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The Communications Balancing Act Needed for Highly Engaged Supporters

CTCT Employee

There are so many important reasons why your nonprofit organization would need to communicate with supporters. Need a volunteer? Need to raise money? Need people to sign a petition? An email and a Facebook post to your supporters can help get the job done. So you create a communication with information about the type of support you need and why, you email it out, and post it on Facebook.

 

How does that typically work out for you?

 

If you get a lot of your supporters lending a hand, nice work! If the response from your supporters leaves something to be desired, then maybe it’s time to successfully walk the communications balance beam.

 

A big part of getting supporters to take action is how well you balance what you are communicating to them. Regularly saying "We’re here and we need your help" gets old. In fact, oversolicitation was the second-most reported reason given for why donors stopped giving to an organization, according to the 2011 Cygnus Donor Survey. Supporters want thanks and updates too! According to the 2010 State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey, 42% of nonprofits had donors ask to be updated on how their contributions were spent.

 

So what is a good content balance? Use the 85/15 rule. Have 85% of your content be informational and 15% of your content be promotional. It’s the 85% informational content that engages your supporters and deepens their connection to your organization so they will be ready and willing when you ask for their help. And remember, you don't have to create all of your content from scratch.

 

Here are some examples for providing more informational content:

■     Share your behind-the-scenes photos and inspiring videos and stories

■     Encourage supporters to share their photos, videos, and stories

■     Invite a discussion on the hot topics identified in your email clicks report or Facebook Page

■     Ask questions about your programs, events, supporters’ passions, and interests

■     Share current and relevant news, your insights, and invite your supporters' opinions

■     Share helpful hints and tips your supporters can use today

 

Email newsletters are an easy way to regularly provide supporters with the information they seek from your organization. If you want more email newsletter tips, attend our upcoming, free Nonprofit Newsletters That Engage webinar.

Caroline_Shahar

As a member of Constant Contact's distance learning team, I develop and host webinars that help small nonprofits and businesses learn best practices for online marketing. I hold an MBA in small business management, owned a marketing service business, and have more than 10 years of experience helping nonprofits and small businesses succeed.