Stop losing out on repeat donors with these 8 simple tricks

Post by Dani D Picture of Dani D
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It’s no secret that for you to stay a sustainable not-for-profit organisation, repeated donations are a must to fund the work that you carry out. It has been reported that up to 70% of donor’s slip through the net and become one-time donors because the secrets of encouraging repeated donations are ignored. 

Attracting these one-time donors requires a great deal of work, and letting all this hard work fall short at the first hurdle seems wasteful. After all, donors who set up recurring donations gave 42% more annual compared to their one time donor counterparts.

We’ve come up with some  simple tips that you could adapt to hook in this elusive 70% and capture your own repeat donors.

1. The Three W's ...

It’s a simple philosophy, answering your donor’s question before they can ask it. It makes them more likely to understand how important their donations are to you, showing off why it’s even more important to keep giving to your organisation!

Answering the what, the where and the why:

  • What did the donation mean to you and what did it do?
  • Where did it go?
  • Why should they repeat a donation to you?

Keeping in contact with the donor after the pledge and showing them how they’ve made a difference, and answer the questions before they can ask them. People like to know they’ve spent their money well, and showing this off will hook them to keep pledging to you.

Question Mark by Emily Morter

2. Where Investment Meets Return...

Engaging your donor with what is being returned from their investment is a key trick to keep the donor connected to the organisation.

This means that you show the donor some return on what they did for you. For example: inviting them to coffee mornings, giving them chances to attend events and fundraisers you have organised, giving them a ‘sneak peek’ at your new materials. 

Engagement allows the donor to connect with their passion and to feel a valued resource in the organisation. Who doesn't love a pat on the back?

3. Thankyou a Thousand Times...

Sending a thankyou is an easy trick to keep a donor interested. It’s easy to forget that you text SAVE-THE-PANDA’S while  finishing off a glass of chardonnay with your feet up a few nights ago. Sending a message of appreciation can keep you in your donor's mind whilst igniting their inner hero.

Thanks with a coffee by Hanny Naibaho

It’s true, a ‘thank you’ does go a long way, and it doesn't have to be boring. You can get really creative with your emails and make your donor’s feel special. For example, if you have the resources available why not consider sending out hand-written thank you letters, or personalising a video message, even an ‘early update to show them the progress of their donations.

4. The One That Came Next …

This is where plan B is actioned. *ding ding* Round two. You’ve hooked your fish… now reel it in. A good ‘second response’ tactic is to let your supporters know how their gift has been used. 

Knowing the money isn’t being frittered away on an extravagant Christmas party and the reason you needed the donation is being promoted in this way, celebrates the donation and creates much more significance to the donor.

This incentive of making a difference is more likely to create a positive response such as signing up for recurring donation programmes - baiting up for your next cast now you’ve found the right waters,  and of course, bringing in that repeat donation to keep your charity moving forward. Keep bringing those fish in!

5. The Story Of …

“Once upon a time there was a donor like you who signed up to pledge every month. The end." is not a seller. 

Grabbing the attention of a donor with the story behind the mission of your organisation is a key skill for marketing managers to keep donors coming back time and time again to hear your next chapter. They want to play a part in creating a happy ending and by humanising what your charity lives and breathes for, means they can align themselves with your stories and help make a tangible, real difference.

It comes back to the idea that everyone wants to save the world, and being a superhero is, to some, only a dream… “Which, with your help, we can help it come true if you donate" (or something along those lines). Bringing people into the story and in the character of a saviour by donating is always going to be well received. We all love the idea of being able to bust out our hidden blue vest and red capes.

Superhero dog by Elias Castillo

6. Now You See It... So You've No Excuse!

Making something easily accessible is really important to be able to gather donations because if it’s any more than a minutes work it will most likely be another “I’ll do it later“ task, that we all know we’ll never get round to ... or even remember in five minutes.

Make it clear, make it easy, make it accessible. Something like a fast online donation platform is perfect to bring in donations because it’s perfectly easy to be completed. An email or website with an obvious, unmissable online link to a donation platform makes the transaction smooth and more likely to be completed by the donor. Easy access will almost definitely lead to repeated donors because of how simple the action is to be completed. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that by reducing the number of fields on your donation form can increase conversions by 50% and 66% of people that abandon website pages do so because it takes more than 5 seconds to load.

7. It's Not What You Said, It's How You Said It...

Watching what you say is a big part of how you become portrayed. You have to carefully pick out each word in a sentence, the structure of this sentence and then the colour of the sentence. Except not the last one! 

Wordplay is so important, the power of persuasion is completely found in the way in which we use words. You could say the exact same sentence in so many different ways and have so many connotations of what you have said, both positive and negative. Anecdotes, metaphors, emotive language, punctuation and tense; they all change the course of meaning in a sentence and getting this right, to put your donor right where you want them you need to think carefully.

wheelbarrow by Anna Earl

8. Sow The Seeds, But Not Where They Won't Grow

Choosing where you promote your hunt for repeat-donors will ultimately lead to what audience you are looking for to invest in you.

Find where it is best to promote, where your target audience spends most of their time online, or watching TV, or browsing their emails. To sell anything including a cause or mission, you need to know your audience properly.

So planting the seeds of advertisement and letting them grow in the light of knowing your audience properly, will ultimately lead to a blooming business flower.

To increase your investment from repeat donors, it comes down to:

  • Knowing your audience
  • Incentives and appreciation
  • Selling the story of your charity
  • Allowing easy access and removing barriers
  • Being able to show where the money is going
  • Showing progression through donations 
Do Something Great by Clark Tibbs

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