaux details some great questions to ask your donors when you’re surveying them. She discusses how finding out the donor’s satisfaction with your organization’s service is important, how important the work of your organization is to your donor, and how much they trust you to use their money to undertake the work that you are doing.

3. Put on exclusive events.

If you want to upgrade your donors, singling them out by inviting them to private events will make your donors feel important and valuable to your organization. The events put on by the Nonprofit Cultivation Center in Boulder County are good examples of this type of event—they offer talks and workshops on a variety of different topics that pertain to both members and donors alike.

4. Show the outcome of their most recent donation.

Make sure that you mention the results of their previous donations. Detail for them what you’ve been able to do with their money and how it has directly benefited your organization, and what their continued and upgraded donations would mean. Spell out your future plans, what sum you hope to raise, and how every bit counts. Frank Barry from Blackbaud talks about how showing donors how their money is used will have a big impact on donor engagement—he talks about how important it is to tell your donors what you’re able to do with the money that they’ve donated, and to express your gratitude for their generosity.

Have any more tips on good ways to upgrade donors? Add them in the comments below!

Merrill Capterra

About the Author: Leah Merrill is a Software Analyst for Capterra, where she specializes in helping membership administrators find membership management software. When she’s not helping associations and nonprofit organizations find the right software on the Capterra Membership Management Blog, you’ll find her reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends. Follow Capterra for membership management and nonprofit news on Twitter @CapterraMemMgmt.