Regular Giving: Here Are Some Practical Ways You Can Use Digital To Boost Your Number of Regular Givers
Unless you are incredibly fortunate – or have the giving market cracked already, with a diverse and reliable stream of revenue flowing into your organisation – your not for profit organisation is driven by its regular givers. These regular givers represent the lifeblood of most not for profit organisation. They are committed givers who are invested in your cause, and take it upon themselves to donate whenever they can.
It is possible, however, to further augment the value you receive from these regular givers, and build the numbers of donors who give to your organisations on a regular basis.
Below are a number of strategies you can adopt to boost the number of Regular Givers for your not for profit organisation.
The Shifting Philanthropic Market and the Use of Technology
The first step to develop Regular Giving to your organisation is to recognise the seismic shift that has taken place in the philanthropic market in recent years. In 2012, one third of visitors to popular philanthropy platform JustGiving connected with the site via a mobile device; a figure which continues to grow, alongside consistent increases in the use of smartphone technology.
What was JustGiving’s response to this shift? Did they decide to rest on their laurels, pleased to see their mobile traffic numbers rising steadily? Of course not. Instead, they attacked this new channel, positioning themselves precisely where they could enjoy the biggest advantage of this changed market.
They developed a new system through which donations could be sent for free via SMS; a channel which has since evolved into a free to download application for users to donate to their favourite causes. Getting this kind of approach right is not difficult: it merely requires a degree of understanding when it comes to the behavioural habits of your Regular Givers (or prospective Regular Givers), and a proactive attitude to meeting the demands of your market in each and every channel.
The Step from One-Time Donations to Regular Giving
The above method is undoubtedly useful in boosting the amount of donations which a non-profit receives, but this is only part of the battle. One-off donations are great, provided you can keep them flowing at a reliable rate. However, unless you enjoy the sort of precarious existence which comes from knowing your revenue stream could dry up at any moment, this needs to be supported with a solid bank of Regular Givers.
So, how do you transform a one-time contributor into a regular giver? Personalised digital communication is certainly a start, as this helps to break down the initial barriers that exist between donor and non-profit organisation.
There are a variety of triggers that make someone want to donate to a cause. Perhaps the cause has impacted them in the past and they want to do something to prevent others from enduring the same experience. Or maybe they were triggered by a particularly powerful advertising campaign.
Whatever it is, most donations follow the same call-to-action mechanism; a cause resonates with an individual, they feel impelled to do something about it, they donate, they feel satisfied that they have done their bit. It is up to you to break this mechanism. It is up to you to re-engage.
That’s where your range of digital tools come in. Start with a direct communication in the form of a “thank you” message to make sure that your gratitude is received and understood. But this should by no means be the end of the story!
The Power of a Narrative
Anyone working in the not for profit sector needs to understand the power of a strong and sturdy narrative. There is a classic tale to be told here – one of struggle, of determination, of crisis, and of resolution. Whatever it may be, be sure to tell it with the drama and emotion it deserves.
This is a key part of building a campaign, but where does this fit into growing numbers of Regular Givers? Well, a better question would be, where do these Regular Givers fit into the narrative? This is the next step in the process of nurturing.
After your initial “thank you,” deliver a follow up communication. This can be in the form of a progress report, filling the donors in on the recent news relating to the campaign, or it can be another form of message. Either way, make sure that it builds upon the last message and demonstrates that the story is not yet complete (nor their part in it).
Show your audience how much they are needed. Show them how much of a difference their ongoing contribution makes. You might be surprised by what you receive in return!
Streamline the Process
The spark you and your organisation kindled long ago has now developed into a burning flame. You have a new donor/prospect who is keen to convert into a regular giver. The trouble is, they aren’t sure how to do so. They contact you via email and then on Twitter, but your social media strategist is away for the weekend and the opportunity slips. The potential Regular Giver shrugs his or her shoulders and decides to donate somewhere else.
This sad story line is unfortunately a very common issue amongst non-profits. Failing to optimise the donation process is one of the key factors which prevent non-profits from thriving. This in turns hampers the causes they are seeking to benefit.
Check and re-check the channels via which a prospect can connect with your organisation. Make sure all your channels have been optimised and are intuitive to your donor/prospect. Don’t let a possible Regular Giving fall at the last hurdle. Make sure your entire online and mobile presence is unified. A finely-honed machine will encourage these prospects all the way to the Regular Giving finish line.
A far more reliable, not to mention diverse and agile, stream of income for your non-profit and for your cause(s) will be your reward.