Mar 15, 2022
Understanding evangelizing — the donor journey
Attracting new donors to your nonprofit is great for fundraising and overall support. However, it’s equally important to retain them, as long-term donors will become your biggest advocates. This is also known as evangelization, where your donors and members tell others about your work and inspire them to join the mission.
There are many ways to incorporate evangelization in your organization to help spread the word about your cause. As you approach the end of each donor’s journey, use these strategies to help maintain consistent giving and encourage others to contribute.
The stages of the donor journey
Engaged donors retain their interest and commitment to supporting your nonprofit. Ensure your donors stay engaged through every step of the donor journey:
- Awareness: Raising awareness of your nonprofit is the first step to retaining lifelong donors. The more you can promote your cause, the more likely you are to attract donors looking to support the work you do. This stage is the first impression donors will have of your organization, so it’s important to get the word out about your mission.
- Consideration: Once donors find your nonprofit, they’ll want to look through your content and see if you’re a good match for them. This is the stage where you want to show them why your mission is so important and what they can do to help support you. During their research, donors will want to know what makes your nonprofit different from other nonprofits. Be transparent about your values and what you bring to the community and try to build an emotional connection with them.
- Decision-making: The third stage in the donor journey is when donors decide to make a donation and give to your nonprofit. Once they reach this point, your donation button or the signup sheet for your newsletter should be easy for them to find. They should be able to navigate your website quickly and easily. Make it easy for people can support your mission without clicking between too many pages or filling out step after step of information. Try to keep things short and sweet.
- Evangelizing: By the end of their journey, your donors should know plenty about your nonprofit to be able to share their experiences with others. Donors can advocate for your mission and even recruit prospective supporters in the process. They may invite family and friends to donate to your cause, nominate you for charitable giving through their workplace, or share your posts on social media. It’s important to keep them engaged with your latest events, news, and updates so they can spread the word and help your organization grow.
In this article, we’ll focus on the final stage of the donor journey — evangelizing — and how it helps promote your organization.
Spreading the word
Donor evangelizing plays a significant role in helping you attract and retain more members over time. Once your donors feel confident that their support makes an impact on your mission, you can encourage them to share your message to increase brand awareness and bring new donors into the cycle. Here are some ways you can motivate your members to spread the word.
- Provide incentives: You can inspire donors to recruit new members with incentives like awards, prizes, gift cards, or even games and competitions to see who can recruit the most members.
- Create share-worthy experiences: From member meetings to giveaways and fundraisers, make your events fun and memorable so donors can’t wait to talk about them and share pictures on social media.
- Let them brag: Empower your members to tell their friends and family about your nonprofit’s campaigns and events or ask them to post testimonials on your website and share their positive experiences.
How to engage your donors
Keeping your donors engaged can make them more likely to promote your organization to their peers. Here are five engagement strategies that can make it easier to interact with your nonprofit through various channels and keep your donors returning.
1. Go the extra mile
Get to know your members personally. Thank them often and by name with heartfelt and memorable phone calls, handwritten notes, or videos to let them know you appreciate every donation and event attendance. You can also host donor appreciation events to strengthen your community and share how your donors help make an impact. Be sure to nurture first-time donors and make them aware of their value from the very first step.
2. Implement donor management software
It can be challenging to maintain data and communication once you start to gain more donors. Using a fundraising software solution can help you manage all aspects of your nonprofit and gain insights into donor engagement and campaign success.
3. Create text fundraisers
Change up your normal campaign routine by adding text-to-donate fundraisers. This can be a great way to reach a wide audience of donors.
Texting your donors for donations is one of the simplest, fastest strategies to gain their support — especially if they don’t regularly check or respond to emails or other communication methods. You can even send notifications and reminders through texts to keep them updated during the campaign.
4. Use peer-to-peer fundraising
In addition to texting, you can also encourage social fundraising with peer-to-peer fundraising. This method encourages your members to interact with each other and recruit new donors. You can give your existing donors some creative freedom to reiterate your key values and messages that help you raise money and meet your fundraising goals while expanding your reach.
5. Understand communication preferences
Remember that every donor will have different preferences for how they want to engage with your nonprofit. Take note of this as you collect donor data, add it into your donor management system, and analyze the methods they’re most likely to respond to. Personalize your communication as much as possible so donors feel that you’re paying attention to their needs.
Continuing the journey
Once you understand the donor journey, you can take advantage of the process to improve the journeys for new donors. As you learn more about what your donors want to see and how they respond, you can build stronger marketing and fundraising plans to ensure a smooth path through the donor cycle.
Providing educational content and valuable resources about your organization will help them visualize what their journey will look like and how their contribution makes an impact. These touchpoints will also give them a glimpse into what they’ll experience from one stage of the donor journey to the next.
Make GiveSmart part of your donor journey
At GiveSmart, our goal is to help you create a positive impact. No matter where your donors are in the donor journey, you can use GiveSmart’s solutions for online and growth fundraising, managing your donors and campaigns, and collecting data for insights about your supporters. Our integrations allow you to connect your systems, help you with event execution, and give you the reporting tools to evaluate which strategies are working and what needs improvement.
Get started creating successful fundraisers and finding donors ready to invest in your success. Request a free demo today to see how we can help you improve your donor journey.