By Laura Bucher, Storyteller at Donor Perfect – a top-rated donor management system and fundraising platform for nonprofits.
After the challenges thrown at us throughout 2020, no one’s quite sure what 2021 will bring. But there are two things that are certain: social distancing will continue to be a reality and your donors will continue to believe in your mission. The key to holding onto your donors while we all ride out the remainder of this storm will be to keep them engaged.
That said, the number of businesses fighting for their attention in their inboxes and on their news feeds may have left them feeling a bit fatigued. Not to worry. Your established experience in the nonprofit industry and your ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances have gotten you this far. Keep the momentum going with these creative donor engagement ideas you can apply to your 2021 fundraising strategy:
1) Get personal with gratitude via thank-you videos
Now your team can boost your open rates to 37% just by adding video!
DonorPerfect is thrilled to announce DP Video, a new feature that enables nonprofit teams to send video messages to donors right from their donor profile in DonorPerfect. Round up a list of your major donors and task your team with sending them a personal video to thank them for their continued support!
2) Gain fun face time opportunities with virtual events
In-person events are on hold this fundraising event season, but fortunately, streaming tools like Zoom implemented new features throughout the year that make virtually interacting with guests a lot easier and way more fun.
Now you and a co-host can manage breakout sessions during your nonprofit’s events for more intimate spaces to chat and interact. This opens the possibility for multiple activities to occur at once, such as games, a meditation activity, presentations, auctions, and more.
Pro Tip: In 2020, nonprofit professionals overcame a mountain of obstacles to perfect their virtual event game. They learned how to get less tech-savvy donors to participate, how to avoid lag time, and fresh and exciting ways to promote their events. Get tips from peers who successfully moved their events online and access a virtual event planning worksheet in Your Virtual Auction Planner.
3) Grow your social media presence by following your supporters
Don’t wait for your supporters to find you on social media! Make it a point to find them so you’re getting as many eyes on your attention-deserving content as possible. After all, crafting a compelling message is hard work! Many nonprofits passively ask their supporters to follow them by adding social media buttons to their emails, but you’ll gain more followers if you do more of the legwork yourself. By sending supporters a friend request, all they have to do is accept it. Then they’ll receive updates on your mission they didn’t know they were missing in the apps they use daily.
You can also “invite” people who engage with your posts or advertisements to like your page if they haven’t already. Consider searching social media for posts about your organization and interacting with the people who’ve posted them. You’d be surprised how often people share about nonprofit events they’ve attended or projects they’ve taken part in. By liking and engaging with their posts, you’ll make them feel seen and more likely to continue to promote your cause and support your mission.
Pro Tip: Save a step by using DonorPerfect to locate your donors’ social media profiles from within their constituent record. DonorPerfect will scan your donors’ email addresses and pull links to their pages into their record and even allow you to interact with them on Twitter while you use DonorPerfect.
4) Find new, creative ways to show impact
Once you know your nonprofit’s activity is being seen by all your new followers, it’s time to post share-worthy content that’ll remind them why they support your cause.
The form of media that gets the most engagement on social is video. Add to that the fact that 57% of people who watch fundraising videos go on to donate to that cause. You can use video to tell a story about what donors made possible, take them on a virtual tour of your facility, or spotlight major contributors of your campaign.
5) Collaborate with your surrounding community
Just as you should be growing your social media followers by sending them the first invitation to connect, you should begin following the nonprofits and businesses in your area for networking opportunities. You may find that there are other organizations seeking to achieve similar goals that you can tackle together or connections they can introduce you to.
Follow the lead of this executive director who launched her two-person nonprofit team into the limelight simply by joining in on the community conversation.
6) Secure matching gifts for your next fundraising campaign
More and more corporations are choosing to give back to their communities, and many offer matching gift programs to their employees, where they’ll donate the same amount or a certain percentage of the amount their employee gives as an additional donation.
You can tap into this resource by reminding donors to utilize their employer’s program with a mention on your nonprofit donation form’s confirmation page or in their gift acknowledgment email.
Pro Tip: The easier it is to request a matching gift, the more likely your donor will follow through with asking for one. Double the Donation is a tool you can plug into your donation form that allows donors to search for their employer, locate details about the matching gift program available to them, and send a request to their employer at checkout.
7) Invite your donors to shop for good
Although your donors may be facing financial hardship at this time, they can still make a meaningful impact while they shop for their essentials. Even if you’re already receiving 0.5% of your donors’ Amazon purchases through AmazonSmile, there’s a new kid on the block whose name you’ll want to know: ShopRaise. With ShopRaise, your nonprofit gets up to 10% of a donor’s entire purchase from any of its 1,700+ participating stores. You’ll even get the donor data so you’ll know who to thank for their soft credited gift.
The best part? It’s completely free for both you and your donors. All you need to do is register your nonprofit and get the word out to your donors about this effortless way to give. ShopRaise will even provide you with templates to help you with the right message. Sign up for ShopRaise now!
8) Launch a small dollar donation campaign
Concerned about the hard times their donors may have fallen upon, development directors everywhere question whether it’s acceptable to move forward with fundraising strategies through the pandemic. A solution many adopted in 2020 is the small dollar donation campaign. Perfect for meeting a short-term goal, small dollar donation campaigns inspire more donors to give because they’re able to help your cause the specific way you’ve asked them to: by pitching in an amount less than $10.
9) Ask donors to simply share your social media posts and emails
One nonprofit client wanted to be mindful of their donors’ financial situations, they creatively adapted their fundraising campaign into an advocacy campaign. Instead of asking for donations, they requested that their donors share their social media posts and emails to raise awareness about the societal issue they’re working to resolve.
With the clever slogan “If you care, please share,” many of their supporters took to their personal profiles to rally their friends and family around the cause they care about. To the nonprofit team’s surprise, they earned monetary donations that day. This is an excellent alternative to traditional fundraising that may inspire a new crew of passionate people to become lifetime supporters of your mission.
There may still be fundraising challenges to overcome in 2021, but fortunately, there are digital donor engagement strategies you can try that will keep you connected with your donor community throughout it all. Besides, think about how far your team has come! Your ability to adapt, even through crisis, speaks to how strong you can be for the populations you serve, and it’s sure to see you through the new year and well beyond.
Find out how major donors give and how you can engage them so they choose to fund your next big endeavor in this quick and insightful guide, How to Discover and Engage Major Donors.
- Uncover data that reveals the latest trends in major giving
- Learn the 5 markers of philanthropy that predict major giving potential
- Adopt tried-and-true best practices for major donor engagement
- Discover tools and reports that can elevate your major giving efforts