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Four important reasons you need a supporter engagement strategy

The way that a charity interacts with its supporters is crucial to its success.

In fact, with two thirds of people planning to cut back as a result of the cost-of-living crisis - and one in eight considering cutting back on donations to charity - supporter engagement and donor retention has never been more important.

New donors remain important to sustain growth against natural attrition. But in today’s climate, it’s essential to invest in supporter retention to maximise your income and your return on investment. After all, encouraging someone who has already given to your charity to give again is much more cost effective than asking for a first-time donation from cold.

So, if you don’t yet have a supporter engagement strategy in place, now is most certainly the time to do so. Read on to find out why you need a supporter engagement strategy and how a response handling specialist can help…

What is a supporter engagement strategy?

A supporter engagement strategy basically does what it says on the tin - it’s a strategy that enables you to engage with your charity supporters and donors. Ella Pierce from Sightsavers spoke with Woods Valldata about their supporter engagement strategy at the Third Sector Fundraising Conference in 2022.

Essentially, it’s about communicating with and listening to your supporters so you can deliver a consistent supporter experience, build a relationship, drive loyalty, and increase the lifetime value of your donors. It can be as simple or as complex as you like - and it often starts with something as simple as properly thanking your donors.

4 important reasons you need a supporter engagement strategy

The Supporter Experience Report defines the supporter experience as “the way a supporter thinks and feels about your organisation across every interaction and touchpoint”.

93% of charities say supporter experience is important to them, whilst two thirds make it a priority. However, while 61% are committed to creating a positive supporter experience, only 25% think they do a good job of doing so - which shows just how important supporter engagement strategies are.

In the 2022 Individual Giving Fundraising Survey from Woods Valldata we found that 54% of fundraising budget is estimated to go towards retention vs. 46% on acquisition, but only 50% of fundraisers said their charity had a retention and stewardship programme in place. Now is the time to think through your strategy for 2023.

Here are four reasons you need a supporter engagement strategy:

response handling specialist

1. You can increase loyalty

Supporter engagement is all about giving your supporters an amazing experience and making them feel valued every time they take an action or interact with your charity. By doing so, this deepens their commitment and helps to ensure that your supporters stay loyal.

By donating to your charity, they have already shown that they are emotionally invested but they may not yet be loyal to your specific cause. So the important thing is to continue to nurture that connection, demonstrate the impact they’re making with their support, make your supporters feel valued, and ensure you remain in the forefront of their mind.

And with regular giving having slowed down slightly in 2022, it’s more important than ever to retain these loyal supporters.

2. You can maximise value

A strong supporter engagement strategy can also help to maximise value from your supporters by driving up key measures such as average donations and the number of campaign actions taken over time.

By showing that you value every way a supporter engages with your charity and ensuring that they enjoy a high standard of supporter experience you’re building a long-term relationship with that supporter. So, whether they are playing lottery, raffle, responding to a one-off appeal, making a donation online or setting up a regular gift, with a supporter engagement strategy you can focus on strengthening their lifetime value and building their relationship with your charity over the long-term.

3. You can attract more supporters

It’s not just about nurturing relationships with your existing supporters, though.

A good supporter engagement strategy will also help you to amplify your message and extend your reach - which in turn can lead to you attracting more supporters, too. This is about creating a positive reputation for your charity and giving supporters even more reason to start supporting your cause.

4. You can create stronger fundraising strategies

Finally, an engaged base of supporters is a key ingredient in building a successful fundraising strategy.

By getting to know your supporters and what’s important to them, you can be sure that your fundraising campaigns and strategies truly resonate and appeal.

As such, you can ensure you continue to nurture your donor relationships and keep donations coming in over the future months and years by delivering campaigns that truly hit the mark.

How Woods Valldata can help

From personalised communications to collecting support preference data, Woods Valldata are response handling specialists, and our response handling services can help to ensure you deliver a great supporter experience.

Our unique platform is flexible and configurable to most campaign requirements, so when we help you with a fundraising campaign, you can ensure that each stage of the journey feels personal to boost engagement. Our options include:

  • Tailored communications based on segments, matrices, and automated trigger points, so you can adapt the theme and timing of content according to supporter history.
  • Variable text, phrasing and high-quality imagery meaning welcome and fulfilment packs are personalised to your supporters, alongside machine and hand matching for multiple personalised items.
  • Fully personalised cards for thanking from printed handwritten scripts, top and tail salutations and complete handwritten statements for high value donors and value-led engagement
  • Data strategy and strategic support to help develop a supporter engagement strategy that works for your charity and your supporters.

To find out more about how Woods Valldata can help you to craft a powerful and impactful supporter engagement strategy, get in touch with our expert team today.

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