13 Best Practices for Keeping Donors Engaged

Keeping Donors Engaged
Mushfika Al Nahian

Nonprofit organizations rely on donors to fund their programs. And in this case, donor engagement is essential to build trust for long-term support. 

But donation is nothing about gaining profit. So, why would your donors invest their time in your project? Here begins the real challenge!

Donors always expect your appreciation for their contribution. So, you should always get up to their expectations. Contact them through mail, text, or send cards, and ask for their suggestions when making decisions. Besides, there are thousands of other ways to keep them engaging. Want to know about them? Continue reading….

What Is Donor Engagement?

Donor engagement is the process of keeping the donors connected with your nonprofit. It includes thanking them, making them feel special, and all the activities encouraging your donors to invest in upcoming projects.

The main objective of keeping donors engaged is to build a strong relationship with the donors and earn their trust. And thus, they don’t hesitate to collaborate in the future or to donate additional amounts when asked. Donor retention is largely influenced by how actively you engage them. 

Benefits of Keeping Donors Engaged

Keeping your donors is important but why? To get this answer, you must know the benefits of donor engagement- 

  • Enhancing Donor Retention: The donors notice your potential and how you value them, encouraging them to support you for the long term. 
  • Increased Loyalty and Trust: By keeping the donors engaged, you can ensure their donated amount is being utilized in a committed way. Thus, it strengthens loyalty and trust between your organization and donors. 
  • Collaborations & Partnerships: With the help of your engaged donors, you can get new donors by offering peer-to-peer campaigns. This will help you to grow your donating impunity faster. 
  • Increasing Brand Value: Engaging your donors can make the best marketing of your campaign. This will help you reach the maximum number of people and thus create brand consciousness. 

Best 13 Practices For Keeping Donors Engaged 

Keeping your donor engaged throughout the campaign is crucial to reaching your goal faster and ensuring backup for future projects. But keeping donors engaged is a very challenging task. To make donors your most trusted supporters, you must implement several strategies to keep them engaged. These are as follows- 

Never Stop Thanking Your Donors

Thanking is not just a common gesture for a donation campaign, but it’s a principle to thank your donors! 

A simple ‘thank you’ can build trust and reliability. Donors always love to acknowledge how their donation is spent or if it was of any help to the donation seeker. So, don’t take the next second to thank your donors. But how to thank the donor? They’re many ways you can thank your donor; some are as follows- 

  • Phone call: Calling your donor and thanking him over voice is the most down-to-earth. This thanking approach is appropriate for healthcare donations or scholarships, etc. For instance, if someone pays for your surgery, you can call and thank him in person. It is the best way to thank your donor in this situation. However, a phone call is not preferable for some donations (business or something similar). Before calling, research the donor cause; these days, people don’t prefer getting calls- keep this fact in mind! 
  • Send a ‘Thank You Card’ with flowers: If you want to make your donor special, what can be a better option than sending them a ‘Thank You Card’ and a beautiful bouquet? You can also add some gifts if you want. Your donor is going to love your thanking approach and show more interest in you and your activities. So, if you are thinking of keeping long contact with your donors, such an approach can be excellent. 
  • Thank You Email: The most professional way to thank a donor is by sending a thank you email. In this case, address the donors sweetly- ‘Dear Donor,’ or use their names to bring personalized touch and make them feel prioritized. Don’t forget to add what great contribution they are making by donating. 
  • Video Message: If you want to go for something creative to thank your donors, send them a video message. Include your team members, show your work progress, and thank your donors with your entire team. You can also shoot some messages about your future plans or what you are going to do with the donation. And then thank your donors for their support- it can be the most creative approach!
  • Post on social media thanking your donor: Social media is not the most engaging platform, and you can use this to thank your donors. Thanking them on public platforms will make them feel special. Besides, it will also encourage others to donate. 
  • Thank You donors template: If you want a decent thank you, check thank you donor templates. There are thousands of sweet greetings and thanking messages for your donors. Download them and send these through emails or WhatsApp. 

However, thanking just after receiving the donation is not the end. You need to repeatedly show donors your work progress and thank them for their contribution. Make them feel that you are your backers and that what you do today is for them. This nature will definitely build trust, and your donors will always be there to invest or donate at your request every time!

Implement a Donor Nurturing Strategy 

Handling every donor in the same way, is a wrong practice that you should change. In this case, divide the donors into three levels – first-time, second-time, and third-time. First-time donors are the freshers and the most enthusiastic category of donors. You should handle them with a case and encourage them to be with you. The second and third-time donors are your asset. They are your trusted supporters. You should always try to keep them engaged to get the best support. 

Here is a chart showing how you should interact with different levels of donors- 

Type Of Donor Way To Interact Benefits
First Time Donor  Show gratitude with thank you messageSend them a list of your non-profitable or charity goalsInform them hoy the vital role they will play in fulfilling the goal  The fresh donor will get encouragement for further donations. 
Second Time Donor  Thank them for their generosityand let them know how their contribution will help. Give them gifts with a logo, i.e., a mug, cap, or other small branded item. It makes the donor feel special. Besides, the logos in the gifts create brand awareness.
Third Time Donor  Thank them for declaring as an exclusive supporterGive them recognition as Royal Donors Offer them the latest updates and special announcement  This will build trust and strengthen your connection.   

Give Priority To Personalization

Is it possible to be friends with all of your donors? Of course, no. All the donors don’t have the same mentality, and you can’t have the same bonding with every donor. So, it’s impossible to know them or build connections personally. But you can differentiate your donors and list their preferred way to approach them. This will help give donors a personalized communication flow keeping them on track. 

A search by Abila shows that 71% of the donors feel more engaged in personalization. But how to make your communication more personalized? 

  • Preferred communication channel: Break down your donors into different categories based on their preferred communication channels- social media, LinkedIn, or direct email. All donors don’t prefer the same medium to communicate. Here is research below on the preferred communication of donors- 

Source: Abila Donor Engagement Study 

  • Address donors by name: Instead of saying ‘Dear Donors,’ address your donor by name; it will make them feel more connected and special. Undoubtedly, this is a positive sign for your donation campaign. 
  • Include the donation date while giving updates: Want to engage your donors naturally? Include the dates of their donation each time you approach them; it can be for a second donation or an update of the donation they previously made. You can use a line like- ‘I/We value your donation on 5th Jan 2023’; such conversation will make your interactions more engaging. 
  • Divide your donors based on the amount & frequency of donation: You will receive donations in different amounts; some will contribute more, some less. At the same time, some donate once, while others may donate multiple times. So, make a list of the donors based on their contributed amount. This will help you to get donors for your future projects. 

Source: Abila Donor Engagement Study 

  • Try to understand their interest: The tastes of all donors are not the same. Some connect to emotion, and some may love donating to business projects. So, identify donors and list which donors to approach with what type of projects. 
  • Research on their response pattern: Mark how your donors respond, and identify what type of approach they like best -take further steps accordingly. 

Stick To Your Commitments

Funding for any donation project is like a roller coaster ride. You must face challenges daily, commit to gaining trust, and encourage donors to donate. But take your time before jumping to the next step – fulfill all the previous commitments and then target the next one. 

The reality is that sustained fundraising requires care and nurture. Remember, loyal donors are not born but earned. And once you have broken their trust, they will never support you with funding. So, don’t rush for fund-collecting. First, fulfill your commitments, show your result and success, and then target for the next. Thus, the donors will keep engaged throughout the process and show interest in standing by your side in the coming donation rounds. 

Make The Best Use Of Social Media To Engage Your Donors 

When it comes to engaging your donors, nothing can beat the power of social media. So, if you have not yet taken your donation campaign to social media, it’s time to do it! Here are some ideas to make the most use of social media to engage your donors- 

  1. Post Your Activities On Social Media

Post all your donation campaign activities to social platforms like- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It can be photos of your campaign or videos of activities. This will keep the donors updated on where their money is used. Besides, you can also encourage the donors by uploading a ‘Thank You Post’ for their contribution, mentioning their ID. This move will help you to keep the donors engaging. 

  1. Utilize Multimedia Tools

Instead of posting plane images, try creative approaches to engage your donors. Use multimedia tools like- video, infographics, etc., to boost your donation strategy. Make short videos or add templates using tools like Piktochart or Canva to bring more professionalism to your campaign. 

  1. Paid Promotion To Reach Newsfeed

Paid promotions let your post reach a vast audience. It will ensure people on the social platform know about your donation campaign. It will appear in the news feed of users, and people will know about your campaign. Thus you can create engagement and also open the door for new donors to contribute. 

  1. Collaborative Approach 

You can ask your friends, family, and supporters to share your post and activities. It will keep the whole process engaging. You can also tag the associate persons in your post. It is a great move to widen your links.

Powerful Storytelling

Storytelling has the power to connect your audience. So, to engage your donors, you must give importance to storytelling. But storytelling for what purpose are we talking? Here we are suggesting you add stories to highlight your donors’ contribution. For instance, if a donor contributed to someone’s operation, let him know the feedback. Inform him his amount helped a lot in conducting the operation. Give an angle to the story, including how the patient’s family member is thankful to the donor. Or give him credit for saving a life. In this way, you can bring an impactful story that will keep the donors engaging. 

Create Ways For Involving Your Donors 

Once your donor has submitted the donation, they have nothing more to do. Now it’s your turn to keep them in touch. Fundraiser experts suggest having at least ’12 touches’ per year. And to fulfill this, you need to create ways to involve the donors, but how? Here are a few suggestions following which you can engage your donors- 

  1. Arrange a Face-to-Face Donation Program

One of the most effective strategies to increase donor engagement is interacting with contributors in person. You can organize a physical event where your supporters may meet, have fun, and donate to your organization all at once. Besides physical meetings, virtual options also exist to communicate with your donors. You can arrange a meeting on Zoom or Google Meet. This will open the door for remote donors from all around the world to participate in your event. Additionally, such virtual events make collecting information to evaluate their success and accept online payments very simple.

  1. Offer Donor Account 

While some supporters will value having their information saved in an account, others might not have the time. To solve this issue, you can simply offer accounts for each donor. The account will keep a record of all activities and transactions. You can also try giving donors access to an annual receipt report within their accounts. Here they can change their preferred donation methods or modify their choices and contact information. Thus, you can keep them engaged with your donation campaign. 

  1. Through Donation Challenges 

The term’ Donation Challenges’ is getting very popular in social media, especially on Facebook. For this, first, create a Facebook group with your community and add members. Here throwing challenges to your knowns, you can raise funds. 

The concept may seem a bit hazy to you. So, let’s learn the concept using an example- ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,’ approached with a donation campaign for research on  Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2014. Challenges were thrown to donate and put an ice bucket on the head – recording it and posting it on social media. The challenge crossed 2.4 million tagged videos on Facebook, collecting $115 million in just 30 days! 

  1. Organize Donor Appreciation Events 

Though physical or virtual fundraising programs are an effective way to engage your donors, going for a donor appreciation event is a better option to increase donor participation. What better way to show gratitude to the donors than by meeting them without requesting additional funds?

For instance, you can invite them to visit your office or factory, or even for lunch or a yoga class- whenever it makes sense for your brand and audience! However, the best way would be to arrange an appreciation event and recognize all your donors; you can award them or give them small tokens of appreciation. 

  1. Offer Volunteer Opportunities

Want to engage donors to your campaign? Offer them volunteer opportunities. Make them feel special, inviting them as chief volunteers. This will allow your donor to see your goals with a new view. Volunteering your campaign, they will get the opportunity to know your work from the root. And it will create opportunities for future contributions. 

  1. Put on a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

When it comes to donation campaigns, peer-to-peer campaigns can be very effective. Research shows that first-time donors are more influenced when suggested by known ones. And about ⅓ of the online donations come from peer-to-peer. So, you can request your donors to participate in peer-to-peer campaigns and contribute more to your project. This will keep your donor engaged and also help you raise funds quicker. 

Stretch Goal Strategy 

Setting a stretch goal is a terrific approach to encourage your donors to increase their donations. It will increase your engagement with donors and keep them on track. There are many stretch goal strategies you can implement, such as- 

  • Invite a friend: Encourage your donors to connect with and encourage a friend to donate.
  • Become a consistent donor: You may persuade first-time donors to continue giving.
  • Small-dollar campaigns: You may use these to urge donors to contribute an extra small amount each week or each month.
  • Double donations: Challenge someone to increase their regular donation by twofold for a specific time, whether six months or a year.
  • Matching gifts: One of the best ways to engage contributors is to highlight the possibilities for matching gifts. According to research, 84% of donors are more inclined to donate if a match is provided. So, don’t miss this opportunity!

Share Your Progress 

Sharing your progress is a wonderful way to keep your donors engaging. But for that, a platform is required. You can share photos and videos of your daily activity on your donation website, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Another option to share updates can be your messenger or WhatsApp group. Create a customized group with your dominoes and inform them about the progress of your donation campaign. Show them where you are using their money. This will make them feel important and keep them engaged. They will consider themselves an active part of your campaign and support you in future funding needs. You can also update the news through emails for a more professional approach. 

Google Ad Grants 

You’re missing a significant chance to interact with current and potential donors if your nonprofit isn’t already utilizing Google Ad Grants in its marketing strategy. Here are the reasons you should consider Google ad grants for keeping your donor engaged- 

  • Free advertising opportunity 

Google provides qualified 501(c)(3) organizations with up to $10,000 in monthly free advertising credits. You can use this free advertising space to reach out to supporters and raise money for your cause by focusing on a few key phrases. This will boost your engagement and help you reach ROI faster. 

  • Google Ranking

Running your campaign on Google ad grants, you can get maximum reach and ranking in Google SERP. You can thus make your donation website appear at the top of Google’s search engine results page. Thus, the donor will be able to navigate your website and decide to support your cause, perhaps by donating.

  • Inviting New Donors 

98% of searches about donation campaigns will show your website on page 1 of a Google search. This will eventually provide you with recognition and help you build trust. And thus, you will get new dominoes for your campaign. 

Online Greeting Cards

Digital greeting cards could be the perfect tool for grabbing supporters’ attention when engaging donations! Designing attractive eCards can be a simple, affordable, and interactive approach to engaging supporters. 

Design cards for every event, it can be-

  • Thank you card
  • Birthday card
  • Father’s Day card
  • Holiday cards to celebrate significant days all year
  • A mission awareness collection to promote a cause awareness campaign
  • Tribute cards to enable people to donate in someone else’s honor

You have countless alternatives! Your supporters will value having a pleasant, engaging manner to contribute to your cause and tell their friends and family about it.

Another strategy is giving greeting cards in exchange for donations. In this case, don’t forget to include branding for your cause, even if it’s only a small emblem in the corner. At the end of the card, you can add a unique message to visit your nonprofit’s website for additional information.

Make The Donation Process As Easy As Possible 

Remember, if the donation process is complicated and bound with many terms and conditions, the donors will back off after a few steps. So, you should always keep the donation process as simple as possible. Here are some ideas you can follow- 

  1. Choose an Easy-to-Use Donation Platform: Choose a donation platform that has a user-friendly framework. This will help the donors quickly donate their amount without second thoughts. For the best donation platform, we suggest you go for the best funding WordPress Theme, Fundorex. It allows you to customize your site in a drop-and-drag method. Above all, your donors will get 17+ payment gateways to donate!
  1. Automate Your Donor Outreach: Using a marketing tool, you can save time automating some of your donor outreach. This will guarantee you get the most out of your donor communications and customer relationship management (CRM).

Measure Donors Engagement 

Measuring donor engagement is very important to keep your campaign active. It helps you to determine the present condition of your donation project and allows you to take steps considering the situation. Here are some ways you can measure donor engagement effectively.

  1. Seat With Your Team & Create A Plan 

To handle and measure the donor engagement seat with your team and decide your planning. Remember, ideas can come from even the less active participant. So brainstorm with your members and sketch a plan. You must include the goal, vision, and upcoming fundraising events in your donor engagement planning. It will assist you in developing more effective engagement and communications opportunities.

  1. Hire A Donor Engagement Officer

Managing the donors is a challenging task. It requires handling large amounts of information, data sources, events, etc. And keeping the donors engaged and taking all these factors on track may be very challenging for you. In this case, you can hire a donor engagement officer. He should be skilled in interacting with the donors and engaging them throughout the donation project. The responsibilities the donor engagement officer will handle should include the following- 

  • Cash/check donor
  • Recent upgrades or downgrade
  • Events attended
  • Hours volunteered
  • Website visits
  • Responds to a survey
  • Subscribes open & click emails
  • Unsubscribe from emails
  • Follows & interacts on social media
  1. Use Donor Management Software

Donor management software is an excellent choice for keeping your donors’ information on track. It will help you monitor the donors’ engagement, fundraising events, membership, and more. There are many options for donor management software, such as Network For Good, Bloomerang, Givebutter etc. However, before choosing the software, consider the following feature- 

  • Donor analytics
  • Contact profiles 
  • Crowdfunding 
  • Communication reminders
  • Email marketing 
  • Fundraising tools
  • Event-registration tools
  • Acknowledgment & receipting

The Bottom Line

Start building a friendly and trustworthy relationship with your donors instead of just considering them as business transactions. So, never skip a beat to engage them in all your activities, making them feel special. 

Ask for their suggestions, understand their likes and dislikes, and interact accordingly. Also, ask for feedback and opinion if they are satisfied with your programs or not. This way, you can keep your donor engaged and gain some permanent and loyal supporters.

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