Guest Post by Jim Killoran, CEO of Snowball.
Your donors are your nonprofit’s heart and soul: without them, you wouldn’t be able to do half of the amazing things that you do. It’s because of their generosity that your nonprofit can provide the services that it does to your community.
You already know that it’s important to create and strengthen relationships between your nonprofit and your donors so that they remain a part of your community. How can you make it even easier for your team to do this?
Leveraging your online fundraising software to improve your donor relations is a great strategy to ensure that you stay in the forefront of your donors’ minds.
So what are the 5 best strategies for improving your donor relations?
Meet your donors where they are with different fundraising tactics.
Choose fundraising software that can integrate with your other programs.
Encourage your donors to get involved with peer-to-peer fundraising.
Keep track of donors’ communication preferences.
Segment your donors by donation styles.
By employing these strategies, you can optimize your fundraising and strengthen your donor relationships, all in one fell swoop. If you’re ready to learn more, let’s get started!
1. Meet your donors where they are with different tactics.
Your donors are all individuals, so offer them individualized ways to donate. Some people are more interested in fundraising events, some prefer donating from the comfort of their own homes, and even more favor a combination of different options.
So what are some different ways that you can encourage your donors to give in their preferred manner?
More and more people are accessing the internet primarily through their smartphones. Step up your nonprofit’s mobile giving game with specialized software like a text-to-give campaign. With this software, donors can simply text their donation to your organization.
Many people prefer giving via credit or debit card over cash or check now. Build a top-notch website for your nonprofit with an online donation form so that donors are able to give as they are willing, from wherever they are.
There are many other types of giving, too, but you can take the first step in strengthening your relationships with your donors merely through offering them a fundraising software that they actually like to use.
If you’re not sure which methods of giving will be the most popular amongst your donors, ask them directly! Reach out over the phone or via email, or send out a survey to your whole community.
When you communicate with your donors directly about their preferences, they’ll feel like your organization appreciates them more deeply. Then, they will feel more inclined to donate the next time that you make an ask.
2. Choose fundraising software that can integrate with your other programs.
Your nonprofit has a lot on its plate. Between creating and manifesting the projects that you use to improve your constituents’ lives, fundraising, maintaining your 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and making sure your donors feel loved, you don’t want any data to get lost in the shuffle.
That’s why your fundraising software should be able to mesh with your current system of programs and software.
One of the most important examples of this integrability is the relationship between your fundraising software and your CRM, or constituent relationship manager.
Without a smooth connection between the two, you could risk data not transferring correctly and losing out on a valuable donor relationship.
What sort of data should flow between your fundraising software and your CRM?
Contact information like name, email address, and home address.
Donation size and method.
Which campaign the donor gave to.
Method of giving.
This information, when stored safely in your CRM, can help you build a more robust donor profile. With the information you learn about your donors after their first donation, you can start to gauge what causes inspire them, their giving capacity, and how you can reach out to them again.
As an added bonus, if you collect email addresses as soon as someone makes a donation, you can immediately follow up with a heartfelt thank-you and some introductory materials to inform your new donor about your causes and other ways to get involved.
Fundraising software that works seamlessly with the other software in your technological ecosystem can increase your donations and strengthen your donor relationships!
3. Encourage your donors to get involved through peer-to-peer fundraising.
Asking for more than just donations can help strengthen your donor relationships.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fundraising strategy through which donors and other people dedicated to your nonprofit become fundraisers. They create their own peer-to-peer fundraising page, and then they share those pages amongst their friends and family to raise money for a campaign.
This campaign is effective on all fronts for a variety of reasons, but one of the key benefits is that it strengthens relationships between your donors and your nonprofit. But how does this happen?
Your donors create a page based on their own connection to your organization, bringing the reasons that they got involved originally to the front of their minds and encouraging them to own their connection to your organization.
Your donors support your organization in a more meaningful way than just donating: peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns ask your donors to become vocal advocates for your mission.
Your current donors become responsible for inviting new donors into your nonprofit’s community; that’s a powerful feeling!
Your organization can make it as easy and secure as possible for your peer-to-peer fundraisers to access their individual pages by including passwordless authentication in your online strategy. Read more about this new security feature with this guide from Swoop!
Using peer-to-peer fundraising software is a fantastic way to get your donors to deepen their relationship with your organization while doing good for your community.
And as an added bonus, you get to know them better on a personal level! You can easily learn more about what inspires them to give by reading the blurb on their personalized pages.
4. Keep track of donors’ communication preferences.
There are innumerable ways to reach out to your donors. These days, you can communicate with supporters through everything from a direct mail campaign to a Direct Message on Twitter.
Your organization needs to know how donors like to be reached in order to optimize your communication strategy.
How are your donors accessing your donation pages, or making their donations? The following scenarios can all tell you a lot about a donor’s preferences:
Donor A uses a credit card to donate on-site at fundraising events, but never opens your emails. Call them directly or send them physical invitations to make sure that they always know when your next event is.
Donor B opens your emails and clicks through to your donation pages, but never attends events or responds to your printed newsletter. Save yourself the cost of printing direct mail for them and prioritize sending them emails relevant to their interests.
Donor C doesn’t have social media or an email that you know, but they made a check donation through the mail. Send them a thank-you letter and some introductory materials, or call them personally to thank them for their donation and ask how they’d like to be involved.
There are so many ways to tell how a donor responds best to your asks, and not all fundraising software solutions track the same information. Make sure you’re choosing the right online donation platform for your nonprofit’s needs with this guide on what you need to know from Snowball.
When you know the best ways to reach someone, you don’t have to waste time, energy, or money trying to reach out to them in multiple ways.
If you don’t know how they like to communicate, just ask! Donor surveys or event exit surveys are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of your donor population. And your donors will appreciate you taking the time to learn about their preferences.
5. Segment your donors by donation styles.
To really make the most of your fundraising software, use the information that it gathers to build a more robust donor profile and break your donor population down into smaller segments.
Segmenting your donors is a strategy that fundraising professionals use to more specifically target donors with donation asks, educational content, and engagement opportunities. It means breaking your total donor pool into smaller groups by demographic information.
There are a million different demographic indicators by which you can segment your donors, but many of them can be discovered through the data your fundraising software collects!
Some ways to segment your donors include:
By donation amount (low-level, mid-level, or major gifts level).
First-time donors, repeat donors, or donors who give recurring gifts.
Those who give monetarily vs. in-kind donors.
Those who volunteer as well as (or instead of) donating.
Which campaigns a donor gave to.
Those who are eligible for corporate philanthropy programs like matching gifts.
You can use segmentation in a whole host of ways, but the most common way is to more strategically send out asks or donations to the population that is most likely to be interested.
For example, if you learn through your fundraising software that a subset of donors is eligible for matching gifts (through email verification or an online database), you should target those donors with educational information about matching gifts as well as ways that they can submit their matches to benefit your organization!
Those who frequently volunteer should be the first people on the list when you distribute information about your next volunteer engagement opportunity.
Donors who give frequently to campaigns that benefit children should be informed whenever your organization is planning campaigns that directly support children or causes related to children.
When you pay attention to the things that inspire your donors, or remember their individual perks and quirks, you can improve your donor relationships beyond your current capacity. They’ll feel more appreciated as you tailor your engagement strategy to their interests, and be more willing to support your organization.
Building deeper relationships with your donors doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. By using helpful fundraising software to make smart communication and outreach choices, you can strengthen your connections to your donors and build a bigger community.