I was delighted to present with Lizzi Hollis recently on getting buy-in from your charity’s stakeholders, supporters and colleagues. In this guest blog, Lizzi sets out some thoughts on how to get and keep your supporters on board.
Our charities can’t function without the support of our donors. But are we doing all the right things to ensure that we are engaging them initially and, in the future, to encourage them to continue supporting us? Here are three ways you can gain buy in from your supporters:
Nail your comms
The way you communicate with your donors is key to getting their buy in and keeping their support. If they can’t connect with your organisation, they won’t be interested in supporting you now or in the future. Your comms should reflect your key audience and most important messages. You should make sure you research your donor demographics, in whatever income stream you’re responsible for so that you can make the way you communicate feel personal, even if it’s on a mass scale.
A great example of a charity who do this really well are CoppaFeel. As a breast cancer charity focussed on getting younger women to check their breasts, their comms are squarely centered around a female millennial audience. They reflect brands, trends and memes that are popular among this age group and have a great mix of seriousness and light heartedness.
Demonstrate tangible impact
Donors want to see how their money is spent. It’s time for us to move on from the “Xp in the £ you donate” directly supports our services. This is great for internal benchmarking but it doesn’t reflect the truly important outcome of donating money – impact! No matter what income stream you’re responsible for, you should be able to tell donors what their money is spent on. Nfp research shows that knowing what their money is spent on this is the 2nd most important factor to the public when giving and 49% said they’d likely to give if they learn about the impact of a charity’s work.
In the first instance, you can encourage donors to give by creating shopping lists so they can understand what their money is capable of doing. It’s not the most exciting way of demonstrating impact, but its tangible. Once they have made a gift, demonstrate their impact through case studies and regular communications. If they have given to a specific project or campaign, make sure to target your communications to that. If you’re able to invite them to see your work first-hand this is a brilliant engagement tool, but if you don’t have that luxury how else can you show them what their donation has achieved? Use letters from beneficiaries, case studies and videos.
Effective Donor journeys
Making sure you have a stewardship plan/journey for all donors is a really important way to ensure buy in, as it gives you a clear way to engage that group/individual. The simplest version of a donor journey is in the image below, but often there are multiple stakeholders involved with a single donor and collaboration is required to ensure that donor gets the best possible experience with your organization.
Often a donor will come to your charity in one capacity and then engage in different activities, meaning they communicate with multiple teams. The key here is to make stewardship choices that are best for the donor. Your supporters don’t care about whether their donation is contributing to the community, corporate or IG teams budget, they just care that they’re supporting a charity they think is important.
Donor journeys enable us to map out how we can best steward our donors. By keeping this in mind, we create donor loyalty and the best outcomes for our beneficiaries.