When a new supporter makes that first move to help your cause, they’re often at their most passionate.
Whether they heard about your organization’s issue from a friend or saw one of your social media marketing campaigns, if they’ve been driven to engagement, your cause has resonated with them in a powerful way.
You don’t want all of the work you put into recruiting new supporters to go to waste. So don’t let your new supporters’ passion fade before you can harness it to further your mission. Instead, take specific actions to build upon the initial spark that led the supporter to engage with your organization.
In order to make the most of your new supporters’ eagerness and keep their momentum headed in the right direction, you need to engage them early and often. If you can properly nurture each new supporter, they’ll go on to become valuable assets to your organization. We recommend the following:
- Send a welcome email or email series
- Provide opportunities to volunteer
- Invite them to an event
- Promote advocacy
- Be active on social media
Properly engaging your new supporters will make sure they not only stick around to support your cause, but also become deeply involved! Let’s get started.
1. Send a welcome email or email series
As soon as a new supporter hits your organization’s radar—whether they signed a petition, volunteered at an event, or contributed funds, make sure you quickly follow up with your welcome email or series of emails.
A welcome email series is an automated, pre-planned sequence of emails designed to familiarize your new supporters with your campaign, organization, or association and drive deeper engagement. You’ll want to include information on your nonprofit’s mission and vision, the impact you’ve been able to make, and ways they can get involved.
However, since these are new supporters, you probably won’t want to immediately make a significant ask for a donation. Provide smaller ways they can get engaged, like subscribing to your blog, following your Facebook account, and visiting your website. This will ensure your new supporters become acquainted with your organization's online presence without feeling pushed beyond their comfort levels.
For new volunteers, it’s wise to find out some more in-depth information about their interests and skills after their initial engagement or sign-up. Understanding your volunteers’ abilities and areas of interest means you’ll be able to tailor your volunteer management strategies to utilize your supporters more effectively and keep them engaged with your organization. You may want to ask them:
- How they heard about your cause/organization
- Their motivations for initially engaging
- What their interests are
- Any special skills they may be able to contribute
- Their passions
Additionally, consider surveying new volunteers to get an understanding of their interest in potential opportunities your organization is planning. Gauging interest in certain projects, opportunities, and initiatives will help you plan your volunteer programming going forward. Plus, new volunteers will enjoy having the opportunity to tell you more about themselves and their goals with your organization.
2. Provide opportunities to volunteer
Your new supporters will likely want to know what they can do to help, especially if your mission has a degree of urgency. Make sure they’re aware of your upcoming volunteer opportunities early on in their engagement so they can have a concrete outlet for their passion about your cause.
A dedicated volunteer newsletter is an effective way to maintain regular contact with volunteers and keep them aware of your recent projects and upcoming events and opportunities.
When you notify your supporters of opportunities in your emails, make sure to provide a link to your volunteer signup form. Ideally, your volunteer management platform will automatically integrate the data from your signup form into your database, meaning you won’t have to manually transfer information about your volunteers’ signups. Then, automated reminders can make sure your volunteers always make it to the events they sign up for.
Something else to consider mentioning to a new volunteer is the possibility of their eligibility for a corporate volunteer grant. Corporate volunteer grants are corporate social responsibility programs in which employers pledge to donate to your organization if their employees volunteer a certain number of hours annually.
Corporate volunteer grants are not only a good source of funding, but are a great way to motivate your volunteers to dedicate more hours to your organization. If you need a brushup on corporate volunteer grants, or are learning about them for the first time, check out Double the Donation’s volunteer grant basics.
3. Invite them to an event
An easy, low-intensity way to get a new supporter involved is to invite them to an event that your cause or organization is hosting. This doesn’t have the pressure of a volunteer opportunity but still allows the new supporter to establish themselves as a member of your organization’s community.
Whether your event is an in-person rally, a virtual information session, or a digital organizing workshop, ask your new supporters to RSVP and attend. Afterward, they’ll feel a more personal connection to your organization, be empowered with more information about your cause, and engage more in the future.
This guide has some useful tips and tricks on how to host a virtual fundraising event, which present valuable opportunities to get your new supporters engaged and excited about your mission and garner donations along the way.
4. Promote advocacy
Some causes have more options and necessity for advocacy than others—if yours is an advocacy-based cause or organization, harness the power of your supporters’ initial action to join your movement and ask them to get involved in ways that can make a difference. You may ask your new supporters to:
- Sign an online petition
- Call their local officials
- Share your cause on social media
Emphasizing the urgency of your need and the possible impact new supporters can have will make them more likely to join your cause as advocates.
With a plan for recruiting new advocates for your cause, you’ll need the software to back it up. Dedicated software can track your progress toward your goals and store social media share templates, phone scripts, and even legislators’ contact information. New supporters are much more likely to act if there is an existing framework for them to use and build upon—asking them all to start from scratch is too big of an ask.
If you’re in the market for advocacy software or would just like some more information on the range of options available, check out the Mobilize guide to advocacy software—the proper tools can make a big difference when it comes to gathering advocates and furthering your cause.
5. Be active on social media
These days when so many people are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, your organization should have a social media presence as well. An active social media presence for your organization will keep supporters informed, spread awareness about your mission, and galvanize more people to get involved.
One way you can leverage social media for your organization is to have custom profile photos or frames that your new supporters can use in order to show support for your mission. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to tell their Facebook friends about their advocacy or philanthropic involvement, and some of their followers might want to get involved too!
Some other ways to use social media to engage your supporters are:
- Hashtag-backed marketing campaigns. Using hashtags on social media to support your marketing and advocacy efforts provides an easy way to brand your supporters’ posts and encourage others to post about your campaign.
- Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Especially on social media, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns are popular methods to garner support, gather donations, and allow supporters of your cause to become fundraisers in their own right. Attaching a challenge to your peer-to-peer campaign (like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) is a great way to increase interest—your fundraiser may even go viral!
The more you share on social media, the more you’ll be able to see what resonates with your supporters and what’s of less interest to them—as you continue to post, you’ll be able to tweak your strategy to maximize your supporters’ involvement.
The last thing you want to do once you’ve acquired valuable new supporters is to let their interest in your cause fade to the background of their lives. Our tips will help you keep their interest, build their engagement, and nurture them into long-term supporters of your mission. Best of luck!