Key takeaways in this post:

  • Emphasize the tangible difference donors make rather than solely promoting your organization. Highlight how their contributions support specific individuals or causes, fostering a sense of connection and purpose.
  • Respond promptly and personally to donor contributions to maintain a strong connection and avoid feelings of disconnect. Share immediate experiences or updates to show the direct impact of their donations, enhancing their sense of involvement and satisfaction.
  • Plan and execute donor engagement efforts throughout the year by crafting compelling stories that resonate with your audience. Continuously test and measure the effectiveness of your communication strategies to ensure ongoing donor engagement and support.

This fall, your foundation might be gearing up for one of its busiest seasons. September through December is the perfect time to remind your community of the great things you’ve done together. People like to express generosity and gratitude through movements like Giving Tuesday, making thoughtful charitable contributions as the end of the year draws near.

But this season can also feel hectic for your donors. They’re receiving requests from every other organization — on top of their own plans. So, how does your foundation rise above the noise instead of simply joining the cacophony?

As the end-of-year season gets busy, people often prioritize time with family and friends because they value those two-way relationships. Here at WG Content, we specialize in building meaningful relationships with philanthropic audiences, one word at a time. We’re sharing some ways your team can create authentic, two-way relationships with your foundation donors — and maximize end-of-year giving.

1. Forget your organization and focus on the people

While your donors may write the foundation name on the check, they’re not really giving to you. They’re giving to their community, to patients, to medical students, to family members who will need care at your hospitals. They’re using philanthropy as a powerful tool to make a difference. So, use your communications to make them feel like a force for good.

Saying, “Thank you for giving to our foundation,” feels impersonal and unspecific. Instead, help donors see the patients, doctors and nurses they’re helping: “You’re supporting clinical trials that help cancer patients live longer.”

2. Respond in the moment with immediate experiences

Have you ever texted someone something rather vulnerable, only to wait hours for them to respond? It’s awkward at best and agonizing at worst. That’s how your donors can feel if they make a gift and receive crickets in return. Avoid letting the conversation lag by responding immediately to express your appreciation.

We live in a world of instant gratification and feedback. Go beyond a typical “thank you” response and create more personal experiences. Immediately connect foundation donors with content that shows the effect of the gift they’ve just given. Share a live funding meter that includes their contribution. Your foundation can connect people with something they want to support — and immediately help them feel good about it. You can show your gratitude in so many ways.

3. Foster a larger sense of community

Use fundraisers to kick off something great: a new group or community. Younger donors, especially Millennials and Gen Z, want their gifts to connect them to a larger purpose for their community. Can you foster two-way relationships by uniting people who share common beliefs or passions? Can you foster activities that encourage them to relish their shared interests? Maybe your foundation can plan new events to bring these groups together. In the process, you’re also nurturing your donors and their natural interests.

4. Pay attention to what resonates year-round

Wondering what will really work this giving season? Your best bet: look at what works the rest of the year. First, build your content marketing cache with stories that help donors see themselves in the work you’re doing. Stories about doctors, researchers and nurses give a face to large academic medical centers. Grateful patient stories help donors see how their gifts change people’s lives. Gathering these stories early will prepare you for the fall and winter giving seasons.

Then, test and measure the success of these stories throughout the year. Find out which ones resonate with each audience so you know which to highlight when the busy seasons come.

Build lasting donor relationships year-round with WG Content. Our content strategists and writers have experience in healthcare, including nonprofits and foundations. We’ll help you create content that fosters mutually beneficial two-way relationships. We can be an extension of your team however you need us.

If you have the strategy but struggle with bandwidth, we can craft content for websites, newsletters, videos, emails and stewardship reports. If you want big-picture support, our content strategists can create the blueprint for building personalized donor communications for your team to execute. Contact us to get started today.

Amidst the flurry of donation requests during the end-of-year season, it’s crucial to prioritize authentic connections with donors. Focus on highlighting the impact of their contributions rather than solely emphasizing your organization’s name. Show donors the tangible difference they make, such as supporting specific patients, medical research or community initiatives.

Respond promptly and personally to donor contributions to avoid leaving them feeling disconnected or unappreciated. Share immediate experiences or updates that demonstrate the impact of their gift, such as live funding meters or stories showcasing how their donations are making a difference. Foster a sense of community by organizing events or initiatives that align with donors’ interests and values.

To maintain donor engagement year-round, focus on crafting compelling stories that resonate with your audience and highlight the impact of your foundation’s work. Gather these stories in advance to be prepared for the busy giving seasons. Continuously test and measure the effectiveness of your communication strategies to identify what resonates most with donors and adjust accordingly.

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