What makes you happy?
For me, happiness often comes in the form of chocolate chip cookies, a good book, and seeing my daughters playing together without fighting. But out of everything, I feel happiest when I’m heard, respected, and appreciated by the people around me.
Humans love tangible moments of happiness. New shoes. A fresh coat of paint. Cupcakes.
Yet, it’s often the way we treat others and are treated ourselves that epitomize true happiness.
All this begs the question: are you giving your donors a truly happy experience? You’re sending them donor stories, but are you also listening to their stories? You let them know you received their donation and are thankful for it, but do you know what makes them tick? Are you providing a personal giving experience?
It’s hard to be everything to everyone, but your donors are special people. They deserve attention. Part of your job is to make them happy.
Help boost their donor happiness factor by exploring these four areas.
Understand All Giving Habits
The first key to making your donors happy is understanding them, and one of the best ways to do this is to get a 360-degree view of their philanthropic involvement.
This means digging deep to learn about your donor’s online and offline giving habits. They support your nonprofit, but what other organizations ones do they volunteer with? Where do your donors serve as board members or community advocates?
Understanding them involves a conversation, but it’s extremely time-consuming to have a conversation with every single donor. I’m tired just thinking about it!
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the task-at-hand, start small. Single out a small donor segment, such as your major donors or those who’ve given for three years or more. Invite them for a meeting at your office, or email them asking if there is a good time for a quick phone call.
Try to find out:
- Why they started supporting your cause
- Their favorite programs/initiatives at your nonprofits and others they support
- How they like to volunteer/give back of their time
- Any other ways they may want to get involved.
A little online searching also goes a long way and can help you fill in any information gaps. Many organizations post their board list on their website and highlight their major donors and stellar volunteers in newsletter features and testimonials.
To Do: Learn about your donors through conversations and searches to get a full view of their giving habits and philanthropic interests.
Create A Donor-Centric Outreach Plan
We connect with donors in many different ways; through content, media, in-person meetings, etc. But often, the communications we create are organization-focused and not necessarily donor-centric.
If you’re not making your donor the center of the nonprofit story, then you’re missing the mark.
If you’re sending out email after email without basic facts about your organization, without recognizing that some of that audience has been a part of your fabric since you started, then you’re missing the mark.
If you’re not telling your nonprofit story in a relatable way, well, you get my point.
Map out your communication strategy based on how you want to build a relationship with that donor, not just about what you want from them (money, time).
Donor-centric communication plans build trust and loyalty and show that you understand your donor.
To Do: As you craft your communications and your outreach plan, make your donor the star of the show.
Use Specific Offers
Once you know what fuels your donors to give back, it’s up to you to use that knowledge to deepen your relationship. Customize the donor experience by using personalized offers for each donor segment.
Let’s say you fundraise for a University, and 10% of your major donors like to direct their gifts to the Athletics department. You can use that information to create a custom campaign geared for this donor segment, such as improving the locker rooms or resurfacing the track. Donors who direct their gifts to the University’s Anthropology department or Study Abroad program may feel strongly about the track, so don’t target them in this campaign.
Specific offers don’t always have to be asks. You can also target your communications such as your direct mailings and newsletters per interest segment.
A personal donor experience is time-consuming on your end, but it helps your donor better connect with your organization’s mission and impact in the long run, and ultimately boosts retention.
It boils down to being relatable.
To Do: Segment your donors, and create specific offers such as asks and stories that appeal to their segment.
Ask For Feedback (& Be Prepared To Take It)
You work day-in and day-out helping to make the world a better place, and you know the intricacies of your nonprofit. Your donor might not have the personal knowledge you do, but they’re bound to have some opinions about how you’re going about reaching your goals.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone has something to say. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Many times, it’s not. Regardless, we all deserve to be heard.
Ask for feedback, and be prepared to take it.
Here are a few opportunities to seek feedback:
- Ask event and fundraising campaign participants to fill out a survey about their experience.
- Ask them about their experiences as a donor.
- Find out what information they want to receive, such as information on affinity groups, monthly giving, or bequests.
Make the feedback about them, not you. “Tell us what you think” makes the feedback about their experience, and not your organization.
Then, thank your donor for their time, show appreciation, and make an honest effort to respond to feedback on an organizational level. Listening shows you care, and that helps elevate happiness.
To Do: Survey your donors and consistently ask for feedback to make them heard and, in some cases, use their knowledge to perfect your processes.
Your donors deserve to be happy.
So skip the tangible, quick and easy techniques and instead, give them a personal experience by listening and adapting your outreach strategy. Happiness results in a stronger donor-to-nonprofit relationship, a positive influence on other supporters, and retention.
It’s worth the effort.
CauseVox makes it easy for you to manage relationships with your supporters and create personalized fundraising sites, peer-to-peer campaigns, and donation pages, all in one place, while also providing a remarkable giving experience to ensure donor happiness.
Thousands of organizations from small community-service charities and national organizations to global development nonprofits use CauseVox to grow their impact by inspiring, activating, and rallying people to advocate for their cause.