Coming back from a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, means reevaluating your fundraising and operations strategies and procedures. One of these strategies that may need a fresh set of eyes is your donor communication strategy. Whether your fundraising team is back in the office or still working from home, many nonprofits have resumed their fundraising efforts. And part of those efforts include effectively and appropriately communicating with current or prospective donors.
However, sometimes you don’t know that the tactics you’re deploying to communicate with your donors are not the most effectual. Here are some of the mistakes fundraisers are making in their communications strategy:
- Reaching out once and then going radio silent. Keep communicating with your donors, even when you’re not asking them for money. Keep them updated about the status of campaigns and projects, let them know when you have an event coming up, ask if they’ll volunteer their time, and thank them for past contributions.
- Making the conversation all about you. Their donations are about them and their contribution to your mission, so it’s important to make your donor feel like part of your team and let them know how their donation helped and how it was used.
- Being too general in your communications. Not every donor should be communicated with in the same way, so it’s important to segment your donors and communicate with them accordingly. Major gift donors should receive a different message than new donors. Donors who always turn down your annual golf outing shouldn’t be invited to your, well, golf outing.
- Only asking for money. Ask for volunteers, send out updates about fundraisers and projects your team is working on, let your constituents know when you’re planning an event, keep them apprised of changes and news within your nonprofit. Doing this will help your donors feel like team members rather than cash cows.
- Only using one communication channel. Social media, email, texts, calls, direct mail – all of these channels are at your disposal, and you should be utilizing them all! Different donors will respond to different modes of communication, so it’s important to segment your donors and figure out which method will work best for your individual donor groups.
- Not utilizing your data. If you’re using ResultsPlus, you have a plethora of donor information available to you at your fingertips. Your data allows you to segment your donors for personalized communication, so don’t under-utilizing your donor information.
- You don’t say thank you. Your donor communications shouldn’t stop after the ask. When you receive a gift, you have one more step in the process: thanking them. If you’re not expressing how grateful you are (and personalizing those thank-yous) your donors will be less likely to donate again in the future.
How you communicate (or don’t communicate) with your donors is critical to your fundraising success. Keeping these “don’ts” in mind can help your team become more effective fundraisers.