By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff
Imagine you are trying to grow a garden in your back yard. You would have to spend a fair amount of time watering, weeding and feeding the plants in order to reap a bountiful harvest. You can’t just leave a garden unattended for several months and expect to have a positive outcome.
The same thing is true when maintaining a pool of financial donors. It requires a great deal of ongoing maintenance.
This is true for a few different reasons. First and foremost, there will be other organizations vying for your donors’ contributions throughout the year. So if you want to stay at the top of their list, you need to hold their interest. Always remember, too: In fundraising, as with investing, past performance is no guarantee of future results. A donor may be extremely generous one year, and equally as conservative the next. You never want to assume anything before heading into a fundraising campaign.
So, what can you do to improve your chances of success?
The trick is to keep supporters interested and thinking about your brand in between fundraising campaigns. By strategically reminding them what it is they love about your company, you can turn the process of making a financial contribution into a voluntary task that the donor simply needs to be reminded of, rather than something he or she needs to be convinced to do on the phone.
Here are some creative ways that you can maintain donor interest throughout the year:
Host small events: Donors may be more inclined to contribute to a fundraiser if they feel socially connected to the cause. Strengthen these social bonds by hosting small, fun events like dinner-dances, group trips to local sporting events or even a 5k road race.
When it comes time to take donations, you could also consider using a social network like Venmo, where donors can make their contributions public if they choose to do so. This could help build momentum.
Send small care packages: Everyone loves receiving personalized snail mail (especially when it’s something other than a bill). Try sending a small, but useful gift that your donors will continuously use so that they will always be reminded about your brand. You can never go wrong by sending things like caps, t-shirts and pens — all of which are relatively inexpensive if you buy them in bulk.
Distribute targeted content: One of the most cost-effective and useful ways of sparking donor interest is to send targeted creative content in the form of newsletters, email blasts, snail mail and social content. In doing so, make sure to minimize content that feels overly-promotional and instead focus on issues that really matter to your donors. For instance, a non-profit that is trying to end hunger may share stories of the people that are directly benefitting from donor contributions.
So think outside the box! By trying these strategies, you could lay the groundwork for a very successful fundraising campaign.