Nonprofits are well-known for their dedication to making a positive impact in their field. The largest and most successful have been around for a long time, like the National Audubon Society, or have a mission and brand that is large and easily recognized, like Ronald McDonald House Charities.
These now-influential nonprofits wouldn’t have made it far without the help of their loyal supporters. Nonprofit supporters are the foundation of change-driven organizations, often contributing volunteer and advocacy hours as well as funding for essential projects.
Your organization likely has a similar reliance on supporters, including donations from your members, the public, and your partners. Maximizing donations may even mean the difference between a well-staffed, well-supported project and an initiative that doesn’t realize its potential.
Your organization needs donations to thrive. So to help you fund your projects and further your cause, here are five tips for maximizing donations to your nonprofit.
Anyone interested in donating is also interested in your current projects and how they’re making an impact. Give people a place to gather online, such as an interactive website or online community, where they can learn more about your organization. A few elements to include are videos, blogs, or podcasts on projects and efforts taking place. Pictures and testimonials can also be compelling, as can peer-to-peer discussion forums and networking options that give people ways to actively engage.
Pay attention to supporters who have already donated. Regularly update them on where their money is going and how it’s having an impact. You can start with public or members-only announcements about certain initiatives and their progress. Then, draft personalized messages based on your donors and their interests. A sincere email to supporters on how their donations made your latest achievement possible will go a long way.
Both prospective and current donors will generate activity data such as page visits and content downloads as they engage with you online. Use that information to pinpoint when people are ready to donate for the first time as well as when they’re ready to make a repeat contribution.
To identify people who are ready to donate, look at what webpages they’re visiting. Someone who has clicked through to your donation page multiple times or visits your website daily may be ready to help. Proactively reach out to prospective donors who may be ready to give via phone or email.
Expert Tip: Look for people who regularly visit specific project pages. These people may not want to make a general donation but they may be interested in channeling their contributions to a specific area. Reach out to see if they’re willing to help fund that specific initiative. Tailoring your outreach and with such a a very personalize approach will go a long way toward securing a partner and contributor.
Up to 90 percent of purchasing decisions are based on emotion. Assuming the same is true—and perhaps more so—for nonprofit donations, appealing to people’s emotions can help increase support.
To build an emotional connection, position facts and statistics as part of a story. Include engaging details and wording that makes your audience empathize with your goals and the people or places you’re helping. Your stories can be written, or they can come in the form of videos or photographs. Any content that illustrates your nonprofit’s mission and builds an emotional connection between you and your constituents will help inspire action.
Keep the storytelling atmosphere and emotional connection fluent through the entire user experience, including your donation forms. Brand each form with your organization’s name, logo, and a compelling image or quote to remind people why they’re choosing to donate.
Just remember not to overdo it. By the time they arrive at your donation form, constituents are already familiar with your organization and its story. A simple reminder in the form of a picture or short testimonial is all they need. Multiple paragraphs about your mission, on the other hand, can draw attention away from the action you want people to take, which is donating, not reading.
Even your most dedicated supporters will give up if you make them jump through hoops to donate. Simplify the process and make giving easy by adopting these three tactics.
Streamline – Reduce the effort constituents make by asking only for essential information on donation forms. This may include name and address, as well as preferred donation method. Anything your organization doesn’t need should be optional. You can even add pre-set ‘recommended’ donation amounts (in addition to letting donors fill in their own amount) so no one needs to deliberate over how much to give.
Prepopulate Forms – With the right online community, constituent database, and fundraising software integrations you can set forms to prefill with names, addresses, and other information. This only works when a constituent is already in your database, but it makes repeat donations much easier for your loyal supporters.
Add Recurring Donation Options – Add a checkbox to all your donation forms that automatically sets up recurring donations for your supporters. The most common option here is a monthly, where donors choose to ‘make this a monthly donation’. This is a quick and easy way to keep constituents involved and maximize your fundraising efforts.
Getting involved with your nonprofit should be easy and fulfilling. Every interaction should foster a long-term connection between your organization and its constituents, with a strong emphasis on how your supporters are making a difference.
Stay in contact with your donors and prospective donors over time. Tailor your messages to them based on their interests, keeping them informed about the projects they care about most. By consistently and meaningfully engaging your supporters, you’ll build a strong foundation for repeated donations that increases funding for your projects.