Effective Communication with Your Donors

Effective Communication with Your Donors

Donor retention rates have been on a steady decline for the last few years. In 2010-2011, the number of returning donors was at 52.5% with a steady decline to 38.9% over 2017-2018, meaning less than half of non-profit’s donor base are those donors making repeat gifts from year to year. With capacity to give at an all-time high and donor retention rates continuously deteriorating, how can you effectively communicate with your donors and convey your organizations goals in order to keep them coming back and ready to give to your charity each year?

Here are three ways that you can connect with your donor base and maximize your fundraising efforts:

  1. Snail Mail – the bane of every intern/coordinator’s existence

Pros:

  • Personal Touch: Sending out physical direct mail is the easiest way to personalize your donation request by adding a quick, handwritten note to the top of your request letter to differentiate your fundraising outreach from everyone else.
  • Donor Demographics: The average age of a donor is 65 years old. Many members of the Baby Boomer generation still prefer to hold their mail in hands so you shouldn’t overlook this option if many of your donors are on the older side.

Cons:

  • Time Consuming: Anyone who has ever been an office intern or coordinator has probably had the pleasure of folding letters and stuffing envelopes for hours at a time. If your organization is short-staffed and running low on time, you may want to reach your donors in another way.
  • Expensive!: If your mailing consists of three pages and a brochure, you’re looking at spending $1.50 to reach each individual. Multiply that by 250 and you will be spending a pretty penny to send out your direct mailing which may not fit into every non-profits budget.
  1. Electronic Mailings – per my email

Pros:

  • Cost Effective: Sending out an email is free! Instead of printing out all of your letters and reply forms. Convert them to PDFs, attach them to an email and send your request or event invite on its way.
  • Real-Time Data: With today’s technology, you can see all sorts of key metrics like open rate, how many people immediately deleted it, click-through rates and what links are being viewed and all sorts of other data that can help you make your fundraising efforts as effective as possible.

Cons:

  • Inbox Clutter: Every day, we receive dozens of emails and plenty of us are guilty of leaving a few unread at the end of the day. What is your organization doing to differentiate your correspondence and ensure that people are reading your content and engaging with it? If no one is reading your email, then no one is donating to your charity.
  1. Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Software – there’s an app for that

Pros:

  • Efficiency: These days you can purchase software that will run your non-profit for you! Well almost. With the different platforms out there, you can automate your outreach by pushing a button to send out your request letters and schedule your thank you emails to go out right after your event. By automating your communication and outreach, you can free up your time to focus on other parts of running your non-profit.
  • Streamlining: In many cases automation software allows you to run numerous campaigns at once for different events and fundraising initiatives so you can tailor your outreach for each event individually. Using one of these platforms can make it easier to keep track of all your ongoing operations in one place.

Cons:

  • Upfront Investment: Moving your communications to an automation software can be expensive. In addition to purchasing the software, you also need to spend time and resources to teach your staff how to use it.

Whether it be finding the right CRM software for your organization or snail direct mail, Powered by Professionals can help you improve your communication and interaction with your donor base in a way that keeps them coming back so you can maximize your fundraising efforts and fulfill your organization’s mission.

Maiya Larsen
mlarsen@poweredbyprofessionals.com