Here’s the fourth video message about fundraising. Today we’re talking about engaging people in the work we do. Nationally, groups are having a very difficult time keeping donors. In fact, one study showed that just 10% of first time donors ever give a second gift. With costs of finding donors so high, we need to make sure that we are inviting our supporters to become a part of your organizational family in order to grow a fundraising program that is sustainable.
Today we’ll be talking about some essential things to know before you start engaging people in the work you do. These center around knowing what we’ll be asking people to be a part of, having systems in place to support that involvement and, most importantly, knowing what your prospect is interested in so that you can direct them to an opportunity they’ll appreciate being a part of.
But before we get into that, let’s review the fundraising funnel again. The first step is to help people become aware of who you are and the work you do. This can take many forms: personal conversations, giving talks to different groups, advertising, sending direct mail, and many other.
The second stage is to engage people in the work you do. This can be by contributing, volunteering, or simply learning more about your organization through a newsletter or regular email you send out.
The final stage is asking. We need to communicate the need for funds clearly.
To be able to start engaging people in the work we do, it’s important to be able to identify some areas that volunteers can help with. It could be as support during events, or to help with thank you calls to donors, become a donor, subscribe to your e-newsletter or become involved in program areas. Not everyone will be interested in the same things, so it’s important to be able to offer some variety. Be creative!
Next is to have some systems in place to support volunteers once they become involved. How will you continue to keep them involved? Do you have a volunteer coordinator? How often will you stay in touch with them? How will you track their interests? If you only have 200 people you’re trying to stay connected with you can probably do that with minimal systems – however if that number increases to 500 – or 5,000 – you’ll have a much more difficult time keeping track of details. Systems that are kept up-to-date will make your life much easier (and your volunteers and donors much happier).
Most importantly though are the interests of your volunteers and potential donors. What do they want to be involved in? If they want to advocate for a particular cause, and you ask them to file paperwork, will they be satisfied? On the other hand – if they’re not interested in speaking in front of people don’t ask them to be public ambassadors. The better you know your donors (and potential donors) the better you’ll be able to provide satisfying experiences for them. The more satisfying it is for them – the longer they will remain supporters of you and your organization.
I hope that’s helped you in thinking about some opportunities to invite people to become engaged with you and the work you do. While you’re thinking about it, jot down three ideas that have come to mind and the next step you’ll have to take to turn that into a reality. That’s it for today. Stay tuned for more videos!