Recent technology and digitalization trends have made it easier than ever for nonprofits to build an engaged community. Communicating and connecting with supporters using online messaging features, group chats, virtual community walls, and live online events have enabled nonprofits across the country to turn their supporters into a vibrant community—strengthening their relationships even further.
Turning your nonprofit’s supporters into a full-fledged community has a number of benefits, too. Supporters who engage with both your nonprofit and other like-minded supporters are more loyal to your cause. Nonprofits who can create this sense of family and commonality also earn more support and improve their supporter retention.
So you know building an engaged nonprofit community is valuable. But how do you get there? In this article, we’ll be covering four strategies that will help you build and maintain an engaged nonprofit community:
The better you know your supporters and personalize their experiences, the more loyal and connected those supporters will be. Personalized communication helps each supporter to feel known, directly valued, and individually connected.
Your supporters are more likely to engage with and respond to messages that are tailored to their preferences. You can learn more about their preferences by gathering social media data, and then using that data to tailor your marketing and outreach efforts.
Here are a few simple ways you can use social media data to make your communications feel custom:
People long for community and a sense of belonging. Building a community around your nonprofit gives your supporters a place to interact with like-minded individuals and realize greater value. That, in turn, can lead to those supporters contributing more to your nonprofit, engaging further, and staying with your organization longer.
Turning your supporters into a lively community requires connecting with them through multiple touch points. Not all of your supporters use the same channels or relate to the same kind of approaches. Creating a multi-touch strategy gives every supporter the chance to engage in their own way. Plus, it keeps your nonprofit at the forefront of their minds.
Keep these tips in mind as you leverage each communication channel to develop your engaged community:
Notice how your supporters engage with your nonprofit through each of these channels. Is one particular channel working better than the others? Does one appeal to newer supporters, while another attracts long-time supporters? While you should continue utilizing multiple channels to maximize your reach, noting how each channel aids your overall outreach efforts can help guide your future community-building strategy and maximize your resources.
Note: the fastest way to dismantle the engaged community you’ve built is to over-communicate with your supporters or disregard their communication preferences. Ask your supporters which communication channels they prefer, then follow those preferences carefully.
Your nonprofit has the potential to provide significant value to your supporters—if you have the right tools to do so. Remember, creating an engaged community is about more than just increasing your donations to further your nonprofit’s mission. By creating a place where your supporters can connect with one another, volunteer together, share ideas and solutions, and be enriched by your nonprofit’s relevant content and resources, your positive impact instantly expands.
Here are a few ways you can help your supporters engage and connect:
Remember, by offering events and engagement opportunities where you don’t ask for donations, you’re showing your supporters that you value them for more than just their backing. That appreciation goes a long way in creating a healthy community.
The sponsors and businesses you align with have a strong impact on your reputation—for better or for worse. The right partnerships can make community-building easy by helping you attract new supporters and retain your existing ones. But to avoid a costly misstep, ensure that your partners’ goals align with your nonprofit’s before you announce the collaboration.
The right sponsorship can also have a dual benefit, bringing in much-needed funding and offering additional value to your supporters. Here are a few examples:
Some community engagement platforms, such as TagFi, allow nonprofits to set up a special marketplace where a portion of all sales support the nonprofit. These kinds of platforms allow supporters to share their products or services while assisting the nonprofit they care about.
A strong community, built through personalized communications, allows your nonprofit to carry out its mission and provide greater value for its supporters. Each supporter has the chance to engage with your nonprofit in their own way, ensuring no supporter feels left out of the community. These custom connections future-proof your organization in a powerful way by both increasing your donations and helping you to retain your supporters. People want to be a part of a vibrant community like this. Shouldn’t they be a part of yours?