engage supporters

Communication is crucial for nonprofit success. Learning how to attract, appeal and engage supporters is the life-blood of an organization. In a virtual world, a major amount of relationship-building is now done online

This has nonprofits asking the questions:

  1. How often should I be contacting my constituents? 
  2. How can I provide content that will engage supporters? 

E-mail quality and cadence are common concerns for organizations. Many nonprofit organizations worry that they are “bothering” their constituents with too much contact. Nobody wants to lose subscribers, followers, and loyal supporters by bugging them too often and bogging down their inboxes. 

On the other hand, too little contact and your supporters become disengaged. Nobody wants their donors and volunteers to forget about their nonprofit, either! 

So, what’s a nonprofit to do? Just how often should you be reaching out? 

A lot of this can depend on your audience and the quality of your content. Pay attention to your open-rates and engagement-rates on your e-mails and posts. These stats are important and can tell you a lot about what your audience is interested in.

Generally speaking, e-mail marketing statistics tell us that between one and two e-mails a week prove to be the most effective. Additionally, good social media practice says to try to post once a day to stay in your audience’s “feed” and top of mind.

Essentially, it is important to get in touch with your constituents, but it doesn’t all have to be done on the same platform. Multi-channel messaging is one way to engage supporters without them feeling like you are bombarding them with content. Posting on social media, sending e-mails, and even sending direct mail are all still proven to be relevant in the nonprofit sector. 

Additionally, it is not enough to just send content to your audience…

You want them to OPEN, CLICK, and ENGAGE with it, right? 

So, what content gets the best engagement? Again, think about your audience. Look at your previous e-mails and posts… which proved to be most popular (i.e. highest open rates and engagement rates)? Why do you think that is? 

Consider what kind of content you enjoy engaging with. Each platform is a bit different, but current communication trends are learning towards bite-sized content. In this day and age, long-winded posts and e-mails are off-putting. Society craves quick, easy-to-understand information. Visual content is also highly effective. Include pictures, videos, and quotes in large-text to catch your audience’s attention. 

Another important component to quality content is how much value you are giving your audience! As long as you are adding value to your audience and not just hitting them up for yet another donation… chances are good they will continue to open, click, and engage with your content.

Again, consider your audience. What kind of questions do they have? What kind of things are interesting to them? What do they do for fun? What are they passionate about? 

Knowing your audience well will help you know what kind of content to include in your e-mails, posts, and letters.

Valuable communication can often be broken into three categories:

  1. Education
  2. Entertainment
  3. Empowerment 

Each point of contact online should fulfill at least one of these categories. 

Ultimately, each audience is different. But by paying attention to what your constituents enjoy engaging with, you can be sure to offer more of it.  

Madison Gonzalez

Madison Gonzalez

Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc.
Madison Gonzalez is a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet. She is also the Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc., and Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound. As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is her mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income. Madison can be reached at madison@toldcoaching.com.