Increasing donor engagement is a vital step to retaining donors and converting small donors into larger ones. It is always more cost effective to cultivate your existing donors than it is to procure new ones. Here are seven steps you can take to increase your donor engagement.
1. Collect (Correct!) Information
Information collection and management is your number one way to keep donors engaged. A quick way to lose a donor is by addressing your fall appeal to her deceased (or divorced!) husband. Keep your database properly maintained and updated by professionals.
2. Say Thank You
Thanking your donors in a timely and genuine fashion goes a long way. Not only is it a legal requirement, but it also gives you a chance to make sure that they know exactly what kind of work your organization is doing with their gift.
3. Treat them like Professionals
Donors are real stakeholders in your organization, and you should give them real, meaningful information whenever possible. However, there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Lose the jargon, but do publish (either electronically or traditionally) annual reports that highlight your financial position and work.
4. Be Honest
There’s no excuse for lying to donors about anything, but even misrepresenting your program or financial numbers is a quick way to lose a long time donor. Donors want to help, so it’s important to be truthful and forthcoming when any problems arise. Getting out ahead of the story is always a positive move.
5. Schedule your Outreach
Creating a communications calendar for reaching out to your donors, and then sticking to it can provide excellent results. Your goal should be to reach out to your donors once a month across the 12 months.
6. Use Peer Pressure
Using current donors to increase donations in a peer-to-peer campaign works in two ways. First, you bring in new donors, but secondly, you increase the engagement of your existing donors by putting your trust and the trust of the organization into them. Using any kind of peer to peer campaign is always a great move.
If your organization has a thriving Facebook page, but no real direct mail strategy then you should consider branching out. If you do six direct mail campaigns a year, and no events, try adding an event for your new fiscal year. The more ways you reach out to donors, the more donors you are likely to reach.
We hope that you will choose to implement at least some of these techniques in the upcoming year. Making even one of these positive changes can engage more donors than ever before, and an engaged donor is a happy donor, and a happy donor is a donating donor!