Engaging Your Supporters Beyond Donations

August 10, 2017

Different ways non-profits can engage their supporters beyond just asking for their donations.

According to TechSoup there are some key points to consider.


1. Put People at the Forefront of Your Stories

Your audience will respond to stories that immediately grab their attention. For example, a story that begins with a big emotional impact will leave the reader asking questions and wanting more information. It will keep them reading, and that’s what you want!

One of the best ways to do this is to tell the story of someone who has been impacted by your work. Interview people who are your influencers and champions, and find out why. Create meaningful relationships with both of these groups. Write their stories exceptionally well (hire someone for this if you need to; great stories told well are priceless). Share their stories with your audience.

2. Break Through the Noise

As a society, we are drowning in stories, so you have to break through the noise out there. Besides producing great content, and writing about your champions and influencers, we have a couple of other tips that can also make a big difference.

In terms of the length of stories, keep it brief or go in-depth. Your stories can be told different ways across multiple mediums. Blog posts will be longer pieces, whereas Facebook posts will be much shorter. Tell the same story in multiple ways.

  • Break up the story with headings, subheadings, and bullets, so it’s easy to scan.
  • When possible, integrate video, audio, and images to create multimedia stories.
  • Remember that most content is consumed and discarded, and so use content as a teaching moment, and a way to engage and involve your audience in your work.
  • Don’t forget that great stories stay with you. There’s NPR’s Serial or Chicago Public Media’s This American Life and Radiolab. Also, here’s Heather’s blog series on The Power of Written Storytelling, which points out many of the ways these kinds of stories are so unforgettable.

3. Offer a Call to Action

Give readers an action they can take after reading your content. When it’s engaging, your readers want to know what they can do to help. It doesn’t have to be a big donate button. It can link to another piece of the story or a petition, or you can offer the option to send a pre-populated tweet. Whatever you choose, the link should go to your website or social media channels. Check out this article on How to Craft a Strong Call to Action on Social Media in GoodWorld’s Social Giving School.

4. Make Sharing Your Content Easy

Not only should the members of your audience be able to share your content with the click of a button, they should also be able to add their own comments to what they share. And it should be obvious when they share the content where it came from. Brand it and test it. If you’re using out-of-the-box online tools, change the code if you have to. Or, find a new tool.

Ultimately, you want your audience’s friends to also share the content. Once people in your audience shares it, you have a better chance of getting their friends to share it. People trust and react to something shared by people they know (because it already has an endorsement from someone they trust), rather than something shared by an organization.

5. Well-being, Everyday Activity & Rewards

REI is showing everyone what a great company it is by giving its employees Black Friday off and encouraging them to go outside. What better way to make a statement about how much REI values the outdoors and its employees. Panelist Andrew Nachison pointed out that it’s not a typical retail store. It’s a cooperative that pays its members a dividend annually.

While well-being is a big piece of the engagement puzzle for companies it is only now starting to fully embrace the impact of giving employees the ability to create social impact in a great purpose. While some offer gift cards you can redeem for charity others are taking it a step further and making everyday activity = donations to charities employees choose. Several non-profits are also offering a Store now and offering rewards for different donation levels.

We’re seeing more and more organizations, conference and events start to venture into social impact as well. Chances are at your next conference you’ll be linked into a social impact campaign & rewards. Non-profits aiming for ongoing engagement are turning to everyday activity even outside of walks/runs/events. We call it the Millennial Impact on giving…everyone is going mobile and breaking down walls for easy giving/sponsorship.

6. Millenials: 80+ Million Strong

Tired of hearing about how this gen is changing the world? Another fun fact for you is that 86% give to charity. That is an amazing stat and should be a core pillar any non-profits growth strategy. Another interesting fact about this population is that over 50% prefer an active form of giving and it needs to be mobile/social ready. Millennial giving means not just pulling out the credit card, but getting on their running shoes/cycling gear or attending a volunteer event.

Maximus Platform is #1 in Activity-Based Engagement & Fundraising

MaximusLife uses daily life’s activity (walking steps/miles, riding sleeping, eating, etc.) to direct supporters to point-based rewards and sponsored giving. We also host your volunteer events on mobile for easy participation. A homerun for Millenials, but there is something for all types of supporters (even those driven by free rewards). Non-profits get a free start with us so give activity-based engagement/fundraising a try! 

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