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Allyson Kapin 5 min read

Ten Ways to Engage Your Supporters

How does your nonprofit typically engage with your supporters? Is your ongoing online communications mainly comprised of action alerts to sign petitions or donation appeals pleading for money? If you answered yes, then your nonprofit is missing out on major opportunities on engaging and developing deeper relationships with your supporters. Here are ten engagement strategies to add to the mix of your online communications starting Monday morning.

  1. Connect with Us: Make your presence on social networks easy to find on your website. Don’t bury it. Also make your social networking presence is branded with your organizational identity so your members immediately recognize you.
  2. Be Generous: Share a relevant article around your mission with your members. Remember everything you share doesn’t always have to be about YOU. Chances are your organization is part of a larger movement.
  3. Recognize Volunteers and Active Members: Share a story. The story can be about a volunteer who did something extra special for your organization or a member who benefited from a program by your organization.
  4. Make Supporters Opinions Count: People join your organization or take action because they care about your mission and want to help you make a difference. They also want to voice their opinions. (Who doesn’t, right? ) Offer polls on your website or social network like Twtpoll. Launching a voting contest on new slogans and program priorities are great engagement tactics too. Bottom line - get supporters involved in some decision-making processes. Make them feel valued and that their opinions matter.
  5. Share Successes and Failures: As much as your supporters want to celebrate your wins and successes, they also want to be in the loop when the organization suffers from a loss such as not passing a legislative bill that they helped fight for. Sharing losses can also help to mobilize your list and can fire people up for future campaigns and volunteer opportunities.
  6. Empower to Share: Give them access to information they can’t find elsewhere and empower them to share it and comment on it within their personal networks. Utilize apps such as Tweetmeme, FB Share, and ShareThis.
  7. Foster Conversations: Post questions to your donors and activists across multiple channels. Respond to their answers. Let them know someone is listening.  Also, it’s important to open up and not dictate conversations when engaging in online conversations. Let your members talk to each other too.
  8. Get Personal! Thank Your Donors: “When you get a large online gift do you ever pick up the phone or send a handwritten note to thank the donor? This is a huge opportunity to bond that high-dollar donor to your cause for the long run,” said Alia Mckee, at Sea Change Strategies.

  9. MeetUps: Organize online to meet offline. Meetups are a great opportunity to meet your members and talk about upcoming campaigns or priorities your organization is working on. It’s also an excellent way for your members to network with each other locally. Can’t travel all over the country meeting your members? No problem. Ask your Board Members to host Meetups. Pick a few strategic places that you know will be important in upcoming campaigns.
  10. Be Accessible: How? Utilize the nine strategies above.



Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.