Year-end, or what’s known as the giving season, is the time when a nonprofit attracts maximum donors. From Giving Tuesday to the end of the year, people are generous with charitable donations. However, you miss an opportunity if you do not have a strategy to convert these donors to long-term donors.

In most cases, year-end donors are one-time donors. Once the new year starts, they are back into their routine and may not think much about your nonprofit. But you need to catch their attention and remind them about your work. To accomplish this, you will need a customized donor engagement strategy to let the donors know that they matter to your nonprofit. You will need to attract them, engage and retain them.

Here are some donor engagement tips to creatively engage them after the giving season:

First Impressions Matter

Donor experience during the giving season is a critical factor in determining whether your donors will come back to you or not.

Your site’s user experience sets the tone of a donor’s journey. Create written content that is engaging and easy to understand. Your organization is a brand with a personality archetype – most nonprofits are the Caregiver archetype, particularly nonprofits that help people and animals. Speaking to potential supporters in your brand’s unique voice taps into a site visitor’s internal motivation and separates your nonprofit from others. Be clear and direct with your organization’s mission, what it does, and why your potential donor wants to help.

Also, ensure the site is easy to navigate with direct calls to action (CTA). The donation page should be accessible and prominent, such as a “donate” button near your home page navigation menu. In addition, optimize your website for mobile phones so potential donors can access it on the go.

Your donation process also makes an impression. Ensure that you offer a simple and secure payment method and multiple payment options such as PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, etc. You can also provide mobile giving options like scan to give, text to give, etc. The ease of donating is a significant factor in attracting donors. Even if you have a great website and a worthy cause, but your donation process is overly complicated, donors will shift to other nonprofits to avoid the hassle.

Donors generally have one of these (or all) reasons for a positive donation experience:  

  • A nonprofit clearly explains a donation’s impact
  • The ability to choose from multiple payment options, including automated bank transfers (ACH), credit cards, ApplePay, Venmo, PayPal, or cryptocurrency
  • The chance to cover transaction fees to ensure 100 percent of the donation goes to the cause

Thank Your Donors

If you want to make an excellent first impression on new donors, make sure to send a personalized thank you message. Fundraising platforms like iConnectx send automated thank you messages to donors each time a donation is received. Add a personal touch to the messages you send to develop a bond with your donors.

Donors contribute to charities to make a difference, and they want to know their gift’s impact.

Many nonprofits stop sending a thank you message after the first donation. If you want to win donor loyalty, it pays to go beyond a simple thank you note. Consider sending personalized messages with details like how their contribution helped your cause. This makes them feel appreciated.

Host Events to Appreciate Your Donors

To build a long-term relationship with your donors, consider hosting donor appreciation events. This creates a donor-nonprofit bond, a valuable tool for engagement.

Come up with strategies to widely promote your events, consider incorporating hybrid events, and how you can create buzz before event registration.

Leverage Social Media to Engage Donors Organically

Social media is a critical platform for audience reach. People spend a significant amount of time on social media, browsing and engaging with people and organizations.

Develop social media campaigns to remain relevant to the platform you want to use. Use your nonprofit’s brand voice to reach potential donors’ hearts and include posts that covey the work you do and how it benefits those you serve.

You can achieve this by:

  • Effective, frequent updates – take advantage of impactful images and storytelling to remind people why you do what you do and why you need support. Consider the impact of a testimonial video from a cancer patient who received support or teams of volunteers in action. Visuals like these are powerful ways to remind your audience that your organization helps real people rather than philosophical ideas.
  • Timely CTAs — Just like with email campaigns and webpages include a well-timed CTA – use the updated link feature on Instagram stories. Include the link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts (or whichever social platform is best for your organization.) Be careful not to overwhelm donors with too many options; add a link that provides the easiest donation path.

Also, give a shoutout to your donors on social media channels to let them know that they matter. When communicating on social media, the key points are honesty and impact.

Facilitate Recurring Giving

Offer your donors the option of recurring donations and let them specify the dollar amount of monthly/quarterly/yearly contributions. Through automation, their gift is automatically applied. The iConnectX platform makes it easy for donors to make secure recurring gifts.

Recurring donors are often motivated by the affordability of breaking gifts up over time, physical swag, and exclusive access to events.

Segment Your Email Lists

Regular email newsletters go a long way in building relationships. We suggest you avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. There are different audience segments in your subscription list — Create email messages that speak directly to each segment’s mindset.

Consider donor segments like:

  • First-time donors
  • Return giving season or Giving Tuesday donors
  • Major gift donors

Other data points can help you segment your lists, including:

  • The donor’s location
  • Gift amount
  • The program they supported

Involve Your Donors

If your donor has made a one-time donation during the holiday season, make sure to stay in touch with them with messages and emails. Invite them to participate in fundraisers, offer volunteering opportunities, etc. Let them know about early-bird discounts on event tickets and encourage them to participate. Keeping donors in the loop makes them feel like they are a part of the nonprofit and more inclined to participate.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

An effective nonprofit fundraising strategy is peer-to-peer fundraising. This is when your audience shares details about your nonprofit and fundraisers on their social accounts to generate interest and attract donors. Encourage your first-time donors to become a part of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. This will help create a bond with them, and they feel like a part of your nonprofit community.

Consider offering your audience an opportunity to come up with DIY campaigns. This gets taps into your donors’ creativity and sets them on a path to year-round fundraising on your behalf.

Encourage Groups

Ask them to join your communities and groups — Facebook groups are an effective way of getting like-minded people together in a community. In these groups, people get to know one another, share their thoughts, and get an opportunity to bond towards a common cause.

Donor Stewardship Program

Consider creating a donor stewardship strategy to build the trust and confidence of your donors – this helps establish long-term relationships. In a donor stewardship program, communicate messages reinforcing your supporters’ enthusiasm, gratitude, and value. This program aims to convey to the donor that they matter and their contributions make a difference.

The Takeaway

This list may seem overwhelming if you’re new to marketing and donor retention concepts. Rest assured; it doesn’t have to be – our experts are here to help.

iConnectX enables nonprofits to implement fundraising goals and achieve donor engagement.

It is a platform that includes all the features required to create awareness and build loyalty towards your nonprofit.

Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you maximize your fundraising efforts.