Learn more about the 7 communication channels that can engage supporters.

7 Donor Communication Channels to Engage Your Supporters

Did you know that nearly a third of the world’s population made some kind of charitable donation in 2015? And that the amount of donations is growing every year (4.1 percent in 2016 and a projected 4.3 percent in 2017)?

Today there are more and more ways to get people engaged in your nonprofit’s cause and many different platforms to engage with donors.

Mobile is definitely the latest craze when it comes to fundraising, with mobile donations increasing 45 percent during the holiday season of 2014 and 2015. The popularity of mobile and its effectiveness in increasing donor engagement is the reason many nonprofits are focusing their fundraising efforts on mobile.

Channels like social media also help nonprofits connect with their donor base while live chat provides a personalized and professional way to respond to donor interest in real time. YouTube videos can help you create a compelling case for action and blogs can help build an organization’s story and increase donor engagement.

Here’s a breakdown of how and why to engage your donors on these channels:

1. Mobile apps

Mobile apps can have a great impact on donations. Consumers use them for a variety of purposes including learning about a social or environmental issues (56 percent) and making a donation (48 percent).

People who download mobile apps tend to spend more time on them than they do on mobile websites, giving your nonprofit more time to communicate with your potential donor and convince them to give to your cause.

Since downloading the app takes an extra step than visiting the website, app users tend to also be more committed. Nonprofits can tailor messages to their donors, send push notifications about upcoming events or fundraising drives and keep their donors informed and engaged through their app.

2. SMS

The penetration of mobile phones worldwide means that mobile is an increasingly viable platform for fundraising. SMS messages have impressive 98 percent open rates and 91 percent of texts being opened within three minutes. Therefore, growing your SMS donor list is a smart investment for any organization.

The nonprofit SAWA-Australia changed their under-active email campaign to a text campaign and saw positive results, including increased attendance at fundraising events. Convener Matthias Tomczak said that text messaging “is a valuable tool to increase our donation income.”

In addition to letting donors know about upcoming events through text, you can also launch a text-to-give program that allows donors to give by entering a text code. This is fast and for all the demographics.

3. Mobile website

As the whole world goes mobile and more and more donations are made on a mobile device, it’s crucial that your organization’s website is optimized for mobile use.

Mobile sites that are slow to load (more than two seconds) with broken text, confusing landing pages, and poorly cropped photos will not instill much faith in your potential donors.

By the way, mobile-friendliness is also a factor in your website’s Google ranking – another reason to take mobile optimization seriously. Your website’s donation page should be easy to fill out on mobile by offering dropdown menus and enabling auto-fill.

4. YouTube for Nonprofits

Video is an effective way to get supporters engaged. It helps you tell the story of your organization and the people affected by it.

YouTube offers a nonprofit program that provides several tools to help nonprofits increase their outreach and meet their goals. Their program allows nonprofits to add donation cards to their video and to link to their website’s landing page. They also offer production and editing services and technical support.

The World Food Program’s YouTube fundraiser resulted in feeding 500,000 children at schools in one day and the video had half a million views.

5. Live chat

Using live chat to communicate with website visitors is a great way to increase donations. Live chat is especially relevant when you consider the rise of online giving over more traditional forms of giving.

LiveChat, Inc. CEO Mariusz Cieply explains that “…live chat provides the ability to target potential donors who are browsing the website and to address them by name with tailored messages.”

In addition, “Providing the ability to start a chat with a real person validates the entire experience and improves the credibility of the organization.”

A professional live chat agent can answer donor questions and effectively guide them through the donation process.

6. Social media

Social media is an important tool for reaching donors and its use is growing. By next year, 33 percent of the world’s population is expected to be social media users.

Many nonprofits and organizations are aware of its influence, which is why 95 percent have a Facebook page, 83 percent have a Twitter account, and 40 percent use Instagram.

There are lots of ways to use social media:

  • Social media is an ideal place to post photos and videos that reflect your organization’s work and inspire people to donate.
  • You can create fundraising events and post them on Facebook where they can be viewed and shared by followers.
  • Add the Donate button to your organization’s Facebook page to make it easier for donors to give directly through social media.
  • Create a unique hashtag for your fundraising program on Twitter, so people can find links and references to it easily as well as spread the word to others.

7. Blogs

Content plays an important part in getting buy-in for your nonprofit’s cause. Posts with compelling stories about how donor contributions have made an impact, featured stories of people served by the organization, and informational articles that include facts about why your organization’s work is so important can all contribute to a reader’s desire to donate.

Having a blog can also improve your nonprofit’s ranking in a search engine, making it easier for people to find you. Blogs are highly shareable on social media and also provide a platform for people to comment and discuss, increasing the buzz about your work.

By knowing how to make the most of each of these channels, you can significantly increase you donor engagement and attract new donors. Did you have experience with any of the channels mentioned above? Did you manage to improve the success of your fundraising efforts? Share your comments!


This informative article was contributed by Alexa Lemzy of TextMagic, an all-in-one bulk SMS service for businesses and nonprofits alike. Thank you, Alexa, for your valuable insight and expertise!