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Keeping donor engagement for the long-term

Keeping donors engaged during this time and beyond

With the public’s attention pulled in multiple directions due to Coronavirus and the unprecedented challenges it’s thrown up, many supporters will be concerned about their finances and future income.

To mitigate the risk of donor attrition at this very difficult time, it’s critical to keep donors as engaged as possible with your organisation. Maintaining communications and providing them with the best possible supporter experience is key.

Donor engagement and retention

Engagement of course has a direct impact on retention, so as well as focusing on providing an excellent and flexible payment journey, it’s a key area to bolster in helping supporters feel valued, appreciated and useful and above all connected with your charity.

It’s more important than ever now to thank them for their donations, and to share both the impact of the work you’ve been able to achieve as a result of their support, as well as the current impact of Coronavirus on your charity.

Achieving cut-through

With a global pandemic raging, some charitable causes are naturally receiving more media attention than others, so cut-through may be more challenging.

Ensure then that you are leveraging digital efficiently to get your messages across. Are you using all possible channels in addition to your website to reach audiences?

Email and social media accounts can deliver immediate and cost-effective messaging to keep you front of mind.

With people largely restricted to their homes for the foreseeable future, they’re using digital channels more than ever before to connect with the outside world.  This provides a real opportunity to be seen.

Use it to provide regular updates about your organisation and the impact of Coronavirus on both your organisation and your beneficiaries. Capture attention with real and compelling stories and eye-catching images or video that demonstrate the continued need for support.

Planning post-crisis

Think too about what you’re going to do, not only during the height of the current crisis, but when this immediate situation is over, how will you continue to maintain your messaging amongst the crowd?

Plan for the longer term by coming up with different ways to engage your supporters, maybe a series of updates on a theme, or following a project’s progress over time.

Try a mix of media. You can use video too to thank people – it doesn’t have to be slick: particularly with most people still working now doing so remotely, this may even help your supporters feel more connected to the reality of your work.

And beyond digital, there’s handwritten notes and phone calls to also provide a personal touch in communicating your thanks, updates or urgent appeals.

Not forgetting SMS, a text message can convey an urgent appeal or perhaps a poll in an unobtrusive manner as another way to engage.

Test and measure response

There are many ways to stay connected with your supporters, and in such a fast-moving situation, what works now might of course not remain the best approach going forward.

What’s important is not to assume the worst at this time, but to remain agile and responsive. Keep testing, monitoring, and measuring, and where possible, adjusting activity, and it will put you on a firmer footing to weather this storm.

Read more from our Covid-19 resources hub >