Regular donors are some of the best people to target when your ministry needs more donations. You know these people are interested in your cause, and they most likely have a personal tie to the ministry. While you don’t want to push them too much, reach out to these donors often. Engaging regular donors in ministry functions is a way to ensure they continue to provide support in the future. Sometimes merely reaching out is all it takes to get a regular donor to contribute.
Events are a great way to help raise some extra funds. Whether it’s a cookout, a holiday or seasonal related get together, a community event or something else entirely. When an event happens, make sure to include your regular donors. See if they would like to participate as a volunteer or just come to enjoy the event. Try to have activities for people of all ages so you can attract a wide variety of donors and other people.
Add a donation button on every page of a website
When it comes to your ministry’s website, you need to make it easy for people to donate without making it seem like donations are all you’re after. For this reason, ChurchBuzz suggested placing the donation button at the bottom of every page of the website. That way, it’s out of the way, but still very easy to access. No matter where donors are on the site, in one click they can get to the donations page, but it doesn’t feel as though the website is designed for that specific purpose.
With all of the digital tools out there to engage volunteers and donors, it might seem like direct mail isn’t going to be that helpful, but according to Church Marketing Sucks, a part of the Center for Church Communication, direct mail can be a great way to reach out. Direct mail is cost-effective, it allows you to target your audience and is more likely to be read because many people delete their email while direct mail often sits around the house for a bit.
While direct mail can sometimes be more effective than emails, you shouldn’t forget about utilizing email campaigns. Using an email list of regular donors and make sure they know what’s going on at the ministry. Provide them with any changes, events or fundraisers that the ministry is putting on. Make sure not to contact them too much, or they could unsubscribe, but don’t let them forget about you either. Typically a monthly newsletter and then additional emails for events or special announcements is enough.
Have a fundraising season
If you’re always asking for money, donors can feel like that’s all you care about. Instead of asking for money year round, try to have a month or two out of the year where you focus on getting all the donations you need. That way, it won’t seem like you’re always hitting donors up for money. If you decide to have a fundraising season, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accept donations other times of the year, it just means you can spend the year collecting resources and planning for a big fundraising push once or twice a year.
“Donors like to know where their money is going.”
Show donors how they’re helping
Donors like to know where their money is going, so before you ask them for more, show them what their money has gone to. vital can be facility upgrades, community service projects, educational projects or just making sure the ministry’s facilities are running as they should. A newsletter can be a great way of telling them how their funds are being used, so consider putting together a special newsletter specifically for donors.
Recognize them and show appreciation
While showing donors how their money is used is great, recognizing their contributions at ministry meetings or events is another way to help them realize their donations are appreciated. If you want, providing them with a plaque, an award, or some commemorative item is a great way to give them something tangible to help them remember how important they are to the ministry.
Accept multiple donation types
While many people want to write your ministry a check or pay with a debit or credit card online, make sure you can also accept other forms of payment. Talk with donors to find out what would be the easiest way for them to give money and then make sure you can process their donation. Also, consider taking in items you could sell. Many nonprofits take cars and other possessions that can either be used by the ministry or sold to provide funds to the ministry. When someone donates an item, make sure you know how they would like it to be used. Discussing the use of the item with the donor helps keep things clear and keep the ministry from selling something the donor thought they would use.
Communication is key when it comes to donations, and it’s best to make sure everyone is happy so they will donate again in the future. Utilizing donor management software can ensure all needed information is saved in an easy to use format and can make getting future donations simpler.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2015. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.