How you communicate with your audiences is crucial to the success of your organization and reaching your fundraising goals. Whether you’re practicing donor stewardship, making a fundraising appeal, or expressing appreciation, these tips can help across the board.
Guest contributor GivingMail knows it's essential to use your donor database to your advantage to target the right audience at the right time. Here’s what they’ll cover to help you optimize your donor outreach content:
- Include direct mail in your multichannel approach
- Segment your audience for optimal outreach
- Show continuous gratitude for your donors
- Include intentional visual communications across all platforms
With these best practices, your organization will be able to optimize your donor outreach strategy in no time. Let’s dive in!
1. Include direct mail in your multichannel approach
As nonprofit professionals, your team likely already knows that using a multichannel communications approach helps your content reach the largest audience possible. Choosing the right platforms is essential. You must take into account which can deliver your content directly to those who have the most affinity for your cause. After all, your goal is to have your audience react positively to your appeals and eventually give.
A dedicated platform for direct mail can be a cornerstone of your donor outreach. In your multichannel communications strategy, it’s crucial to include not only digital platforms but also physical materials. Focusing on direct mail as a cornerstone of your donor outreach can provide your team with benefits that digital platforms simply cannot.
According to GivingMail’s marketing statistics for nonprofits, direct mail accounts for about 90% of direct response donations, making it a highly effective platform for optimizing your donor outreach. Here’s why it can work for your communications plan:
- People typically check their mailbox daily, giving mail a high visibility rate
- Direct mail is more memorable than digital outreach
- Letters stand out from the clutter of digital outreach platforms
Be sure to include an envelope for giving in all letters. Research shows that including supporter names and addresses on personalized return envelopes increased the response rate by 14%, average gift size by 19%, and overall revenue by 31.5%. Direct mail is prevalent as ever, and as these statistics reveal, it should be a central element of your marketing strategy.
2. Segment your audience for optimal outreach
To determine who should receive your outreach on which platforms, use the information in your constituent relationship management (CRM) system. This way, you’ll be able to deliver a personalized message to your donors. People tend to respond better to more individualized communication rather than a generic call to action.
Your outreach will benefit from personalization because you can minimize wasted impressions. For example, you can send event volunteering opportunities to your donors. These supporters are more likely to give their time because they have historically been sympathetic to your mission.
People are more likely to give to your organization when they see that you’ve taken the time to reach out to them with individualized content. Here’s how to do this effectively:
Address your donors directly
Your donor CRM includes the names of your recipients. Use them! For example, when addressing a letter, or writing the introduction of a piece of mail, use your supporter’s preferred name. This small gesture will establish your relationship with them in a more substantial way than “dear valued supporter” or a similar bland introduction.
Practice good data hygiene
The data you collect in your CRM from registration forms and donations can connect you to your donors in effective and helpful ways. Data hygiene is sometimes overlooked, as this guide explains. It’s essential to update your data because misspelling a donor’s name or repeatedly sending them identical pieces of mail will lead to a negative impression and turn them off to supporting you. Here are a few ways to avoid data mistakes:
- Delete duplicate donor profiles
- Note people who live together for direct mail outreach
- Check your spelling of names and addresses
With the right message delivered to the right people, your content will stand out. Practicing good data hygiene can go a long way when it comes to strengthening your donor relationships.
3. Show continuous gratitude for your donors
Thanking your supporters for their time and contributions should be a principal part of your donor outreach. Your donors give their time and money to drive your mission forward and create a positive impact in your community.
Remember, this should happen at multiple points of the year, even when it’s not peak fundraising season. This shows your donors that you value them for more than just their wallets.
Communicating your appreciation for your supporters as a part of your outreach strategy is the basis of a successful stewardship strategy. Here’s why a thank-you at can go a long way:
- Donor retention is more effective than donor acquisition. Your supporters have already contributed to your cause in one way or another, and with the right stewardship practices, they’re likely to continue to give. Through your updates and follow-up messages, they’ve already seen firsthand how their efforts have positively impacted the community.
- Increases future giving potential. According to Lumaverse’s stewardship guide, working to increase your retention rate will help you secure long-term gifts. A solid relationship between your nonprofit and your supporters will encourage them to continue to give again and in larger amounts.
- Expedites your planning for future endeavors. When you foster your supporter relationships, they’ll become your go-to volunteers for your future endeavors. No longer will you have to fret about having enough volunteers to run a fundraising event!
Bottom line: You’re thanking your donors for giving time, resources, and money to others in need. There are many ways to effectively show your appreciation such as personalized notes, asking for input from donors, and recognizing them on your social media accounts. Each way communicates to the community that your supporters are what helps you reach your goals.
4. Include intentional visual communications across all platforms
Now that your team has designated platforms and content for your donor outreach, don’t forget to make your materials eye-catching. Including a few powerful graphics and photos draws attention to your content and encourages engagement.
Depending on your outreach content, effective imagery will help evoke a variety of emotions in the recipient. This works to create the most significant impact possible with your messaging. Include images of:
- Happy moments at a fundraising event to encourage people to participate
- Your organization actively giving back to the community to evoke a sense of empowerment
- Infographics on statistical data related to your impact in the community
By including these compelling graphics, recipients will be able to picture themselves as a part of your organization. Most importantly, they can see for themselves just how impactful your mission is for the community.
With these strategies in mind, your donor outreach content will be more impactful and compelling. By using a multichannel approach and facilitating donor stewardship, you can gain the support of a wide range of recipients who are bound to remain engaged in your cause even after the end of your fundraising campaign.
About the Author
Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with more than 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision-making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.