Do you know that Donor Engagement Is the KEY to your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Success?
The key to fundraising success is donor engagement. Even if you’re not in fundraising, the fact that two out of three first-time donors to a nonprofit never make a second gift is all you need to know as to why donor engagement is important.
But – what is donor engagement?
We won’t turn to Webster’s Dictionary – donor engagement is a catch-all term for quite a bit of activities, ways of thinking, platforms, and most of all – it’s multi-faceted.
Here are just a few facets of donor engagement – from phone calls to emails to face-to-face visits with donors; to finding out what issues are programs are specifically important to each donor; to understanding a donor’s motivational triggers for giving; to finding out more about a donor’s other philanthropic interests; to identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and providing stewardship to donors; to mapping the “donor journey” across your organization; to making it easier for donors to give; to your keeping accurate and comprehensive records; to immediately recognizing and acknowledging every donor’s gifts; to keeping track of all touchpoints and moves with your donors; to ensuring you know a donor’s communication preferences, — the list goes on.
This series of blog posts will take a deep-dive into specific aspects of donor engagement. Rather than kicking things off writing about technology platforms, nonprofit and fundraising statistics, moves management, or other aspects of donor engagement – we think it’s critical to start with mindset. That is, the fundraiser’s mindset – not the donor’s!
With decades of experience working in and leading nonprofits, our mindset is guided by five principles we find are essential for successful fundraising. These include:
Abundance – Philanthropy is transformative and can be a magic wand
for social change and improvement, yet so many donors and fundraisers cling to
a scarcity mentality and feel philanthropy is a zero-sum game. Helping donors
and fundraisers create and maintain an abundance mindset is central to their
success and sense of purpose.
Authenticity – In order to truly relate to someone you have to be
yourself. You can’t listen and be of service to others if you’re worried about
playing a role, or waiting for your turn to talk so you can score points. Authenticity is critical in building genuine trust with donors.
Energy – Fundraising requires a high level of energy, passion, and
vigor to engage donors and help organizations achieve positive social
outcomes. There are many blind alleys, false starts, as well as exhausting
successes that require resilience.
Relationships – Building mutually beneficial relationships and
being of service through those relationships is central to achieving positive
Purpose – Fundraising and philanthropy are ultimately about
purpose. Purpose helps us feel connected to others in ways we simply cannot
experience in any other manner.
Fundraising is an inspiration business and endeavor Inspiration is contagious, and it will definitely rub off as you engage donors. Best of all, when you’re inspired donors will give more, and remain committed to your nonprofit.
We began this post with the bad news that two out of three first-time donors to a nonprofit never make a second gift. We’ll end with the good news – a nonprofit is six times more likely to receive a gift from a past donor than someone who has never given to that nonprofit. Donor engagement is the key to your nonprofit’s fundraising success.