4 Ways To Communicate Donor Impact

Haley Bodine
Haley Bodine

We have spent several weeks discussing ways that your nonprofit can authentically connect with your donors. Face-to-face interaction, social media presence, and expressing sincere thankfulness for donor support are three ways to build great donor relations.

Today we are going to wrap up our series by discussing a critical ingredient to building lasting, authentic donor relationships: sharing impact.

Impact is the measurable, tangible way that your organization is imparting change to the need you are targeting. It is the reason why you are in business, and why donors are giving to your cause. Donors want to know that their money is being used effectively; that there is a high ROI from their contribution.

Donors want to know that their money is being used effectively; that there is a high ROI from their contribution… tweet this

Impact communication is arguably the proverbial glue that holds your donor/organization relationship together. Thus, it is absolutely essential that you master effective impact communication if you would like to have a high donor retention rate (and we assume that you do).

Communicating donor impact should be a part of your regular, strategic marketing plan.

Sadly, most nonprofits provide little more than a donation receipt, and maybe a thank you letter. If your goal is to build great donor relationships, make it a point to be in contact regularly through a variety of means.

Here are 4 ways you can regularly communicate donor impact:

1) Use Social Media To Regularly Post Real Impact Stories

Chances are that you are already using social media platforms to engage your donor base, as well as prospective supporters. You are probably posting regularly about the needs you are trying to meet, the goals your organization has, and your mission.

Make sure that you do not just use social media for “the ask”; use social media for “the tell.”

Make sure that you do not just use social media for “the ask”; use social media for “the tell…” tweet this

If you only post needs and requests for donations, your audience will become “deaf” to your platform. You must also post regular content about the real stories of impact that you are making. As you map out your social media content calendars, be sure to include frequent, planned content focused on communicating impact.

Videos are great ways to engage social media users, and a visually attractive way to tell stories. According to HubSpot, using the word “video” in a subject line boosts click-through rates by 65%.

Most statistics will validate that videos improve audience engagement, audiences taking calls to action, and audiences sharing content. Videos are an excellent way to tell compelling impact stories.

2) Dedicate A Portion Of Your Website To Communicate Donor Impact 

Your website should clearly show where you are working, the impact you are having, and a breakdown of what donor dollars allow you to do to change the world.

This portion of your website should be easily accessed by your users, and should incorporate high-quality, eye-catching graphics that allow users to quickly scan impact metrics.

This information is absolutely critical, as it allows you to build credibility among current and prospective supporters. It builds rapport and trust so that the public knows their donated dollars are in hands that practice good stewardship.

World Help, a humanitarian organization devoted to relief in the direst regions of the world, does a great job with this. Their impact page is crisp, clean, with sharp graphics, and plenty of white space for an “easy-on-the-eyes” look.

World Help 2016-03-15 at 7.08.09 AM

3) Utilize The CauseVox Impact Metric

Our impact metric as an incredible resource that enables you to communicate donor impact to your audience.

The metric tool calculates the per-dollar-impact donors are having. This breaks down large goals into bite-sized micro-goals that your donors can wrap their minds around.

Someone might think that a $10,000 dollar goal for clean water in an entire village is overwhelmingly large. However, breaking that down to $35 for clean water for one person is much more manageable to digest.

For example, baby Christian was born with a rare brain disease and needed physical therapy sessions several times per week for an entire year. His fundraising metric broke down the total dollar value raised into the cost-per-session to calculate how many sessions donors had successfully paid for.

Team Christian 2016-03-15 at 7.18.58 AM

4) Include Impact Metrics And Stories In Letter And Email Correspondence 

We addressed the importance of expressing genuine gratitude to your donors in part 3 of this series.

Telling your constituents thank you is of the utmost importance. Whether you write a handwritten card, send an email, or mail a letter on letterhead your thank you should include specific metrics and stories to communicate the impact donors are making by giving to your organization.

Your “thank you” impact stories should be donor-focused. Use words to convey that impact stories are not about what your organization is doing, but instead what your donors are doing through your organization.

Using phrasing like, “Because of you, we were able to _____________________,” resonates at a much deeper level to a donor than, “We accomplished […].”  Your donors will appreciate you taking the time to share the importance of their generosity, and the impact of their dollars. This will significantly increase the likelihood of repeat giving.

Your donors care about where their funds are going. Most people do not flippantly give without thought to why they are giving, or what they are giving to.

If an individual is unaware of what your organization is doing, the impact you are making, and the real stories of change that are happening, chances are very high that you will struggle to retain donors after their initial contributions.

However, by intentionally and methodically communicating donor impact through sharing metric data and using individual stories of change made possible by your donors’ generosity, you substantially change the odds.

Every story effectively shared, every statistic posted for your constituents to see establishes more credibility for your nonprofit. By keeping your stories and metrics donor-focused (how an individual donor has helped your mission), you gain trust and invite continued giving.

Make it a point to regularly celebrate the work you are doing in partnership with your donors. Keep your impact stories in front of your audience, and watch how your donor connections improve.

Make it a point to regularly celebrate the work you are doing in partnership with your donors… tweet this

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