6 Ways to Keep Donors Engaged in Economically Uncertain Times
Posted on September 20, 2019
History would have us believe that philanthropy has been impacted deeply by the economic uncertainties in a region. Although the US economy seems comfortably placed at present, uncertain economic conditions are expected in the next quarter. These conditions are sure to impact giving and make donor retention difficult.
It is important for a nonprofit not to get disheartened but to think of innovative and modern strategies for donor retention.
Before strategizing for your nonprofit for the future, it is a good idea to take a look at how philanthropy has fared during the last year.
How 2018 was for charity in the US?
2017 witnessed an unprecedented rise in giving in the US. However, despite various tax reforms that were introduced in 2018, giving was only marginally impacted in the US.
Factors that impacted giving in 2018:
- Personal Income
- The stock market decline in the latter half of 2018
- Drop in the number of households and individuals who itemize different types of deductions on their tax returns.
As per Amir Pasic, PhD., the Eugene R., Temple Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy- “The complexity of charitable giving climate in 2018 contributed to uneven growth among different segments of the philanthropic sector. Growth in total giving was virtually flat. Contributions from individuals and bequests were not as strong as in 2017 while giving by foundations and corporations experienced healthy growth.”
Focusing on individual donors and bequests is the need of the hour.
How to retain a donor for the nonprofit?
The first step is to understand your donor. You have to appreciate that your donors are going through tough financial conditions and they will not be very inclined towards donations.
You will need to analyze how your nonprofit has been faring in the recent past. You can look at your donor database and check what percentage of donors your nonprofit retains on year on year basis.
There is no harm in trying to approach the donors who have stopped contributing and finding out their reason for doing so. This will give you an insight into where you are lacking and you can take corrective action.
Read Also: Why People Donate Money to Charity?
What are the best practices for engaging donors in economically uncertain times?
We are living in an era where the customer expects a hyper-personalized approach in any type of marketing. Hence, you will also need to offer your donors a customized approach to engage them.
Some tips to retain donors for nonprofit:
1. Communication is the Key
Although it is important to attract new donors to your nonprofit, retaining your current donors is equally, if not more, important.
When the times are disturbed, you need to establish direct communication with your donors. To retain your donors, communicate clearly with your donors. Prompt and personalized communication with your donors makes them feel valued.
Send personalized emails, interact on social media or any other channel that your donors are active on.
When it comes to donating to charities, it is important to strike an emotional connection with your donors.
Give a human face to your charity and effective storytelling is important. Tell your donors real stories about how your nonprofit has been working for the betterment of society.
What to Communicate
Once you find out the effective channels to communicate, you should know what to communicate.
- Send out clear and precise messages. Let your donors know that they are important to you.
- Explain to your donors how their contributions are being used.
- Avoid promoting your nonprofit overtly. Instead, explain to your donors how the charity functions.
- Win the confidence of your donors by offering complete transparency.
Talk to your Donors
To establish a rapport with your donors, it is not just sufficient to communicate through written messages and emails, you need to talk to them. Call up your donors and talk to them.
Tell them about your nonprofit and encourage them to donate.
2. Send Thank-you Notes
It is important to show your donors that you value them. You need to acknowledge every act of charity of theirs by sending them thank-you notes.
3. Motivate Your Donors
Since your donors are facing economic pinch, they may not be in a position to donate freely. You can make donating easy for your donors by motivating your donors to donate small sums of money frequently. For instance, if they donate small sums monthly, it will not impact their monthly savings.
4. Strong Web Presence
Having a strong digital presence is vital for making an impact on donors. There are numerous nonprofit websites on the internet. You need to make sure that your website stands out so that donors are attracted to it.
Some tips for making a strong digital presence are:
- Your website design should be such that it is quick to load and easy to navigate.
- It should be mobile-friendly.
- Make sure that the website is clutter-free.
- The site should be optimized so that it offers maximum value to donors.
- Post informative blogs on the website at a regular frequency.
- Facilitate donating directly through the website.
5. Social Media
Social Media is the best way to reach out to a global audience and keeps them engaged. The internet has facilitated connecting it with donors who are remotely located. Know what else charities can do in the era of social media?
A strong social media presence is required. Launch effective social media campaigns that explain what your nonprofit is about. This will help you get contributions from donors from across the globe.
Share information about charity events that your nonprofit is a part of on social media channels.
Post regularly on social media platforms news and stories about your nonprofit to keep your donors engaged.
Ensure that you make it easy to donate through your social media pages by including a click to donate button on the page.
6. Increase Your Donor Base
A nonprofit should continually look to increase its donor base.
- To find new donors, you can look at your volunteers. Volunteers are associated with your nonprofit in some way or the other. Hence, they are aware of how you are contributing to society. These volunteers can be encouraged to donate funds to the nonprofit.
- New donors can also be attracted by organizing fundraising events.
- Promote volunteer grants wherein the employer contributes an amount matching the volunteer work of their employees associated with the charity.
- Corporate Giving, especially matching gift program is on a rise. Approximately $2-$3 billion is donated by matching gifts programs annually. (Source: Nonprofit fundraising statistics 2019). A nonprofit can connect with corporates and motivate them to participate in matching gift programs with their organization.
Although, not exhaustive these are some ways of retaining your donors in economically uncertain times.