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10 Strategies to Reach Younger Donors


If you are in fundraising today you have encountered the problem of how to reach younger donors. Young donors want more information in less time but also prefer to give differently than traditional donors. In an article in Fundraising Success Magazine, Randy Brewer presents his 10 Strategies to Reach Younger Donors. Here is his list:

Generation Next may be poised to give, but you have to engage them differently:

1. Tell the truth and tell it often. 

Donors and prospects respect honesty. They want to know what their contributions accomplish. They don't necessarily need an annual report, but you should formulate an annual communications plan that informs them of the impact their support makes.

2. Use multimedia content.

We live in a digital age, therefore, take advantage of it. Post 60 to 90-second videos that describe your organization and its mission. This is a good place for testimonials. It is important to avoid going off on a tangent. Keep your message consistent and true to your brand image. 

3. Tailor message to platform.

Each digital platform appeals to a different audience. Make sure that you understand those audiences. What is ideal for Facebook is not for Twitter. 

4. Encourage tours and volunteer opportunties.

Studies by The Millennial Impact Project have shown that younger donors first contribute through means other than money first. They volunteer and get a feel for the organization before writing a check. For this reason be sure that you are encouraging tours of your organizations and inviting prospects to volunteer. This means marketing these opportunities in your newsletters, emails, direct mail pieces, and website. Don't be ashamed of the work your organization does and don't be embarrassed to invite volunteers.

5. Recruit ambassadors.

Every organization needs an army of promoters. These are your board, major donors, staff and key volunteers. These are the critical stakeholders in your organization and should be some of your loudest evangelists. Prepare a bullet point handout that these ambassadors can use when spreading the word. Post the list on your website as a "Did You Know." Your doing good work, let word of it spread.

6. Focus.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in all aspects of your organization's mission. Instead of overwhelming young audiences with everything your organization does, find that one thing you do better than anything else. Focus on that one issue, program, or service and relentlessly promote it.

7. Develop the middle.

Whether you call them "middle donors," or some other name, these are the givers who are committed to you and your mission. Their gifts are not token gifts, nor are they one-time lifetime gifts. Steady as the sun coming up in the East, these are the people who you need to cultivate relationships with. They are the ones most open and receptive to hear from you and consider making the next step in their donor journey.

8. Cross-promote.

Generally a donor will come on board your organization after receiving an appeal from your core program. Don't let this be all there is to the conversation. Be sure to create a yearlong campaign across multiple contact points - be it telephone, mail, email, tours, etc. - that cross-promotes your lesser known programs. You never know, that initial gift to Program A could be an open door for support for Program B, C, or D. In some cases a donor's secondary program gift is higher than the initial primary program gift.

9. Re-educate lapsed donors.

All organizations have them, that donor that gives once and never again. The number of one-time givers is growing. So how do you stem the loss? Initiate an in-house calling campaign, or hire a reputable telemarketing agency to develop a engage with these one-time givers. Without some form of engagement, you can never know if it is truly a one-time gift or a donor in need of interaction.

10. Invest in major donor development.

It is so important to stage engaged with donors at all levels, but none more so than your major donors. They are like family if not greater than family. You should visit them in their homes or offices. Take every action to get to know them and let them get to know you. These are the donors you want to be able to confidently pick the phone up and inform them of a need at your organization and without you asking a gift, have them respond with checkbook in hand, ready to sign, "how much do you need?"

If you're not confident that you have the skills to tackle marketing to younger donors in a digital age, then hire someone who can. Sociallyin is available to help you Engage Young Donors with Inbound Marketing.

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Jonathan Reeves

I am an experienced nonprofit professional, skilled in Fundraising, Marketing, and Development. When it comes to advancing your organizations mission and outreach, I go the distance, using every networking tool available to reach the target demographic. When not working for a nonprofit or other business, I use my skills to advance historic and genealogical research for individuals, organizations, and anyone looking to know more about the past.

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