By Josh Gold
But while you’re busy trying to drum up wider interest, it’s important not to forget about the supporters you already have.
There are all kinds of videos (and other methods) that can be used to keep your existing base in the loop, to make them feel valued and involved so that they’ll be motivated to contribute when the big events come around.
Today, I want to lay out the case for why this aspect of fundraising is more significant – and probably easier – than you may realize.
They say that when you assume…
In my experience, most nonprofits prioritize outreach to new supporters over reengaging old ones. After all, someone who has a history of donating to or volunteering for your organization doesn’t really need the attention, right?
They’re already invested in your cause. If you want to keep growing, surely the thing to do is bring more and more people to the table.
The problem with this mindset is that it assumes that all you have to do is close the sale once; after that, you can just keep relying on the people you’ve closed to stay in your corner.
But is that really true? There’s a lot of need out there – plenty of competition for everyone’s generosity.
If your cause stops feeling like a top priority, you can bleed your support to the next big thing before you know it.
As I’ve argued before, the thing to remember is that your connection with your supporters is a relationship. And like all relationships, it takes work to keep the spark alive.
...you miss out on the easy money
That said, of the two paths we’ve suggested here – growth vs. re-engagement – the latter is actually a lot less work and likely a lot more profitable. As vital as it is, it will take up a relatively small chunk of your time and budget and still deliver a better ROI.
Think about it. How much effort goes into closing someone on that first donation?
It’s a process, from getting yourself on their radar to cultivating that awareness to, eventually, eliciting an initial commitment. It takes repeated interactions and ongoing exposure, careful persuasion and subtle escalation.
This is necessary, valuable work. But it’s a game of patience and numbers. You try to reach as many people as possible and then try to convert as many of them as possible into supporters over time.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation, you have a self-selecting group of people who’ve already proven their interest.
If you’re looking for growth, it’s much easier to raise your bottom line with them than to convince skeptical newbies that you’re worth their time.
Achieving a balance
In fact, often enough, reengagement will slot easily into place with the videos that you’re already making. It’s not a matter of abandoning your pursuit of new donors, but of creating a balanced approach that doesn’t neglect old ones.
Say you post success stories on social media. These inspirational clips might largely be geared towards winning over new supporters, but they’ll also do the job of reminding the current ones what they value about you.
The real change is in your mindset.
When you consider your existing base a valuable part of your audience, you’re able to plan for them alongside new viewers: asking yourself how they’ll receive the message of a video, creating suitable calls to action, being mindful of the text and context you use to frame your post and placing the videos where they’re likely to see them.
There are videos that you can make specifically to appeal to current supporters, and we’ll dig into those in later posts. If you want a general tip to get started, just remember:
- Your aim here is to continue to deliver on the promise that first drew them in.
- So, tell them about your successes so they can enjoy them along with you.
- Share growth and improvement so they can take pride in your progress and feel included in your wins.
- Express your gratitude freely.
- Be consistent, transparent, and authentic.
- And, when the time is right, invite them to become an even bigger part of your work than they were until now.
If you don’t have room in your budget to send out regular video updates to your followers, that’s okay.
You can still get a lot of value out of DIY videos or even written newsletters. As long as your staff understands what the goal is, they’ll be able to capture some great moments for you to put out there.
With just a few small gestures, you can keep supporters from losing track of you and ensure that they remain confident in your mission.
Have I sold you on the merits of re–engagement? Or are you still a skeptic? Feel free to email us with your experiences and opinions.
Want to take your fundraising to the next level? Serio Films offers a free email course on the subject. Learn more and sign up here.
Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team on Facebook.