Avalon’s digital team just got back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans. Aside from learning firsthand how delicious beignets at Café du Monde really are, our big takeaway is that engagement – in all its forms – is key to fundraising, communicating, and connecting online. Here are our top 5 recommendations for nonprofits that want to strengthen their engagement both today and for the long term:
An organization’s sender reputation is extremely important for having its emails consistently delivered to supporters’ inboxes. Without strong engagement with/from your list, your deliverability will suffer, so you need to drive opens and clicks early and often. Continually emailing subscribers who are not opening or clicking through your emails doesn’t help your organization’s online fundraising program and may actively harm your sender reputation. The solution? Send your organization’s emails to a smaller, more engaged audience to maintain better deliverability in the long run.
Engaging donors in your work and your organization’s impact is critical to conveying the importance of ongoing support, which helps recruit monthly donors. While monthly giving is benchmarked at 16% of online income, this figure is growing. You will raise less money in the short term, but the long-term implications will be worth it as these most valuable donors provide reliable revenue month after month.
Smart, targeted digital ad pushes can bring an additional layer of engagement to a multi-channel fundraising campaign. A targeted digital ad displayed to a custom audience shortly after they’ve received a direct mail piece and corresponding email can go a long way towards making sure your organization stays in the top of their mind, leading to more conversions. And while donors may not click through online ads to donate, digital ads are an affordable channel to reinforce your message.
People use email less to communicate with family and friends, but messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat are on the rise. At present, nonprofits are struggling to tap into these newer platforms to raise money. They may go the way of fundraising via text messaging, which has yet to really take off, or there may be an exciting breakthrough coming. But whatever the future holds for fundraising on these platforms, they already present a great way to engage supporters and communicate your organization’s mission and impact.
Given the erosion of American trust in institutions, it is more important than ever for nonprofits to tell their stories authentically. Despite all the bells and whistles available for online communications (animation, transactional designs, etc.), when sharing stories nonprofits must first and foremost be human and entertaining, especially on social media. Do not hesitate to take followers behind the scenes, introduce them to your staff, and share mistakes or obstacles in an approachable way, and don’t be afraid to let your audience get angry on your behalf. This will help your supporters feel like they are part of the solution and inspire them to do more.
So how does your organization stack up in terms of engaging your supporters and donors? Give some of these engagement tactics a try, and you will see your online fundraising, communication, and connections flourish.