Advanced technology has become the key to accessing donors and elevating donor engagement. Today, there are waves of opportunities for organizations to engage and inspire new and existing donors.
Fundraisers need to be tech-savvy if they want to stay connected and maintain relationships with their supporters. And, the best way for nonprofits to boost donor engagement, raise awareness, and fund their cause, is to marry technology with strategy.
According to 2020 Nonprofit Tech for Good study, 92% of donors in the United States and Canada say that nonprofit organizations “must invest financial resources in digital communications in order to stay relevant.”
In this article, we’ll go over key steps in elevating online donor engagement and dive into how technology plays a large part in improving donor engagement rates.
- Maintain strong supporter relationships
- Be personal and genuine
- Optimize your donor data
- Encourage and engage over social media
- Make donating simple
First, let’s define donor engagement.
What is Donor Engagement?
The term ‘donor engagement’ can mean many different things, but essentially it is the extent to which your new and existing donors interact with your organization. To put it simply, it encompasses every interaction and action between the donor and your organization.
Now, let’s jump into our five key tips for tech-powered donor engagement.
#1 Maintain Strong Supporter Relationships
One of the best things your nonprofit can do to boost your fundraising and engagement efforts is to ensure your organization can centralize and organize donor details so you can maintain strong supporter relationships.
Whether you’re working with a simple donor database or a more complex nonprofit CRM, you will need access to donor data. Only then will you generate actionable insights to cultivate long-term relationships and make more successful fundraising asks.
- Constituent Relationship Manager (CRM) systems are integral to any nonprofit organization. At the most basic level, by capturing your donor data in a central location, a CRM supplies you with a contact database. But it can also make it easy for you to have a clear picture of your supporter relationships, slice and dice your donor data into meaningful insights, and personalize your outreach based on gift amounts, events attended, and more.
#2 Always Be Personal and Genuine
Many organizations, to some degree, take a scattered approach when it comes to staying in touch with their supporters – everyone is receiving the same email; there really isn’t any consistency in the timing of communications; different departments are saying different things; and the content is based on what the organization thinks is important versus what the supporter finds most interesting.
Instead, imagine if you could appeal to your supporters’ individual motivations, interests, and engagement histories. Then, you could define a segment of your donor base and plan a successful nurture campaign comprised of messaging and content that truly resonates with them. For example, your communication to lapsed donors wouldn’t be the same messaging to your monthly donors or volunteers, right?
A more personal touch makes them feel appreciated and involved with your mission, likely leading them to more gifts. While the idea of customizing your outreach for each donor might seem overwhelming or impossible, technology can simplify it.
- Integrating your email marketing platform with your nonprofit CRM is an incredibly effective channel to send personalized messages, raise donations, and connect with donors – at scale. If you want to get the most of your email marketing efforts, you’ll want to leverage data from your CRM and feed engagement data back into your CRM.
#3 Optimize Your Donor Data
Data is, without question, one of the most powerful tools nonprofits have at their disposal. Without it, all other aspects of your engagement, fundraising efforts, awareness activities will fall short of their potential. But, as any nonprofit can tell you, it’s often a challenge to optimize donor data when you struggle to get a unified view. Valuable data that helps you make the most of your engagement efforts, fundraising outreach, and inspire action is often living in disparate systems across your organization.
Data integration helps organizations gain a complete picture of their constituents. With a more accurate picture of your donor database, you can start to see the untapped potential and kinds of opportunities that lead to better engagements. For example, you can start to look for donors who have shown consistent support for your organization and target lapsed donors to rebuild relationships, identify donor motivations, refine communications, and more.
- Leveraging a data integration platform can increase what you know about constituents and decrease the amount of time, energy, and effort you are spending collecting and guessing the next steps.
#4 Engage and Encourage Donors on Social Media
Social media is never going to stop evolving. And, just when you think you have mastered one social media platform, another platform has been introduced or released new features. For instance, TikTok. Peaking in March 2020 with almost 76 million downloads paved a new way for nonprofits to master social engagement and reach new audiences.
So, while social media as a whole can feel overwhelming to keep up with and impossible to keep tabs on, it’s a tool you definitely want to keep in your engagement toolbox. Research indicates that 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, and 59% of those donate money.
Check out these 13 Tips to Level Up Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Engagement Tactics from our partner, Classy.
#5 Make Donor Engagement Easy and Fun
Peer-to-Peer fundraising, better known as P2P, is a great and easy fundraising strategy to amplify donor engagement and empower supporters to raise money on behalf of your cause. One of the primary benefits of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is that it relieves many of the day-to-day operational stresses of a traditional fundraiser.
Although Peer-to-peer fundraising isn’t new, it is one of the fastest-growing nonprofit technologies. Take a look at the peer-to-peer statistical highlights down below.
- 39% of Americans say they’ve donated to charity based on a friend or family member’s request. (Source: YouGov 2019 poll)
- 33% — Percentage of nonprofits worldwide who are using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. (Nonprofit Tech for Good: 2019 Global NGO Technology Report)
- 25.1% — Retention rate for all peer-to-peer participants. (Source: 2019 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study)
- $501 — Median amount raised by return fundraisers. (Source: Classy — The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019)
- $4,425 — Average amount raised by individuals who participate in the same peer-to-peer program for at least five consecutive years. (Source: The DonorDrive State of Fundraising Report)
Embracing technology can help you fully engage new and existing donors, create strong and long-lasting relationships, and make it easier to boost your donor engagement.
But the truth is, what matters most is your data. Your fundraising tools and efforts are only as powerful as the information feeding it. Your donor data is what is driving your decisions. If you are using a handful of systems that aren’t “talking” to one another, you don’t have a full picture of your donor base and are making uninformed decisions and aren’t maximizing your fundraising potential.
Learn how Omatic can help your organization better understand and manage your donor data, find news to fundraise, and jump-start your donor engagement.
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Stacy Caponetti is a Marketing Manager for Omatic Software where she is responsible for monitoring industry and technology trends to help deliver value-based content for nonprofit organizations.