As technology becomes more sophisticated and digital becomes the norm, donors are requiring more information from nonprofits before they make donations. Constituents now expect existing data on the outcomes of programs, and they want to use their assets where they know these funds will be used most effectively. Consequently, donor expectations are changing. Besides, according to Connected Cause, many contributors are looking for an ongoing relationship rather than a one-time gift. The key for nonprofits is to balance the need for thorough reporting with relationship management to keep these individuals engaged.

Developing relationships

The desire for donors to maintain a relationship with an institution over time is good news for nonprofits. The attrition rates for new contributors can be quite high. StayClassy cited data from Associated of Fundraising Professionals that found attrition rates for new donors can be up to 90 percent. Conversely, the retention rate of recurring donations is about 70 percent. But developing donor relationships encourages recurring donations. The key to doing this is to maintain consistent contact with previous contributors, but also to segment your list of contacts so that you can send targeted messages to specific groups, The Connected Cause suggested.

When you send messages that are more specifically relevant to different groups, the chances increase that your communications will be heard. Using an email marketing platform, segment contacts into groups based on attributes like geographical location, previous gift amounts, and anything else that may change the way a contributor responds to communication.

Keep an eye on metrics

If donors are going to keep contributing to your cause, you need to communicate that your efforts and their dollars are making an impact in line with your mission. This is where business intelligence and metrics come in. Without maintaining information on how donor dollars are being used, you may not be able to maintain relationships with them in the long haul, no matter how interested they are in your goals.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that while metrics are great to share with donors, they also demonstrate that you are working to continue to improve your impact. Metrics are important for internal use, and the fact that they help engage donors is a secondary reason to start tracking performance in key areas.

The importance of software

As The Connected Cause also pointed out, without the right tools, it won’t be possible to accomplish all of this. Donation management software can enable nonprofits to maintain communication with constituents and to track the information necessary to determine their giving history. Business intelligence platforms can provide more in-depth insight into performance and even display the collected information in visuals that make it easy to share with donors and other interested parties. Luckily, the software is growing more cost-effective all the time. The prevalence of tools that have made constituents come to expect more information from organizations has also made it easier than ever to implement them. Engaging donors is both an art and a science, but the right technology can make all the difference.