What’s the most important holiday for nonprofit fundraisers? No, it’s not #GivingTuesday, nor is it December 31.
It’s Be Your Donor Day, which is today, October 24.
Network for Good started Be Your Donor Day as reminder to set time aside before Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday, and year-end to check out your nonprofit from your donors’ perspective.
Think about all the ways your donor comes in contact with your organization. Are those touchpoints and experiences everything they should be?
Nonprofits who use our optimized fundraising pages can be confident that yes, your donation page is donor friendly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve the path that donor’s arrive to your donation page:
- Can you find a donate button on your website in 3 seconds or less?
- Is your call to action obvious in an email appeal?
…and how you connect with donors after the donation is made:
- What does the donation thank you page look like?
- How long does it take to get a thank you (not a receipt) for a donation?
- Do you make it easy for donors to get in touch if they have a question?
In addition to “being your donor” by making an online gift, apply this same treatment to any donor-facing asset, online or off. Here’s a checklist to help you find channels you should test (and improve)!
Some of Network for Good’s favorite nonprofit experts share how you can apply this donor-centric view to your communications approach:
I tell people all the time to put themselves in their donor’s shoes and think about what’s interesting to the donor. Fundraisers have to stop talking about their organization, their programs, and their need to fund their budget, and instead talk about what donors care about: impact, outcomes, and how lives are being changed. Here’s an article that shows you how to do that in an appeal. — Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded
Don’t just guess at what your donor wants or thinks…ask her! Send a survey, pick up the phone, pose a question over small talk at your next event. Not sure what to ask? Start simple and explore why they give to you, who else they support, and how you can help them get more involved. – Farra Trompeter, Big Duck
Check your communications. Read them aloud. Is it something you would read if you weren’t being paid to do so? When is the last time you read a communication like this where you weren’t writing it? Are you relying on a gimmick like underlining and PS or are you relying on good storytelling? – Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru
Make a gift to an organization that your donors also like to give to. Not only will this give a donor’s perspective, but it will also remind you of what it’s like to be a donor. – Vanessa Chase, The Storytelling Non-Profit
In your thank-you communications, mention when your donor will hear from you next. If you are putting them on a newsletter list, say so! If you plan to send invitations to events in the near future, say so! You want to build an expectation of ongoing communications and that this is the start of a beautiful long-term relationship. – Kivi Leroux Miller, Nonprofit Marketing Guide
Donors want two things in their relationships with nonprofits–to be valued and to make a difference. Do all of your communications convey to your donors the importance of their investment in your work? This goes beyond simply saying “thank you.” View donors as co-investors in your success. Talk about the impact of your work through stories of people you’ve served and results your programs have had. Be open about your vision and what you need to make that vision a reality. Donors give through you, not to you, and want to see your mission and dreams succeed. – Barbara O’Reilly, Windmill Hill Consulting
My tip is to get to know your donors and prospects, inside and out, and surround yourself at your desk with personas who represent each type or segment. Here’s a how-to checklist for persona creation. There’s nothing like a face-to-face to get you focused, real and targeted. With your people staring you down, you just can’t miss! — Nancy Schwartz, Getting Attention
Help donors out by using clear storytelling to show how your organization is making a difference. Don’t give them fluff. Your donors deserve better! They will see right through it. Share stories that show how you are providing sustainable solutions to problems that they care about. Zoom in on the people that are impacted by your work. – Shelly Watts, Thoughtful Missions
Design matters when you have 10 seconds to make an impact. Use visual cues help your audience quickly connect with your cause. People naturally read in a “Z” format. To help scanners absorb your message, place your logo, their name, a great graphic, bold key points and a strong PS along this path. Write short sentences and leave plenty of white space. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Make it count. — Beth Brodovsky, Iris Creative