NPO Management

5 No-cost Ways to Improve Donor Relations

August 8, 2022

Personalize your communication with nonprofit donors to keep them engaged with your cause

Your nonprofit donor database is bursting with potential to support and raise funds for your organization. But, it’s important to keep in mind that – while it may be tempting to try to reach as many donors as possible all at once – each supporter deserves as much time and attention as you want them to put toward your cause.

That’s why creating a personalized donor communication plan is going to be central to improving your donor relations and keeping them engaged in your mission. Let’s take a look at a few no-cost donor communication tips you can start implementing today.

#1 Segment your messaging

The number of reasons that donors have chosen to support your nonprofit organization is the same as the number of donors in your database. Everyone has a different motivation for being drawn to the good work you do. That being said, one of the best ways to understand what attracted a donor to your cause is to gather information about their journey to making a donation.

You can either find this information by using the available data you may have about when the donor began giving, the campaigns to which they have donated, their average donation amount, whether or not their donation was in memoriam, and how they found out about your organization in the first place. If you do not have access to this data, you could begin gathering it by sending out surveys to donors to get more insight into their thought processes. Additionally, you can reach out to specific key donors via phone or email to have a conversation with them to find out what aspects of your mission resonate with them, and about what convinced them to donate to your organization. To make things simpler for yourself in the future, you can even consider adding some questions about donor intent to your donation and fundraising forms.

With this in mind, you can have much more personalized communications with your donors, rather than sending them material that may not be relevant for them and hoping to get traction.

#2 Practice empathy and curiosity

Ask not what your donors can do for you; ask what you can do for your donors. That’s how the saying goes, right? It’s not just a spin on a well-known John F. Kennedy quote, but also a pretty good mindset to have when considering personalizing your communication with nonprofit donors.

One of the best things that you can do to ensure that your donors will keep coming back to support your cause is to ask them what their needs are. If your organization is in a position to provide its services to donors, make sure that you are asking them if they too are in need of what you have to offer. For example, if your organization specializes in providing mental health resources, ask your donors if they or anyone close to them might be interested in getting more information about counseling services or educational materials. 

Being empathetic and curious enough to ask donors how you can help them opens up communication channels you may not have previously considered. It’s a great way to not only show your donors that you care about your cause, but also that you are invested in supporting the entire network of people involved in the organization.

#3 Communicate tangible impacts

Another way to personalize your communications with donors starts with being transparent about your organization’s expenditures. People increasingly want to know how their money is being used, and your nonprofit donors are no different. 

Try to be able to itemize some of the different expenses your organization has in order to provide its services. For example, if your organization provides meals to those experiencing food insecurity, try to figure out how much one of those meals costs on average.

With this information, you will be able to tell your donors how many meals they can provide with their contribution. Enabling donors to have tangible indicators of their own personal impact will make them feel like they are making a measurable difference in the lives of others. 

#4 Tell a real story

You can demonstrate to donors the impact of their generosity in so many other ways! One of them is to share stories from individuals who have been helped by your organization. If you have them, you can share case studies or testimonials with your donors. This will help your donors to make a personal connection between their contributions and who receives them. 

#5 Recognize your donors

Finally, having an attitude of gratitude can really go a long way! Thanking your donors personally will make them feel appreciated for the resources they have dedicated to helping your cause. These thank you messages can come in the form of a personal thank you letter from someone in your organization, or better yet, a thank you message from one of the recipients of your organization’s help.

Another step you can take to personalize your donor communications is to thank them publicly by giving them shout-outs on social media or in your newsletter. Tagging them in a thank you message on social media is a great way to get visibility for your organization beyond your own network. Furthermore, it will open up a greater conversation about charitable giving using your social media channels. A newsletter shout-out can also make donors feel appreciated for their contribution while recognizing them as being part of the network of donors that helps your nonprofit do more good!