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3 Ways to Engage Younger Donors

How can we get younger people to donate to our organization? What’s the silver bullet to getting more younger donors? This is a common issue that many nonprofits encounter regardless of how long they have been around or how big their donor base is.  Well, as we all know, there really isn’t a silver bullet that helps us solve major fundraising challenges, but there is one thing you can do to start laying a foundation to welcome and nurture younger donors.

As part of our quarterly kick-off, the Network for Good team had a challenge from our Chief Technology Officer: You have a day to put together a plan to help a customer improve their digital marketing and fundraising strategy. And that’s exactly what we did! We took a day away from our typical 9-5, split into teams, and worked on solutions to help customers address some of their big challenges. The following are three suggestions we shared with The Family Place, located in Washington, D.C., to help them engage donors.

The Family Place offers a variety of services and support to immigrant families settling in the D.C. area. We started the morning with a phone call getting to know the organization and the priorities they had for improving their fundraising and marketing strategy. One topic of note was their desire to diversify their donor base, with the ultimate goal of cultivating a younger donor base.

Start a Junior Board

Junior boards, or young professional committees, can help you tap into a new donor base you might not have had access to before. Giving young professionals the opportunity to serve on a board is great experience for the board member (and it looks good on a resume). It’s also a great opportunity for nonprofits to cultivate a group of advocates who will help spread the word about the organization’s work.

Another D.C. organization, So Others Might Eat (SOME) has a young professionals group that plans and organizes a winter ball as a fundraiser for their peers. In fact, Arlene Lynch from Network for Good’s Customer Success team, has served on this event committee and has nothing but praise about her volunteer experience.

Especially in an area like Washington, D.C., where you have an abundance of passionate young professionals looking to focus their skills in a meaningful way, a junior board is a great way to:

  • Form meaningful relationships with younger community members.
  • Connect with even more young people who would have an interest in your cause through your junior board’s network.

BoardAssist’s post, “Top 9 Tips for Managing Your Junior Board,” is an excellent resource for junior board best practices.

Keep Online Content Updated

Another suggestion we made to The Family Place that will help attract younger donors is to keep their online content updated. After all, when anyone is researching a philanthropic topic or looking up causes to support, they will most likely go online, either looking for information via a Google search or Facebook. That goes for your younger donors, as well as those who are young at heart!

The Family Place is currently undergoing a website overhaul. Although a website is a very important piece to any nonprofit’s digital marketing plan, a full website redesign wasn’t something our team could make meaningful progress on in a single day. However, there were a few suggestions we made when it came to their newly designed website (soon to launch) that we hope helped:

  • Use images of real clients. The Family Place has great pictures of their clients on social media, but we noticed that their newly designed website still had some placeholder photos or stock images. We recommended more photos of smiling faces of their clients. They do a great job of sharing images on social to demonstrate the impact of their work, but websites aren’t updated as often as social so images can grow stale. Have you taken an audit of the imagery on your website? Is it time for an update? Are these photos telling the story you want to tell your current and potential donors?
  • Update donation buttons, everywhere. The Family Place had a few different ways they were linking to their donation page on their website. We updated a few dead links to ensure all donors were taken to their Network for Good donation page when they are ready to give. Furthermore, we also recommended they update their Facebook call to action button to drive donors to their Network for Good donation page as well. When donors are ready to give you want to make it easy for them to find your donation page!
  • Create a mailing list sign-up form. In Network for Good’s fundraising software, you can easily create a form for mailing list sign-up that will add supporters to your system, so you can email them event invitations, monthly newsletters, and more. We noticed that The Family Place had not yet leveraged this feature. We took the task off their hands, and created a form for them to link on their website and social.

Create a Memorable Donor Thank You Video

Because The Family Place had such great images of their clients they were already sharing on their social channels, we wanted to make sure that current donors who might not be active on social media were seeing all the great things their donations made possible. Since younger generations are so tech-savvy, we created a donor thank you video, using impact statements about Family Place programs and images we found on social media. Our customer solutions team member, Jeremy Washington, crafted this video in just a few hours using iMovie. This video can be sent out via email to donors as a special thank you campaign or, added to their regular process for thanking new incoming donors.

The Family Place has a wonderful mission with opportunities to improve their online presence, engage a younger supporter base, and creatively thank donors. Perhaps some of their challenges are your challenges, too. Use the ideas we presented to this Network for Good customer to help you rethink how you approach the same opportunities at your nonprofit.

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