Donors give to people they trust, stories of changed lives and a vision of a better future.  These is the basic tenant of every effective donor development department.  Now comes the hard part.  How do you communicate that information?  In this article we will talk about engaging with your donors in the digital age. 

Donors give to people they trust, stories of changed lives and a vision of a better future.  These is the basic tenant of every effective donor development department.  Now comes the hard part.  How do you communicate that information?  In this article we will talk about engaging with your donors in the digital age.

Effective Donor Communication: Engaging with Donors in the Digital Age

As your nonprofit grows it will be come increasingly difficult to communicate effectively with your donors.  As you are able to grow in you communication with donor, you will be able to engage them in greater projects and effect even more positive change.

I love working with nonprofits because I love working with passionate people.  As an agency owner, I love that my efforts go to providing clean water for villages, Bibles to new Christians in poor rural communities, sewing machines for middle eastern women who want to start a micro business, seeds to feed communities in Africa, recreational activities for disabled veterans, homes for foster kids, schools for autistic children, and radio broadcasts that have helpful, family friendly messages.

Omnichannel Donor Development: Connecting with Donors who Share Your Passion

If you’re reading this article, I would guess that those types of activities get you excited as well.  So, how do you more effectively raise money and communicate vision to those who can help you get this work accomplished?  Websites are powerful communication tool if they are used in a way that builds SEO.  Newsletters and email can also be impactful when they are written properly and scheduled intelligently.  Podcasts are easy to produce and have a powerful effect when they are produced well.  Social media posting is a necessity for non-profit organizations, as long as they contain the right kind of social content.

We Call this type of Communication, Omnichannel Donor Development

When done well, it is deadly effective and draws donors into your mission and vision.  In this guide, I hope to help steer you in the right direction for building these campaigns.

An occasional email or letter is just not enough these days if you are serious about expanding your nonprofit.  Donors give to people they know and like.  Most people can personally interact with only 30-40 other people effectively and personally. So, what happens if you need to interact with hundreds or thousands of people every month in order to accomplish your vision?

Engaging with Donors in the Digital Age with Intentional Multi Media

Using a combination of effective letter/newsletter writing, blog posting, social media content, text messages, email blasts and podcasts you can begin to connect with more and more donors so people grow in knowing you, understanding your vision, and trusting you on a larger scale.

A CEO, General Manager, or Executive Directors of a nonprofit organizations who is seen as an expert in their field is able to make better inroads with those who give and with those who serve.

Do Websites Work?  How About Radio?  Magazines?

Now you may have tried putting up a website for your nonprofit and it is just not getting any results.  Some nonprofits spend thousands of dollars on digital media that simply does not work for them.  You may have spent thousand on other products that fell flat as well.  Nonprofit sometimes jump at a discount on radio ads or in a local magazine only to discover that they can’t trace a single donation or volunteer to that money spent.

Our research is based on more than 20 year of working with nonprofit organizations. I’ve seen them make mistakes and I’ve made some mistakes.  I hope that our pain in the past might help to keep you from stepping onto an avoidable landmine.  Instead, I’d like to encourage you how to best spend your development dollars and efforts you your passion and get the funding it needs and deserves.

Media Trends that Engage with Donors

We have discovered some media trends that regularly engage with donors so that they grow along with the organization.

We often this of your digital presence like a train.  Some media serve as the engine of the train and without these things in place, the train simply never moves.  These items include:

  • Website
  • A donor email list
  • Regular digital communication (social media, Blog, SMS, email)

The coal car for non profit is the printed full color newsletter.  When done properly, it adds fire to your campaigns and begins to build momentum for your organization.

Then there are the passenger cars.  The add-on that builds room to add more and more capacity to connect with people.  These can include things like trade shows, special events, press releases, print advertising, broadcast advertising, an online store, and podcasts.

Finally there is the caboose.  There are some media pieces that you are dragging along, but serve o practical purpose other than slowing you down.  We’ll talk about some of these pieces along the way as well.

Omnichannel: Media Working Together in Harmony

When you use your website, social media, blog, newsletter, SMS, email, and podcast all together in harmony, then you will discover the effectiveness of omnichannel donor development.  But let me give you one quick word of warning:  if your nonprofit uses these tools improperly, you can not only waste thousand of hard-earned donor dollars, but you can also damage your reputation.

Just like a hammer can be used to either build or destroy, media can also be used to build or to destroy your organization.  Our hope to help you build and build and build some more!

Here’s to more donors and to a deeper impact!

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