Let’s face the facts. You can keep up with all the best practices and try every new trick in the book. But donors will still disconnect from your mission if you don’t have a strong foundation in place.
Are you struggling to retain donors? Or do you find supporters seem excited after their first donation but engage less and less over time? These are common signs that something is causing donors to disconnect from your mission.
You can’t let your audience lose sight of the big picture and what your organization is all about!
But it takes a lot more to keep donors engaged and in touch with your mission and work. Remember, it’s not just about what you say. But it’s also about how you say it!
Your message doesn’t stick.
If you’re already familiar with our approach, you know being mission focused and donor centric in your outreach is key.
So, first things first. Remember to keep the reason your organization exists in mind. You should connect back to it and the donor’s role in making your vision possible with every touch.
Your nonprofit’s mission statement should guide all your communications and messaging. But the nature of your work or your nonprofit’s mission may have evolved over time. And donors will disconnect from your mission if these elements aren’t aligned!
And remember to be donor centric in every touch. It’s not about what your nonprofit is accomplishing. It’s about what the donor makes possible with their support!
READ MORE: How you can tell a more donor-centric story.
The design doesn’t do it.
But what if it’s not a problem with the message itself? What if there’s something about the way your mailers, emails, and website look that is causing donors to disconnect from your mission?
This is a possibility too many fundraising professionals don’t consider right away. But we find the right strategic design can have a huge impact on how donors receive your messages and how they will engage.
For example, emails without a clear call-to-action button can cause donors to disconnect from your mission. It doesn’t matter if you share an incredible story and get the donor excited to support you if the design of your piece doesn’t make the next step of clicking to your donation page clear!
Some emails may benefit from a less stylized design. Donors will disconnect if all your emails have the same polished look and feel. Mix things up by sending an email that looks like it was typed moments before it was sent to the donor!
And don’t forget to consider a donor’s experience as they open an appeal package. What do they see first when they open the envelope? Does the reply card stand out? Or get stuck in the shuffle?
You don’t vary your communications.
Everyone knows the misery of those “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” road trips. Yet, this is the exact same approach some nonprofits apply to their outreach strategy. And then they’re surprised when response rates flatline.
After all, the world is a noisy place. It’s easy to get caught in the clutter if you send appeal after appeal without other communications in between. And sending too many consecutive appeals tells donors you care more about what they can give than about them as an individual.
So, make sure you include plenty of other messages that remind donors of their impact and invite them to engage in other ways. Surveys, impact reports, invitations to events or volunteer outings, awareness messages, and birthday cards are all great places to start.
Keep donors engaged.
There’s not a fundraising professional alive that doesn’t want to retain more of their donors. And it’s not always easy to identify the reasons donors disconnect from your mission.
But organizations that ask themselves these hard questions and are willing to try something different are the ones that get results.
So, do any of the reasons above explain why your retention rates are lagging or why it seems like donors aren’t as interested as they used to be?