Fundraising & Development

Turn Nonprofit Advocates into Donors: 5 strategies for success

August 7, 2021 Nonprofits Decoded Team
meeting with nonprofit volunteers and advocates

The goal of any nonprofit, foundation or charity organization is to turn advocates into donors, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

You’ll need a strategy to turn volunteers, social media followers and those connected with your cause into funders.

These advocates might be contributing to the success of the nonprofit and be fully engaged in it, but they would rather contribute time, as opposed to money. Ideally, supporters of your organization would donate both.

The following article will go over five things that you can do to deepen engagement with your supporters and turn them into brand-new donors.

Regardless of what kind of advocacy campaign that you run for your nonprofit, you have the ability to acquire key information about advocates and supporters, ideally stored inside of your donor database for future drill down.

For example, this donor data can be used to reengage your advocates by way of:

  • Social network outreach.
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) campaigns and crowdfunding.
  • Impact demonstration.
  • Donor segmentation.
  • Email drip campaigns.

Drip Email Campaigns

Drip email campaigns can be described as automatic email marketing sent out over a specific timeline to donors, advocates and volunteers. They may also be a response to certain actions that supporters take.

When these emails are sent, refrain from delivering the same message repeatedly (for instance, “Donate Now”). Supporters will start to believe that you do not appreciate the support they’re giving you, even if it is non-financial. Instead, express gratitude for their participation in the campaign. Offer them more information about the mission of the organization.

Gently navigate them to a donation.

For example, drip emails might resemble the following:

  • A thank-you message expressing appreciation for the support of the campaign.
  • A letter welcoming new supporters.
  • Reiteration of whatever your mission entails (along with a possible attachment that contains more information).
  • The most recent newsletter you have that provides updated activities.
  • An event calendar containing a link to purchase tickets.
  • Contribution requests, which include the campaign and the potential effect their donation will have (for an example, click here).

There are many things you can show supporters without requesting donations. It should always be possible for a supporter to donate, regardless of what kind of email they get.

Ultimately, frequency is contingent on the content’s quality and context. Each email that you send out should contain content of high quality.

For new donators, be sure to send emails out regularly. In doing so, you’ll stop people from forgetting about the nonprofit. Just don’t overwhelm your supporters or bombard them.

Donor Segmentation

Segmentation of donors happens in nonprofit CRMs. Donor segments and groups should be created based on demographic similarities, history of engagement, and similar factors.

When engaging with audiences, be sure to use applicable messages. For example, don’t send out a “welcome” package to advocates who have already participated in campaigns or are familiar with your organization.

To single out supporters and make sure that the proper audience is being reached, donor segments should be created by the nonprofit.

The segments might include the following:

  • Advocates that have attended a specific event.
  • People who have signed your most recent petition.
  • Advocates that haven’t engaged with the nonprofit before.
  • Advocates that reside in certain areas.
  • Advocates that have engaged in various campaigns.

Establish an approach to tracking this information inside your donor management solution.

Ensure that donation forms on your nonprofit website and donor database work seamlessly with one another. This process may involve selecting analytics that sheds light on advocacy campaigns, event registration, and fundraising tools. When you invest in this kind of a cohesive system, organization and data entry can be automated to update donor segments easily and quickly.

Demonstration of Impact

Demonstrating how your organization is impacted (and the kind of effect donations make) shows supporters that their contributions are actually making a difference.

Your organization’s advocates care about your nonprofit’s cause. That is why they decided to engage in the campaign, to begin with. These individuals actually care about the mission! With that said, to convert their passion into donations, make sure that they know how your campaigns are directly aligned with your organization’s mission.

Think about the situation:

Saving bees is what your nonprofit focuses on. After finding out that legislation was sent to Congress set to destroy the habitats of bees (a significantly large number of them, in fact), you might begin a petition online to stop the progression of this legislation. Since that advocacy campaign isn’t around anymore, you could ask advocates to consider donating to the organization. You are endeavoring to raise funds to help many farmers get the money to use pesticide alternatives for crops.

It may be more difficult to make a connection between a thriving colony of bees and pesticide alternatives. As such, you must make this connection on their behalf.

One optimal approach to aligning interests for specific nonprofit activities involves showing people how actions directly affect the mission.

For example, keeping the situation above in mind, you could tell advocates the following:

Thanks for signing the “Saving the Bees” official petition. Your donation will help stop this legislation permanently.

If you’re interested in helping out, even more, think about contributing to local farmers. Many are looking for pesticide alternatives to preserve our bees. Pesticides are capable of killing bees by the millions each year. By using alternatives to harmful chemicals, we can provide safer environments for bees, which will allow them to keep pollinating.

If we don’t have bees, then we won’t have any plants. If there aren’t any plants, that means there are no crops to grow food. That is why we need your help saving the bees!

Your nonprofit is capable of creating more compelling marketing and advocacy campaigns – especially when you start aligning interests, making connections, and showing impact. It will give you some insight into how these strategies can accommodate your plans.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

P2P fundraising and crowdfunding campaigns are dependent on small donations – particularly from large audiences.

It isn’t very often that a nonprofit will receive a significant donation (if not a small contribution) from somebody you have never heard of. Typically, donations increase when current supporters are regularly giving for a set duration.

As such, your organization should not expect advocates to contribute huge monetary gifts right from the start. Rather, they should be eased into contributions with campaigns much smaller in scale.

P2P and crowdfunding are fundraising campaigns small in scale, but they’re capable of stimulating contributions from advocates.

Multiple benefits come with these campaigns and things you can do to make them effective:

  • Refrain from asking for big contributions. The concept behind P2P and crowdfunding fundraising campaigns involves reaching larger audiences that give much smaller amounts. With that said, if your audience is broad enough, small donations can tally up to significant funding sources.
  • Social proof should be taken into account. The influence your family and friends have on your decisions towards campaign contributions is known as social proof. For example, if you noticed a friend sharing information about crowdfunding campaigns on their feed, or you know that they have started fundraising for P2P campaigns, you might be obliged to contribute your own. In that regard, once fellow advocates can see one of their own contributions, they may feel compelled to do the same.
  • They offer more engagement opportunities. If someone declines to contribute to the campaign, involvement from them might still be a possibility. Their engagement is furthered, but it might not result in a donation immediately. For example, advocates may opt to raise funds as a representative of your organization through P2P fundraising instead of a direct contribution. Alternatively, your crowdfunding campaign might be shared on a social media page they run.

Any advocacy campaign you are hosting should involve nonprofit fundraising programs that accommodate your organization.

Social Media Outreach and Fundraising

Social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, have become essential for a nonprofit’s success; you needed to reach tech-savvy and younger audiences. Most advocates of yours will fit into this particular category.

The nonprofit must communicate with advocates several times before they decide to contribute to it financially. With that said, these communications should be varied, as should your approach across platforms.

Most social networks have several different channels for communication and outreach. For example, your organization might decide to:

  • Message advocates directly. To give your advocates some personal attention, think about sending them messages directly, so they remain informed of the nonprofit’s activities.
  • Post updates regularly. Endeavor to post on social media weekly and include some of your most recent activities.
  • Encourage supporters to give your page a “like.” A page can be created for the nonprofit. Supporters can be invited to follow it. In doing so, you are boosting the chances of your nonprofit showing up on their newsfeed.
  • Create a support group on a popular social network. There are groups that you can create on various social networks. By creating one for your organization, supporters can be encouraged to remain updated on recent activities and news about the whole community.

Social networks offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the nonprofit to get in touch with group members personally. This can be used to your benefit, as the platforms can be varied to reach your advocates.

After implementing the strategies, supporters could be gently guided towards contributing.

Express gratitude and post educational content to facilitate donation requests. Doing so will help vary both the platform and content to drive engagement further.

Navigating advocates towards a donation will strengthen engagement from supporters of your organization. Also, it will increase the value that these people bring to the mission. Using the strategies above, you will be prepared to you engage with a brand-new audience.