According to Blackbaud, the number of organizations in search of funds has increased by 47% over the past ten years. Additionally, private giving has decreased by 11% over the past ten years. This inverse relationship between donations needed increasing and giving going down has set the stage for a very competitive nonprofit market or landscape. It is more important than ever for nonprofits to find loyal donors who care about their cause.
If you find yourself in this competitive field, there are some great ways that you can retain and even increase your donations. Blackbaud says the secret behind every strategy should be consistent: show your donors love. This can be done in many ways, which I will summarize below.
Say thank you. This is such an easy thing to do, yet it is often overlooked by large non-profits. Customize marketing materials to address each donor and let them know how much their donation helped. People will enjoy seeing the personalized touches and might be motivated to donate again.
Host donor appreciation events. In the same way you get together with friends and family during the holidays, you can celebrate with donors. Hosting a holiday party that highlights all the good your organization has done the past year is a great way to re-engage people.
Listen. Use surveys via email and direct mail questionnaires to get feedback from your donors. Why did they choose to not donate this year? Is there something your organization should be doing in addition to its current donation plan? Why do they donate every year? Why have they never donated before? Use the information you are provided with to further personalize marketing materials towards specific donors or potential donors. Information is power today, so take advantage of all the ways to gain and use it.
Send personalized materials. Don’t use these just to ask for donations or to say thank you. Another great way to engage donors is to utilize print technology. This is an easy way to customize your communications with donors and increase response rates. Birthday cards, for example, can be extremely effective because you are not asking for anything in return, and you are simply letting someone know you are thinking of them.
Small gifts. The final way Blackbaud suggests touching your donors is by sending them little gifts just to show appreciation. It can be anything, from a stuffed animal to a magnet to a pack of gum. This connects you to your audience on a deeper level – showing you value them enough to send more than a letter in the mail.