You’ve worked hard to bring in those year-end donations. Whether you’re a huge nonprofit that performed a year-end campaign blitz or a small organization that relies on the generosity of donors during the holiday season, chances are you maxed out your resources to bring in those coveted dollars.
Thankfully, fundraising around the holidays generally proves to be very fruitful. According to a 2011 study by Charity Navigator, nonprofits averaged 41% of their total yearly donations during the month of December.
As we all know, donors give for a variety of reasons including believing it is the ‘right’ thing to do, tax purposes, and to invest in their communities. All those reasons, however, shouldn’t change the way you treat your donor.
Once they have given one donation, it is up to you as a fundraiser to continue to engage that donor to not only ensure future donations but to guarantee a lasting relationship.
Hopefully, you collected some information about your donors when you received those year-end donations. Aside from name and address, it is best to capture additional information, including an email address, gender, age, family size, employment information, etc. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research, make an educated guess, or use a marketing and data capturing software service like HubSpot.
Then, use the information you gathered to create specialized engagement opportunities for these donors. Or, if you are working with a small pool of donors, try a thorough one-size-fits-all plan.
There are just so many ways for you to re-engage donors acquired during the year-end. Take a look at these 7 suggestions and consider adding one (or all) to your fundraising calendar.
1. Connect Via Social Media
Social media is a fundraiser’s best friend.
Sure, fundraisers raised funds well before Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn came into the picture. You may think that social media doesn’t jive with the vibe of your organization.
But, I’m here to tell you that social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is time to embrace all of its capabilities and use them to your advantage.
If you have your donor’s email address, send out a personalized email asking them to connect with your organization via your preferred social media platform.
Each platform appeals to different segments of the population, but Cowen and Company did find that 74% of internet users accessed Facebook, the most popular platform.
You are bound to target millennial donors with this approach, and a good portion of millennials are willing to donate to worthwhile causes. Happify reports that as of 2014, 60% millennial donors gave an average of $481 to nonprofits. So, meet millennials where they are: online!
But this re-engagement strategy isn’t limited to millennials. Once a donor is connected with you through social media, you are able to communicate tons of information such as campaign progress, your service outcomes, and future campaigns with relative ease.
2. Organize An Event
Events are a perfect way to allow your donors to get a glimpse of the people behind your organization. However, don’t feel limited by just a simple fundraising event. Yes, these do work just fine. But if you really want to re-engage donors, it is time to think outside the box.
‘Thank You’ Event
During the event, be sure to stay away from asking your attendees for more donations. That would be completely inappropriate. Instead, just focus on communicating the results of their donations. By showing appreciation, you are planting the seed for a long-term relationship.
You may want to get a corporate sponsorship to fund the event. There are many companies that are more than willing to donate funds to cover the event cost, as long as they are publicly acknowledged.
Donor Networking Event
Invite your donors to a location where they can mix and mingle with others involved in your organization.
If you are working with a large donor base, this is where segmentation works well. Try getting your millennials together for a young donor event, or plan something for your donors giving larger gifts. The possibilities are endless.
3. Communicate Your Results
Never forget that letting your year-end supporters know the impact of their dollars is a great way to re-engage donors.
Think about it. Would you give to a group that didn’t tell you how your funds were used?
Nonprofits registered as a 501(c)(3) are required to regularly report budgets and results. Build from this and consider putting a copy of your IRS Form 990 on your website. In addition, stay transparent with your donors by letting them know exactly how many clients were served and lives were changed with a statistical report.
Infographics are also a great way to communicate your information. Other mediums for communicating results include annual reports, videos, and client stories.
At the end of the day, you want your donor to feel good about giving, and they are bound to when they know the return on their investment.
“At the end of the day, you want your donor to feel good about giving …” tweet this
4. Give Them A Sneak Peek
If your organization can accommodate the public (barring any privacy concerns, of course) then give your donors an opportunity to see the work you do first-hand by inviting them on a tour. They are bound to feel committed to the cause once they see the work being done.
Check out Children First/Communities In Schools of Asheville, North Carolina’s Mind the Gap Tour.
This tour gives donors (and non-donors, in this circumstance) the chance to see what the nonprofit does, and goes a step further to educate participants about community issues and ways they are addressing them.
5. Provide A Volunteer Opportunity
The Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteers give twice as much as non-volunteers do to charities.
What you are currently doing to provide volunteer opportunities for your donors? If you aren’t asking your donors to volunteer, you are definitely missing out.
Donor to fundraiser relationships are about engagement- and volunteering is one of the best ways for your donors to help you beyond their donations.
Set up a recurring volunteer opportunity and get your year-end donor’s hands a bit dirty. That sweat equity may be the reason why that donor continues to stay involved.
6. Have Them Help You Fundraise
Peer-to-peer fundraising is the new normal in the fundraising world. So, use this to your advantage. Ask your year-end donors to spread the word about your organization to their networks.
Consider asking them to set up personal fundraising sites to raise funds during a campaign. This method allows your fundraising campaign to grow organically from your current donor’s contacts.
Or, you can start small by asking year-end donors to personally vouch for you online through a review on Yelp, GuideStar, or Facebook. Either way, asking your donors to take action for your nonprofit is an effective way to re-engage donors.
7. Run A Special Campaign
It is easy to fall into a trap of over-asking, especially when you are in the beginning stages of courting a donor.
However, if you are already planning a fundraising campaign, don’t forget to ask your year-end donors to consider a gift.
Roughly 40% of first-time donors decide to give a second gift. However, you are likely to retain 63% of second-time donors. So, get that second donation and your chances of retaining that donor are in your favor.
“40% of first-time donors decide to give a second gift. However, you are likely to retain 63% of second-time donors…” tweet this
This list of 7 ways to re-engage donors is just a small sample of the many ways that you can get back in touch with your year-end donors. But, don’t feel limited by this list. Weigh in factors such as the demographics of your donor base to determine the best engagement opportunities that suit both your organization and your donors.
The key is to schedule these engagement opportunities throughout the year and track your retention. You’ll begin to notice patterns as to what works and what doesn’t, and you can build on that in future years.