The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Four Donor Communication Mistakes to Avoid in Year-End Giving Plans

There’s no question that this is a busy time of year in our field. But don’t let the hustle and bustle of year-end planning and #GivingTuesday campaigns distract you from the basics of good fundraising, especially strategic donor communications. Here are four of the most common mistakes nonprofits make in their donor communications and how you can avoid them:

Mistake #1: The One and Done

A new donor gives to your organization. They get a receipt for their gift and then…nothing. It’s a sad reality, but many organizations only send donors an automated donation receipt during this time of year.  They don’t get a heartfelt thank you letter or an email about the impact of their gift. Does this approach inspire a second gift? Not likely.

How can you avoid this fate? Communicate with donors on a regular basis. Send quarterly updates on special projects. Ask clients to write thank yous that share how your programs have benefited them. Encourage staff and Board members to call donors and discuss new programs. Whatever you do, showing donors the impact of their previous gift will compel them to give the next time you ask.

Network for Good’s donor management system is designed to keep your donor outreach on track. You can create mass emails and send them to a group of donors as soon as their gifts are made. And, for more personal communication, you can set up a reminder to make a donor thank you calls.

Mistake #2: The Me, Me, Me

Donors are the heroes of your nonprofit. These are the people who make your work happen. If you send an appeal or a thank you message that is all about how great your nonprofit is, you’re missing out on an opportunity to make donors feel good about supporting your cause.

Here’s an easy way to reverse this mistake. Before you hit send on your next donor email, scan for all instances of your nonprofit’s name and instances of “us” and “we.” Try rephrasing those sections and including the words “you” and “your” to emphasize the valuable role donors play in your organization’s work.

Mistake #3: The Broken Record

If you share the same success stories over and over again, your donors may wonder if their gifts are creating any NEW good in their community. Be sure to have a diverse set of stories to share in thank you letters, quarterly updates, newsletters, appeals and more.

To make sure you don’t send the same update to a donor, use Network for Good’s donor management system to evaluate their engagement. You can track open rates and clicks in your email campaigns to determine what inspires them to give.

Mistake #4: The Spray and Pray

Many nonprofits think that if they send one appeal to their entire database, they will inspire everyone to give. This doesn’t yield big results. Why? Because  donors are unique.  They have a unique interests, they have preferred giving habits, and they give at specific levels.

Instead of spray and pray, try segmenting your list. For donors who give big gifts, don’t start your gift string at $25. Start it $100, and vice versa. For those donors who are interested in particular program, send them information that demonstrates that program’s success.

In Network for Good’s donor management system, you can segment donors in groups based on giving history, program interest, giving levels, and more. This feature helps you easily send them the right message at the right time.

 

What other donor communication mistakes have you seen in your work? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Piperlee

    I recently received a pdf named “thank you groundwater” in an email with no other text, no logo, nothing but the pdf attached. The only thing I had to go by was the name of someone I’ve never heard of, sending from a gmail address that used an acronym I didn’t recognize. I didn’t open the pdf, of course, but risked a reply, asking the person what it was about. She wrote back explaining that it was a receipt for a donation I’d made almost two months ago, a personalized form letter reiterating what the problem was but not explaining what my money will do beyond ‘with your support we will prevail’. I do appreciate their work, but admit being turned off by this. I do understand being stretched thin and trying to do everything without the infrastructure to do it right. Nearly all of my donations go towards wildlife and habitat, and agribusiness’ unregulated overuse of scarce water resources certainly causes trouble for wildlife. But I’d forgotten about the donation, and forgotten that I hadn’t received a receipt or a thank you from this group. Sending what looked like a potential trojan horse virus was a negative on top of a negative, however. I’m going to reply with a link to this article. Hopefully they’ll check it out and take advantage of all the great Network for Good articles. It can only help with their very important cause.

  • Barbara

    Yeah, They are big mistakes! Can’t agree more!

    http://homelock.vn/

  • #4 is a very interesting point. I guess it comes down to targeting particular segments of an audience with different personas. Great tips!

  • Prachi Sandav

    Hi Interesting Blog.
    Also read http://bit.ly/2gHWrLj and refer citronindia.com

  • It’s great…
    http://cititime.com.vn

  • CASIO VIETNAM

    Ask clients to write thank yous that share how your programs have benefited them. Encourage staff and Board members to call donors and discuss new programs. Whatever you do, showing donors the impact of their previous gift will compel them to give the next time you ask.
    https://casiovietnam.net

  • Dinh Truc

    Ask clients to write thank yous that share how your programs have benefited them. Encourage staff and Board members to call donors and discuss new programs. Whatever you do, showing donors the impact of their previous gift will compel them to give the next time you ask.
    https://donghothanhtung.com/

About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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