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    3 Strategies to Craft an Effective Communications Plan

    Tips from our partners at Bloomerang.

    Soliciting donations is only one aspect of an effective communications strategy. No matter how effective your ask is, you’ve only got part of the strategy down if you only send donation requests to your audience members. 


    Your communications plan should also help you build relationships with your donors and retain them for the long haul. Why? Because building a relationship with an existing supporter to eventually ask for a second donation is much less expensive than acquiring a new supporter. Therefore, by focusing on communicating effectively with your current supporters, you’ll save money and increase your return on investment.


    In this guide, we’ll cover three strategies that you can use to craft your own communications plan to fit in with your strategic plan. 


    1. Create effective donor segments.

    Use your nonprofit CRM to build useful donor segments that will guide your communications strategy. Bloomerang’s donor segmentation guide provides the following characteristics by which you can group donors: 


    • Recency of giving. For example, you can use this segment to re-engage LYBUNT donors—those who gave last year but unfortunately not this year.
    • Frequency of giving. Because monthly donors give to your organization regularly, you’ll want to send them a different appeal than you would send to donors who have only made one donation over the past year. 
    • Type of donations. For example, volunteers give their time rather than their money, which means you’ll want to acknowledge their support in a different way. 
    • Gift amount. Major donors, for example, require a more personal touch than low-level supporters. 
    • Reason for giving. If a donor gives in memory of another person, you should show your appreciation while acknowledging the sensitivity of their motivation for giving. 
    • Interests. For example, a donor who adopted a dog from an animal shelter may respond to different appeals than a donor who adopted a cat from the same shelter. 

    Every nonprofit uses slightly different segments according to their needs. Consider your own organization’s needs and the data already located in your donor database to determine the best segments to reach your audience.  


    2. Build outreach cadence plans.

    Create different timelines and outreach cadence plans for each segment of your audience and for various campaigns. For example, after a donor makes their first donation, spread out communications across several weeks, sending the donor newsletters, calling them to say thank you, and asking them for feedback. Then, you can ask for the next gift. 


    3. Track key metrics.

    The only way you can measure whether or not your communication plan is successful is by determining the metrics most important to your organization’s goals and tracking that data over time. Consider measuring metrics such as: 

    • Donor retention rate
    • Email open rate
    • Email click-through rate
    • Fundraising outreach ROI

    Keep these metrics front and center for your team to review regularly. You can adjust future fundraising efforts based on your findings. 


    Communication is the foundation of any good relationship. Build an effective strategy and vary your outreach style and type to keep donors engaged with your organization and you’ll ultimately raise more funds to support your mission. 


    Written by Jay Love, Co-Founder and current Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang. Connect with Jay on LinkedIn.