There might be a good reason you’ve seen a drop in charitable donations– four good reasons, in fact. Don’t despair; we’ve not only rounded up the most common culprits, but smart solutions to set things straight.
You’re not connecting with your target audience. While your donor list might tell you who has given in the past, a little market research could reveal who you should be targeting in the future. Every fundraiser, mailing, or social media post needs to reach the people who care most about your cause. That may mean looking beyond your geographic area, studying what other organizations are doing, or tapping into new networks of people. It may also mean trying new methods to reach your target audience, including different forms of social media or different community events.
You treat every donor alike. A donor who sends a check every year has different communication needs than someone just learning about your organization for the first time. Segment your list, breaking it into different groups and customize your communication – include a personalized greeting, adjust the amount of background information included, add a personal note of thanks, or even make a unique request. The goal is to establish, then build, a relationship with each donor, making them feel like a hero for their efforts.
You sound like everybody else. Lots of donor letters use similar themes, similar language and even giving levels (Platinum, Gold and Silver sound familiar?) You can differentiate yourself by sharing a memorable story, unveiling new information, or showing where funds will be spent. Polish up your best, most share-worthy anecdotes, fantastic photos, problem/solution set ups, FAQs, or insider information to make your appeal stand out from others and stick in reader’s minds.
You’re always asking for money. Even if your organization desperately needs money, asking for it again and again gets stale. Vary your appeals so your audience stays engaged and excited about helping. You might try asking for their stories, their opinions, or volunteer help instead or in addition to funds. Or change up how you ask for monetary support. If you typically push for online donations, change it up with an invite to Casino Night, ask for sponsored laps at a walk-a-thon, or to add a link in a chain of checks.