The connection with your supporters has to be a two-way relationship. While supporter donations, advocacy and fundraising event attendance are critical to your cause, so is ensuring that support year-on-year. Much like any other relationship, it means showing your supporters plenty of love and appreciation! Here are some easy ways you can keep your supporter relationship strong and healthy:
Supporters want to know that their money is working hard to make a positive difference. Of course, some of that money is needed for essential operating costs. The amount of money required to sustain and grow a fundraising organisation will differ based on operational need and growth. An international organisation working in politically turbulent or impoverished areas may have higher operating costs than a local Australian charity working in a safe, low-risk environment. Educating your supporters about how your organisation needs to operate will help donors understand how their funds are allocated. Being open about the fact that money has to be retained to allow an organisation to function supports a transparent relationship that fosters trust and accountability.
Make sure the open and transparent approach is reflected in every interaction with your supporters. Clear communication about fundraising initiatives will ensure participants feel great about their contribution to your cause. If it's a donation drive, be clear about payment processes e.g. is it a single upfront donation or a fixed scheme with payments made over a period of months? This is a good opportunity to show donors the positive difference they make to the lives of others. Give people plenty of incentives to give by telling your story. If you're running a fundraising auction, make the bid process very clear. Include the key details in any event introductions and think about printed guides on tables for easy reference. Digital auction platforms will help avoid any paper bid related mishaps such as bids going AWOL or being tampered with. Because digital platforms can often be connected to live screens, guests get to see the bidding as it takes place
Our dopamine receptors are tickled by recognition and reward. Give your supporters a feel good hit by giving them something visual, be it a flashing badge or a balloon or a flower. Not only is this a nice symbol of appreciation, it creates a positive communal bond between supporters. This is a strategy that works equally well out on the street and at a specific event. Talking of specific events, remember the live screen we talked about earlier? Don't limit its use to your fundraising auction. Use it to broadcast your fundraising achievements and to thank your supporters. A role call of the names of everyone that has donated, including sponsors, is a great way to demonstrate your appreciation. You can still spread the love for public fundraising initiatives without a live screen on every street corner! Use social media, email blasts and good-old-fashioned paper letters to communicate your thanks. Ask For Feedback
Ask your supporters for their views on how you're going.Â Â Every supporter base will differ in terms of key demographic, giving philosophy and engagement expectations. Make sure your supporter relationship is meeting their needs by checking in to see how they feel about your cause. Are you running enough fundraisers? Are the events appealing to your donors? Are you asking for donations a little too often? Does your cause have a high enough public visibility? It can be as simple as running an online survey or providing supporters with a polling app they can download on their mobile devices. But asking your supporters for their views and ideas on how you can improve or maintain successful initiatives is a great way to make your supporters feel valued and ensure your organisation stays on track to keep your cause at the heart of their charitable efforts.