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Three Tips to Improve the Donor Experience for Your Nonprofit





















When was the last time you took a step back and viewed your nonprofit from a donor’s perspective? When it comes to the donor experience, there is always room for improvement.

Ask yourself: How can we provide the best donor experience possible? While answers vary from nonprofit to nonprofit, there are fundamental considerations that can apply to all organizations. In this article, we offer three tips to consider when evaluating your nonprofit donor experience.

What is donor experience and why is it important?

The donor experience consists of positive or negative interactions with your nonprofit. A multitude of factors, from the donation process to communication, can affect their satisfaction and impact the likelihood of recurring donations.

A pleasant donor experience can convert one-time donors into lifetime supporters and advocates. You can use your supporter’s megaphone to champion your cause and take advantage of free word-of-mouth marketing to attract even more donors.

It’s also important to note that it’s more expensive to attract a new donor than retain one, which incentivizes your nonprofit to provide a positive donor experience.

How to enhance the nonprofit donor experience

Change doesn’t happen instantaneously. In order to improve the donor experience, your nonprofit needs to devise a long-term strategy and dedicate resources to ideation and implementation. Enhancing the donor experience will require some preliminary work, but the long-term benefits will far outweigh the initial lift.

1. Segment your donors based on key characteristics

Donors are not created equal. Therefore, your nonprofit’s communication and messaging should change based on the type of donor. By segmenting your donor base, you can send more personalized communication and enhance your donors’ experience.

Donor segmentation is about targeting the right people at the right time with the right message.

Consider segmenting your donors based on common criteria like:

  • Geography––great for running a location-specific initiative or event

  • Donation frequency––opportunity for re-engaging lapsed donors

  • Donation amount––leverage micro-donations to help you reach your fundraising goals

There are various ways you can segment your donor base for effective communication––just make sure your messaging and goals align with your donor’s needs. Doing so will make your donors feel more connected to your nonprofit and ultimately enhance the donor experience.

2. Communicate throughout the donor journey

The donor experience extends far beyond the initial contribution. It’s how donors interact with your nonprofit, from their first website visit to post-donation messaging. Keeping your donors engaged is a key component to keeping your nonprofit top-of-mind and maintaining your existing relationships.

After segmenting your donors, review your content calendar. How are you communicating with donors once they make a donation? How are you showing the impact of their donations? What other initiatives can your nonprofit implement to engage your donors?

Here are some easy ways you can deepen your rapport with donors:

  • Send a simple thank you email once donors make a contribution

  • Give monthly updates on your nonprofit’s current initiatives

  • Provide testimonials from your organization’s beneficiaries

  • Publish an end-of-year giving report to celebrate your nonprofit’s accomplishments

Each of these tactics can help your nonprofit further its relationship with donors. When drafting content, use donor-centered language. Highlight your nonprofit’s accomplishments but focus on the donor. Phrases like “thanks to your generous donation” or “together, we were able to” will make donors feel like an essential part of your organization.

3. Optimize the donation process

Imagine you find a brand you like––you support their mission, you believe in their products, and you’re ready to buy-in to the brand. But, you’re having difficulty making your online purchase. After a few tries, you give up. You’re frustrated, empty-handed, and less likely to make a purchase in the future.

Now, imagine that the brand is actually your nonprofit. Is your donor experience deterring prospective donors from giving? According to sgENGAGE, most nonprofit websites see a donor abandonment rate of 50-70%. This means over half of your prospective donors expressed an interest in donating but decided not to complete the donation.

To encourage more donations, your nonprofit must identify and remove any friction in the giving process. Here are some key questions as you evaluate your donation process:

  • How easy is it to find the donation button?

  • How many fields do I have to fill out?

  • How many clicks does it take to donate?

  • How long does it take to complete a donation?

  • Is it mobile-friendly?

  • What website data can I leverage to determine other points of friction?

Once you optimize your donation workflow, your nonprofit should see an increase in donations.

Start improving the donor experience today

Convert one-time donors into lifetime supporters by implementing the three tips outlined in this article. These adjustments to your current donor experience will have a direct impact on your nonprofit’s donor retention, which is a measure of how many donors will continue to donate to your organization, year after year. Unlock the secrets to converting one-time donors into lifetime supporters. 

Women with a Cause
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