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Adapting to the Digital Age: 3 Online Engagement Strategies

By Kimberly Richardson posted 11-20-2023 11:32


Is your nonprofit doing everything it can to leverage technology to connect and engage donors? 

Social media offers a personal, immediate way to communicate with supporters, allowing nonprofits to build more intimate donor relationships. Additionally, tools like Artificial intelligence (AI) are being used by nonprofits (and across other industries) for anything from generating content ideas to building predictive models for prospect research.

Because the marketing and fundraising technology landscape is constantly evolving, nonprofit fundraising professionals must stay on top of new developments and adapt their strategies alongside changing technology. In this guide, we’ll cover three strategies to help you track these trends and engage supporters online.

1. Optimize Your Website for Human-Centered Design

Your nonprofit’s website should serve as a central hub of information for supporters. No matter which social media platform you reach them through, include links back to your website so supporters can easily navigate to learn more about your mission, read your beneficiaries' stories, and discover details about your fundraising appeals. 

Give users a positive experience:

  • Make the website functional on any device, including desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Check how your website looks on a variety of devices. If images don’t scale, the menu is too small to access on a phone, or video takes too long to load, it’s time to speak with your web team. 
  • Frequently audit and update your website’s content to ensure it is valuable, engaging, and fresh. Visit your site at least once per week to make sure the interface functions properly on mobile and desktop devices and update things like plugins, broken links, redirects, and blog posts about once a month. More thorough analyses of factors like page load speed, web traffic, accessibility, and integrations should be done once or twice per year.
  • Your navigation bar should link to key pages on your website, such as your donation page, volunteer sign-up form, resources, and details about your work and mission.
  • Meet web accessibility guidelines by ensuring all text has sufficient color contrast,  images have alternative text, and audio content is accompanied by subtitles or transcripts.

Standards for what makes for a great web experience change over time. Partner with your web team to check at least twice a year that your site meets current requirements. Stay up-to-date on industry benchmarks for page load speeds, overall functionality, navigation, mobile responsiveness, and visual design.  

2. Use a Variety of Communication Platforms

Integrate a diverse set of social media platforms into your marketing strategy. Create a presence for your nonprofit across multiple platforms and use them to create a seamless experience for supporters.

Here are some ways to smoothly introduce more digital channels to your marketing strategy:

  • Integrate them with existing offline communications. For example, you might add a QR code to your direct mail that links readers to your online donation form.
  • Leverage mobile-based fundraising. During in-person fundraising campaigns, add a  text-to-give option that not only makes donating convenient for users but also provides your organization with a direct line to their messaging app. 
  • Focus on quality over quantity. It is better to post quality content a few times a week rather than post low-engagement messages several times a day. 

By connecting each platform you use, you’ll reach more donors through the communication channels they prefer. Additionally, you’ll make contact with them more often, increasing the chance that your organization will inspire them to support your cause.

3. Personalize Communications Using Data

Analyzing your donor data reveals insights into what makes them give, their unique interests and values, communication preferences, and more. 

When examining your donor file using a data analytics tool, you’ll likely identify trends and groups of donors with shared characteristics. Create donor segments based on those characteristics. That way, it’s easy to send each group targeted communications that align with their interests, preferences, and giving behaviors.

Donor Segmentation
Benefits Considerations
Narrows the scope of your donor data. Your full file may be neglected.
Adds context to your wealth screening. Can lead to missed opportunities with new or infrequent donors.
Allows you to target your most valuable donors.
Yields more targeted and accurate results.

The right technology can help you use these insights to personalize your messages to donors. For example, you could tailor your communications by reaching out through a donor’s preferred communication channel, mentioning a special project that aligns with their interests, and making a fundraising appeal congruent with their average gift amount.

Not only does updating your marketing to align with advancements in the digital space keep your online engagement strategies fresh and attention-grabbing, but you’ll also be able to modernize your approach to fundraising. 

Then in the future, when the tech world inevitably evolves again, you’ll know where to look for trends, how to evaluate whether they are worth emulating, and what the best ways to make changes to your marketing strategy are.