Donations Follow Up

When you make donations follow up is important.  So far I’ve reviewed website page content for your charity and it is crucial you work out the best follow-up available to you.

Once your visitor has signed up for your email list and / or donated, they should arrive at a new page.  What’s on it?

First, thank them for signing up and / or donating.

If they have donated, explain you have placed them on your email list and so will keep them up to date with the work of the charity.

Most email services run a double opt-in service and I recommend you do this.  It means that once they’re entered on your list, they receive an email, asking them to confirm their wish to subscribe.  This way you know the people on your list have consented to being on it.  So, tell them there will be an email in their inbox where they can confirm they wish to receive emails from your charity.  Tell them to click on the link.

Why Follow-Up?

They’ve made one donation and so they are likely to make future donations. This is your opportunity to build a relationship with your donors.  They might donate again in the future or help you in other ways.

The big mistake many organisations make is persistent requests for donations.  Obviously you will request donations from time to time but this should happen rarely.  Your aim is to build a relationship with your list.  So, on the page tell them what they will receive from you now they’ve  signed up.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Reports about progress with your cause.  If someone has donated they will appreciate a progress report.  This might be a written report or it could include photos video or audio material.
  • Think about your audience.  They might appreciate a report in a particular format.  So, some people might appreciate information they can share with others at a meeting.  So, a PowerPoint presentation or video with permission to show it in public may be helpful.  Material for public speakers might help supporters who want to promote your cause and could of course drive more traffic to your site.
  • If some of your supporters are religious they might appreciate material in a format that can be used in worship.  So, sermon notes, prayers, recommended readings and songs may be attractive.
  • Or can you offer training?  A series of videos on some topic related to your campaign might be attractive.  There are likely to be several approaches you could use to offer educational material on various aspects of your activities and for various audiences, eg adults and children.
  • Don’t forget, if you are campaigning your supporters might be willing to sign online petitions, write letters, etc.

A lot will depend upon your organisation’s capacity but producing good content is not too difficult.  I will write about this in more detail later.

If you are going to offer something of significance you may want to flag it up earlier than on the thank you page, as a part of your campaign to get site visitors to sign up.  Your main concern here will be explaining how to get access to promised content or when to expect it by email.

Websites enable you to offer your supporters more information and so build relationships with them.  What sort of information would you welcome after you donate to a cause and what would turn you off?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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Donations: Alternative Approaches - August 14, 2014 Reply

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