Today’s donor has changed.
Here’s how to reach her, connect with her and get her to respond to your appeal.
We spend a lot of time in our profession trying to understand donors’ changing preferences and concerns.
If you are sending out the same kind of appeals that you’ve been doing for the past 10 or so years, I bet your donors are dropping off.
Because donors have changed.
In fact, they have really, really changed.
You need to understand that today’s donors are more hesitant to give.
Before the recession they were just freer with their money.
Today many donors hold on much tighter than they used to. And they are far more selective.
You are seeing that in your fundraising results I’m sure!
So how can you reach today’s donors for your organization?
1. Show Them the Impact They Can Make With Their Money.
I bet you are sick of hearing about “impact.”
BUT I see so few nonprofits really showing – clearly – how dollars from their donors are creating positive change.
I know you can do a much better job showing your impact.
You’ve got to be SPECIFIC and use REAL NUMBERS.
How to do this? Try saying:
- “Your gift can do this . . . and this . . . and this.
- “Your gift of $100 can fill 75 backpacks full of food for hungry children.
- “Your investment of $1 million can help us raise unrestricted revenue of $10 million.
2. Show Them How Their Gift is an Investment.
Your donors will open their wallets if they can see how their gift will pay off.
Remember that nervous donors are not so sure they trust you to use their gift wisely.
So show them all the wonderful stuff they can accomplish.
How to do this?
Be specific! Use real numbers:
- “Your gift of $10/month can plant 2100 seedlings across North Carolina.
- “Your gift of $400 covers a month of shelter for a homeless teenager.
By the way, both of the sample pages above have too many choices and are confusing to the donor.
Don’t make that mistake. Don’t give your donor too many choices.
3. Show Them a Clear Return on Their Investment.
A colleague of mine said about a donor recently:
“They made a gift because they could see a clear ROI.”
How clearly are you spelling out your own Return on Donors’ Investments?
I’m sure you are familiar with “social impact investing” and “social entrepreneurship.”
Well – get ready – this is the way of the future.
Donors are looking at things from this perspective:
“What can I do to make things better? What can I do to create social change?”
How to do this?
- Right now – you need to STOP talking to donors about YOUR wonderful work.
- But START talking to donors about the work THEY can accomplish through their gift.
- And use REAL NUMBERS.
4. Build Credibility.
As a consultant, I often have The Credibility Discussion with my clients.
It’s a really important discussion about how we are presenting ourselves to the world – our messages, our marketing and our pictures/images.
It might be useful for you too – have a “credibility review” of all your materials and messages.
How are you demonstrating to donors that you are a safe place to invest their money?
How to do this?
- Add your Guidestar and Charity Nav links on your home page or your donation page.
- Add awards and recognitions.
- Add your board members’ names to your web site.
- Add a “Your Gifts at Work” page to your site.
- Add a Performance Dashboard to your site.
5. Let Them Designate Their Gifts to Specific Projects
There’s no question: Donors will give more if you let them restrict their gifts.
Now I know you and your leadership don’t like this.
But whether you like it or not, it’s a simple fact.
And it’s because donors are less trusting.
How to do this? Try these ideas:
- Can you change the generic name of your Annual Fund and rename it to something project-oriented?
- Or can you focus your annual fund or campaign on a specific project with sizzle?
- Can you figure out how much it costs to help one person a day and focus your appeals around that?
- Or focus on how much it costs to keep your facility open a day.
Donors have changed.
They want different things from us, like it or not.
Smart fundraisers will figure how to ride this trend. Folks with their heads in the sand will lose money.
Good luck and let me know how you are implementing these ideas.
Please leave a comment and chat with me about this post!