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.

2020 and 2021 have been turbulent years for people across the globe. The pandemic has taken its toll on businesses and economies worldwide. The non-profit sector also felt the heat of the disturbing times. Fundraising strategies for nonprofits needed to be changed. Virtual events replaced in-person events. And, nonprofits were forced to take a digital route as far as fundraising was concerned.

Responsive website designs, online donations, mobile giving, were some methods that became popular for donating to charities. Different fundraising strategies adopted by nonprofits bore mixed results.

Here’s a look at some of them:

The FEP released its findings for the trend in Giving in 2020 and 2021. (Source: https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/donors/study-first-quarter-2021-fundraising-beat-2020/)

According to their report:

  • Giving in the first quarter of 2021 grew over that in 2020 by 6%.
  • The number of donors in the first quarter of 2021 grew by 10% over 2020 and the donor retention rate grew by 13.6% in the same period.
  • However, it is important to note that not all nonprofits experienced this increase in the number of donors, or the funds raised. The funds raised by charities associated with religious organizations and Human Services experienced an increase while most other charities were not so fortunate.

We do not know exactly how long the pandemic will last or how much it is going to impact the nonprofit sector. But nonprofits can leverage these insights to plan their fundraising for the future.

Now, when 2022 is just around the corner, it is time that nonprofits pulled up their socks and planned their fundraising for the coming year!

Looking at the current scenario, virtual fundraising seems to be an effective means in the near future!

Here are 8 Powerful Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits:

  1. Online Donations

Facilitating online donations for donors is no longer a choice but a must for nonprofits. Data reveals that online donations increased by 23% last year over 15% off the previous year. (Source: https://doublethedonation.com/tips/matching-grant-resources/nonprofit-fundraising-statistics/) Hence nonprofits must ensure that they provide easy and simple online methods for donations. Especially in the current scenario when it is difficult for donors to visit specific locations to donate, online donations are necessary to enable donors to contribute.

If donors can relate to a nonprofit and wish to support its cause then online donations make it easy for them to contribute to the charity from any part of the world.

Online donations can be made through the website of the nonprofit. The website should be easy to navigate and the donation page and donation button must be clear and easy to access. Online donations can also be facilitated through the social media pages of the nonprofit.

Non-profits can also offer other means of online donations to make it easy for donors to contribute.

  1. Online Auctions

Charity auctions have been an extremely popular means of fundraising among donors for years. However, in-person auctions had to be stopped in 2020 because of the COVID 19 restrictions. However, many nonprofits have switched to a virtual mode of holding charity auctions. In an online auction, the bidders can view the products on which bids are to be placed online. They can place their bids anonymously. They will get an alert when a higher bid is placed. They can raise their bids as and when they desire. The time limit for the auction is indicated by the nonprofit and all bids need to be sent within the deadline specified. The winning bids are announced in a virtual event where all bidders are present.

The benefits of online auctions to nonprofits are that they cut down on several expenses such as venue costs, hosting costs, transportation costs, etc. Besides, they save on the time, effort, and manpower required for hosting the online event. Nonprofits can also reach a wide audience easily online. People across the globe can participate in an online auction.

The participants of the auction enjoy the benefit of placing the bids from the comfort of their homes at a time of their convenience.

However, hosting a successful auction requires an event management platform to facilitate it. The software available for hosting such events can be expensive. Therefore the cost of the platform must be budgeted for while organizing an online auction.

  1. Virtual Events

Virtual events have become the alternative to in-person events when the pandemic has forced us all indoors. Nonprofits have created innovative virtual events to attract donors for their fundraisers.

Virtual events are facilitated through Zoom calls, webinars, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live events. In the past year, we have seen how these types of events have been successful in attracting a wide audience.

However, virtual events do not provide an opportunity for physical interaction for the audience. Therefore, it becomes challenging for nonprofits to host virtual events that engage their audience for the entire duration of the event.

Nonprofits have offered different ways of engaging their audience through break room chats, Q&As, etc.

Some of the virtual events hosted by nonprofits include online concerts, digital movie nights, virtual races, and more.

  1. Text-to-Give/ Text-to-Donate

Text-to-give and text-to-donate have become extremely popular methods of donation in recent times because of the convenience they offer.

Text-to-give is a method of donating where the donor is required to message a keyword to a shortcode. The amount donated is charged in the cellphone bill of the donor and the mobile service provider remits the amount to the nonprofit.

Text-to-donate is a little different from text to give. In text-to-donate, the donor messages the keyword to a shortcode. He is directed to the registration form of the nonprofit where he furnishes his details and donates the amount directly to the nonprofit.

Text-to-give and text-to-donate are convenient for both donors and nonprofits.

  1. Scan to Give

Scan to give is another method of donating using the smartphone. In this method, the nonprofit shares a QR code that the donor can scan and donate the amount to a charity. This method is popular because the donor can contribute any amount at any time of his convenience. Scanning a QR code is possible for donors even when they are on the go. It is a safe and secure method of fundraising which is also easy for nonprofits to provide to their donors.

  1. Peer to Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective fundraising strategy for nonprofits. In peer-to-peer fundraising supporters of the nonprofit and other individuals create fundraising pages on behalf of the nonprofit. They share the page in their community, among their friends and network to ask for donations.

  1. Social Media Takeover

This is an interesting and effective virtual fundraising strategy. In social media takeover, you can request your corporate partner permission to use their social media accounts for a day.

You can spread the word about your fundraiser on the social media accounts of your partner. Nonprofits can share links to their website, social media pages, their online donation forms, etc. Social media takeover helps increase the visibility of your brand and raises awareness about your cause. It helps you tap into an existing online audience and boosts your reach.

  1. Online Raffle

An online raffle is when participants need to purchase raffle tickets. One lucky winner wins the raffle prize. Raffles have been an effective fundraising strategy in the past and online raffles are also effective in raising funds for a cause.

However, the nonprofit needs to clearly communicate the purpose of the fundraiser and the cause that is being supported to attract donors.

This becomes easier by choosing an event hosting platform like iConnectx which facilitates customizing the event with your brand colors and logo besides making it easy for you to tell your brand’s story to your audience.

Most of the online fundraising strategies require software to organize and host fundraisers. There is a myriad of platforms with specific features available for event management. The non-profit must select a platform that meets all its needs. It is recommended to opt for a platform that helps host different types of fundraisers.

iConnectx is a platform that has all the features that facilitate hosting different types of events and fundraisers for nonprofits. This platform is easy to use and has a team to support the installation and maintenance of the platform. This platform also offers tools for marketing and promotion besides facilitating customization with brand colors and logos.