Always Be Engaging

Your donors want to be engaged with your mission and clients. That is why they sought out your nonprofit. Deepen your understanding of what engages your nonprofit’s donors through cultivation.

Talk with some of your engaged donors. They will tell you what engages them, why they remain engaged, and what first attracted them to your nonprofit. Also talk with some of your unengaged donors. They can perhaps tell you what they would like to hear that will increase their engagement.

Donor engagement increases when donors are more involved. Most of the time that means something other than writing another check or attending another event. Identify your most engaged donors. Search through your records to see how they are involved beyond giving. From there you can create more engagement opportunities. When you talk with them you can ask for their engagement ideas.

Talk with your engaged donors about the benefits they experience from their engagement with your mission and clients. From there you can develop ways to deliver more benefits to all of your donors more often. You can also ask your donors what motivates them to stay involved and find ways to provide more of what motivates them. You can test your new ideas (benefits and motivation) with prospective donors and those donors who are unengaged or minimally engaged.

Just asking your donors for input will be engaging for them. It sends a clear message that they are valued for more than their money. It provides them with another way to contribute.

All of the above can be part of your normal cultivation. You could also meet with small groups of donors. Bringing them together to talk about their engagement is another way for them to contribute. Devote half or three-quarters of the meeting to your questions. Reserve the rest of the time for the donors to socialize. They will enjoy the time with other like-minded people. In addition, when like-minded people are gathered together, it is a tangible reminder that they are part of something larger and important. Being part of something that is important is engaging by itself. Find other reasons to gather donors together for a productive activity that can be combined with intentional socializing.

Next Step:

Be intentional about engaging your donors (communications, recruiting, activities, etc.)

Learn from your current donors (engaged and disengaged)

Help your donors socialize with other donors

Ensure a board member is present when gathering donors. Board members are donors also. While they are very active in the life of your nonprofit, most executives wish their board members where more engaged. This will help. In addition, this will provide the board members present with new insights. Their presence will also underscore how much value your nonprofit places on donors and their insights.

You will have the engaged donors you want if you are intentional about engaging your donors.

Take It Further:

Treat all of your volunteers, staff members, and other stakeholder like donors (it creates a culture of engagement, makes your engagement seem more authentic, and raises the productivity of your staff)

Ask your board to create policies and allocate funds that will support developing a more engaging culture



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