3 Hot Tips to Engaging Donors Year Round

You’ve worked hard, really hard, to find new donors. But if your nonprofit is like most, chances are you’ll lose the majority of those first time donors within a year. Why aren’t groups retaining arguably their most engaged segment?

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It’s not that supporters don’t have money to give – according to the Blackbaud 2014 Charitable Giving Report, online giving grew a formidable 8.9% in 2014, with online fundraising increasing its share to 6.7% of total giving.

The issues organizations face are complex, but for many groups, the problem lies with not having a plan and execution experience for multi-channel engagement which leverages new tools like social data. There’s also the issue of sheer competition. Nonprofits (and businesses) are sending more emails than ever. According to Luminate’s Online Benchmark Report, nonprofits sent 72% more email and saw a 25% dip  in conversion rates in 2014.

This article outlines some of the key ideas that digital leaders Wendy Marinaccio Husman of Donordigital and Roz Lemieux of Attentive.ly, will share on our webinar “Engage Donors Year Round with Social Data.

3 Tips you’ll hear on our webinar:

1. Start with Stewardship.

Donor engagement starts with gift stewardship, which is where most people are lost. Start with the obvious obvious … are you sending a thank you email and email welcome series? Is it good? Would you open it? What happens on your website right after someone enters their CC and makes the gift? Are you sending a thank you letter? Do you ever talk to them again after that?

Have you followed your donors on Twitter? This is an easy action you can take now with every donor. Here’s what Attentive.ly client Project Hope told us happened to them when they tried this, “We’ve never seen so many donors thank us for following them on Twitter – it was very exciting to see that level of donor engagement!”

2. The best time to ask for a sustainer donation is right after someone has joined as a single gift donors.

This plays in to stewardship perfectly because you’ve built momentum with your extra attention. Send a triggered stewardship series to new donors with a sustainer ask within 3 weeks of a single gift. Consider how brand new donors will be welcomed differently than those first-time donors who have been on the file for a while. First time donors will already have received your typical welcome series, so you don’t want to replicate that content. Yet both groups are perfect targets for a sustainer ask.

Below is an example of an email Donor Digital created as part of a welcome series for the Children’s Health Fund.

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3. Send appeals based on how donors are talking about your campaigns on social.

In addition to sending a triggered email series based on a timeframe, considering using social data to send automated emails that are based on social mentions. The goal here is to send an email trigger within hours of key social mentions. In this way, you can nail the right message/time/person by sending content within hours of your donor talking about one of your program areas.

For example, as soon as a donors says “ebola” — or mentions the issue they donated with, they get a personalized email asking for a second gift.

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After this webinar you’ll feel empowered to shift your existing fundraising strategy with actionable ideas, knowledge of what’s working for others, and a better understanding of the best tools to get the job done.

Attentive.ly drives engagement with your campaigns by turning your existing audience into advocates.

Jeanette Russell
About Jeanette Russell

Passionate to engage stakeholders to solve technical and political issues through transformational initiatives. My deep understanding of technology, partnerships, marketing, advocacy, fundraising, nonprofits, startups and self-directed nature is my brand. I’ve created extensive partner networks, coalitions, spearheaded innovative campaigns and significantly increased revenue/funding for purpose driven ventures.

Posted in Fundraising, Nonprofit

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