Get Strategic in 2018: Turn Your Advocacy Supporters into Donors
By Maureen Wallbeoff on Jan 11, 2018
Advocacy organizations are often lucky enough to have some of the most passionate supporters among all nonprofits. But while those strong feelings may easily translate into signed petitions or tweets in support, they don’t always immediately translate to donation dollars.
Of course, though, it’s the dollars that keep advocacy organizations running. So that begs the question: How can you motivate your supporters to also become your donors?
We’ve put together a powerful list of four tactics designed to help you encourage your supporters to make a donation (and help you more easily meet your monthly and yearly fundraising goals).
1. Explain how their gift will make a difference.
Understanding how their donations can help create change can be a bit of a mystery for the average political action-taker. While they can immediately connect how donations to a cancer organization will fund cancer research, it’s trickier for them to guess where the money goes in an advocacy organization.
So, don’t make them guess: Explain to them how their donation impacts your organization and helps meet your mission. You can do this in a variety of ways – from sharing a personal story to adding an infographic that shows how the organization uses individual giving funds. You can even offer designations that allow a donor to choose where their money goes. Just be sure to explain why each of those is important to reaching your organization’s end goals.
2. Capitalize on what’s in the news.
In recent months, organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have seen donations increase when the media is reporting on them. But waiting for people to connect your cause with what they see in the newspaper and then make a donation isn’t a very proactive plan.
Instead, regularly monitor the news for issues and opportunities that you can email your supporters about. And if, in the past, you’ve usually used these as ways to get people to sign petitions or call their representatives, try switching out some of these messages for donation request messages. You might be surprised by how many are willing to shift their action to making a gift.
3. Ask for just a little every month.
One of the best tactics in nonprofit fundraising in recent years has been the concept of sustainer giving. Instead of asking people to donate $60 all at once, they ask people to donate $5 monthly over the course of a year.
It’s easier for people to justify this small expense, and that means they are more likely to donate. It’s also helpful for your organization, since sustainer gifts can mean a predictable revenue stream every month.
While some advocacy nonprofits have included retainer options on their donation forms, few have made the options front-and-center.
Try asking for a small one time amount on the donation form: perhaps just $5 or $10. Then encourage them to make it a monthly gift instead.
4. Jump into DIY Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.
It used to be that peer-to-peer fundraising was relegated just to organizations that held walks or runs. Over the past few years, “non-thon” organizations have added Peer-to-Peer fundraising programs without having to organize major events.
Now, people can “dedicate” their birthdays (or weddings, or anniversaries) to a cause and ask their friends for donations to a nonprofit in lieu of gifts. There’s no reason advocacy organizations can’t see the success with DIY Peer-to-Peer fundraising.
In addition to suggesting that supporters dedicate birthdays or special days, you could also suggest DIY fundraisers that are related to a specific bill or other political action.
This is a short list to get you started but doesn’t begin to cover the many ways to increase supporter engagement – welcome series, anyone? The great news is that when a supporter takes more than one type of action (calls an elected official AND makes a donation), they are more likely to continue their support into the future! We encourage our friends at advocacy organizations to set some goals for the new year; things like “how many action-takers can you convert into donors?” And if you’ve got other great ideas, please share them in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Vice President of Firefly Partners, Maureen provides a people-focused, collaborative influence to all things Firefly. From their very first day in business, her optimistic personality and unique skill set has shaped the Firefly way of working. Maureen is a jane-of-all-trades, overseeing internal and external operations with a steady hand. Her working life before Firefly was spent at Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, where she rose from clinic assistant to the Director of e-Business over a sixteen year tenure. A skilled presenter and facilitator, Maureen loves to bring people together to have authentic conversations that create consensus within an organization. She is based outside of Boston and you can find her walking along Cape Cod Bay at low tide any chance she gets.