Monday, July 27, 2015

Donor Communication Series: Younger Donors

It is never too late to start building a relationship with those in your donor database who are part of a younger generation. Someday soon, they will become your largest donor segment! But first, you need to understand their communication preferences, what drives them to take action, and what their expectations are for your organization.

Generation X and the Millennial Generation are more likely to engage with causes that aim to help other people, support social issues rather than individual groups, are strongly influenced by their peers, and enjoy being part of an organization without having to be physically on site. Both generations respond well to digital fundraising efforts and are driven by results and information. It is important to communicate with these donors that their specific gift has made a direct impact to your cause and mission.  

Millennials are tech savvy, connected, and driven to making smart well-informed decisions about whom they support and where they place their resources.
Keep communication with Millennials short and to the point. This group is more likely than any other to donate through digital channels so use engaging pictures to draw them in. This group loves to volunteer so offer opportunities of how they can get involved with your organization using their specific skill-set or expertise.

On average, Generation X gives twice as much to nonprofit organizations as Millennials. This generation of people came of age sending donations through the mail but now prefer digital donation channels. As the first generation to donate online and the generation that pioneered web design, email, blogging, and online advocacy, they are entering their peak giving years. And, Gen X donates to animal rescue and protection, environment and conservation and health causes more than other generations (just a lower gift).

Keep your communication with Generation Xers short with the intent to inform them with what is happening in the organization. This is the goal setting and achieving generation, so allow them to take part in your challenge matching campaigns and communicate your organization’s goal to get the best results.

Both of these generations are excellent prospects for monthly giving, so make sure the option is extended to them once they have donated to your organization. Alpha Dog can help you lay out a plan for the year to help you maximize the giving potential of your donors. Keep in mind that the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are still your largest group of donors. Continue to focus on those generations while building your relationship with Generation X and Millennials.

Source: Next Generation of American Giving and Bloomerang

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Donor Communication Series: First-Time Donor Retention

We all preach the importance of donor retention. Getting a first-time donor to give again can be the hardest, yet least expensive, way to increase your bottom line.  There are many ways to go about decreasing your donor attrition rates, but how do you actually communication with your first time donors?

People will donate because they feel a need to help and have a level of caring or concern for your cause and mission. In order for them to feel that need, there has to be a connection. Your messaging towards donors should focus on making that connection stronger and longer lasting.

If a donor knows that their gift has made a difference to your organization, they will be more likely to give again. After all, that is the reason they want to help! Use copy that answers the question, "What about me?!"

Look at your current marketing messages. Are there words like "us" and "we" that can easily be change to "you" or simply omitted? Copy that is less organization-centered will have the ability to be more donor-inclusive.

Check out our blog post on donor centricity for more ways to change your verbiage:  

There are as many effective ways to communicate with donors as there are segments in your donor database file. Each group requires different messaging and communication channels. By segmenting your whole database file, you will be able to pinpoint how to communication with each group.

To help convert new donors and acquire the second gift, we recommend a new donor lift note as well as voice broadcast messages and other strategies. Call one of our sales team members for assistance in setting up your plan to increase donor retention and to effectively communicate with your donors.




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Donor Communication Series: Planning for Planned Giving Donors

This first of three installments in the 2015 Summer Donor Communication Series concentrates on how to recognize planned giving potential for your current and prospective donors. Every donor has the capability to become a planned giving donor. The key is successfully communicating your message to build that connection. But how do you organize these donors into a meaningful segmentation of your database?

American Fundraising Professionals (AFP) presents a Planned Giving Prospect Matrix to aid in targeting your message to the right donors:

Affinity is the measure of brand loyalty and passion for your mission. Individuals with high affinity enjoy your relationship and are always willing to strengthen it. Finding the wealth of donors is the easy place to start. Measuring a donor’s brand loyalty and willingness to give starts with an examination of a donor’s giving patters, such as gift amounts and frequency of gifts.

Segmenting donors into this matrix will allow you to start building the right relationships in the right way. Asking questions such as, “Do you have a will?” and “Do you have a planned gift with another charitable organization?” will get you critical information about that donor as well as give you the opportunity to build the rapport towards a planned gift.
Talk with Alpha Dog Marketing about strategies to reach this special group of donors who help secure the future of your nonprofit. 

* and AFP

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mastering Donor Centricity

Donor centricity means focusing on what your donors want most and how they think. It is your decision to change your communication style to stop language that is all about your agency and begin concentrating your messages about how wonderful and important your donors are to your mission. Below is a short list, and by all means not all of the ways to master donor centricity:

1. Timely Response. Make the time between donation and receipt as short as possible. The longer it takes the more likely your donor is to think that their donation is unimportant.

2. Appreciative and Relevant Acknowledgements. Your thank you notes need to be ‘love letters’ and should include language that mirrors the theme of your ‘ask’ message. It should be personalized specifically for your donor. This will encourage your donor to give again in the future.

3. Inspire Through Newsletters. Use your newsletter to connect your donors back to why they are supporting you first, and then continue to let your donors know that they are making a difference. Making your organizational newsletter language reflect ‘You/because of you’ will steward and inspire them to keep making donations and stay connected to your cause. We have great tips about reworking your newsletter language and content placement. (

4. Internet Friendly. Make online giving simple and easy to use. Supporters will give online if the donation form is easier than giving though the mail. It should be fast and convenient. Also, if your website is not yet mobile optimized, it’s time to move forward quickly. We can help!

5. Adapt.  Donor centricity and satisfaction is an ever revolving door. Asking one time for feedback is not enough. Continually make adjustments on what your donor base best responds to.

Increasing your donor centric practices will increase retention rates and new donor growth. Word will spread how wonderful your agency is in providing the best services for a cause that resonates with your donor and how appreciative your agency is of their support. Alpha Dog Marketing is here to help you measure your agency’s donor centricity to see how you performed before and after becoming donor centric.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Increasing Your Donor Referrals

You know better than anyone how hypercompetitive it is for nonprofit organizations to acquire new donors that are loyal and engaged. Getting donor referrals are an excellent way to fight through the fundraising clutter. Follow these steps to help with donor referrals:

1. Analyze Your Online Traffic: When you understand where your traffic is coming from and how that traffic is engaging with your organization, you can make a smart decision on how to ask for more referrals from current donors.

2. Ask the Right Way: Asking for a recommendation is important but in order to be successful, you should be asking for referrals the right way. Your ‘ask’ message should be tailored to the targeted audience.

3. Remind Your Donors to Refer: Take every opportunity to remind your current donors about referring their friends, family, and business associates. Include your referral message in all forms of marketing media and campaigns.

4. Engage in Active Feedback: Is your website easy to navigate? Is it easy to make a donation? Do your current donors strongly believe that you need their support? The only way to find the answers to these questions is through listening to donor feedback. By taking feedback seriously and truly listening to what your donors are saying, you will be able to make improvements that positively impact your organization.

5. Follow Up With Current Donors: Say thank you promptly and follow up after a donation. Numerous studies have shown this will keep your donors engaged and willing to talk about your organization to others. Answering a donation with appreciation will let donors know how important their gift is to your cause and will encourage positive word of mouth.

6. Don’t Forget Social Media: Staying in touch with your donors through social media is a great way to stay fresh in their mind. It gives your donors the opportunity to share content and refer great people to your organization with just the click of a button!

7. Keep a Unified and Branded Message: Your message should accurately reflect your brand. The more consistent your message is when communicating with donors, the more likely that message will stick and make an impression on your donor, thus increasing the chances that donor will make a referral.

Here is our challenge for you: identify the top 20 to 25 satisfied donors to target and plan your approach. This includes how and when to ask, and creating your branded message. Include your staff in this process and challenge them to ask for a referral from individuals who visit or call your location. Think of how much you could accomplish if you were able to get referrals from even a fraction of your most satisfied donors who are willing to refer your organization! Have questions or need help with your agency's donor referral strategies? Reach our and speak with one of our account managers.