Looking to obtain new donors (aren’t we all?)? Here is where to start.
Nondonors, never givers, future donos, no matter what you call them, these are the most challenging constituents to engage. They are critical, however, to the success of your annual giving program. Without new donors the annual fund will eventually cease to exist! Moreover, once a donor makes a gift they are 50% more likely to give again. Replacing and replenishing donors is the only way to maintain and grow your annual fund.
Step 1 - Get great constituent data
Having accurate addresses, email, phone numbers and donor information are where we must start. Our experience in new donor acquisition has shown us that having accurate contact information and other useful donor information in your data is one of the most important factors in creating a successful new donor acquisition strategy. The more data you have, the more you can communicate with nondonors effectively, which increases your chances of success.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Incorporate data enhancement into your phonathon/ phone engagement.
Send contact information update request emails/ texts.
Append emails, phone, mobile numbers and wealth info using data providers.
Step 2 - Develop familiarity with your nondonors
Nondonors need to be informed about what is going on at their Alma Mater to feel part of the institution and maintain affiliation. This is part of a general psychological phenomenon known as the mere-exposure effect or the “familiarity principle” as it is often referred to in social psychology.
Before Robert Zajonc, the scholar best known for developing the mere-exposure effect, conducted his research on the topic, Robert observed that exposure to a novel stimulus initially elicits a fear/avoidance response. However, each subsequent exposure causes less fear and more interest. After repeated exposure, the observing organism will begin to react fondly to the once novel stimulus. In context of new donor acquisition, the mere-exposure effect suggests that simple repetition is enough to make a "memory trace" in the nondonor's mind which could unconsciously affect their affiliation with your organization.
University newsletters, quarterly magazines, and other scheduled consistent publications of this type of information will bring nondonors closer to your institution. Here are some topic ideas and examples for staying connected that will help develop the relationship and familiarity that can help you convert nondonors:
- Positive community impact stories
- Student profiles
- University rankings and statistics
- New Faculty and programs
- Finished campus or facility constructions
- Retired faculty announcements
- Anniversary or special recognition announcements
- Upcoming events
Some great examples from our clients: