We’ve talked before about how important it can be for groups to find new supporters for their fundraisers. It’s true that finding brand-new supporters can be useful for groups looking to increase their fundraising success. However, acquiring those new supporters can require a lot of time and resources. Thankfully, there’s a simpler way to increase your number of donations from year to year that does not rely solely on finding new supporters every time you run a fundraiser.
Building relationships with supporters and community sponsors that have helped you in the past is the first step to long-term fundraising success. People who have bought from you in the past are more likely to buy from you again in the future. That’s why focusing on people who have already supported you and turning them into loyal customers is so important. How can you keep your supporters coming back year after year? Here are 3 simple ways to turn the people in your community into lifelong supporters of your group.
1. Remember to say thank you!
Saying “thank you” is one of the simplest and most impactful ways your group can keep supporters coming back. A simple message of appreciation goes a long way in recognizing a person’s dedication to your cause.
To really increase the impact of your thank you letters or emails, make them as personal as possible. Personal communication helps to make supporters feel appreciated and needed which, in turn, increases the likelihood that they will donate again in the future.
2. Let them know they made a difference!
After purchasing from a fundraiser, supporters are often left wondering how their donations are being used and whether they made a difference. If they don’t see how their donations are being used, they may not be motivated to give again in the future. That’s why it’s important to post updates about your groups’ projects and activities, so your supporters can see that their support mattered.
Let supporters know you will be posting periodic updates on your group’s website, social media pages, or newsletter for them to see. If you were fundraising for new playground equipment, show the progress of the build from beginning to end. If you were fundraising for a trip, share pictures of your group having a good time at their destination.
3. Connect with them!
Lastly, a great way to keep supporters coming back is to connect with them outside of your annual fundraiser. If you’re only in contact with supporters when you’re asking for donations, it can be a turn off. Steer away from making every communication piece an ask and instead find fun ways to foster positive emotional connections to your group all year long.
Social media is a great way to build a visual, emotional connection to your group and creatively stay in contact with the people in your community. Post at least once a month about inspiring stories, noteworthy achievements, events, testimonials, or your organization’s culture. When supporters feel connected to your group, they’re more likely to contribute.
Putting a little extra time and effort into building relationships with the people in your community will go a long way toward making your future fundraisers even better. Our tips above are a great place to start turning your supporters into loyal customers. However, in the end, there is no one right way. Round up the other members of your group and continue to brainstorm ideas to help round out your plan to keep supporters coming back. You know your community best, so tailor your plan accordingly and start strengthening those relationships!