According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. alone. When it comes to making donations, individual donors have a limited budget and an almost unlimited number of options. Creating and sustaining a healthy donor base requires innovative strategies, and leading nonprofit marketers are rising to the challenge.

Reenergize your marketing campaigns and strengthen your support by delighting donors. Not sure where to start? These tested strategies can help:


1. Nurture Relationships Through Marketing Automation


While your donors’ compassion may be limitless, their budgets aren’t. Your supporters may not always be willing or able to make a donation, but when they’re ready, you want to be on their minds. That’s why nurturing donors is so important. When executed correctly, nurturing campaigns strengthen donor relationships and create the kind of ongoing support that sustains organizations.


nonprofit marketing automation

Direct mail marketing automation can take many forms. Nonprofit marketers can send highly personalized communications like direct mail pieces, emails, or even digital ads to donors who complete a specific action. When an individual makes their first donation, visits a specific page on your website, or contacts your organization, automated marketing software can send them a message based on their unique actions.


Through automation, nonprofit marketers can reach the right donors at the right time. Since these targeted messages are built around the user’s own actions, they’re far more relevant and engaging. It’s no surprise that Gartner Research discovered organizations using automation see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in six to nine months.


By delivering emails or direct mail pieces only when donors complete a certain action, nonprofit marketers can also cut down on costs or free up budget dollars for new campaigns. Best of all, automated marketing campaigns have been shown to decrease campaign management time by up to 80%. What could your nonprofit accomplish with all that extra time?


2. Strengthen Loyalty With a Personalized Thank You

A recent study by the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project concluded that donor retention reached a 9-year low of 46%, despite an overall increase in revenue and donors. What does this mean for nonprofit marketers? Sustaining donors isn’t as easy as it used to be. To stand out from the crowd and encourage consistent giving, you’ll need to create a stronger bond with each individual donor.


A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Expressing gratitude to donors has a bigger impact than many marketers realize. In fact, recent scientific studies have shown that saying thank you isn’t just polite. It can impact future behaviors. One Harvard Business School professor came to some interesting conclusions after conducting a study on gratitude: “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too.” In other words, simply saying “thanks” can inspire your donors to be more charitable in the future.


marketing for nonprofit organizationsWhile expressing gratitude can raise donation rates, how you say thank you can create an even greater impact. Want to build relationships with your donors? Send them a personalized thank you note.


Combine your handwritten notes with automated marketing for nonprofit organizations to send notes automatically each time someone makes a donation. Customize the campaign to send one message to first-time donors, and another to renewing donors. You can even create unique messages for large gifts or specific initiatives. Of course, nonprofit marketers don’t need to limit personalized direct marketing notes to thank you notes alone. Personalized, digitally handwritten messages can be used for any occasion, from major announcements to holiday cards.


3. Nonprofit Marketers Build Donor Trust Through Brand Consistency


Where does brand consistency fall on your nonprofit’s list of priorities? Before you answer, consider these statistics:


  • 87% of individuals think brands and organizations need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience.
  • 90% expect consistent interactions across channels.
  • Consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by an average of 23%.

Today’s loyal donors and potential contributors interact with nonprofits on multiple platforms. In order to tell a clear, powerful story, these platforms need to work together. Without a strong story and brand image, building trust and increasing online donations won’t be easy.


Utilizing a professional brand marketing center can help. These customizable, web-based marketing portals streamline productions to decrease direct mail campaign delivery time. At the same time, they improve marketing consistency to make building trust and increasing donations even easier.


Brand marketing centers can be an invaluable resource to every member of the nonprofit team, from marketers to designers, local leaders, and more. Features like professional marketing templates also make creating consistent ads, brochures, and even social media posts for multiple platforms and locations simple. With brand compliance nearly automatic, approval times decrease. A current, relevant direct marketing campaign and other marketing materials can be delivered quickly, resulting in higher rates of online giving.


4. Delight a New Generation of Donors

nonprofit marketers

The selfie generation is a lot less selfish than they might seem. In fact, recent research has discovered that in many ways, millennials are more charitable than previous generations.


For example, one study found that 84% of millennials had made a charitable donation in the previous year. Of those givers, only 22% said their donation was solicited through their company. 78% had decided to make donations on their own.


Nonprofit marketers have realized that millennials are happy to donate. The way they do it, however, is different. Here’s one major difference: millennials love crowdfunding campaigns. In fact, they’re three times more likely to donate to these campaigns than are Baby Boomers.


Most nonprofits can’t rely on crowdfunding to support their missions. However, they can use these statistics to adapt their marketing to a new generation of donors:


Trends in Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations


  • 80% of crowdfunding donations are made via mobile devices. Mobile-friendly and optimized websites help make donating via phone easy and fast. Share simple links to optimized sites on direct mail pieces. You can even take advantage of QR code marketing benefits to help mobile-using millennials connect in a snap.
  • Most crowdfunding donations come from social media posts. Support your next direct mail marketing campaign with corresponding posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use Marketing Templates to create consistent ads and posts across all of your nonprofit’s official accounts. A single social share raises an estimated $37 in donations, so don’t forget to encourage sharing within your own organization.
  • Crowdfunding often focuses on individual stories. Your nonprofit helps change lives every day. Instead of only telling donors about your broader goals and initiatives, share the story of one individual who’s been impacted by your work. Concrete examples of exactly how a specific dollar amount impacts a real person will inspire readers to contribute.


While it’s smart to connect digital elements to the donation process, don’t overlook the value of direct mail itself for attracting millennial donors. 62% of millennials have responded to a direct mail piece in the last month. Take a fresh look at your direct mail campaigns to discover new opportunities for attracting these donors.


5. Give Back to Donors: Providing Added Value


Your commitment to giving back shouldn’t end where your direct mail campaigns begin. Lead by example by “donating” something to your potential supporters. There are plenty of options to choose from:


  • Magnets
  • Desk calendars
  • Personalized notepads
  • Return address labels
  • Holiday cards


You can even affix coins to your mailings. Including these items in mailings helps your organization stand out from the crowd. More importantly, it fosters a personal relationship with donors. Since you’ve already given your recipients something, they’re more likely to give donations back to you.


These are just a few of the options available. Nonprofit marketers can also provide added value by giving donors useful information. Share insider knowledge about your latest projects. List statistics or recent research about your cause and the communities you serve. Links and QR codes make it possible to connect donors to even more info online, from videos to guides or even blog posts.


Remember, the connections you create have very real consequences. Research has found that organizations that connect to individuals more than ten times a year can see 300% more revenue than those who don’t.


Are you looking for new ways to attract donors? Want to gain more engagement, but aren’t sure where to start? Contact us today to learn about our latest capabilities and learn how MSP can improve your nonprofit marketing campaigns.

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