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Seven Tips to Improve Donor Communication

Non-profit organizations in 2020 have been given the challenge to progress further into the digital space. It has been a time of quick and creative thinking for those working with donors. The primary need I wish to address is the idea of conversational communication within a digital setting. Keeping things friendly and casual can be crucial when cultivating relationships. Conversely, there are certain formal or professional communication tools that can actually enhance the digital experience and improve your donor interactions.

Fundraisers have made the transition from in-office to working from home. Some are now back in the office. This blog will discuss some tips for strong donor communication, regardless of where you are working these days.

1. Master the friendly follow-up

Checking in with your donors is crucial during this time. I have heard many stories of fundraisers having valuable conversations with donors simply by checking-in. If you do not hear from someone, follow-up with them. Prospective donors are busy and/or juggling issues related to family, business, finances and health. A quick email or voicemail lets your donors know that you value your relationship with them.

Each donor has unique preferences when it comes to communication. Perhaps they enjoy video calls or they like to talk on the phone first thing in the morning. That is why it is important to re-establish a proper outreach etiquette when contacting your donors in a different setting than the last time you connected.

2. Know when and when not to video conference

Video calling has gained popularity during the pandemic. However, video conference tools are best used for long conversations and training sessions. With the hassle of finding proper lighting, equipment and setup, sometimes it is best to do a quick phone call when you need to connect with a donor. If you do need to set up a video conference, factor in about five minutes of setup and casual conversation before the topic of the meeting begins.

3. Use the name of the person you are contacting

With time seemingly at such short supply, many have become accustomed to firing off an email as they would a text message. It sounds obvious, but using a person’s name in an email or voicemail notifies the person that the message is addressed to them rather than a team or another person.

4. Keep formatting simple

Use one standard font and font size and limit images where possible. With various email providers and devices used to view email, it is best to keep things simple and messages as short as possible. Limiting graphics and large files can help your message be more accessible to those reading on a tablet or mobile device.

5. Utilize media sharing tools

Images, PDFs and other file types can be the best way to communicate an idea. Do not be afraid to share an image, send a website link or share a PDF file. There are plenty of media-sharing tools such as file transfer services and screen-sharing platforms that can supplement you in your donor conversations. Many are free and secure to use.

6. Provide your contact information

Your contact information should be easily found across all media channels. All email communications you send should include your email signature. Your signature should be comprised of your name, title, organization, phone and email (the best way to contact you).

7. Acknowledge how much time has passed

In order to be mindful of others’ time during a call you can acknowledge specific increments such as 30 minutes or one-hour markers. Time of day, week or month references can be a useful tool in email communication.

All seven of these tools are vital to clear communication. While these tips are designed with planned giving donors in mind, they can be applied to internal communications when appropriate. This is simply a reminder to fine-tune your current methods and habits of communication.

Reach out to Crescendo today to find ways that you can provide the best donor communication across your planned giving marketing channels. You can give us a call at 800-858-9154.

Hailey Dorthalina

By Hailey Dorthalina
Integrated Marketing Coordinator, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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