How charities can turn around lapsed donors and fundraisers

The past 18 months have been exceedingly tough for charities around the world. There is enormous ongoing global demand for the services non-profits provide, yet little face-to-face opportunities to engage with fundraisers and donors.

As charities have sought to adapt to the ‘new normal’, some found it hard to engage with their fundraisers and donors, so we’ve put together some ideas to help you inspire and re-energise lapsed donors and fundraisers.

The number 1 factor that causes donors and fundraisers to lapse 

It’s crucial to keep donors and fundraisers informed about and engaged with what your charity is working on, as lack of engagement is the number one cause of donors and fundraisers disengaging. Once someone fundraises or donates to a cause, charities need to thank them quickly and bring them into their framework of ongoing communication, content and touchpoints to keep them properly engaged. There are so many non-profits competing for attention that, the sooner a charity makes a donor or fundraiser feel connected to the cause, the better their chance of keeping them.

How can charities avoid donor and fundraiser disengagement? 

To stop donors and fundraisers from losing interest, charities need to constantly engaged, a newsletter a month won’t cut it anymore. Easier said than done? Not necessarily. By using GivenGain, charities get free access to the platform’s ‘behavioural e-mail’ flow. This specially designed sequence of e-mails triggered by certain user behaviours has been honed over time to stimulate and engage supporters while helping them to make the most of the fundraising process. As a result, not only do fundraisers feel loved and needed, but they also help spread your message to their network of friends and family, converting them into donors.

While GivenGain will help engage fundraisers on the charity’s behalf, charities should also create their own communications and marketing plan and continually adjust it as necessary while creating a sense of anticipation with a predictable rhythm of communication. It’s important to target these communications by splitting your e-mail database based on the fundraiser or donor’s interests, and building custom content to address each audience segment. The more personal you can make the communication, the better!

To tailor your messaging, you need to track supporter engagement with your marketing. Sound difficult? Not at all. Platforms like Mailchimp offer basic reports on engagement metrics like open rates, while tools like Google Analytics can help you track blog and website performance.

What tactics work best?

E-mail is one of the cheapest and most effective ways a charity can communicate with a big audience, especially at a time when in-person events and rallies may not be possible (and even when they are). But always remember that people absorb information in different ways – so you’ll need a mix of communications channels, including e-mail, direct mail, in-person. Charities will also need to use differing tactics including audience segmentation and storytelling, to engage all donors.

However, if resources are so stretched that you need to limit your efforts to one form of communication, we recommend storytelling as the best way to engage your audience. For example, instead of telling donors and fundraisers how much money you need to keep your charity running for the day, tell them a typical story about the impact your charity makes on the lives of the those it helps – in their words. By focusing on the donor and fundraiser as the ‘hero’ of the story as opposed to singing your own praises, you can highlight the impact their support can have on the lives of the causes they care about.

Communication is key

For charities, the advice is simple. Communicate often. There can be reasons beyond your control causing a donor or fundraiser to lapse in their support of your cause. Maybe money is tight, or they’ve just had a child or started a new job, which is taking up time they would normally use to volunteer. But by keeping the communications lines open, targeting their interests and engaging donors and fundraisers through storytelling, you can help nurture and sustain that relationship, so when the situation changes, they’ll be ready to fight for your cause again.

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