How NFPs Can Develop Better Relationships With Donors And Boost Donations


Posted on

November 22, 2017

The online space can be a confusing place to navigate. With all the software, apps and platforms out there, lack of information isn’t your biggest enemy, it’s information overload.

Because of this, we’ve put together 4 simple things you can do online to boost donations and develop better, long-term relationships with your donors (potential future donors).

1. Capture contact details of potential donors and volunteers, both online and offline

Whatever methods you are currently using to get donations and people potentially interested in your NFP organisation, you should always collect their contact details and ask for their permission to contact them regularly.

This applies to both online and offline methods – the reason is because most people are not ready to make a financial commitment upfront. They may however be willing to do so in the future, once you have built an ongoing relationship and helped them understand the importance of your mission.

Without their contact details and permission, this relationship would be impossible to develop. At the bare minimum, you should be getting their names and email addresses then putting them into a CRM system like Mailchimp. Email is a great way to continue contact with your donors/potential donors as it can scale up at low cost. The downside is that your message will have to be crafted very carefully to cut through the clutter in their inbox.

To get people’s contact details online, you could have a pop-up form or a drop-down banner on your website that asks them for their name and email if they are interested in your cause. Always begin with the benefits that the subscriber will get if they subscribe to your newsletter. Benefits could be staying up to date with upcoming events/fundraisers or receiving inspiring and motivational stories.

Additionally, if possible, separate the list of names and emails you have collected by those who have donated and those who haven’t. We need to do this because the message you send out to current donors should be tailored completely differently from the messages sent to non-donors.

Donors should receive messages that bolster loyalty, show them the positive impacts of their donations and make sure they continue to be aware of your cause.

Non-donors should receive messages that are focused around raising awareness of your organisations missions and inspiring stories that will make them take action.

If you need assistance with integrating a CRM like Mailchimp into your website, please get in touch with us.

2. Contact your subscribers regularly

Like anywhere else, consistency is key. We recommend that you send out short weekly e-newsletters with inspiring stories, upcoming events etc. However you can contact them more often, as long as you have something interesting to say.

An easy way to generate great content is to interview your organisation’s team members, volunteers and donors – how they got started, what inspired them and so forth. Everyone has a story to tell and stories are a great way to engage with your subscribers.

Also make sure to mix up messages between those asking for donations and content that simply raises awareness. This is because no one wants to be spammed with emails asking them to part with their money. A good ratio to shoot for is approximately 70-80% awareness-type messages vs. 20-30% financial-commitment-type messages.

Always make sure to have just 1 call-to-action (CTA) in every email you send out. CTAs can be asking for donations, sign ups to a fundraiser event, asking for feedback and so forth. Simply put, a CTA asks the user to take some action.

Also be sure to avoid having multiple different CTAs as this will just confuse the reader and lower response. However you can have the same Call-To-Action scattered throughout your email. This tends to work well because different people will respond and take action at different points of your message.

For example, we have several CTAs in this blog post that leads to our contact page. However, also note that we are not sending you elsewhere to an eBook we’ve written, or to our Facebook Page etc., we are focused purely on starting a discussion with you.

3. Post regular content on your website

Blogging is another medium you can use that is cost-effective and can help generate awareness around your organisation’s mission.

You can use your website to post articles, news or upload videos for your readers to stay updated.

The great thing about blogs are that, if they are “evergreen” (i.e. content that is fresh and relevant, regardless of when it is read) you can link new email subscribers and direct them to your older blog posts. This essentially allows you to “re-use” old content (because it’s still relevant and good). Newer subscribers likely have not had a chance to read your older posts, so its a good way to give them engaging content, without having to create more work for yourself.

If you need help setting up a blogging platform on your website, please get in touch with us.

4. Differentiate your organisation from other NFPs

Let’s face it – there’s a lot of NFP organisations competing for attention and money from donors. The only way to cut through this clutter is to differentiate your organisation from the rest, then amplify this differentiation through email, blogs and any other medium of communication you are using.

This differentiation is called “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition/Point) by marketers and it applies to NFPs even though you aren’t “selling” anything. You need a USP because of the amount of competition that is out there trying to get the attentions of potential donors.

Your donors have limited financial resources and they have to make the decision on where to commit their money to. But persuading them to choose your organisation over the rest is an almost-impossible task to do (persuasion is even more difficult online as you are not face-to-face with them). At the end of the day, they will choose who to donate to based on their own personal values, not based off what others are pushing onto them.

However, what you can do is, get your USP in front them and let them know how your organisation is different – if your mission and message resonates with them strongly enough, they will choose to support your organisation.

Here’s some example USPs for non-profit organisations

  •   Specific people your organisation helps that no one else is helping
  •   The way your organisation is structured
  •   How your donations are used differently from how other NFPs use donations

Lastly, if you’d like consultation with any of the above topics we’ve mentioned, please get in touch with us – we do a wide range of work with NFPs (not just Web Design) so we may be able to offer some assistance.

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