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Strategies to Capture Donor Attention with Messaging

July 17, 2023

Strategies to Capture Donor Attention with Messaging

In a vast fundraising landscape, capturing and retaining donor attention is a necessity for nonprofit teams . With countless organizations (nonprofit and business alike) vying for support, it’s more crucial than ever to employ effective messaging strategies that resonate with your particular audience.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into some top recommended strategies to craft compelling and impactful messages that drive engagement, inspire action, and, ultimately, make a significant difference in your fundraising efforts. These include the following practices:

  1. Differentiate supporter appeals (including non-monetary options!)
  2. Emphasize giving impact with creative and powerful storytelling.
  3. Share fundraising updates and other engaging progress reports.
  4. Enlist multichannel communications to break through the clutter.

Whether you’re looking to obtain new donors for your cause or deepen your relationship with existing supporters, strategic communications can go a long way. With these tips, get ready to elevate your messaging game and forge meaningful connections—now and long into the future.

Let’s dive in!

1. Differentiate supporter appeals (including non-monetary options!)

Your donors love supporting your cause with their dollars. But they don’t want to feel like that’s all they’re good for⁠—and a strategy that is too funding-focused can ultimately lead to donor burnout from a seemingly transactional relationship.

Instead, some of the most impactful ways to elevate your fundraising involve donor touchpoints that are not directly soliciting donations. Thus, consider including these types of appeals in your messaging arsenal:

Requests for information ⁠— Learn more about your donors! Ask them about what they’re interested in, how they decided to get involved with your cause, and their long-term goals for engagement. Plus, details like their employment status can help tailor your outreach even further.

Matching gift appeals ⁠— Empower your donors to make a greater impact without reaching back into their own wallets by promoting corporate matching gifts. After a donor gives, let them know if their company offers a matching donation program and inspire them to complete a request. With matching gift software, you can even provide supporters with direct links to their employers’ submission forms with ease.

Volunteer (& volunteer grant) opportunities ⁠— Volunteers are often the lifeblood of an organization, and it’s likely that your donors would love to partner with your team in this behind-the-scenes way. Use your messaging to promote virtual and in-person volunteer events, and be sure to highlight the direct impact it will have on your mission. Then, don’t forget to highlight volunteer grants⁠—another powerful workplace giving program that enables qualifying volunteers to turn their hours into monetary grants from their employers.

Calls for advocacy ⁠— If your organization participates in advocacy efforts relating to your cause, encourage your donors to get involved! This can include online lobbying, petition signing, letter writing, and more.

2. Emphasize giving impact with creative and powerful storytelling.

A lot of the most effective nonprofit messaging relies on powerful storytelling strategies to establish an emotional connection with its audience. It’s an excellent way to communicate giving impact, thank donors for their involvement, and even inspire greater support.

But what kinds of stories should you tell? Here are a few examples.

Beneficiary stories ⁠— This is one of the most common types of nonprofit storytelling, and it involves the group that is primarily impacted by your organization’s mission. For example, if you run an animal shelter, you might tell a story about a young child who found a lifelong companion in a new furry friend. If your nonprofit funds medical research, share about an individual who was cured by a groundbreaking new treatment your organization was involved with.

Just remember to keep these stories respectful and empowering, and get proper consent as you do so.

Volunteer stories ⁠— Nonprofit volunteerism can be life-changing for the supporters involved in the backend, too⁠; not just those participating in mission programming. Use your messaging as a platform for volunteers to share how they were impacted by working with your organization. You might even inspire some new volunteers to sign up!

Matching gift impact stories ⁠— Is there something your organization was recently able to accomplish, thanks to additional funds made available through corporate matching gift programs? Share the details of this impact and acknowledge the role that matching gift donors played in making it happen.

3. Share fundraising updates and other engaging progress reports.

Another way to capture your donors’ attention involves sharing updates on initiatives they’ve shown interest in. If a supporter participated in a recent fundraiser, they would likely be delighted to hear more about the fundraising effort, its results, and the tangible impact the initiative made on your mission.

This may include the following ideas:

Provide fundraising progress reports toward your overall campaign goals (e.g., “We’re 75% of the way to our goal! We couldn’t do it without your support.” or “Thanks to your generous giving, we surpassed our fundraising goal by 120%!”).

Host an acknowledgment campaign to thank donors for their involvement with a recent fundraising effort.

Recognize matching gift donors publicly and privately to appreciate their above-and-beyond support for your cause.

Provide exclusive, behind-the-scenes updates regarding ongoing projects and programming. If your fundraising effort aimed to collect donations to support a new building for your organization, share photos and timeline updates with the donors who helped you get there.

4. Enlist multichannel communications to break through the clutter.

According to nonprofit fundraising statistics from Double the Donation, 32% of donors are most likely inspired to give via social media. This is followed closely by…

  • Email (30%)
  • Website (17%)
  • Print (15%)
  • TV or radio ad (3%)
  • Phone call (2%)
  • Text message (1%)

At the same time, 48% of donors say that regular email communications are most likely to drive repeated donations, followed by…

  • Social media (18%)
  • Print communication (16%)
  • Handwritten notes (12%)
  • Phone calls (6%)

Because donors have varying preferences⁠—not to mention the same donor could be positively impacted by multiple different touchpoints⁠—it’s a good idea to incorporate as many of the above channels in your messaging strategy as possible. A multichannel fundraising plan can go a long way, breaking through the clutter and reaching donors wherever they are.

Staying engaged with donors before and after their gifts is essential for an optimal fundraising and communication strategy. By implementing the above tips and tricks in your messaging plan, you’ll have everything you need to set your nonprofit team up for success.

Interested in learning more about smart donor messaging strategies to make your organization’s outreach stand out? Click here to register for an upcoming webinar on the topic with Double the Donation and Shift Fundraising.

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