Double the Donation, Matching Gifts, Donor Engagement, tips, thank you

Ace Your Donor Engagement Strategy with These 5 Easy Tips

An optimal donor engagement strategy is one of the best and most effective ways to continually surprise and delight your audience.

When done well, strategic donor engagement tends to improve the donor journey, increase participation, and keep supporters coming back to continually support your mission. But how can you keep your engagement levels high and set your team up for maximum success?

We recommend following these five tried-and-true best practices:

  1. Drive maximum donation impact with matching gifts.
  2. Personalize donor communications as much as possible.
  3. Provide a variety of ways to get involved.
  4. Emphasize the tangible mission impact of donor dollars.
  5. Show genuine appreciation for donor support.

Are you ready to dive in and learn more about boosting and maintaining your donor engagement levels? Let’s get started with one of our most powerful tactics: matching gifts.

1. Drive maximum donation impact with matching gifts.

Your donors care deeply about your organization and its mission, and they want their contributions to make the biggest impact possible. The best way to do that is with corporate matching gifts!

Here’s how the process typically works:

  1. A donor fills out an online donation form.
  2. The donor is encouraged to research their matching gift eligibility through their employer.
  3. If eligible, the donor submits a match request to their employer (usually by filling out an online form).
  4. The company confirms the initial donation made by their employee with your organization.
  5. The company sends their matching donation to your organization.
  6. You receive two donations for the cost of soliciting one!

This strategy is made even easier when you employ online fundraising tools that integrate seamlessly with a matching gift software solution. The simpler it is for donors to participate in gift-matching programs, the more likely they are to complete the required steps⁠—and the higher their level of engagement. 

2. Personalize donor communications as much as possible.

Any messaging you send to donors should be tailored to the individual recipient in order to drive greater engagement. You don’t want messages to seem as if they were simply copied and pasted from one supporter to the next.

If you’re not sure where to get started with personalizing your communications, here are a few of our favorite ideas:

  • Tailored greeting: One of the easiest ways to personalize your donor messaging is by incorporating the donor’s name (or preferred nickname) in your greeting. For example, “Dear Diana” is always going to be more compelling than “Dear Donor.”
  • Messaging channel: Adjust your donor outreach based on each individual’s preferred communication channel. If a donor has indicated that they favor text messaging (or email, or social media, or phone calls, and so on), be sure the bulk of your outreach goes through that avenue. 
  • Company information: If a donor works for a company with a corporate gift-matching program, it’s a good idea to include employer-specific program guidelines and next steps in your follow-up communications.

The more personalized your nonprofit messaging is, the less likely the recipient is to ignore your outreach, and the harder it is to say no. This shows donors that they’re more than just a data point in your CRM, but rather a key member of your nonprofit’s team.

3. Provide a variety of ways to get involved.

There are tons of ways a person can support a nonprofit organization, and making these opportunities known is a fantastic way to boost engagement levels. Here are a few ways you might encourage individuals to support your efforts beyond a traditional monetary donation:

  • Interact with and share your social media content online
  • Attend an upcoming fundraising or stewardship event
  • Fundraise on behalf of your organization
  • Volunteer with an event or mission initiative
  • Provide in-kind gifts of goods or services
  • Participate in workplace giving programs (like matching gifts or volunteer grants)

Not every donor will be able to give at the same level as another one can. When you diversify the ways to participate and support your organization, you can increase the number of individuals who are able to get involved!

4. Emphasize the tangible mission impact of donor dollars.

One of the best ways to create meaningful relationships with your donors (especially those in the younger generations) is by transparently communicating donation intentions. That’s why we suggest incorporating suggested donation tiers tied to concrete fundraising needs.

For example, consider incorporating levels such as these in your donation appeals, with the impact corresponding to your own mission and vision:

  • $X donation will [enable a low-level impact].
  • $XX donation will [enable a mid-level impact].
  • $XXX donation will [enable a high-level impact].

When donors know exactly where their hard-earned dollars are going, they’ll be more willing to part with them to fund a good cause. Plus, they’ll be more engaged in your mission when they can better visualize an individual or group that they’re actively supporting.

5. Show genuine appreciation for donor support.

One of the most common reasons why donors fail to make a repeat gift to a nonprofit they once supported is because they were never adequately thanked for their contributions.

To keep your donors happy and your engagement levels high, it’s critical that you invest time and resources into your donor appreciation efforts. For example, consider these powerful ideas:

  • Send a thank-you message soon after receiving a donor’s gift.
  • Employ public acknowledgments such as on social media or donor recognition displays.
  • Communicate gratitude for additional steps taken to secure a corporate match.

When donors feel genuinely appreciated for their contributions, they’ll be more likely to give again in the future. By thanking donors effectively, you can easily turn a one-time giver into a life-long supporter of your nonprofit. Not to mention, it’s simply the right thing to do!

Keeping your donors engaged is one of the most important things you can do as a nonprofit fundraiser. These strategies can encourage supporters to give in the first place as well as develop strengthened, long-lasting relationships with your organization and its need.

By leveraging matching gifts, personalizing your outreach, providing multiple ways to get involved, highlighting mission impact, and thanking donors for their support, you’re more likely to keep donors coming back time and time again. Happy fundraising!

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About Taylor Collins

UX, Digital Strategy & Marketing at Kindest
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