Encouraging new memberships and retaining existing donors is essential to the sustainability of a non-profit. A non-profit membership program not only drives revenue, it can also help donors turn into valuable volunteers.
Here are a few tactics you can employ to not just retain your existing donor base but also bring new donors into your ranks.
Bring Donors On Board
Although both existing donors and potential donors are equally important, you need to employ some specific strategies to bring new donors on board your non-profit. The first thing you need to keep in mind is to determine how to engage first-time donors. Unless your organization makes them feel important and valuable, new donors can slip through the cracks and you can never get hold of them again.
A personal touch is very important as it makes your donor feel he is the focus of your regard. Don’t ever start your correspondence with words like Dear Sir/Madam or titles like Ms, Mr. and Mrs. Address the donors with first names only.
After the initial greeting, you can send them an email from the company’s founder or executive director that welcomes them abroad.
Make Sign-Up Process Easy
After you have defined what your organization does, prompt new donors to signing your membership plan. Your sign up page should be simple, short and upload quickly. If it is too long, the potential member may lose interest; if it is complicated, he may get confused. Either way, it is possible he won’t finish the signup.
To raise your subscription rate, make sure you offer limited information on the membership application page, your signup process is easy and has online payment options.
Frequency of Communication
After you have welcomed the new member abroad, do not inundate them with correspondence. That’s one of the worst ways to peeve a donor and make him regret the decision to ever join the non-profit. Instead, you can send him a new email in the next couple of weeks. However, the frequency of your correspondence depends on the type of non-profit organization you are. Some non-profits say the first 90 days are crucial, so make your donor feel they are welcome in the fold.
Once your new member has settled in, you should send them a survey to get their feedback after six to nine months. In the survey, you need to ask your members what they like about your organization, what value are they trying to get and what things needs to be improved in your non-profit.
Make sure the questions are close-ended and comprised of MCQs and yes/no, to avoid ambiguity. This will help you gain meaningful insights into the mind of your donor.
A great way to improve membership and donor engagement is to organize special events for them. Exclusive, members-only events not just get donors out of the house to support your cause, it also makes them feel elite and important. This can lead them to upgrade their membership.
Some great events ideas can include poker nights, galas, concerts, dinner, festivals and tours. You should also try to promote local events as donors like to talk about their own community more than they like to discuss outsiders.
Offering member incentives often works like a charm. However, this practice should only be limited to a few people at a time. Imagine, if you have thousands of members and you try to send a $50 gift card to each of them! There is no way a budding non-profit would be able to fulfill the promise and if they fail to deliver, your members may get angry.
Incentives can include custom merchandise like T-shirts or mugs, concert ticket discounts, waived registration fees and special access to premium features and backstage of events.
As you can see, these practices are quite simple and easy to do. You can also think up more ideas just by asking yourself, “if I were a donor, what would persuade me to join?”