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Do Nonprofits and Donors Align When it Comes to Engagement?

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Yes, there have been a number of studies done on donor engagement. Many of which provide valuable insights for nonprofits from a donor perspective. Channel preferences? Check. Generational preferences? Check. Social media preferences? Check.

However, many of these studies have been done in isolation without a holistic view of the entire donor ecosystem.

For the first time, we believe we’ve taken a look at donor engagement preferences from BOTH the donor perspective AND the nonprofit perspective to determine where gaps exist, where alignment occurs, and where nonprofits should be focusing time and energy to engage donors in ways that matters MOST to them.

Additionally, we looked at generational differences and have overlaid them with channel and engagement preferences, to illuminate missed opportunities for nonprofits to engage with donors.

Though there is so much more in the report, itself, we’ll touch on three interesting conclusions here in this post:

1. Donors feel most engaged through the act of giving. While it might seem incredibly obvious and a bit “no, duh!” it’s worth restating. Donors feel most engaged with organizations through the act of giving, followed closely by volunteering.


2. Content is king. It’s a cliché that’s been stated many times before, but content really does matter. Donors want to hear personal stories, stories of achievement, stories of success, stories that the money they’re donating is making a difference. Channel is far less important than a good narrative.

3. One data point vs. many data points: Using one data point to engage donors is so 2014. On a more serious note, the study reveals that most nonprofits use one data point (amount of the donation) to engage and re-engage donors instead of taking advantage of multiple data points to engage each donor on his or her own terms. In particular, looking at things like age and birthday are almost completely ignored by organizations.

one data point

many data points

Nonprofits and donors are aligned on some things, but very misaligned on others. Jump over to the report and give it a read. We think it will provide you with a much broader, more encompassing view of donor engagement.

Download the full report.


Rich Dietz Rich Dietz

The preceding is a guest post by Rich Dietz, Senior Product Manager at Abila. Rich began his nonprofit career when he was the director of a mentoring organization in college and went on to get a Master’s in Social Work (MSW). He has spent the last 20 years working both in and with a wide variety of nonprofit, political, and government organizations as well as technology companies focused on the nonprofit sector. It is this unique background and experience – working directly in nonprofit organizations AND working on the technology side – that allows him to better understand and assist nonprofit organizations with their technology needs. Rich holds a Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) from the University of California – Berkeley as well as a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.

Topics: Fundraising