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Five Tips for Year-Round Non-Profit Donor Engagement

April 15, 2022

Five Tips for Year-Round Non-Profit Donor Engagement

It’s no secret that donors are the backbone of your organization’s cause or mission. But how do you keep your donors engaged throughout the entire year, so when you really need them to act, they will?

When it comes to fundraising, we’ve compiled expert advice in collaboration with creative agency Radish Lab on how to increase donor engagement using effective text messaging campaign strategies.

Firstly, what is donor engagement?

Donor engagement is how you send messages as outbound communications, in terms of the tone that you use when you speak to your supporters, how frequently you're asking them, and moving them up a ladder of engagement or keeping them in the same spot. Voice and tone are two important factors that tend to have the highest impact on the engagement rate.

Get our free guide: Five Tips for Year-Round Non-Profit Donor Engagement 🔑 

No. 1: Start with an intro text that has a low-level ask, like “join the cause”

This step builds up conversational cadence. It’s better to have an ongoing engagement with donors, rather than send a one-off message.

It’s best to start with a more nurturing, calm, conversational aspect to engagement rather than a direct call to action (CTA), like “click this button” and “send this donation”. 

So it all starts with a low-level ask and keeps escalating. For the first level of ladder engagement, your low-level ask is “join”. So this could be join your organization's email list our weekly blog updates, or whatever you have.

The question you can ask is, what is the higher-value thing a person can do? Where should you put certain things in the ladder of engagement? 

It boils down to volunteer hours versus donation, with volunteer hours being the highest-level ask because their time is irreplaceable.

No. 2: Follow up with a text update on the mission

In step two, as far as an initial outbound communication, you’ll send a text message that provides an update. Initially, it’s the follow up to what would be updates on the mission or cause they joined in step one. 

The reason being if somebody joined your organization in any capacity, then there is some interest in what you're up to. Hence, in that theory, all your messaging is based on attainment of what the mission of the organization is. Therefore, follow up texts on missions are always welcomed.

No. 3: Based on engagement in preceding steps, use a clear CTA

The third piece based on engagement is having a clear call to action. For example, your first message could be “If you'd like to hear more about canceling student debt, reply with the word join.” That's a low-level ask. 

So the next step is you’d now have this student debt cancellation bill in committee, and you’d send your follow-up message with an update to your recipient. It's just a quick update on the mission. 

Then, in the third step, a more natural world of operations for the third engagement is a message that says, “Hey, if you would like to support us in this mission, we could really use your help.” Put simply, updates on goals and the mission are welcomed, whereas weekly welcome requests are not.

It’s important to work on cultivating the relationship, and understanding their giving history before repeatedly asking for a donation. 

When you consider cultivating a relationship with these donors, you must remember they're not just donors, they're part of your community in some way, shape or form. So you should treat them as such by having an ongoing conversation with them.  💬

To learn the exact five strategies to boost donor engagement throughout the year, download our free guide: Five Tips for Year-Round Non-Profit Donor Engagement