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4 Steps to More Effective Donor Communications

Did you know that approximately 71% of new donors only give once?

In order to ensure you retain those hard-earned new donors, effective donor communication is key. Here are four easy first steps:

1. Give donors the information they want

Keep it simple. According to the Camber Collective’s Money for Good report, donors want clearer communication citing that 49% of donors don’t know how nonprofits use their money, 34% feel hassled, and 20% are unsure who benefits from the work they’re funding.

You can increase donor retention by simply and clearly communicating how your donors’ money is being utilized, and what impact their donations are making. While donors report they don’t know how their money is being used, what they’re really saying is they don’t know if or how they are making a difference.

Creating communications that are clear, accurate, and impact-oriented are simple ways to demonstrate your ability to understand and provide the information your donors need. These type of regular communications will build trust with your donors and set the stage for larger gifts.

2. Segment donors and tailor your communications

No two donors are the same. Some make one gift per year; others give each month. Some prefer electronic communications, while others prefer mail. This is where segmentation comes in. Knowing and responding to your donors based on their preferences makes them feel understood and appreciated.

Different ways to segment your donors include their giving level, giving frequency, and communication preferences. Personalizing these communications can result in an increase in their effectiveness.

3. Connect with donors on an emotional level

Once you tell your donors what you’re doing, tell them WHY you’re doing it. Communicating both the what and the why results in messaging that appeals to both ‘heads and hearts.’

Creating an emotional connection feels less pushy in solicitations and allows donors to see how their gifts are contributing to the organization’s cause.

Remember, your donors chose your organization because they relate to your mission. Let them know how their donations are helping you fulfill that mission.

4. Say thank you

Did you know that 13 percent of donors stop donating because they were never thanked? Donors want to know they’re appreciated. It’s important to always send a personalized thank you to communicate to your donors that they are valued.

You must send a personalized thank you to every donor promptly. And you should do it every time you receive a donation. If the donation is larger than normal, or otherwise out of the ordinary, make your thank you exceptional as well. Pick up the phone and call the donor. Send a handwritten note instead of the usual customized template. Invite the donor to coffee.

But it’s not enough to thank them. You must incorporate points one through three above: give them the information they need (clearly communicate how their donation is being used and the impact it will have), be sure the message is tailored (reflecting your understanding of them), and make an emotional connection.

In the end, it’s important to remember that you are building relationships with your donors. Invest time in crafting your communications. From the first thank you, through your newsletters, solicitations, website, social media, and more, apply these tactics and retain and grow your donor support.

This post originally appeared on the Bloomerang blog. As part of their Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Camp Arcadia.

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