Every now and then we feature content from outside contributing authors who help bring new insights into the world of nonprofits. This article comes to us from Carrie Horton at Kindful, an innovative nonprofit CRM software that helps nonprofits make better decisions, build stronger connections, create successful fundraising campaigns, and drive meaningful impact.
In a world of overflowing email inboxes, it can be easy to think nonprofit donation receipts aren’t important. Some people may view them as necessary only because the IRS requires them, believing they’ll probably be deleted without even being opened. But that’s not true. When it comes to connecting with donors, receipts may just be your secret weapon. This is particularly true if you have ever wondered how to engage new donors.
Think about it. Donor receipts are the only piece of mail donors expect (and even want) to receive from your organization. So while you have their attention, why not make of the most of it with compelling content that will inspire constituents to get even more engaged with your cause?
For most nonprofits, donor receipts are automatic emails sent the instant someone makes an online donation, and we agree that’s a great way to do it. At Kindful, we’re all about automated and integrated tools (like Aplos!) that make everyday tasks easy and seamless so you can focus on your mission. But just because you can create templates and automatically send donor receipts doesn’t mean those receipts have to be boring.
Nonprofit donor receipts can be a consistent and creative way to engage your audience, as well as encourage even more donations, and here’s how.
1. Content Is Key, But Don’t Ask For Money Again!
If someone has just given to your organization, the last thing they want to see on their receipt is another solicitation. You can’t just keep hitting them up for more money all the time. What you can do is lead them down a strategic path that increases their passion for your organization. Turn that mundane receipt into a valuable donor engagement piece that gets donors more interested and involved.
But what exactly is valuable content? It’s simple, really. Just ask yourself what would make you want to dive deeper. Would it be something that makes you laugh? Something that makes you cry? Something that makes you mad enough to take action or curious enough to learn more? Whatever it might be, it’s a good bet the content that compels you will also compel your donors.
Examples Of Compelling Content
Need some tangible examples? Here are 4 great pieces of content you can include in donation receipts to encourage donor engagement:
- Short Videos
Videos are a great way to personalize the transactional process of giving a donation. And when we say short videos, we mean just one to two minutes. Put a face to the dollars donors have contributed, and show those who have been impacted by their support. In your receipt, simply link to your YouTube channel or a specific video on your site.
- Firsthand Testimonials
Testimonials from your staff, volunteers, or even beneficiaries let other people promote your vision for you, giving donors a personal account of how their support helps change the world. Share a story from someone connected to your organization, and show donors all the impact they made, and can continue to make.
- Dynamic And High-Quality Photos
Photos give meaning to the statement, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And since the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, they’re a great way to engage donors before they have time to click delete. Include a few directly in your receipt, or link to a photo album of all your favorites.
- Educational Or Inspirational Blog Posts
Blog posts are a great way to showcase longer stories or content to help donors feel more informed or inspired. Link to your blog with an engaging headline that encourages donors to click through.
2. Present Your Receipt For Success
Now that you know what kind of content to share with your donors, there’s one more step to ensure your donor receipt won’t just be added to the pile and forgotten until tax season: you’ve got to figure out how to present it.
Remember, a receipt is not the time to ask your donor for something more. It’s the time to thank them and give them an opportunity to dive deeper into your mission. Get creative with how you tell your donors about this opportunity because this is a great way to engage them, whether they are new or they have been around awhile. Don’t beg for their help. Make them feel like they’re missing out if they don’t get more involved.
Need proof? Take a look at the examples below, and tell us which message you would click on.
|Option 1||Option 2|
|Like us on Facebook to learn more and see photos from the field.||Check out these amazing photos from our last trip, and see the impact you are having all over the world.|
|Sign up for weekly blog updates to stay up to date on our work.||Meet the community who now has clean water thanks to your support!|
|Watch this short video to see how you can get involved in the work we’re doing.||Our friends want to say thank you! Take 30 seconds to see how your support makes an impact.|
Did you pick option 2 every time? We thought so. Not only do these short messages include a subtle note of thanks, they encourage deeper donor engagement by showing constituents how much power they truly have to make a difference. And more importantly, every message is focused on the donor, not on you.
The truth is, with just a little extra time and creativity, you can dramatically improve the impact of even the simplest donor communications.
3. Create Automated Receipts That Pop
When it comes to donor receipts that increase engagement, valuable content is key. Sharp presentation is important too. But spending too much time on a good thing is still too much time.
If you’re using precious development time to send donor receipts, it may be time to invest in an automated tool. Integrated nonprofit CRM solutions include the ability to create custom donor receipts that automatically send every time someone makes an online donation. And you can include firsthand testimonials, link to videos, photo albums or blog posts, and add custom fields so your donors receive a personal touchpoint with every receipt they get.
There you have it: three simple steps to create and send donation receipts that actually increase donor engagement. It’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense and a little bit of creativity. Customize your nonprofit receipts, and begin building a relationship with your donors today.