Through effective donor management, you can move your supporters through the donor lifecycle to keep growing your mission.
6 Ways to Connect Donors to Their Impact
Your nonprofit needs to help donors see exactly how their support makes a difference for your mission to keep them engaged and involved in the long-term.
People give to nonprofits hoping to make an impact. They want to know that their support is promoting a cause that they care about. Nonprofits can keep donors engaged with their work and continuing to provide support by taking actions that better connect them to that impact.
Your nonprofit needs to help donors see exactly how their support makes a difference for your mission. This not only grows your reputation as a transparent and effective nonprofit organization, but also leaves your donor community feeling good about what they’ve helped you achieve. Below, we share six ideas for better connecting your donors to their impact.
1. Share Stories
Personal stories can have a profound impact on your supporters. Share stories about the people, animals, or places your nonprofit has helped. This provides concrete examples of donations at work. For example, you might ask a family who used your food bank to share what that service meant to them, or tell the story of how a feral cat came to your animal shelter and later found its forever home.
Stories from those who have benefited from your nonprofit’s work connect your donors to the impact they’ve helped you make. Aim to repurpose content across a wide variety of channels to connect these personal stories with as many donors as possible. For example, you can share impact stories through:
- Social media posts
- Blog content
- Website testimonials
- Podcast episodes
- Annual reports
2. Provide Regular Updates
Donors can only know that their gifts are making an impact if you tell them that they are. Once a supporter donates to your organization, make sure to send regular updates on your work. This keeps your donors informed about how their donations are being used. In addition to demonstrating your nonprofit’s impact, doing this also builds donor trust. You can share both your progress and any challenges you run into along the way. Tell donors whenever you shift course to address those challenges and what you learn by doing so.
You can provide donors with regular updates through email newsletters, social media posts, mailers, or personalized messages. How you share your updates will depend on the donor cohort a supporter is in, as well as what their communication preferences are. For example, you may want to tell major donors about your updates over an in-person quarterly lunch.
3. Use Data
Strong numerical data can paint the picture of your impact with quick, digestible figures. Connect donors to their impact by sharing quantitative data that helps them visualize just how many people their donation has helped. Your nonprofit can collect data such as:
- Number of people served
- Beneficiaries’ satisfaction levels
- Annual growth of your programs
- Amount of money raised
- Overhead costs
- Volunteer hours
These data can show supporters the tangible impact of their donations. Your nonprofit can use these data to create impact reports, share statistics on your website, or add impact statements to your annual reports. By using data to show impact, you build trust with donors and demonstrate the effectiveness of your programs.
4. Invite Donors to Events
Host events that allow donors to see your organization's work in action and to enjoy a hands-on, memorable experience. Impact events could include:
- Tours of your facilities
- Volunteer days
- Fundraising events
- Panel discussions
- Tabling events
- Board member meet and greets
Events provide an opportunity for donors to connect with your organization and see the impact of their donations firsthand. It also lets them put faces to the staff behind your work, which can strengthen their sense of connection to your nonprofit.
5. Encourage Donors to Volunteer
Encourage donors to get involved with your organization beyond making a financial contribution. You can do this by inviting them to volunteer or participate in advocacy efforts. These hands-on activities help donors forge a personal connection to your work. It helps their involvement with your cause become more of a piece of their identity.
When donors become volunteers or advocates for your cause, this can deepen their commitment to your organization and increase their understanding of your work’s impact. It also helps move them from being a donor to being an integral part of your community.
6. Express Appreciation Regularly
Donors want to feel valued and appreciated. Take time to thank your donors for their contributions and show them how much their support means to your organization. A quick thank you helps donors internalize the impact behind their support.
Make sure your thank yous come in regular and timely intervals. Donors should be thanked within 48 hours of their gift, as well as at important dates, such as their birthday, during the holiday season, or at the anniversary of their first gift to your nonprofit. You can show your appreciation in a variety of ways, such as:
- Personalized email messages
- Phone calls
- Recognition on your website or social media
- Handwritten notes
- Special events
Use Donor Touchpoints to Demonstrate How Supporters Make an Impact
Donors need to know that they’re not just a wallet to you. One way to do this is to show them how their financial donations translate into meaningful impact.
By implementing strategies like the ones above, your nonprofit organization can build stronger relationships with donors and help them feel more connected to the impact of their gifts. Remember to keep your communications warm, relationship-focused, and informative.
If you need support keeping track of how frequently you’re thanking donors and demonstrating how they make an impact, Instil can help. Contact the Instil team for questions, demos, or educational materials any time through our website to learn more about how our software can help your team strengthen donor relationships.