6 communication techniques that will captivate your supporters

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6 communication techniques that will captivate your supporters

Keeping your messaging clear and concise will help you to tell better stories that engage your supporters, says Rebecca Spencer


Effective communication to current and potential donors will result in successful fundraising. A clear campaign objective with direct messages will enable the target audience to know what it is that’s being asked of them, and why.

When fundraising and communications teams work closely together, fundraising campaigns become richer, focused and more successful. But remember: your target audience will be the target audience for several – if not dozens – of other charities. So how can you make sure your message stands out?


Select your tools carefully

First, you need to carefully select your communication tools. You might want to use the latest research findings from your stakeholders – or even better, real life stories from the people you help.

Once you have decided on what evidence-based material you are going to use; the next decision is how you will use them. In doing this, research what type of information will best showcase your charity’s unique selling point. Work closely with your brand guardian, as they will already know what makes your charity unique to the thousands of others. Use this information to make sure that you are talking directly to your chosen target audience. Simple things like tone of voice, style of language – even size and colour of font are important in helping people understand why their help is needed, and what they can do to get involved.


Tell a story

Use case studies, keep them simple, and place the donor at the heart of it. People like to hear stories, and the subject’s ‘eye-witness’ experience of an experience has authenticity. Long after the dancing and singing on Children in Need has ended, what remains in your mind are the real life stories of people the charity helped. Don’t provide mountains of information in the hope that your audience will make an informed decision. People are more likely to make a choice on the advice of a friend, rather than on a mountain of facts. By using case studies, where evidence and values mix, charities can get closer to this kind of persuasion.


Be consistent, but adaptable

Don’t just repeat the same old message again and again in the same way to tell your target audience why they should donate to your charity – it becomes boring and people switch off or become immune to the issue. Use a mixture of channels, at carefully planned intervals. This will enable your campaign to grow and become more engaging. The charity’s corporate brand identity reflects its core values – and this is what should be constantly delivered to an audience. How it’s delivered doesn’t matter – as long as it is.


Maintain the pace

Following the immediate interest your campaign generates, you should keep the cycle of engagement going. This can be done by working closely with other departments – such as the press team or the research and policy department. Devise a clear, cross-departmental campaign plan ahead of the launch, and then, once the initial launch has happened, keep the communications on why it’s so important coming along. This will help will develop a more valued relationship. Donors like to know not only where their money is going – but why it is needed and what the actual impact of them donating is.


Keep innovating

Innovation is the key to sparking interest, and can turn a great idea into a huge national event. Innovation doesn’t always mean having a brand new idea; it can be an old idea, just repackaged. The key to having an innovative idea is delivering that idea at the right time, and to the right audience. Coffee mornings have been around for years, but Macmillan have taken this very common, daily event and turned it into a million-pound fundraising event which they now own.


Get donors to act now

Your campaign should be powerful and hard-hitting, making people feel a connection straight away so that they are driven to ‘act now’ – either by donating via text, QR codes or online giving platforms, or by sharing the charity’s stories via Twitter or Facebook. The recent DEC appeal for the Philippines Typhoon used social media very effectively to bring people together and make them feel involved. The charity provided regular updates of how much money the appeal had raised, and people who followed on Facebook could easily show their support by sharing each appeal status, thus getting their friends involved and compelling them to act right away.

The result of your communications efforts may leave a legacy of continuous future income generation for good causes. Now that is something to be proud of.


Rebecca Spencer is development director at Lehmann Communications which advises numerous non-for-profit organisations in the charity sector.

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