Today’s guest post is by Dennis Fischman. Dennis is the creator of the Communicate! blog, dedicated to helping nonprofits win loyal friends and getting the support they need. In this post, he shows you how to use what you already have to communicate in multiple channels through the magic of repurposing. Dennis will be presenting the next Nonprofit Academy session called: Delight Your Donors With Better Communication (and Spend Less Time Doing It). You can find more about Dennis on his site at:

Communicate More Often to Renew More Donors

Dennis Fischman on donor communication

It’s a facial expression that’s become way too familiar. When I talk with nonprofit organizations about communicating with their donors, they give me a sheepish look.

“We know we should be in touch more often,” the Executive Director says. “But we have so little time, and there are so many ways people expect to hear from us. Newsletters, annual reports, website updates, email, social media…not to mention local newspapers and community TV. How do we keep coming up with new ideas for stories?”

You don’t need to wear that sheepish look in your organization. Yes, you should be in touch. And yes, there are so many channels for your communications today! But there’s a simple way to make sure you always have the stories to tell and the messages to share: repurpose.

Your Donors Want to Hear from You

It’s not just a feeling that lets you know you should be in touch with your donors more often. Just look at the statistics on donor renewal.

In the U.S., only 30% of first-time donors to nonprofit organizations renew their gift the next year. Think about that. If a donor gave her first gift to you in 2014 and you do nothing about it, the chances are better than two out of three that she’s NOT giving to you this year.

Why do so many donors disappear after the first gift? Well, from their point of view, they didn’t disappear. You did.

Jay Love, the CEO of Bloomerang, tells us the top reasons donors who could afford to give again, don’t:

  1. Thought the charity did not need them – 5%
  2. No information on how monies were used – 8%
  3. No memory of supporting – 9%
  4. Never thanked for donating – 13%
  5. Poor service or communication – 18%

You should be in touch with your donors because it makes money for your nonprofit—and costs you money if you don’t!

How to Make Your Communications Easier

Nonprofits make communications hard. We think that every time we write a blog entry, or send direct mail, or post to social media, we have to come up with a new idea. We should remember the old mantra, “Reduce, reuse, recycle.”

REDUCE the time and effort it takes to communicate with your donors. It’s not a bad thing for your donors to hear the same message again and again: it’s a good thing! As Marc A. Pitman has said on a post about the myth of donor fatigue:

The ad guru David Ogilvy is supposed to have said that it takes a person hearing the same message seven times before they take action. So make sure to tell the stories seven times.

REUSE content in the same communication channel. Yes, you can use the same content with only minor tweaks.

  • You wrote a great blog entry for Mother’s Day 2012? Update it and republish it for Mother’s Day 2013.
  • You posted a link on Facebook that got a lot of attention? Post the photo from the linked article, with a caption. Post a quote from the article and ask for comments. Take the idea of the article and turn it into a poll.
  • You tweeted a message? Tweet it at different times, every day, for a week. Different people are going to see it each time.

RECYCLE content in different channels. That blog entry could be an article in your newsletter, or a great op-ed in the local paper. The video clip on your website could be included in your thank-you email.

More Ways to Delight Your Donors

I’ll be sharing more ideas about how you can repurpose what you’ve already written or recorded in a Nonprofit Academy webinar, Delight Your Donors With Better Communication (and Spend Less Time Doing It). Attend this webinar to learn how to build stronger relationships with your donors by communicating more often–and spending less time doing it. You will find out:

  • What your donors really want to hear
  • How to create a message your donors will be glad to read
  • How to use one great idea on your blog, on social media, in print, and on video
  • Why your donors will thank you

Sign up for the September 1 webinar today, and you’ll be ready to renew more donors this year.

21 Ways for Board Members to Engage with their Nonprofit's Fundraising book image

You'll discover the 21 ways each board member can help their nonprofit's fundraising - even if they don't like to ask for money!

As a bonus, you'll get free fundraising tips every other week too!

Help your board fundraise for nonprofit with this FREE ebook

We take your privacy very seriously and will never sell, rent, or share your email address.