Driving Donor Engagement: 6 Strategies for Mental Health Organizations

Mental Health Awareness Month is here, and it’s time to come together to raise awareness and provide support to people with mental illnesses and their families.

For any nonprofit organization who advocates for mental health, May is an important time to engage new and existing supporters! And while your mission is important 365 days a year, you’ll want to be sure to take advantage of this built-in awareness month for fundraising.

The past few years have been hard for both nonprofits and donors.

Donor fatigue is real. It’s a challenge for causes of all sizes – nonprofits ranked it third among their current biggest obstacles to fundraising success.

But there’s good news! Awareness months and Giving Days are turning into golden tickets for nonprofits. Those who support mental health awareness are looking for ways to engage, empower, and educate this month. And they’ll be looking to nonprofits like yours to support!

So, how can you leverage their excitement to further your mission in May? We have 6 strategies to help you drive more donor engagement. Let’s dive in!

Know Their Motivators

Before starting your Mental Health Awareness Month campaign, it’s important to understand what motivates today’s donors. According to the OneCause Giving Experience study, the top three reasons that donors give are:

  1. It was easy to do
  2. They felt connected to the mission
  3. They knew their gift would make an impact

Ease, mission, and impact – the secret recipe to creating a strong giving experience! These core motivators are consistent whether someone is a regular donor or making their first donation to an organization.

As you head into Mental Health Awareness Month, follow these top tips to tap into your donors’ motivators:

  • Ease: Simplify your donation process. With the right fundraising software, nonprofits can create intuitive, fast, and flexible giving experience for their donors. See how OneCause can help!
  • Mission: All nonprofits have a worthy mission – but it’s how you communicate that mission that will help your organization stand out. Find your ‘wow’ factor – something unique about your mission that would grab your donors’ attention instantly.
  • Impact: Storytelling is essential for demonstrating impact, connecting with your audience, and inviting people to take action. Use stories to share the impact that your organization has on your community.

Ease Mission Impact

Leverage Social Media

One of the best parts of any awareness month is the social media coverage, so be prepared to take full advantage of online conversations surrounding your mission.

Here are best practices to keep in mind:

  • Increase your reach. Use relevant hashtags and keywords in your campaign promotion, such as #MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthMatters or #SelfLove.
  • Engage with the community. Comment on, like, and reshare supporters’ posts about your nonprofit to cultivate relationships and gain exposure to a wider online network.
  • Ask them to return the favor. Ask donors and supporters to share any social posts with their networks for even more visibility.
  • Find ambassadors for your cause. Board members, volunteers, staff, and award recipients all make great ambassadors for your Mental Health Awareness Month campaign.
  • Tap into the power of video. Bring your mission to life with 30-second snippets that showcase your organization’s impact.

To drive donor engagement, being a part of the conversation isn’t enough. You have to take it to the next level to stand out from the crowd!

One of our favorite ways to drive engagement via social media is through supporter shoutouts. These are super simple to execute and can take on many forms, including:

  • A video message from your staff saying thank you.
  • A video message from your donor explaining why they chose to support your cause.
  • A photo of your donor and information on the impact of their gift.
  • A testimonial from your donor about their experience with your nonprofit.

No matter the format you choose, these testimonials will showcase your mission in a real, authentic way and encourage followers (and their networks) to participate and support.

With the right social media strategy in place, your campaign can transcend beyond the awareness month and build a foundation for lasting philanthropic engagement!

Deepen the Relationship

Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to deepen donor relationships and take their involvement to the next level.

Donor relationships are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Based on the foundation that you built with each donor, you will know what move to make to take your relationship to the next level.

Here are a few examples of ways to deepen your relationship with various types of supporters:

  • Casual donors: These donors may be primed and ready to take their commitment higher with a donation that supports a specific initiative that they’re passionate about.
  • Loyal supporters: The next step for loyal supporters may be to volunteer for your organization, possibly at a regular fundraising activity or special event.
  • Donors with large influence: Individuals with deep connections in your community or a large social following would make amazing Ambassadors for your cause.
  • Highly involved individuals: These individuals may have a talent or skill that would make them perfect candidates to serve on a committee or even your Board of Directors.

The key to deepening the relationship is to find a way for your donor to continue to connect with your organization on a deeper and more emotional level.

And with your mission being top-of-mind this May, now is the perfect time!

Gather their feedback

Donor engagement means going beyond the donation form and into a deeper, more meaningful relationship. One that takes an individual from a donor to an evangelist for your cause.

An important trait of cause evangelists is that they want to help improve the success of your nonprofit organization. Use this Mental Health Awareness Month as an opportunity to gather feedback from your supporters through think tanks, volunteer groups, or even casual coffee meetups with people who are passionate about your cause. Use the time to:

  • Ask them why they donated to your cause.
  • Get their advice about upcoming fundraising events.
  • Hear about their donation experience.
  • Learn more about their communication preferences.
  • See what suggestions they have for next year’s campaign.

Asking for feedback gives your donors a chance to voice their opinion while giving you useful and even heartwarming insights about your organization. And if you display their feedback on your website or blog, such as their reason for donating, or personal connection to your cause, you can encourage other donors to come out with their own reasons and stories for contributing as well.

Believe it or not, it’s a simple, yet effective way to drive donor engagement this May.

Give Them a Sincere Thank You

Thanking your donors is one of the easiest and most impactful things ways to help them stay engaged. If they do not feel that your organization is thankful for their support, they may move on to support another cause.

Here are our favorite ways to say thanks and share gratitude:

  • Donor wall: These are lasting, physical displays of your nonprofit’s appreciation and dedication to your donors. Just as donors invest in your nonprofit, donor walls allow you to invest in them. This is a bigger undertaking, which means donor walls should be a part of your long-term recognition plan. Consider a virtual donor wall on your website to share your thanks beyond the walls of your nonprofit!
  • Handwritten thank you notes: With the rise of digital marketing, traditional mail and thank you letters have become more personable, and most of your donors will see a handwritten card as far more meaningful than an automatic thank you email.
  • Social media shoutout: Did you know that social media inspired Millennials and Gen-X donors to give more than other marketing channels? This means you can effectively honor your donors through social media channels while also encouraging their friends and family to consider giving!
  • Appreciation video: Donor appreciation videos are a great way to recognize donors and further tell your nonprofit’s story. These videos should be tailored to each donor, referencing them by name, and thanking them for their gift.

Thanking your donors, whether personally or publicly, will deepen your existing bond and no doubt attract new donors as well. But remember – no matter what format you choose, be sure to be personal, real, and authentic. Don’t just say ‘thank you’ to check off a box!

Showcase impact

Your donors give to your cause because they want to make a difference. So, let your donors know what a difference they’ve made in your nonprofit’s ability to fulfill your mission!

Nothing helps deepen donor engagement more than showing them the impact of their donations. This Mental Health Awareness Month, make the time to invite your supporters to see their impact in action. Here are some of our top ideas.

  • Take donors on a tour of your office or facility. Virtual or in person!
  • Invite them to a program that they are helping support.
  • Introduce them to someone who has been personally impacted by their donation.
  • Share a video story of how and where their collective impact made a difference.

However you choose to show their impact, make it personal and authentic – and don’t be afraid to make the experience exceptional for the donor. The more they feel that they are really affecting change, the more they will feel engaged with your organization and mission.

Wrapping Up

You’re almost ready to engage your donors during Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond!

But to do so effectively, you’ll need a few essentials, including:

  • Powerful fundraising software that makes giving to your organization easy.
  • A CRM with plenty of donation and relationship data.
  • Various outreach and marketing tools for email, social media, and text message.

With these tools and resources in hand, you’ll have what you need to start prioritizing donor engagement strategically. We’re here to help!