Creative Ways to Engage Your DonorsBy Angelina Burkholder
It’s easy to ask people for money. As a non profit, it’s what you do day in and day out and your livelihood depends on it. But donors can get exhausted easily when asked over and over and over to empty their wallets yet again. There has to be another way, right?
You’re never not going to ask your donors for money, but there are some ways that you can alleviate the constant nagging with more fun and creative ways for people to get involved in your organization and your work.
Your supporters all have their own careers, experiences and talents. Why not bring that into your organization? Just because someone can’t donate to you doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything that you can use. So ask them to donate their knowledge or their talents. A well-organized and managed volunteer team can bring fresh vision and depth to your team like nothing else can.
For example, say you can’t afford to hire someone to enter data. Ask a volunteer to do it. Doing so will not only allow people to be a part of your vision without having to sign a check, but it’ll also free up your internal team to take care of tasks that can’t be passed on to a volunteer.
Or perhaps you need someone to man your information booth at a fundraising event. Get volunteers to do easy tasks like handing out postcards, taking photos, and updating social media to free up your team to have meaningful conversations and interactions with event attendees.
Ask your donors to donate their feedback. This can include surveys of how the organization can be even more impactful or effective or feedback from donors on how they want to be talked to, what communications they prefer, etc. Thank donors for their feedback and keep them in the loop as you make efforts to create changes within the organization based on their thoughts.
You can even ask your donors to share their personal testimonies or stories of impact. Ask them to share how being a donor has affected or changed them and share those stories (with permission) on your social media channels, email communications and website. These can all work together to help you build stronger relationships with your donors AND inspire other people to become donors as well!
Ask your donors to do something silly and share it with their friends and family via social media or email to bring awareness to your organization and introduce their network to your work. For instance, your promotion of this could look something like the following:
“Want to be involved, but unsure of how you can help? Donate your pride! Tell your family and friends that for every $20 you receive to be donated toward (insert organization’s cause or mission or current project), you’ll take a cream pie in the face! Film the pie event and share with your online community. Together we can bring an end to (reiterate cause/mission/project).”
Something simple like this gives people a fun and exciting way to be involved in your organization while also rallying their personal network for your cause! For this kind of approach, be sure to build out a landing page and email communications that include detailed terms and directions of how this type of donation should work.
It’s inevitable that your donors will go through periods of their life where they can’t possibly write out another check to you. Giving these people an alternative way to stay involved in your organization promises longevity of your donor base and provides people with an easy way to stay loyal to you and plugged into your mission.
If you're working through all things donor development and are looking for resources to help you along your journey further, be sure to check our New Donor Welcome Kit below!