Tried and Tested Techniques That Encourage Recurring Donations
By: Divya Kilikar
Published On: May 07, 2018
Need repeated donors? Here are some simple tricks to get em'!
Are you a social worker at an NGO? Regularly giving subscriptions or plans are most likely an important part of your finances. Finding people who are concerned about your cause, convincing them to become recurring donors has always been a daunting task.
As charity slowly makes a shift to the internet in India, what does this mean for you and your potential donors?
Are you evolving your strategy to accommodate this change?
With offline giving, there are many limitations, geographic and otherwise. The internet breaks every one of these to give you an abundance of opportunities to be creative, to tell stories, to market and to attract.
At Impact Guru, we’re constantly brainstorming ways to help people make the most of the online giving space, whether you’re a campaigner, a donor or just anyone who’s willing to give.
We understand that a single (or even multiple) crowdfunding campaign isn’t enough to meet the constantly growing financial needs of any organization. This blog will explore in-depth different ways in which an NGO can convert their one-time donors to regular or recurring donors.
The two major power tools that will help you on do this are social media and email newsletters!
Use them to keep your donors in the know. Make sure your content is engaging and interesting. To know more about crowdfunding, read this blog.
Think “human stories” rather than “Annual report”.
Worried about writing content for social media? We’ll shoot you some tips at the end of this blog.
Begin by talking to your donors. Repeat donations are a result of building trust and loyalty with your first-time donors by communicating with them (constantly and in creative ways) over time, so they become invested in your cause.
Here’s a roadmap to bringing in your first-time donors:
#1 Before you proceed - how good is your fundraiser story?
The one thing you look at before you think about strategy to attract more donors is your fundraiser story. A donor will join your effort only if they are convinced that you are dedicated and hardworking.
These traits will reflect on your story.Read your story from a stranger’s point of view: Does it move you emotionally? Is it detailed enough or are you left with unanswered questions? Does it sound convincing and urgent? Here are some tried and tested ways to better your story.
If you are still not clear on how crowdfunding works...
Explain the running need of funds for the project. Offer them a chance to be an annual/ monthly donor and talk about the impact of a recurring donation.
#2 Make your donors understand why there is a constant need for funds.
This is never limited to a single conversation! It’s a slow and steady process that involves constant storytelling. Your donors need to have complete visibility on what’s happening and they need to have a good idea on how their first donation made an impact.
There are different kinds of content you can write for your social media posts and newsletters. Restrict social media posts to short updates and focus on images and videos.
Emails can be more elaborate and include a comprehensive report on your activities, the lives impacted and usage of funds.
Show the smaller picture
Take a single person, animal or village you have impacted and tell their story. For example, CRY India left insightful updates on their fundraiser to fight malnutrition. Each update would highlight a single child, how their problem was identified and tackled successfully.
Take a look here. You can do the same on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and emails. Make sure to highlight how donations helped make this impact a possibility.
Talk about what other donors are up to
Show your one-time donors how others are making an impact by choosing to be recurring donors. For example, “Pooja joined our monthly giving program in May and has helped us get 6 underprivileged girls back in school so far!”
#3 Show them that making an impact is affordable! (And make sure it actually is)
We suggest you encourage a modest monthly or a quarterly plan than a yearly one. There’s several reasons why.
According to this source, 52% of young donors prefer donating a small amount on a monthly basis than having a large sum cut all at once. Moreover, making such a commitment can seem intimidating to most donors, who are constantly reading new stories and finding new causes to give to.Raising funds through ICO? This blog will help you!
Tell your donors how much their donation is worth
Donors want to know that their money is truly helping. For example, “Rs 1000 every month helps us keep Pranav in school. Without your donation, he may have to drop out and begin working in the field with his father.”
Follow up to remind them of their impact
To back this up, once donors make a donation, send them an email highlighting how their contribution changed a life. Make sure you keep this up every month. You can even post a social media shoutout and tag them!
#3 Create a group or a network where your donors can feel included and emotionally involved
True, your donors are making selfless contributions to your crowdfunding campaign without expecting any materialistic gain. However, they are hoping to gain something more meaningful.
For example, the members of a club or an organization don’t pay to get a service or a product, but the chance to be a part of a special group. Building a group or a network is thus a win-win situation for both you and the donor!
Make your donors feel a sense of belonging
You can do this through a specialized email thread. Start with a welcome email, mentioning the number of people that are part of the group. Talk about the impact made by these donors so far, and how the number has grown over time.
Consider adding in a souvenir like a mug, a badge or a T-shirt if it’s in your budget, or even a small “welcome kit”, with small gifts that are relevant to your cause.
Let donors lead (financially) small projects
The best way to do this is to involve donors as much as you can in the projects you run. Let them be “adopt” a particular village, animal or person, depending on the size of their donations.
This will build a sense of responsibility and concern. After six months or so, you can ask them if they’d like to widen their plan to take on another small project. Be sure to invite them to volunteer with you as well.
#4 Let them know they can back-out anytime they want to (but persuade them not to)
Your donors need to feel relaxed knowing that they aren’t tied down by any commitment to repeat their donation. Each recurring donation should be out of their “choice” to donate.
Let them know they can walk out anytime they want. However, do emphasize on the gap they would create if they back out. “Without your donation this month, Little Raju might have to sit out of class this year.”
#5 Provide an alternative too
For those who don’t want to become recurring donors, or those who want to stop their recurring donations, provide them alternate ways of helping the cause (they surely feel for the cause, maybe, they just aren’t in a position to donate).
Ask them to mobilize funds instead of donating themselves
They can help you by starting a fundraiser or a support fundraiser for you, and mobilize funds through their friends and family instead.
Ask them to share and bring more donors
They can be the voice for your cause on social media. They can simply share your posts or write for your NGO blog or raise awareness within their networks to help bring you more donors/ supporters.
Ask them to volunteer
Their time and skills are just as valuable as a donation to make an impact to your cause.
Basically, keep them engaged in whatever ways you can. There’s always a scope to turn them into repeat donors later on!
Bonus Tips: Ideas for Social Media Content
If you ever feel like you’re running out of things to say to your donors, whether it’s social media or emails, save this list:
Progress updates on your fundraiser
“We just can’t thank our donors enough. You are our constant source of inspiration. Today, our fundraiser reached __% of its goal. Only __ more days to go before we can finally afford to __! Let’s make it happen, guys. Share our story today!”
Progress updates on your project
Take inspiration from the social media platforms of NGOs like Mercy For All and Magic Bus, who never stop talking about the things they’re working on. Use photos and videos to back up your posts. You can do the same in your emails.
Flaunt the goals you surpassed, the lives you changed in a particular project and other wins, no matter how small. These are important to reassure your donors of your dedication and efforts. Take a look at a few of our success stories here and here for inspiration.
Facts and stats
You’re not just an NGO, but also an expert on the cause you’re working for. Share the valuable insight you have in this arena through #didyouknow posts to share facts and relevant statistics. If you’ve got a designer on your team, get them to turn these posts into a fun, attractive infographic. Get your inspiration from Socially Sorted!
Do an “of the week” type series to highlight one aspect, whether it’s a donor, volunteer, intern or beneficiary, only accompanied by a quote or a single line of content.
Shoot video testimonials of interns, volunteers and beneficiaries. This will add a human touch to your feed, as well as add to authenticity.
A project in 60 seconds
If you’ve got an in-house video editor, get quick 1-minute-long videos made to briefly show the progress and result of a project after it has ended.
Bonus Tips: Sample Email Plan
You’ll be sending out an “invite” to every one-time donor on your fundraiser. How will you word this first email? We’ve provided an ideal sample below.
Subject: You’re helping us widen our impact!
Hello <name of the donor>,
We’re so grateful for your contribution towards our project! Your donation of Rs xxx is helping us buy 100 books for the underprivileged children living in an orphanage in xxx village.
Great job! It doesn’t have to end here. You can make a difference in the lives of more children. Consider joining our ambitious team of changemakers! Through our affordable monthly plan, your impact can go as far as aiding an entire village in its path to progress.
Here’s how you can help
Pranav lost his mother when he was born due a birth complication. His family was too poor to afford a trip to the hospital, and his mother had to give birth to him in unsuitable conditions at home. His father is an unemployed alcohol who tried to dispose of him in a dumpster when was a little baby.
We have rescued hundreds of children like Pranav and struggle to give them not only shelter, nutrition, healthcare and education but the attention, love and care they deserve as well.
Adopt Pranav and fund his education for Rs 1000 per month.
You can help pay for education, nutrition and regular health check-ups for Rs 2500 per month.
Adopt 3 children like Pranav for Rs 6000 per month.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks and regards,
You can find more samples on 4agoodcause. Once donors join a plan, follow a timeline like this:
Email 1: Welcome your donors. Congratulate them and tell them you look forward to making a difference together!
Email 2: Send them an email after every single monthly donation that is made, highlighting how their contribution was utilized.
Email 3: Share stories of success and let them know what other donors are up to. Do this at least twice a month.
Email 4: Every six months, ask them if they’d like to upgrade to a bigger plan.
Email 5: Send them yearly/quarterly reviews, looking at past projects, and a sneak peak at future projects.
Try out as many of these tips and tricks as you can. Let us know what worked for you and we’ll update our blog with your feedback!
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