Donors, sponsors, and stakeholders are key components to your association’s success. Their financial generosity supports your groups’ endeavors and allows you to reach for more. Many times, donors are leaders in the community, successful business owners or influential people.  Not only do you benefit from their monetary gift but also their experience and strategic advice.

Cultivating a great relationship with donors will make your association stand out above the rest. So how do we set the foundation for a long-lasting donor relationship? After working with local non-profits for over 20 years, we know a thing or two about donor engagement.

5 Unique Ways to Increase Donor Engagement

Personal Phone Call

Sending an email or thank you card is great but nothing beats a real human conversation. Pick up the phone and thank your donors. Express your gratitude and let them know how their contribution has helped your organization. To really make an impact, have your CEO or a high up exec make the call. Donors recognize association executives are busy so when you take the time to reach out, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Plus, making a phone call is quick, easy and essentially free.

Share How Their Contribution Has Made a Difference

A simple thank you is a good start but to increase donor engagement, take the time to explain how their contribution has made a difference. If their donation has enabled your group to further advocate on industry standards or helped enhance your next event, share that story. If they know exactly how their dollars have helped, they’re more likely to contribute again.

ArcStone, our parent company, recently participated in a fundraising event for YouthLink, a local nonprofit focused on youth homelessness. The page for donations clearly outlines exactly where your money is going. Check it out below:

increase donor engagement

Image Credit: GiveMN

To read more about our experience with YouthLink, see this blog post from my colleague, Michael.

Make It Easy to Set Reoccuring Donations

Your donors are busy people. Ease the donation process by allowing sustaining contributions with a click of a button.

increase donor engagement

Image Credit: charity: water

As seen in the image above, a donor can quickly make their financial gift a monthly contribution by checking the box. Charity: water compels the donor with simple yet powerful imagery and a clear CTA.

Frequent and Unexpected Communication

Surprise your donors by connecting with them when they least expect it. Most donors will expect a thank you after they donate but try popping into their inbox 3 months later just to check in and catch up. This reengagement builds your the donor relationship and hopefully inspires them to give again.

Send a Gift

If you’re an NPR listener, then you’ve probably heard about their occasional member drive. If not, every couple months or so, NPR puts on a member drive to raise money for their station. As a thank you for donating, NPR offers a variety of donor gifts. Take a lesson from the radio giant and send a small gift to your donor. It doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant – it actually shouldn’t be – you don’t want to counteract their donation by purchasing something that outweighs the money you brought in from donors.

For more ideas on donor engagement, check out this post on engaging millennial donors.