A New Way To Think About Donor Engagement [Free Checklist]

In the nonprofit sector, you may often hear that you need to “always be closing,” abbreviated as ABC, or “always be asking” your donors for donations. This is an outdated sales adage. It may have worked for some, but by asking your donors over and over again for a donation, you run the risk of burning them out.

Think about it this way. Would you want to be friends with someone who is constantly emailing you, sending you letters, calling you, and all they do is tell you about themselves and ask for something? Likely not. Donor relationships work the same way. It should be beneficial for both parties.

In this article, we’re going to offer a shift in thinking. Instead of operating like your donors are ATM machines, here’s how you can start thinking about them as friends who you give back to, as well. (Keep reading to the end for a free donor engagement checklist.)

Always Be Engaging Your Donors

Instead of “always be asking,” a new way to frame your thinking is to “always be engaging” your donors. This is an approach to donor engagement that highlights how you can give back to your donors by keeping them engaged emotionally, physically and mentally.

Masterworks put together some helpful research that shows that engaging donors on a holistic level is the future of donor relations.

By presenting your donors with opportunities to stay engaged and connected instead of only using them for their donations, they are more likely to be loyal to your organization. This is key to preventing donor lapse.

So, how do you start engaging? Here’s an exercise to help you find similarities in your donor base. If you answer these questions, you’ll get started down the path of effective donor engagement:

  1. Talk to some of your loyal supporters. Ask them why they have stayed engaged with your mission. Why did they engage with you in the first place? How do they want to engage?
  2. What engagement opportunities do you currently offer? Are there any ways people want to be engaged that you don’t offer?
  3. What communication mediums do your constituents prefer? Online, direct mail, phone? How frequently do they like to be communicated with?
  4. How did your constituents hear about your organization in the first place? What inspired them to get involved?
  5. Are your supporters getting anything out of supporting your mission? What motivates him/her to stay involved?

Download The Free Donor Engagement Checklist

person holding copy of donor engagement checklist
Seem overwhelming? Don’t worry. We’ve compiled a handy checklist to help you through the brainstorming process.

Download Donor Engagement Checklist