Insights to Power Social Good

Stink at Donor Retention? Use Mobile – Part One.

Posted by Elizabeth Same on Mar 7, 2014 1:50:06 PM


NPEngage_part_1Earlier this year, NPEngage posted a great article with 12 tips from experts in the nonprofit industry. If you haven’t already, we highly recommend checking out the article, it’s full of excellent advice on how every nonprofit can do better on retaining donors.

We loved the post so much that we wanted to show you how easy it is to incorporate these experts’ advice into your mobile strategy. We will be covering four pieces of advice over the next three weeks. Check out the first four tips, and don’t forget to come back next week for more!

  1.        Mark Rovner, founder and CEO of Sea Change Strategies

Authentic engagement: No bullshit like tote bags or fake emergencies. Deeply understanding why the donor supports you and delivering on her (or his) expectations. Superb content. Great donor service.  

mTip: Don’t just text your mobile subscribers just because you think you should. Send them relevant and important information to keep them engaged with your organization. If you aren’t sure what your supporters want to hear about, just ask them.

Send out a mobile poll asking them what they want to hear about and how often they want to hear from you. Maybe some of them want volunteer information monthly, while others might want organization updates every week. You can easily segment your mobile community, but you won’t know how to segment until you ask them.

  1.        Marc A. Pitman, CFCC, The Fundraising Coach

The key? It goes beyond the fundraising appeal to seeing a gift as a step in a relationship, not a one-off business transaction. This forces us to create systems to deepen relationships with people that are fans of what we do, rather than just treating them as ‘the public’ or ‘our constituents.’ This takes more time initially, but it produces the levels of support and advocacy we really want for our organization!”

mTip: No one likes being talked at. Mobile isn’t a one-sided communication channel, so don’t use it that way. Gain mobile subscribers and then use text to communicate with them. Send them updates about your organization, tell them about volunteer opportunities and invite them to your events. Donation requests are great, but make sure you have built a relationship first and that you maintain that relationship over time. One of our clients saw a conversion rate increase up to 24% when they sent informational messages one week before a text donation ask.

  1.        Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE, Joyaux Associates

First, believe deeply – in your heart and then in your brain – that donors matter. Second, genuinely respect and honor your donors and the difference that they make in the world. Third, behave accordingly! Strategy only works when it’s based on heartfelt beliefs and deep commitment.

mTip: We want to take this one step further and say that you need to believe that your mobile database matters. If you only see your mobile channel as a way to ask for $10 text donations, then that is all you are going to get. If you use it as a way to cultivate relationships with your supporters, and genuinely use it to communicate with them, you will see better results. Sending simple thank you messages or sharing links with your mobile subscribers shows them that they matter.

  1.        Lisa Sargent, Lisa Sargent Communications

Five years ago an organization asked me for help in overhauling their donor communications to: improve retention, increase revenue and grow their ranks. They were committed to doing everything they could, incrementally if needed, within their budget — starting with “the basics.” So in addition to acquisition rollouts 2-3 times yearly, they: created a terrific donor welcome pack and special new donor thank you; send heartfelt, hand-signed thank-yous promptly and make them as personal as possible; publish a donor-driven, story-focused newsletter now 4 times yearly (profitable FYI); send a minimum of 4 appeals annually; invite donors to engage with their organization in ways that don’t always include a monetary gift; use a drip-feed strategy to drive home the benefits of legacy giving; and, continue to invest in a quality donor comms [communications] programs as budget permits: a longer newsletter with cover letter, legacy programs, monthly giving, major donors, website overhaul, telephone and online/email program. But at the heart of it all is an ask-thank-report-back strategy as a power plant. There are no silos. They set team goals to avoid little kingdoms. And they regularly maintain and update their database. This year they are on-track to break the 70% retention barrier and have already bested their stretch fundraising goal for the year. Their donor file has quintupled since 2008. Can you do like they do? Yes: The best donor retention strategies are still the ones everyone knows about.

mTip: We love this ask-thank-report-back strategy in every aspect of your fundraising efforts, and it really fits well into your mobile strategy too. No organization will truly thrive with the “little kingdoms” that Sargent mentions, and neither will mobile.  If your mobile strategy isn’t integrated with your overall strategy and it isn’t woven into your email, social media, website and other channels, then you won’t see what mobile can truly do for your organization. Work with your account manager, and bring in other departments to really use mobile to its fullest potential.

Mobile means more, and mobile donors stick. You don’t have to let donors slip through your fingers when you can hold the power of mobile in the palm of your hand. When mobile donors are cultivated, retention rates increase to more than 80 percent. If you want donors to stick, go mobile.

 Don’t forget to check back next week for more tips with a mobile twist.

Elizabeth_HeadshotElizabeth Same is the PR Coordinator for mGive . Elizabeth works on the internal mobile strategy to help educate nonprofits about the potential and benefits of this channel. She has a passion for how technology can change the nonprofit world, and in her free time volunteers with local nonprofits. She also manages the mGive Twitter handle @mGive. Connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn



Topics: Mobile Fundraising, Strategies and Tactics, mSpiration, Education, Mobile Engagement

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