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#MemberMonday: Why is Donor Engagement Important?

By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Member Services and Conferences


While donor engagement, is a hot topic in the fundraising and nonprofit worlds, as Sertoma Clubs, we often don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the people and businesses who make our mission possible. We ask for money, they give it, we say thanks and we move on. That same cycle repeats and repeats with varying degrees of success. ​​

However, if we are to truly approach fundraising in a mindful and meaningful way, clubs must look into a more fully formed engagement plan that helps convert donors to lifetime supporters, volunteers and hopefully members.

Donor engagement is just a fancy way of talking about the relationship between your club and your donors. But in all the things we have to do as a club, how can we also justify putting time and volunteer power behind donor engagement? The biggest reason is that it helps to ensure that our donors will remain exactly that — individuals and businesses willing to support our mission and activities through the financial gifts that make them possible. Donor engagement is proven to reduce shrinkage, or the loss of donors over time. It is also one of the least expensive ways to reach your donor base because just like with membership, keeping a current donor is much less expensive than having to recruit and find new ones. ​​

Donor engagement programming ensures that all your stakeholders — from your board to your volunteers to your donors — are on the same page and actively invested in volunteering, fundraising and building relationships. American nonprofit fundraising company DonorBox says that if you truly want to “develop a fundraising culture throughout your organization, this is a great way to start.” After all, it ascertains that your club is putting a concerted effort into nurturing the key relationships and partnerships that will sustain your work for years to come. ​

We explore this topic further in our The How, the What and the Why of Donor Engagement video. You can find out the five characteristics of a donor engagement program, the four phases of the donor engagement process, five ways to measure donor engagement and 12 best practices in this concise 12-minute video.