Development and marketing work hand-in-hand to help nonprofits achieve their goals. Oftentimes, marketing helps bring fundraising campaigns to new audiences while the development team works closely to reengage past donors in support of new initiatives. While donor loyalty is critical to a nonprofit’s success, organizations must always be looking to attract their next generation of supporters. For some organizations, this may require a strategy for “friendraising” or a program designed specifically to turn volunteers into donors. Regardless, it all comes down to the packaging, so, how can you make your cause more attractive to potential donors?
Investing in success
Donors want to invest in organizations that are making an impact. They want to know that their $50 donation helps another child enroll in an after-school program. Quantifying your organization’s success – be it in your annual report, through an infographic, etc. – is a great way to show potential donors why your organization is a worthy investment for their donor dollars.
Make it personal
Donors, both private and corporate, are individuals. They don’t want to be seen as a number or treated as one of the many; they want to be personally acknowledged and understand the impact that their specific pledge for support made. This presents tremendous opportunities for nonprofits to leverage stories to optimize their impact. Consider how a series of donor stories can help new audiences to connect with your cause and develop an understanding of the impact one person or organization can make.
Offer an experience
You wouldn’t go to a cocktail party and ask a stranger for a business referral or LinkedIn endorsement – consequently, you shouldn’t lead with, “Nice to meet you. Would you like to make a donation?” The “getting to know you phase” is a critical component of donor cultivation. Would it be beneficial to invite your vetted list of prospective donors to attend an open house, take a behind the scenes peek at your newest program or attend a casual event where they get to hear first-hand from the clients your organization has impacted? Reading about what you do is one thing – experiencing it is another.
Growing an audience
A great cause alone isn’t enough to make your nonprofit attractive to a wide audience. You’ll need to identify ways to drive the right donors to your organization.This can include an optimized and engaging website, social media marketing and email marketing, among other tactics. Employ a wide range of communication platforms that will reach your ideal audience. Your website and accompanying social media channels are real-time marketing tools and with the right content and a solid understanding of your audience, you can consistently generate ROI and cultivate donor interest through your online presence.
Let’s face it – there is no shortage of worthy causes to which donors can pledge their dollars. So, let’s focus on what makes your organization unique. While it is imperative to make sure you can back up any superlatives you use – ‘the first’, ‘the only’, you get the idea – showing that your organization is filling a critical need can help significantly with donor cultivation. Context is an important component of any story and it is key to helping prospective donors understand the significant role your organization plays in the communities that it serves.
While some causes are easier for prospective donors to relate to than others, providing donors with opportunities to experience impact is a powerful relationship-building tool that can lead to lasting donor relationships. As you work on your nonprofit donor cultivation strategy, focus on identifying opportunities to inform, engage and inspire.
Appealing to donors is an ongoing process. Our free guide to annual appeal letters offers best practices to support your fundraising and marketing initiatives all year long.