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There’s a change happening in the philanthropic sector. The days of donating to large, faceless charities are fading. Donors are, much like the rest of the world, looking for experiences that are personalized. They want that feeling of knowing exactly where their money is going. In fact, this is becoming such a popular trend that I wrote an article about the growing importance of grassroots, crowdfunded philanthropic campaigns.

And because of that growing need for personalization, if philanthropies don’t adapt, they can lose out on a great deal of donations. In fact, three quarters of donors will only donate to a charity once. A large contributor to this statistic is because of a lack of personalization in communication. This means that, if a charity is not strategic in its communication, it can cost them.

So, how can charities and philanthropic organizations improve their outreach?

Collect Data

Donors want personalized experiences. They want to feel as though they are making a dramatic and noticeable difference. And if you want to capitalize on that experience, then you’ll need to collect data. Start focusing on the location, wealth and social media activity of your donors. This information can give you insight into not only how much they’re donating, but why they are donating; and quite frankly, that’s more valuable than anything else. If you know the why behind their donations, you can appeal to a wider audience and personalize your outreach and marketing.

Don’t Send Email Blasts

If you work in the world of philanthropy, you’re probably very familiar with email blasts. They’re easy to do and you can reach a wide audience. It’s the perfect plan, right? Wrong. Mass email blasts simply don’t have the level of personalization needed for success. If you want to truly make an impact with your communication, utilize the data you’ve gained and create a smaller, targeted effort. Use the data described before to narrow down your campaign to a smaller demographic. Did a recent local tragedy strike? Check on the location and social media activity to find inactive donors who align with your charity’s mission. Then create a personalized message to them and reach out. They will be more likely to donate if they feel that they’re actually being spoken to, rather than being just another victim of a generic email blast.

Don’t Focus On The Money

Obviously, if you’re a nonprofit, you need money. What’s worse is you need to ask for money. No one likes doing that, so don’t. That isn’t to say you need to completely cut out asking for monetary donations, but they also shouldn’t be your sole outreach. Instead, utilize that very useful data you gained earlier and identify a group of donors and create a message that resonates with them. Keep them abreast of the people or causes they are helping. If you collected money for hurricane relief, follow up with donors and let them know how their money was spent, and who they aided. Putting a face behind a campaign can be very effective. Create a video, post it to social media and, instead of asking for more money, ask for them to share the video. It’s easier for donors to do, and it can create a sense of “brand loyalty,” making your charity stand out as “the one that really cares about the community.”

At the Opes Group, we love working with philanthropies, and we want them to succeed on every level. If you’re struggling to earn donations to your causes, then take some of this advice. Implement these strategies into you marketing and outreach, and you’ll likely see success very soon.