Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about different ways to conquer some of your communication challenges. Another challenge that nonprofit organizations face is that people aren’t responding to their messages.
There can be a number of reasons for this. Perhaps it is one of the following.
Your content isn’t strong enough
In my last post I wrote about creating engaging content, which is most often success stories where you show your donor how they are helping you make a difference.
Let’s use a fundraising letter as an example. Some of the key components should include a story, an ask, thanking donors for their past gift, how their money will be spent, what you have accomplished, and what you plan to do in the future.
Besides being well written, your messages need to be easy to read and navigate. Use short paragraphs with lots of white space and at least a 12-point font. If your email message or web page is a cluttered mess with tiny type, your supporters are less likely to read it.
Here is more on creating good content.
You are reaching out to the wrong audience
Maybe not the “wrong” audience, but a weaker one. Your current donors are more likely to give to your annual appeal than other supporters, such as email list subscribers. You also probably won’t have as much success with event attendees or mailing to a cold list.
If you are holding an event, you should get a better response if you post an announcement on your Facebook page as opposed to the events calendar in your local paper. Get social on social media and take it a step further. Ask your followers to spread the word about your event, as well as help you recruit volunteers and even raise money.
You may also be using the wrong channels. Perhaps your donors don’t use Twitter very often.
This is why you need to know your audience. If you have limited resources, which is the case for many nonprofits, don’t spend a lot of time and energy reaching out to a weak audience.
Once is not enough
Maybe you do have strong messages and you are reaching out to a good audience, but your supporters still aren’t responding. Well, these folks are busy and are barraged with messages from a variety of sources. That’s why you need to send your message again (and again).
You should never send out one fundraising letter and sit around and wait for the money to flow in, because it will come in as a trickle. Remind your donors via email, social media, your website, phone, and maybe even another letter. The same goes for promoting events.
Keep track of your response rate, because if it’s not as strong as you would like it to be, you can often fix it.
Here are some other reasons why your messages may not be getting a response. You should be able to avoid the first one if you reach out to the right audience.
How do you get people to respond to your messages?