Book clubs, running communities, and church members all have one thing in common: they consist of a strong community of like-minded people.
Your nonprofit’s supporters are similar. They believe in your cause, take action to support your mission, and advocate for your work. However, as a nonprofit leader, it’s up to you to cultivate this feeling of community among supporters.
In this guide, we’ll explore three ways you can use your nonprofit CRM software to build community. We will talk about how you can:
- Learn more about donors
- Automate community-building messages
- Bolster trust in your organization
What are your supporters passionate about? Why do they support your mission? Keep your nonprofit’s unique cause and work top-of-mind to understand the heart of your community as you consider the following community-building tips.
Learn more about donors.
Whether you’re using the nonprofit CRM of your dreams or shopping for a new one, donor data collection, storage, and analysis are crucial to building community. It’s important to understand the specifics! In fact, CharityEngine’s tips for purchasing fundraising software recommend considering how data migration is handled before investing in your fundraising tool because the need to keep your existing donor data is that important.
Use the data in your CRM to learn more about your donors through information such as:
- Employment: While knowing a donor’s employer can help your fundraising efforts, such as by identifying matching gift opportunities, it may also help you understand their lifestyles, schedules, and occupational goals.
- Demographics: Demographic data can reveal the most effective outreach channels based on donors’ preferred and most used channels. It will also reveal basic information like geographic location, which can help you plan community events in areas with a concentration of supporters.
- Engagement history: Your staunchest volunteers are among the best resources for building community, and you can identify them by analyzing your donors’ engagement histories. Allow them to coordinate your efforts and lead events to help build community and increase engagement.
After collecting this data, your nonprofit can connect donors with staff members and other supporters. For example, you may ask a photographer who has donated to your organization to volunteer with your marketing team. Through this, the photographer can meet like-minded supporters and build relationships with others in your organization.
Automate community-building messages.
When selecting a CRM, your nonprofit likely looks for a solution that offers marketing automation. Not only does this feature make personalized communication more efficient for your nonprofit, but it can also help to build community by sending engaging messaging.
Instead of simply automating thank-yous, craft messages that encourage community, such as:
- Invitations to involvement opportunities: Donors can make financial contributions, of course, but they can also give time and talent. For example, can you use help stocking a food pantry, or do you need some ambassadors to launch a peer-to-peer campaign? Offering opportunities to get involved will build community and allow deeper engagement with your nonprofit.
- Event follow-up: After an event, reach out to participants with a quick survey that can start a conversation. What did they most enjoy about the event? Any suggestions for next year? Engaging with them and giving them the space to respond will make them feel accepted as part of your nonprofit’s community.
- Best wishes for birthdays and holidays: Using your CRM to reach out to donors on important dates results in an immediate sense of goodwill and belonging. This automated effort will be perceived as a personal touch and strengthen the feeling of unity within your organization.
Remember to leverage an omnichannel marketing strategy to appeal to as many donors as possible. This can further help supporters feel welcomed into your nonprofit’s community by catering to everyone’s unique communication preferences. Also, this allows donors to be part of all your messaging, especially when you invite them to private social media groups or group chats.
Bolster trust in your organization.
Donors should feel confident that your nonprofit handles their donations with care, from the actual payment to the use of their contributions. Trustworthiness should be a given when it comes to accepting charitable contributions, but your nonprofit can further strengthen its community by reassuring donors of their security.
Bolster trust in your organization by:
- Offering secure payment processing: The best CRMs offer secure payment processing for nonprofits so that donors’ sensitive information is protected. This allows donors to give freely, knowing they can safely get involved in supporting your cause.
- Detailing how donations are used: Financial transparency goes far in building trust. Allow access to annual reports so donors can see how your dollars are spent. This will give them comfort that their contributions are appropriately used and will ensure they feel connected to, and part of, your overall mission.
- Cohesive web design: Your CRM can help you develop customized landing pages, donation forms, and more content for your website. Enhance trust through your website by using your CRM to design cohesively branded web pages. This helps all site visitors feel immersed in your brand and part of your nonprofit community.
When donors know they can trust your nonprofit, they’ll feel safe committing their involvement to your organization. Plus, your credible reputation will give prospective donors the confidence to get involved and engage themselves in your community.
The Strength of Community
Nonprofits exist to change the world; that change often starts in your community. By rallying and engaging supporters physically or digitally, you are creating an uplifting and welcoming place where small efforts can have a significant impact.
Using technology to help you consistently engage supporters is key to building community. When the relationship moves from transactional to personal, you have breached the traditional barriers to involvement and made your donor feel part of the larger nonprofit ecosystem.
As you consider different ways to build community, remember that it always comes down to engaging with others as you would a friend. An altruistic passion binds you, and creating a community around that shared passion will amplify your nonprofit’s voice and increase the impact of your effort.