Encouraging Donations – Part 1: How to Create Impactful Nonprofit Content
As a nonprofit leader, you must find a way to encourage donations from people who find your mission to be a worthy cause. The first step? Producing impactful nonprofit content…
The recent global crisis brought on by the pandemic saw businesses shutting down and people being laid off all over the world. As a result, it’s been quite a struggle, especially for nonprofit organizations. After all, how can you expect people to give when they themselves are strained?
And yet, donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit. Without them, it’s like a car that has run out of fuel.
Writing compelling nonprofit content is one of the best ways to get donors to contribute to your cause. And this article will guide you through some of the most common misconceptions surrounding content creation for nonprofits, as well as some best practices and action steps to take.
Let’s not waste any time!
Common Misconceptions about Nonprofit Content
Developing content to encourage donations might seem like a straightforward task. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. First, you need to overcome the common misconceptions about nonprofit content.
1) Length Plays a Huge Role
When it comes to content creation, a lot of the discussion dwells on length. And there are varying views on this one. For example, BuzzSumo will tell you that long articles are shared more on social media, while CoSchedule will tell you to keep it short.
Truthfully, length is a minor factor. What really matters is that the content is rich. And by rich, we mean it provides value while tugging on the emotions.
- Oftentimes longer content will do better, BUT ONLY IF it takes the reader on a journey that includes heart-hitting, powerful storytelling to keep them reading.
- Other times, shorter content will do better, BUT ONLY IF it achieves the same emotional stronghold in fewer words.
So, let go of the idea that length makes a difference. Instead, write content that will best convey the message about your organization’s mission in a captivating way.
2) You Shouldn’t Ask for Money in Every Piece of Content
This is a struggle that all nonprofit organizations share because it can be awkward to ask people for donations. But it shouldn’t be. After all, fundraising for a nonprofit is a noble cause. You already know that, but you need to remember it when you start to feel like you should back off in order to not offend people.
The reality is you should be asking for donations in every piece of content, and storytelling will come to your rescue here.
What works beautifully is to build a great and impactful story that highlights not only the cause but also the people. Showcasing those your organization serves is crucial to fundraising success. It humanizes your efforts and taps into donor emotions.
By citing real examples and putting a spotlight on the work you’re doing, you encourage people to be a part of your work through donations. It also gives them confidence in knowing that their donations are being put to good use.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, you can’t be too aggressive. And that’s where the best practices in the next section will come in handy.
How to Speak to Potential Donors
Nonprofit content is the medium through which you convey your organization’s mission and relevant topics to potential donors. But not all content will compel people to give.
Here are some best practices to follow…
Write for the Emotions & Make It Tangible
There’s a psychology behind effective fundraising. Experts on donor psychology agree that donors use their primal brain when deciding whether a cause is worth contributing to, which is anything but rational. It’s the part of the brain that is driven by emotions and instinct for survival.
We talked about emotions above, and we’ll talk about them again because they’re that important. You simply must appeal to your donors’ emotions when you’re writing content.
At the same time, you need to remember that donations are not a tangible exchange of goods. Your donors need to feel good about their contributions if they’re going to give them, so you need to make it more tangible.
As you’re writing to open the heart of your potential donor, be specific about what their contribution can do and how it can change lives.
Speak to Individuals, Not an Audience
While you’re targeting multiple donors with each piece of nonprofit content you put out, you should personalize the messaging, so it feels as though you’re addressing each person individually.
How do you do this?
- Use donor-centric language. Make them the hero and make them feel valued.
- Address them by personal name (whenever possible).
- Send out thank-you notes to them. Make donor recognition a priority.
Be Conversational & Tell Stories
As if we haven’t emphasized it enough, building a relationship with your donors should be your highest priority when developing nonprofit content, and wrapping your messaging in a story is the way to do it.
Stories not only open the emotions but also provide you with an opportunity to be conversational. People love stories, and they especially appreciate their informal approach.
Someone from a nonprofit organization approaches you asking for help and you contribute because you believe in their cause. But after making the donation, you don’t hear from them again… until they reach out a few months later asking for another donation.
That scenario isn’t just awkward—it’s unethical.
Your donors are part of this noble journey. Keep reaching out to them with your stories. Let them know about the progress you’re making and your future plans. That way, they’ll be genuinely invested in your cause and will be able to anticipate where they can be of help.
Action Steps for Creating Nonprofit Content That Attracts Donations
We’re down to the nitty-gritty of building impactful nonprofit content. We’ve talked about what good content is made of. Now it’s time to put it into action so you can make it work for your organization.
1) Create a Marketing Calendar
The work of a nonprofit organization is endless. This means you’ll need to generate a steady stream of donations. That way, you have adequate funds to work with.
A content marketing calendar is the best way to organize your content and fundraising ideas.
We already wrote about content marketing calendars, including what they are and what they can do for you. But in a nutshell, such a calendar contains the details of your content action plan.
Moreover, it ensures consistency in your messaging across all platforms and coordination among members of the team. It also helps you optimize the content produced so you can get the results you want.
At the same time, it allows you to brainstorm ideas for the future.
Not many nonprofits are successful without one of these important gems…
2) Follow a Framework
Having the right framework is the secret to effectively building persuasive nonprofit content.
Translating your ideas into words is not the easiest thing to do, even for experienced content writers. But, when you use a content framework, you can save time, stay focused, and get organized.
Effective content for nonprofit organizations isn’t just about the message—it’s about how you present that message, too.
Learn more about setting up a framework for your content here.
3) Inspire Donor Loyalty
Building donor loyalty is the best way to maintain a steady stream of donations for your organization. If a donor has contributed to your cause in the past, it’ll be easier to convince them to make another contribution.
Or is it?
The secret is in engaging and nurturing that donor, so they stay loyal to your organization (and its cause).
- Collect as much data on your existing donors as you can.
- Adapt your content to fit your donors so they stay motivated to donate.
- Engage with your donors at every stage of the relationship (before making a donation, after making a donation, and prior to the next fundraising event).
Put forth the effort to make sure you’re never fully off their radar. Try these other tips on how to foster donor loyalty.
In a time when almost everyone is struggling to some extent, compelling nonprofit content is more important than ever. It helps keep your organization afloat and generate adequate funding to make an impact on the lives of those who are in need of it the most. Any time and money you invest in this endeavor is worth it!