I’m excited to share three easy tips with you, and the results are measurable.  Do these things and you’ll be able to tell if they impact your bottom line!

These ideas are based on a 2019 study by NextAfter and Kindful looking at how organizations are cultivating donors via email. They found plenty of data-driven ideas that can improve donor retention and boost online fundraising revenue — by as much as 27%!

Think about how much an increase like that could mean for your organization!

All you must do is simply pay a little more attention to your follow-through communication with donors.

Meaningful, regular donor communication can hugely impact your bottom line.

To make a demonstrable difference in donor behavior, however, your communication strategy must tick more than one box. It must be prompt, personal, and relevant to what your donor cares about and how they want to hear from you. Don’t just guess what your donors might like from you. Ask them!  In fact, surveys, social media queries, online quizzes, solicitations for comments, and feedback are all wonderful ways to communicate digitally in a manner that personally engages your supporters.

Here are three strategies revealed by the research: 

  • Send More Cultivation Emails

Chances are good you aren’t sending enough email. Especially email that doesn’t ask for money.

Please, try to think from your donor’s perspective.

If every email is an ask, pretty soon donors will stop opening them.

Step into your donor’s shoes and try to figure out what they might want.

Consider this scenario: They make a gift to your organization. Then, crickets. Maybe they get one thank you, but then hear nothing more until you ask them for another gift. How might that make them feel?

Think about this carefully.

What do you wish other organizations had sent you after you made a gift?

People are different, but generally one or more of the following are true:

  • When people make a philanthropic investment, they want to know the return on that investment.
  • When people reach out to make a connection, they want you to reach back.
  • When people enact a personal value, they want reassurance that you share that value and appreciate their support.
  • When people do something that makes them feel good, they want to continue to feel good.
  • When people make a gift for a specific project or outcome, they want to receive feedback on that project outcome.

  • Don’t Ask Donors to Do Too Much at Once

This relates to a concept known as ‘analysis paralysis’.’ Give people too many choices, and they may opt to do nothing. It’s just too overwhelming. Or, perhaps they’ll do something, but won’t opt for your priority action.

Do you send emails that give folks more than one choice of things to do?

Commit to stop doing this.

It’s better for every email communication to have one clear purpose than to try to make your email cover all bases simultaneously.

  • Thank all Donors and Welcome New Donors within the First 48 Hours

I’m a fanatic about this one.

In an era where Amazon can ship to you overnight, people expect immediate gratification. The fact you’re a nonprofit doesn’t exempt you.

A prompt ‘thank you’ kick-starts your rapport with your donor by establishing trust – the foundation of any lasting relationship.

It turns out this is the period donors are most likely to open your emails as well!

If you wait too long, donors will not only think you’re rude or inefficient, they’ll be disinclined to pay any further attention to you at all. You’ll have missed your opportunity by making a poor first impression.

By the way, donors who’ve recently made a gift to you are also those most likely to give again.

Keeping communications close in time matters in all your donor interactions.

Commit to sending prompt, personal thank yous and welcome packages if you want to start off your relationship on the right foot.

This article was first published by CLARIFICATION

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