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Giving During Disruption: What Matters Most to Donors in 2022?
Nonprofits have faced serious challenges in the past few years. With the impact of COVID still felt many places and inflation cutting into your budget, your nonprofit may be looking for ways to encourage donors to give in 2022. Understanding what matters to donors in 2022 can help maintain and even grow your giving during disruption. Fundraising in 2022 can be difficult, but there are ways to encourage giving in 2022.
Beware compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is when someone experiences burnout because of secondhand trauma. Seeing someone else go through something difficult can take a toll on you. For donors, this trauma is more removed, but they can still experience a similar feeling of being worn out—when you’re told to care about so many different problems and hear so many sad stories, it can be hard to have the same sympathy again and again.
With all the challenges that 2021 brought and the ongoing challenges of 2022—whether that’s stories of people lost to COVID, the crisis in Ukraine, or any number of other stories—many people can feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all the bad news. This can cause them to simply give up or find ways to ignore all these deep problems out of a feeling of helplessness and fatigue.
Thankfully, there are ways you can help your donors through this. Give them chances to give back that provide joy and fun while still making a difference.
Simple Ways to Fight Compassion Fatigue for Your Donors in 2022
Try hosting a sponsored night at a local restaurant where a portion of the proceeds is donated. Hold a silent auction with packages donated by nearby businesses and let people bid on fun experiences they’ve been missing while making an impact. Tools like iBid can help streamline your giving events and make them feel like celebrations of impact, rather than just another way to convince people to give money.
Donors want to be the hero.
When donors give, it usually focuses on relieving suffering. Donors appreciate the chance to make an impact with their gift. This year, make sure your donors feel like their 2022 giving matters. When you ask for donations, explain how their gift will make a difference for the cause you support. Maybe it will help buy meals for those who are hungry, provide education, or make some other tangible impact. Connect your donors to what their dollars do, not just the fact that they can support your cause.
Another easy way to encourage giving in 2022 is to use donor-focused language. Every time you talk about the work that your nonprofit has done, give your donors credit for their support. Phrases like “thanks to the support of donors like you” and “Our supports have made this possible” are easy ways to remind your donors that they are having an impact. In the middle of the disruption of 2022, it’s important to your donors that they still feel like they are making a difference with their donation.
Make your donors part of the team.
In times of disruption, donors like to feel that their giving makes them a part of something bigger than themselves. Especially for long-term donors, finding ways to engage them at a higher level with your nonprofit can be a great way to grow your fundraising in 2022. Ask them to serve on a volunteer committee, a panel, or have lunch with your president or CEO. Give donors the chance to share their thoughts on the organization and encourage others to join the cause.
One of the most effective ways to appeal to your donors during disruption in 2022 is to use social proof to encourage them. Social proof is when seeing other people engage in a behavior encourages you to do the same thing. For your donors, seeing others support the cause can help convince them to donate to your nonprofit in 2022 and engage more deeply. Give some of your faithful donors a chance to share why they donate to your nonprofit at a fundraising event or even in a simple social media video. Seeing others give can help to increase giving in 2022 as a whole to your nonprofit.
Another way to involve your supporters is through giving events. Invite your top supporters to a banquet or gala event where they can mingle with top leadership and other donors. Consider hosting a silent auction to raise money and give your supporters a chance to contribute to the cause while having a good time—by offering special, unique packages you can help them feel like they are a part of an exclusive group with interesting opportunities. Tools like iBid can help you plan out your silent auction and manage it the night of without disrupting your donors’ experience, whether your event is virtual, hybrid, or in-person.
Have a clear mission.
Many nonprofits can suffer from what is commonly called mission drift. Mission drift happens when nonprofits regularly add other projects or initiatives that don’t relate to the mission the nonprofit started with or publicly states. While your nonprofit’s mission may change over time, having a clear idea of what your goal is and how you approach it is key. This can help you use your resources efficiently and connect with your donors better.
Make sure your mission is clear to your donors. Understanding how you are going to use their donations matters a lot to many donors when they are deciding where to give their money, especially during challenging times. Donors want to understand what your goal is and how their contribution helps accomplish that. They don’t need to know every little detail of their giving and impact, but giving them an idea of what their money goes towards and how that connects to your larger mission is important. Giving during times of disruption can feel especially sacrificial for many donors as they see the impact of inflation—help your donors feel good about giving in 2022 with a clear mission and clear ways their donation will make a difference.
Follow up with your donors.
Don’t leave your donors in the dark. In times of disruption, communicating clearly and often with your donors will help keep your nonprofit top of mind and help them feel like they are a part of the cause. Communications matters to donors in 2022, as hearing from your nonprofit with updates, expressions of gratitude, and stories of the impact they’ve made can help donors connect their financial support to why they gave. Send personal notes to your most faithful donors and regularly update your donors about organizational developments, leadership changes, and inspiring stories of the ways that their support has mattered.
For many donors, a simple outreach that feels more personal can go a long way—and you can even outsource this to a volunteer! Ask a volunteer to write short, handwritten notes to some of your top donors. It can save you time and will make a serious impact—both for that volunteer and for the donors who receive the note. Communicating often and intentionally will help encourage your donors to engage and give in 2022.
In times of disruption, consistency is key to donors.
Whether it’s explaining the impact they’ve had, following up, or showing how their gift connects to your mission, be consistent with your donors in 2022. That commitment will mean a lot to your supporters and will help build deeper, richer connections with your donors in the year ahead.
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