4 Easy but Effective Ways to Go Above and Beyond for Donors

By susanlienau | February 27, 2019 | Philanthropy Operations

Your organization depends on your supporters to continue the good work you do every day and embark on new projects. It’s easy to state the importance of developing lasting relationships with your contributors and to understand the value of those who are most committed. However, it’s not always obvious how you can facilitate stronger connections during the fundraising process itself.

Every interaction your organization has with your supporters provides you with an opportunity to connect with them, just as it provides them with an opportunity to support your organization’s continued work. Don’t miss out on these valuable opportunities! We’ll show you how you can:

  1. Offer your donors multiple ways to give.
  2. Recognize donors with organizational merchandise.
  3. Learn more about your donors to personalize your communications.
  4. Engage your supporters at a community event.

Long-term relationships with contributors are key to your organization’s continued success. Let’s take a look at the ways in which you can encourage, facilitate, and recognize giving to form these lasting partnerships. The first way to help your supporters is one of the easiest: provide them with multiple giving options.

1. Offer your donors multiple ways to give.

Want stronger relationships with your contributors? To the best of your organization’s ability, try to personalize your outreach to individuals and let them make the decisions as to which giving options work best for them. Supporters will be more motivated to give when they can do so using their favorite methods.

As more and more of our time is spent online and on our smartphones, online and mobile giving are only becoming more popular. Text-to-give, a variant of mobile giving in which supporters text an assigned shortcode to your nonprofit’s designated number to initiate the giving process, is an even more convenient method that a variety of nonprofits are embracing.

You can save contributors even more time by saving their personal and payment information when they make their first gifts using your online or mobile giving tools. This saved information effectively creates an account for each supporter, without the added steps of creating and remembering a username and password.

When your nonprofit provides your contributors with online and mobile giving options, you’re showing them that you understand their busy lifestyles and value their time. A comprehensive online fundraising platform offering all of these giving methods allows your supporters to give on their own terms. If you’re interested in expanding your online giving capabilities, Snowball Fundraising has more information to help you choose the perfect platform for your nonprofit.

Recurring contributors are likely to show a preference for one giving method over the others. This is useful information to record in your donor database in anticipation of your next campaign or fundraising push, as you’ll be able to reach out to them and encourage giving via their preferred channels.

Supporters who give repeatedly are some of the best individuals with whom your organization can form strong relationships. Recognize them for their efforts with organizational merchandise that makes them feel good about giving and spreads the word about your nonprofit’s valuable work.

2. Recognize donors with organizational merchandise.

Everyone loves receiving gifts! Your supporters will be thrilled when you recognize them with products showcasing your nonprofit in return for their gifts. Organizational merchandise makes your contributors feel accomplished and creates an opportunity for them to share their enthusiasm for your organization with others!

Looking for the perfect item for your product fundraising effort, next event, or as an acknowledgment for your most active supporters? T-shirts are fun to receive and have the added bonus of spreading the word about your nonprofit whenever and wherever your supporters choose to wear them. With the help of a design platform, they’re easy to create and a great way to express your nonprofit’s work in a creative way.

Organizational merchandise is appealing to your core of dedicated supporters, whose engagement with your nonprofit has been consistent, as well as your newest members just beginning their involvement with your cause. Looking for the perfect places to distribute organizational merchandise to your supporters? Try providing it when they:

  • Attend your events
  • Give on your website
  • Give at or above a predefined giving level
  • Volunteer with your organization

With creatively designed, high-quality products that they’ll love to wear and use, your nonprofit will be able to show your contributors how much you value them. They’ll also help your organization spread the word about the great work you do.

Your supporters will be most eager to share your organization’s mission when they have a good understanding of the work you do on a daily basis and know that their gifts are contributing directly to your cause. It’s important to remember that strong relationships can only form when your organization knows as much about your supporters as they know about you.

3. Learn more about your donors to personalize your communications.

If you want to attract and retain supporters, it’s essential that you reach out to them as individuals, using the most effective channels and communication strategies for different groups. To gather the information you need, your organization can conduct prospect research to learn about your supporters’ demographics, giving histories, capabilities of giving, and more.

Your fundraising team can conduct prospect research on your own or with the help of specialized software that compares the information already stored in your donor database against additional databases containing more comprehensive philanthropic and wealth data. Using prospect research software like that offered by DonorSearch, your organization can augment your existing donor data with relevant information such as:

  • Their histories of past giving to your organization and others. The primary indicator of whether a contributor will give to your organization or not is whether they have supported you in the past. When you communicate with these contributors, thank them for their previous support. Prospect research data can also tell you whether your contributors have given to other nonprofits with missions similar to yours in the past. You’ll want to reach out to them as well.
  • Their hobbies, interests, and other types of involvement with charitable causes. If your supporters regularly volunteer with nonprofits, express support for a cause you share, or are otherwise involved in supporting charitable causes, they may want to contribute to your organization. This prospect research information is also valuable when your nonprofit is searching for more volunteers.
  • Wealth markers. Including such information as real estate value, stock holdings, business affiliations, and political giving history, wealth markers can help your organization identify supporters with the capability to make significant gifts. Business affiliations are particularly useful, as they create the potential for corporate sponsorship or matching gift opportunities. Wealth markers can also help you determine the appropriate size gift to ask from any supporter.

Whether you decide to conduct prospect research on your own, using prospect research software, or with the help of a consultant, ensure that you screen everyone currently in your donor database, as these are the individuals to whom you are already connected. You can also use prospect research to reach out to potential new supporters.

To make the most effective use of your prospect research data and other information in your donor database, ensure that your organization keeps the data clean and organized, adding in new contributors and updating contact information according to your supporters’ habits and preferences.

When your organization engages in prospect research, you learn more about why your contributors support your organization, how they want to be contacted, and how much they can be reasonably expected to give when they make their contributions. They will appreciate your organization’s interest in their individual reasons for supporting you, encouraging them to give.

Prospect research is a great way to get to know more about your supporters, but it can be equally useful for your organization to meet them in person. Your organization can interact with them face-to-face by hosting a community event.

4. Engage your supporters at a community event.

To meet your supporters in person and showcase the good work your nonprofit does in your community, consider hosting an event. Inviting contributors to an event helps them get to know your organization better and leads them to associate your nonprofit with a fun activity.

Plan ahead to ensure that your event is one your attendees will love. Use your donor data to help you determine the perfect type of event to host. If many of your supporters have small children, for instance, consider a family-friendly event on a weekend, especially if your cause is family-oriented.

A different group of attendees may prefer the party-like atmosphere of a dressier evening occasion. Consider your nonprofit’s mission, the time of year, and the resources available to you in addition to your supporters’ preferences as you plan your event.

Want to ensure that your event runs smoothly? Consider choosing a nonprofit event management software solution to help you register attendees and collect additional gifts as event guests become motivated to contribute. When choosing your event management software, you’ll want to look for important features such as:

  • Registration and ticketing capabilities. Depending upon the nature of your event, ticketing can be a great way to register attendees and gather supporter information for future communications. If you’re choosing to sell tickets for your event, choose event management software with this capability. Whether you sell tickets or not, ensure that the platform you choose makes registration quick and easy for your supporters.
  • Online giving options. Online and mobile giving are popular ways to contribute because they’re convenient and can be used anywhere. Choose event management software that offers your supporters multiple online giving options, including those (such as text-to-give) that they can use at the event when they feel inspired.
  • Branding and customization. Consistent branding on your website builds trustworthiness in your organization and strengthens your relationships with supporters. Ensure that your event registration page and any additional giving pages feature your organization’s familiar color scheme, logo, and other branding elements.

With a well-chosen event type and the right event fundraising software, you’re sure to make your supporters happy and engage them more closely with your organization’s mission. The addition of easy online and mobile giving methods will also encourage further contributions.

When you engage with your supporters on a personal level and acknowledge them for their valuable contributions, you’ll form lasting partnerships with individuals who care sincerely about your work. Your organization will be able to count on their continued support, and they’ll know that they are supporting a nonprofit that values their concerns and interests.

Building and strengthening relationships with your contributors is essential to securing their continued support. When you communicate with them as individuals and recognize them for their contributions, your organization is sure to encourage future engagement.

Author Bio

John Killoran is CEO of Snowball, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites.  John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years.     When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

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