How do you guide visitors through, your members, donors and prospects; what paths can they follow to arrive where you want them to, as a member, donor or volunteer?
There is an easy way to set up planned ways to talk to your people that takes them through logical steps. The same way that you would set up an editorial calendar for your publications, you can create a content-based map for your organization’s visitors.
What’s the Funnel?
The funnel is a series of steps that your visitors will take before they decide to donate to you. A donor funnel is a process by which you will guide your visitor through an introduction, then increasingly targeted elements of your content to encourage them to connect with you.
First step: Who Are You? Awareness of your cause
They can’t help you if they don’t know who you are and what you do. While the word awareness has been abused quite a bit lately, it is exactly what needs to happen first.
What is your cause, why is it important, who do you help? Why is is urgent? Choose words that are easy to understand, keep the sentences short and convey a clear message.
Then provide some quick, easily digestible answers and the solutions your organization offers.
Second Step: Why Is It Important? Consideration of your cause
There are always way too many people and organizations that need help. Your prospective donors have to go through different options to decide who to support. There is a lot of competition for those donor dollars, why should they choose yours?
For instance, if you love dogs, how many places can you think of that might need your support? Quite a few, from huge international organizations to small, local rescues and shelters. How to choose the best one?
Once the consideration of support, of making a donation has begun, your prospects are beginning to shortlist those options. They will narrow down the organizations they would consider supporting and choose from a smaller pool.
Third step: Why Choose you? Making the decision
Those folks who that have come this far through your funnel are now choosing which nonprofits to choose to support. Your job now is to close the deal and have them choose you.
This stage in your funnel is as the “deal maker or breaker” stage is critical with respect to what content you put in front of them. This is the time when you must demonstrate why your organization should be their choice, tell them why to choose you over anyone else.
Fourth step: Why Stay With You? Stewarding your donor
The goal here is to give your donor what they wanted from you, provide the things that made them choose to support you – make them happy with their choice by showing you are paying attention to them as donors and partners in the work you do.
Show them content that specifically targets their concerns, which of course you have asked them about when you thanked them for their gift.
This is also the stage in your donor funnel where you start to introduce how your various programs and giving options address their reasons for both caring and giving.
No one wants to feel like an ATM, it is crucial to connect and engage with your new supporters. Care enough to find out what drives them and makes them interested in you, make them feel part of your work and impact.
*A side note: the vast majority of your future major donors will come from your individual donor pool, it is never too early to establish a strong relationship right off the bat.
Now What? Next Steps
With thoughtful planning and mapping, asking important questions about your donors interests an engagements with you, what is the smart series of steps to take next?
Cultivate the interest and participation of your donors buy communicating regularly about the progress your organization is making with updates on your website, notices on social media and your newsletters. Use the same care in choosing language and images as you have in guiding a visitor along your path. Think about who is it you are speaking to: gender, age, location, and why do they connect with you.
Segment the whole group into specific subsets and speak directly to each in the topics and words that are familiar to them. Choose content to share the reflects the connection they have made with you, ask for feedback and opinion. Share stories of volunteers, of success and yes, even failures.
The Bottom Line:
Smart, thoughtful and considered use of the content will guide someone through the steps they need to understand who you are, why your work is important and what distinguishes you from others. Continue this practice with your other communications channels; make it easy for those following you to know what is happening and why their participation makes that work possible.
Give your members and clients language they can use when they talk to others by packaging it with they way you communicate with them.
image credits: https://www.classy.org/blog/the-essential-ingredients-of-effective-nonprofit-web