How Rescue Missions Are Listening to Their Donors and Growing Giving

People serving with a ladle.

Every donor has a personal connection that led them to donate to your cause. As you foster meaningful, personal experiences based on the heart of each giver, you begin to build lifelong relationships with every supporter.

Over the past couple of years, many things have changed for rescue missions, including the environment they operate in, the specific needs of their communities, and their own giving needs. What hasn’t changed is their commitment to serving people in need.

When you think about rescue mission fundraising, you may only think of assisting during a crisis, but they’re tackling problems and serving communities every day.  In our recent roundtable discussion, we brought together rescue mission fundraising leaders to discuss the key ways their organizations have fostered donor relationships at scale through personal, authentic experiences for donors at scale.

Our Panelists:

  • Mindy McDonald, Marketing Director, Victory Mission + Ministry
  • Toby Weiss, CEO, Rooted Software
  • Jessica Fujimoto, VP of Account Management, RKD Group

Watch the Discussion

Here’s What We Learned:

1. Listen to Your Donors

“We need to be strategic in how we are talking to our donors. By looking at the data and analyzing how people’s behavior dictates where they respond, when they respond, what types of messages they respond to is extremely important to know,” said Jessica Fujimoto, VP of Account Management, RKD Group.

Your donors are an important part of driving your mission forward. As an organization, you should be communicating with your donors, but are you also really listening to them? Are you asking questions, observing signals, and learning about what motivates them?

When you listen to your donors you’ll find valuable information and insights like:

  • How they prefer to be communicated with
  • What drove them to give to your mission/organization in the first place
  • Where their passions lie and how you can get them more involved with your organization

2. Utilize Multichannel and Segmentation In Your Communication Strategies

In today’s world, with technology at our fingertips, the ways in which you can communicate with your donors have changed. Now we have access to not just direct mail, but SMS texting, email, social media, personal phone calls, etc. There are so many channels to communicate through.

Using a multichannel approach unlocks your mission’s ability to be able to provide a personalized donor experience based on their preferences. Your communication can be tailored to where and how a donor prefers to be contacted.

“You need personal communications, you need handwritten things, you need emails, you need social media, you need text messages, along with an automated welcome series for new donors, along with a strategy on responding to your donors depending on their communication preferences. One thing I believe is that the donor is going to indicate how they want to communicate,” Toby Weiss told us.

3. Create A Donor Journey

A donor journey starts with listening first, then looking at our data to help inform how we create our donor segments and choose all the touchpoints to build trust and relationships with our supporters before we can even make another ask.

Your donors are invested in your mission, but ensuring that you are finding the right ways to keep them engaged can be difficult.

A donor journey is a series of connections, communications, and events that allows you to:

  • Bring your donors closer to your organization and closer to making a gift
  • Take your donor from their first gift to really understanding your organization
  • Help your donor connect more meaningfully with the cause they already care about

So where do you even start?

Making any change is hard, but start where you are today and build step-by-step by making small changes and implementing a responsive framework in your donor journey.

The four phases of the Responsive Framework are:

Listen: Use all the available data to understand what each donor cares about

Connect: Meet the donor where they are and create messaging informed by your listening

Suggest: Invite donors to take action and suggest next steps like giving, volunteering, subscribing, or attending an event, based on the things you learned by listening and connecting.

Learn: Use the information you’ve collected to help you better understand how you should prioritize and strategize your communications to become even more responsive.

Learn More About Donor Journeys

Want to dig deeper into how to build out a donor journey that is repeatable and scalable? Check out the Donor Journey Book.

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