The conversations around effective appeals usually center around online engagement. Often, fundraisers prioritize results from email marketing and digital ads, especially when they’re thinking about quick wins and donor experiences. But to be a truly responsive fundraiser, it’s important to include offline donor interactions as well.
One of the most powerful offline opportunities for responsive fundraising strategies is before, during and after your events. Whether you are hoping to inspire more giving, create new connections with donors, or just say thank you, events are the perfect opportunity to show how important your supporters are to your nonprofit.
Here are a few examples for how you can be more responsive and engaged with your donors during events.
To build a strong relationship with donors, one that results in lasting generosity, your nonprofit must focus on gratitude. You should be thanking your donors at least as often as you are making appeals to them. Ideally, more often than that, but it’s especially important to show gratitude for anyone who showed up to your event.
Unfortunately, much of your time and resources before the event go into planning and preparing for the big day, while afterwards, you’re working on gift entry and addressing other responsibilities that weren’t a priority before the event. The result is ignored, underappreciated donors, who will be far less enthusiastic about your next event.
By pairing smart responsive fundraising tactics with a tool like marketing automation you can ensure that every attendee receives the right follow up that will be meaningful and relevant to their experience at your event.
More importantly, these engagements are assets your team can create before the event happens. Using personalization, segmentation and engagement data, you can identify the right follow-up for each attendee and make sure the task is completed on time.
The result is additional trust between you and your donors that you are listening and remembering what they care about most. Plus, you will prove that you value their generosity and see them as so much more than an ATM — something that has been lacking in most donor experiences in the last few years.
Although most events will have a singular purpose for your nonprofit, they don’t exist in a vacuum. Attendees will have previous knowledge of your nonprofit and the work you do. As a result, you need to ensure that each event feels like it adds to the larger conversation you’re having with each donor.
For example, if you have donors who are most interested in building schools in Sierra Leone and those who are interested in building schools in India, your event needs to include both conversations. The solution may be as simple as assigning individual reps to talk about each region with donors, or create complete experiences based on both areas.
In your nonprofit CRM, you can use the registration list and specific donor tags to understand what is important to each individual donor.
That information can help guide conversations during the event, determine the kinds of follow-up messaging you send to each individual and the kinds of suggestions you give at the event for each individual.
While this additional effort will require more from your team, the results will be increased giving, donor relationships that last beyond the first event, and more productive events.
Events provide an incredible opportunity to make relational connections with prospective donors, which often result in lasting generosity. But, many existing donors won’t share your work with their friends or family if they have a negative experience.
Using responsive fundraising tactics not only helps turn your current donors into advocates, but it also gives you the right steps to convert new contacts into recurring donors.
After each event, use donor tags in your CRM to identify the most important programs and their preferred communication method so that their welcome series can add the most value at the time when they are most interested in becoming a donor.
Don’t forget to thank existing donors who made connections for you! Without acknowledging their consistent generosity, in all its forms, you’ll risk losing them for the next event. Make sure that you leverage generosity in the most efficient way possible by using responsive fundraising tactics.
To get specific responsive fundraising plays your nonprofit can use right now to make your events more effective for your organization and meaningful for your donors, check out the Pocket Guide to Responsive Fundraising from Virtuous. It provides an overview of what responsive fundraising is and 28 plays for executing it right now.
About the Author: This post was written by the folks at Virtuous CRM. Their platform offers leading donor management and marketing automation tools for nonprofits looking to take a more responsive and growth-focused approach to fundraising.