According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), almost $230 billion dollars were donated to nonprofit organizations in 2013. In fact, over 70 percent of contributions came from individuals. The remaining 30 percent of contributions come from foundations, bequests and corporations. Therefore, it is very important to create and follow a donor communication plan in order to maintain contribution rates.
The first step in creating a communication plan is to understand your donors. For example, above mentioned NCCS report also shows that donors are either at the low or high end of the income bracket contribute the most. Specifically, those who make over $10 million and those who make under $50 thousand a year contribute the most. In addition to this, donors tend to contribute less to religious organizations. However, households that do contribute to religious organizations will donate double the amount compared with secular homes. In the end, local donor demographics are critical to create a customized donor communication strategy. Learn more about the importance of donor demographics here.
Donor demographics and preferences can be obtained through simple donor surveys. For example, this could be emailed or mailed out to donors. Consider using the same survey every year so that there will be a benchmark for comparisons. The survey should ask specific questions regarding the donor’s satisfaction with their contribution. For example, ask how often the person prefers to donate, how informed they are about the decisions made and how satisfied they are with how the funds are being used. Be sure to ask open ended questions that allow donor’s to share their ideas, opinions and questions.
All marketing success depends on creating relevant content. This means that the content should be helpful, interesting and compelling. Build credible through offering meaningful testimonials and genuine human interest stories. On the other hand, customer driven content marketing is a newer business concept that utilizes customers to create and drive content sharing. For example, social media sites encourage users to share their detailed opinions with other users. This results in free content and positive marketing. Consider utilizing content shared from donors. This will provide evocative and educational content that inspires and motivates others to donate more.
Understand the Donor Cycle
It is important to understand that there should be a donor communication cycle. That is, there should be a scheduled plan that involves events, communication, gifts and appeals. For example, when new donors make a contribution, they should immediately receive a welcome letter that provides introductory information and receipt. The letter should also include an overview of their benefits, how the funds are used and how they can learn more or get involved. In a few weeks, send out a letter or email to elicit feedback. After a month, sent out a personalized newsletter. Finally, send out a personalized appeal for more funds in a few weeks.
To sum up, donor demographics and surveys will increase understanding and campaign efficiency. Creating relevant content and utilizing the donor cycle will increase funding appeals and effectiveness.