Once Just Isn't Enough| How to Keep Constituents Engaged Beyond the First Visit | npENGAGE

Once Just Isn’t Enough| How to Keep Constituents Engaged Beyond their First Visit

By on Aug 13, 2014


Keep Constituents Engaged

How many of your constituents fit into this category?

They visited—whether through an event, your website, or by going to your actual organization—and had a positive experience, but they just haven’t gotten around to coming back to donate or volunteer. In order to build a sustainable organization, you’ll need to minimize the number of times this happens. And you do so by fostering engagement — turning visitors into followers. Welcoming them back.

Start by offering a call to action, an option for people to engage with your organization.

Calls to Action

A call to action is a specific action you want someone to take. Traditionally, a call to action has been to donate in response to a direct mailing or a phone call. However, with new digital tools, you no longer have to ask for a donation at every interaction. That means you can nurture the relationship and provide calls to action that don’t involve the constituent’s wallet.

For example, you can ask for something as simple as a mailing address or for the visitor to download a study about your mission. This allows you to engage with your constituents before requiring them to donate.

While calls to action can vary, there are three things every call to action must have:

• Relevance: Your call to action should be related to the activity that caused the person to discover you. For example, if you directed her to a landing page as part of an appeal for getting a new penguin habitat at your aquarium, make sure your call to action is about ways to get additional information or additional funding for that penguin habitat.

• Accessibility: Make your call to action easy to get to. If you have created an opportunity for discovery by having an event downtown, a website may not be the best place to put your call to action. Make sure you have a signup sheet, flyer, tablet, or laptop at the event. Remove all barriers, allowing people to take action and provide contact information.

• Information Request: Ask for your visitors’ information so you can stay in touch. Request their contact information and, at minimum, their email addresses. The Online Marketing Benchmark Study released by Blackbaud in 2013 found that the median amount raised per email address on file is $13.

Reasons for Constituents to Engage

So why would people complete your call to action? You have to give them a compelling reason.

Three ways that are especially effective for nonprofit organizations include:

1. Inclusion

Chances are, visitors come to your website because they have some sort of interest in your mission. It may be that their friends are interested or because they heard something on the news, but how they got there aside, they are likely predisposed to be sympathetic to your cause. This provides a great opportunity to include them in your mission.

This is not the time to ask them to invest in your cause. On the visitor page, include a simple call to action you want them to take.

  • Have a major donor pledge to donate money as a matching gift for emails sent, clicks, or Facebook® likes from your website. You can then tell the visitor the impact, such as, “For every email you send to your friends, we will donate a bowl of rice to kids in need.”
  • Ask them to appeal to their government officials about your cause. Offering a pre-written email and the name of their representatives based on their ZIP codes makes it easy for them to become a part of your mission.
  • Offer to keep them posted on future events they can be involved in. These calls to action offer free, easy ways for visitors to create an emotional connection with your mission, opening the door for you to continue your relationship with them.

2. Special Offers

People love special offers; just consider the popularity of Groupon® and Living Social®. So take advantage of this phenomenon with your nonprofit.

  • Offer visitors a discount on tickets to visit your museum, zoo, or aquarium.
  • Offer visitors an opportunity to pre-register for your next event.
  • Create a contest giving away a dinner with your executive director, a donated experience from a board member, or any other item or experience constituents would value.

3. Content

This is the most under-utilized call to action in the nonprofit industry. People crave news and updates. There is an opportunity for your organization to be the source of knowledge for them. How does this relate to a call to action? Let your visitors subscribe to your blog, newsletter, or other publications.

By providing information to your visitors, you are showing them that you are experts at what you do. Is your mission providing clean water? Writing articles about advances in water purification, the impact your organization is having on communities, and the detrimental impact of dirty water makes you the visitors’ reliable resource for information about the seriousness and development of this cause. And, by constantly updating this information, you keep them engaged with your organization (and keep them from engaging with another organization with the same mission).

Following these steps will help you turn visitors into constituents.

(Photo Credit: Arthur William Presser, Flikr: Creative Commons)


Andy Welkley is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Blackbaud’s Peer-to-Peer solutions, the ideal combination of two of Andy’s long standing interests:  web development/online marketing and participation in fundraising events. As a regular speaker, author and the creator of the popular video blog series “I’m on Team Andy”, he shares the insights he has gained from his work with non-profits across all verticals to optimize the use of peer-to-peer technologies and strategies to improve fundraising results.

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