Does your nonprofit live and die by donations? Chances are you’re dying. You work so hard to get a donation, especially at the end of the year. By next year, however, more than half those donors–59%–will disappear. You will never hear from them again.
It’s even worse with new donors. Three-quarters of them never repeat.
This is a race nonprofits can’t win. That’s why your nonprofit will die, maybe even in 2016 …unless you find a way to make donors want to give to you again and again.
Fortunately, there is a way.
How can you increase the chance that a person who gave once will give again?
People give their first gift to your organization for a variety of quirky reasons. When they continue to give, it’s for one reason: because they have come to know, like, and trust you.
People give when you build a relationship with them, and the key to that relationship is great communication.
Great communication begins with the thank-you letter, but it doesn’t end there. A newsletter is a good thing, too, but a newsletter full of what’s happening inside your organization will do nothing to keep your donors.
So what kind of communication does work? A June 2014 survey by nonprofit technology research firm Software Advice found that sixty percent of donors want impact stories to see how their first donation is making a difference.”You must find, recognize, collect, and share those stories in all your communications.
Become a storytelling nonprofit
It takes a team of people to collect and tell your stories.
- People with day-to-day experience. They could be your direct service staff or volunteers, your Board members, your customers or clients. Develop them as sources, so they look out for stories you can tell.
- Writers. Someone who can take other people’s words and make them sing in print is essential to your team.
- Photographers/videographers. A picture may not be worth a thousand words. It may, however, make all the words you write more meaningful and memorable.
- Artists. Sometimes a good graphic is more powerful than a photo (and often, easier to produce when you need it).
- Tech people. Because your newsletter, blog, email, Facebook post, or video is no good if nobody sees it! Someone has to keep the system up and running and figure out the glitches as they occur.
- Editor. You need a consistent tone to your communications, and they must appear regularly so your audience expects them. Put one person in charge.
Get expert help
Most of all, what you need is someone who will look at your organization with the eyes of a donor. It’s all too easy to fall back into “We held this event” or “We hired this new person”–but that’s not what your donors want!
A communications consultant can help you recognize and shape the stories your donors want to hear. There are ways your organization can afford a consultant, even if you don’t have one in the budget yet. And the investment is worth it.
Your donors are waiting to hear what difference their donations are making. They won’t wait forever. Get the help you need to make sure they give again and again.
By Dennis Fishman – Dennis is a Cause and Effective Associate who helps not for profits gain loyal friends through their communications.