Nonprofit communication strategies that lead to increased donations

Carefully crafted communication strategies can help secure increased donations for nonprofits.
Date Published

As 2014 draws to a close, many 501(C)(3) organizations are reviewing their nonprofit fundraising efforts in an attempt to uncover what worked, what didn’t and how to make improvements for 2015. Securing donations from constituents is the most critical activity for any charitable organization. Financial contributions from supporters are the lifeblood of any charity as they facilitate the fulfillment of the foundational mission.

There are a number of strategies that can be employed that will encourage increased giving. A personalized message is one.

Utilizing a welcome series messaging strategy
When a donation is made to a 501(c)(3) organization, the contributor should quickly be thanked for their gift. Of course, this message should not be generic in nature. The goal for any nonprofit fundraising effort is not to secure a one-time gift, but to foster a relationship with a constituent that will lead to future contributions being made on a somewhat consistent basis.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this goal is to personalize a thank you letter. This can be a handwritten message or one that simply identifies the donor by name. Whatever the case, this strategy should not only be used one time. In fact, npEngage suggests that communications should occur regularly in order to ensure that contributors remain encouraged to give.

The website suggests using either a two- or three-part welcome series messaging strategy that occurs over time, all with the premise of establishing a stronger relationship with constituents. After the initial donation is made, the thank you message should be casual while remaining focused on organizational goals.

This initial communication should ideally be made by someone in a senior leadership position within the nonprofit, such as the program director or CEO. Hearing from those who hold a prominent position within a charity and seeing a message that addresses the donor by name, is a great way to make a positive impression and build rapport with constituents.

Any future communications should contain a mix of informative information that donors would find valuable, such as how their contributions helped the organization reach a certain goal, or offering insight into the inner working of the organization. This can be comprised of pictures, videos, charts or graphs that give people the sense that their financial support is going towards a worthwhile cause.

Regardless of the information contained within the message, the welcome series is a great way to begin building a solid relationship with donors, both in the short term and over time.

Customized messaging through donor segmentation
According to the Nonprofit Marketing guide, at some point, every nonprofit will have to group constituents into three distinct profiles: New, lapsed and retained donors. As a result, the method by which you will need to communicate with these individuals will differ in some respect.

For example, the messaging sent to new donor should be geared toward getting them more familiar with the nonprofit. This can be done in the form of informational brochures sent through the mail or a welcome video that can be delivered via email.

Retained donors are those who should be considered to be the most loyal supporters. These are individuals that a charity can maintain a positive relationship through simple and consistent communications of any kind. They are not picky about the kind of information being delivered to them; they just enjoy hearing from the organization.

Lastly, lapsed donors are those that gave at one point but have since stopped. The messaging that should be crafted with this group is one that encourages re-establishment of the giving relationship. It’s important to communicate that their support is valued and that the organization misses partnering with them as individuals, not just as a source of financial support.

Nonprofit fundraising efforts will always hinge on carefully crafted communication strategies. This should be the goal for any 501(c)(3) organization in 2015.

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