Fundraising Campaigns That Engage Donors: Four Strategies to Try

campaigns that engage donors nonprofits
|5 min read Donor Engagement

Capturing the attention of potential donors is one of the essential indicators of whether that person will donate, or more importantly, become a repeat donor. In the current crisis, it’s more important than ever to engage with donors during this crisis.

We know it can be challenging to come up with fresh ideas for campaigns that engage donors but also keeps your community involved with your cause. That’s why we rounded up a list of campaigns that answer the “how to engage donors” question many charities are facing. In this article, we identify four campaign strategies that you can use at any time, for any fundraising need. And, each idea helps keep supporters interested and actively engaged with your nonprofit.

How to engage donors: four campaign ideas 

If you’re looking for inspiration for your nonprofit’s next fundraiser, look no further. Not only do we list four campaign ideas, but we also discuss the strategy behind them. Soon, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to kickstart new fundraising efforts and engage more donors!

1) Your donation’s impact campaign

Your nonprofit understands how much it costs to fulfill your mission. If your organization focuses on fighting child hunger, you know how much it costs to feed a hungry child, but, do your supporters know?

Being able to communicate your nonprofit’s impact is critical for engaging and retaining donors. Consider hosting an impact campaign to relay the importance of donations. To do this, your nonprofit simply needs to employ the following tactics.

Communicate donor impact

Connect donors with your cause by showing the real-life impact of their donations. Help them understand how far their dollar will go by tying donation amounts to the on-the-ground application of the funds.

For example, a $20 donation provides one child with new school supplies, a $75 donation provides a new set of books for a classroom, and a $200 donation sponsors a field trip for an entire class.

Use images to tell stories

A photo is worth a million words. Image-based storytelling will help donors visualize and empathize with your mission.  Using pictures of what each donation amount will provide, is yet another way donors will feel engaged. The more they understand how they helped support your cause, whether visual or verbal, the more they are likely to donate and engage with your nonprofit.

Send campaign updates

Be sure to send campaign updates throughout your campaign to keep supporters up to speed on your progress. More importantly–show their donations in action! Follow up with an email featuring a student with new school supplies, a classroom filled with new books, or photos of a field trip, with the option to sponsor another student or classroom.

2) Video campaign 

Some of the most successful campaigns that engage donors involve video–many studies have shown its success in engaging its audience. Utilizing video can also better explain your mission by showing real examples of your work and what your donors are helping to accomplish.

You don’t need a complicated video editing software or video editor to provide exceptional content. In a time of virtual fundraising events and social distancing, people are already looking to connect over video.

Here are some ideas you can leverage for your video campaign:

  • Filming members of your team living out your mission
  • Asking beneficiaries to film testimonials and discuss your nonprofit’s impact on their lives
  • Leveraging your volunteers and highlighting the various reasons they choose to support your organization

3) Dare Me Campaign

One of the most memorable viral fundraisers in the last twenty years is the ALS Icebucket Challenge: a campaign that raised $115 million by encouraging supporters to:

  1. Pour ice water over their heads
  2. Make a donation
  3. Dare three friends to do the same by nominating them in a social media post with the video

Since then, social media challenges have only continued to grow. Consider a crazy (but safe) challenge that would catch the attention of viewers on social media, and encourage others to participate, donate, and nominate two or three people to do the same. Donors might be even more engaged if you can tie the challenge to your cause. Are you raising money to send kids to camp? Challenge others to build the coolest living room fort that they can build. Supporting women’s health? Challenge women to take a selfie celebrating their natural beauty. The possibilities are endless–let your creativity flow!

4) Donate-to-Cast Your Vote Campaign

Your nonprofit is constantly making decisions. Involve your supporters as part of the process! Make donors’ voices heard by creating a campaign out of a fun poll. For example, donors could vote on the theme of your next event, the design of your newest t-shirts, or the name of the facility you’re opening.

By enlisting their help to make the next big decision, you’re giving them a sense of ownership and a meaningful involvement in your mission. Plus, they have a reason to return to your campaign to check in on their favorite nominee–and maybe even donate again if they’ve fallen behind in the race.

This strategy of a voting campaign can also be used for a virtual event as well. Check out 2B Continued’s Dancing Like the Stars and Family Centre’s LipSync Challenge, both donate-to-vote campaigns centered around event contestants. Have some fun and encourage supporters to enter a contest and share their entry with their audience. This will help bring both donations and engagement for your cause!

Kick-Off Your New Donor Engagement Strategy

Engaged supporters are a key piece of donor retainment. Launching a new campaign that engages donors using one of these or any other engagement strategy, will help strengthen the relationship between your nonprofit and its supporters. If you’re stuck, try thinking of campaigns you have connected most with, and see how your nonprofit can replicate with your own donors.

Start fundraising today