To be successful building support for your cause, fundraising, and motivating, you must absolutely look at how you communicate your message and whom you are targeting.
With several active generations spanning in age from teens to seniors, all with different backgrounds and communication preferences, you need to make sure you’re using a multichannel strategy, individualized as much as possible to the audience you are addressing. To make an impact, nonprofits need to be sure they are creating campaigns to reach all of their supporters effectively.
Good news – there’s a lot you can do to build your base of support and engage your fans. Whether it’s digital or traditional communications, using a combination of the right tools, at the right time, will get you that return on investment you are seeking.
The following five tips will help any nonprofit raise more funds, grow their donor lists, and engage supporters:
- Effectively tell your story. Whether in print or online, generating supporters requires establishing strong relationships. Potential donors are out there, but getting them to choose your organization over others requires you to provide a compelling story behind your mission. When crafting your story, consider including the motivation behind your organization or focus on past events or objects, highlighting how you’ve helped those in need. Practice quality over quantity. Make sure your communications are relevant and actionable for your followers. Tying your content in with current events is another way to pique interest and make it compelling.
- Know your supporter and individualize the message. Really stop and think about who your supporters actually are, how they like to get their information, and what you can do to effectively engage them. Do they use Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels? Maybe they prefer emails or more traditional approaches to getting their information. Do they value the long-term relationships, are they passionate, do they go to Facebook for advice, do they need to have your trust before they engage, or do they place more importance on convenience? Nonprofits should think through their messaging and try to create a message for as small a group as possible that speaks not just to their name, but to things you know they care about.
- Take it one segment at a time. If your nonprofit is small, your ability to tailor communications and programs for every segment of your audience is likely limited. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it; just take it one segment at a time. Determine who your best supporters are (online or off) and then focus your efforts there. Whether they prefer Twitter, e-newsletters, or direct mail, invest in the outreach channels they use most. Craft your messages to have the greatest impact with them, and when you have a strong foothold with that segment, you can work on the next. Tailored messages have exponentially more influence. It is better to get big impact with one group, than little to no effect with an unfocused campaign. This is a key step toward raising money.
- Be visual. A picture is worth a thousand words right? Well, it’s definitely worth a lot more clicks and engagement on social channels than text. Photos are an easy way to tell a story that shows what a donor is making possible. Whether included in your monthly newsletter, or used on your website campaign page, photos are a must. Video is another great medium for telling a story. And gaining momentum quickly. Use Facebook to tell a story about your campaign, how much money is being raised (use an infographic or even a video!), and where it’s being used, then tweet it out using your campaign hashtag. It’s the perfect way to express emotions via the same social media channels your donors use. With today’s mobile devices, telling a visual story is inexpensive and has never been easier.
- Show your appreciation. Donors give to your organization because they believe you are making a difference. Showing appreciation to your supporters is incredibly important and can be done online or offline. If you accept donations on your website, you can thank donors by taking them to a “thank you” page after the donation is made. You can enhance this page with a video story. And, it is easy to personalize the page with the donor’s name. Or send a note. Just about everyone still appreciates a handwritten letter in a regular envelope with a stamp. And to really make an impact, make sure it is signed by a recognizable figure within your organization.
If you can take a step back to listen and truly understand what your supporters want and how they want to receive the information, you will be able to successfully develop targeted communications plans to effectively reach and inspire action.
Christine’s passion for community service led her to Salsa. Having worked with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Auburn Wesley Foundation, and Quilters Unlimited of Northern Virginia, she has a wide-view of the varied needs of nonprofits that helps her better build Salsa’s community. Her team shares her passion and is dedicated to helping nonprofits build their own community of support as well as connect with one another to share best practices. Christine’s B.A. in Marketing from Marymount and her deep-dive into research, statistics and functional sociology completing her M.S. in Sociology at Auburn heavily influence her approach to marketing, communications and community-building. www.salsalabs.com