3 Misconceptions About Donor Advocates and Engagement
What have we discovered about nonprofit engagement from the past couple of years? When crisis happens people show up. In a recent conversation, Mike Farag learned a nonprofit added 9,000 more donors to their cause this year. And although it’s healthy to celebrate that win, it’s imperative to also dial in an ongoing communications strategy for donor advocates in order to engage them in personal and authentic ways.
Whether you find yourself with more donors than ever before, or want to keep those you already have, it’s important to have a realistic perspective about your ideal donor advocates. Here are three common misconceptions we’ve seen nonprofits and faith-based organizations have in regards to their donors, and how to avoid them.
Donor Advocate Myth 1 — More Donors Are Better
Have you ever heard the phrase “more is better?” Or maybe at your recent round table discussion, someone proposed, “We just need to reach more donors.” While more donors can be good, it’s not always ideal for building lasting relationships.
Mike Farag recalls leading a sales team earlier in his corporate career. Although they crushed sales goals, his superior would always inquire, “Mike, we’ve got a lot of new customers in the boat. Are there any good ones?” This challenged their team to lean away from siloed thinking toward a holistic, organizationally focused approach. It was much less about crushing their sales goals and more about how they could help the customer service team win, too. They learned to ask themselves, “Are we selling to those who will be long-term customers, or are we only selling to make our numbers look good?”
Reality: It’s better to go after the right donors. Acquiring a bunch of new donors isn’t necessary when you don’t lose them on the back side, simply because they aren’t the right fit.
Donor Advocate Myth 2 — Giving Propensity Equals Donor Value
High dollar or quick-to-give donors — sure, you’ll see them. But individual giving propensity isn’t always the qualifying factor for an ideal advocate.
Have you ever believed in a brand or product so much that you refer friends and family? Ideal advocates do this, too! Maybe an advocate has never given to your organization, but they whole-heartedly believe in you and your cause. Maybe they use their influence to shout your praises in their sphere of influence, gaining you 3 more influencers and 10 more donors from their referrals. Ring the bell! You’ve found an ideal advocate!
The concept of an ideal advocate is not about the one person and the one dollar they can bring you. It’s about the thousand people with the thousand dollars each that someone can bring you — because you have their heart. Because they had a personal connection and a shared experience, and they shared the heck out of it. Get good at spotting ideal advocates — the right ones — whatever form they come in.
Reality: Influencers are ideal advocates, too. Find those who truly believe in your cause and engage them in relevant, meaningful ways that fuel their fire for your cause.
Donor Advocate Myth 3 — Engage Every Advocate Equally
Think about it. Nonprofits value people. The pressure some nonprofit leaders (or even their team members) feel to communicate to everyone they meet can be overwhelming — especially when we’re not segmenting advocates and identifying the ideal ones.
Smart leaders in any nonprofit or business assess value and expend effort in exchange for that value based on projected ROI. When it comes to ideal advocates, it’s not a perfect science. But it is important to make an assessment and focus communication efforts in order to grow.
Reality: Engage advocates on the level they want to be engaged. It’s not about turning people away, but it is about being smart with your time and resources.
Ongoing Communications Strategies to Engage Donor Advocates
How are you profiling your idea donor advocates? Do you have a communications strategy to engage them the right way? Have you considered drip campaigns to nurture your various levels of donor advocates based on their point of entry or length of engagement?
At Fervor, we’re in the business of marketing to help nonprofits clarify who their ideal advocates are, devise communications strategies to reach them, and content plans to stay connected with them. Take a look at our integrated, ongoing communications services. Together we can engage your donors in personal, meaningful ways to make The Most Good Possible.