Your pregnancy center is established. Its outreach is in full swing and yet, you can’t seem to find enough funds to both sustain your organization as well as grow your outreach more. How can you increase donations to your organization without sounding pushy and turning away existing donors? How can you add more donors to your funnel?
As you might already suspect, yours is not the only pregnancy center that is struggling with this question. Increasing donations isn’t easy and there is, generally, no “magic bullet” that will instantly grow your donor base. Like all good things in life, slow and steady wins the race.
Increasing donations isn’t easy and there is, generally, no “magic bullet” that will instantly grow your donor base.
Increasing Donations through Communication
This is a tool that many organizations don’t fully use and many don’t really understand. There are many people that want to support your organization but very few that will because they don’t know enough about your organization to justify sending their hard earned money your way.
Here are a few actionable steps to increase donations through communicating in a meaningful way:
Email. Email. Email.
You’re not going to over-email people. You’re not going to annoy them. If they care about what you do and what you have to say, they’ll welcome them. When they are busy, they’ll delete your message (unless you get their attention with a snappy title). When they aren’t, they’ll welcome the news and communication.
Emails don’t have to be novels. They don’t have to blatantly ask for money. In fact, the best emails I’ve received from organizations give a fast, positive update and are built on a template that includes a “give” button in the same place each time. It builds trust as I know that I’ll have a constant ability to give but that I’m only going to be asked for money infrequently. It also builds trust and encourages engagement to see positive updates and shares.
I want to be clear with this. Newsletters, generally, are a thing of the past. People don’t want to spend time reading about an organization that sings its own praises or one that constantly acts like it is going to disappear without a few more dollars. Also, who REALLY cares about all the little nuances of your organization. It’s important to you – but is it important to your donors? “So wait, why are you recommending newsletters, Dan?”
I’m so glad you asked! 🙂
It’s time to update that stodgy image.
It’s time to release something new, invigorated and complete with details that donors care about. Your newsletter will help increase donations to your organization with shareable content and beautiful imagery. Seriously – it really should be more of a magazine than a newsletter. Here’s an example of a newsletter we put together for Hands of Hope in Tucson, Arizona:
It’s literally a magazine (albeit a small one). Using our print partners, it was actually way more affordable than you might think and the print quality was really good.
Today, transparency is expected
10 years ago, transparency was the buzz-word of businesses wanting to cash in on “not having secrets.” It became popular at a time when the economy was feeling the pain of multiple large corporations being caught with bad books and making immoral decisions. “Transparency” was… the pendulum swinging the other direction. Today, transparency is expected in many areas and, the more transparent you are, the better you are perceived (assuming you are doing everything on the up-and-up).
For pregnancy centers, this is a way to keep donors in the loop and a way to show them that their money is well spent. Planned Parenthood publishes yearly reports in each state to communicate what they are doing and the effect they are having on an area. Those of us that work in the Christian life advocating arena know that the information is selective – yet – it feels like it is a window into what they do everyday and builds trust with those that support them. This should be a wake-up call to Christian pregnancy centers everywhere.
The face of abortion in our country is doing a better job of being transparent than most CPC, PRC, and other pregnancy centers. Donors are looking for that information. They want to see how the money they donate is being used. They want to know the successes where they exist and they also want to know the failures and what your plan is to deal with those.
If you’re feeling the crunch and are searching for sure ways to increase donations from existing donors and new donors alike, there are many steps you can take but the three listed here should be considered foundational. Without proper email campaigns, newsletters, and transparency, you’re asking your donors to just trust and believe. Unfortunately, that is often too much to ask of someone anymore. Give them more information on your organization. Communicate with them. It won’t immediately bring money in the door but it will increase donations to your pregnancy center over time – and do it in a sustainable way.