Back to Blog

Turning Your Donors into Heroes of Your Nonprofit Story

One of the most effective strategies you can follow to ensure that you have happy and loyal donors is to focus your communication strategy around turning your donors into heroes of your mission!  

As a nonprofit, are you mindful of the language you’re using when communicating with your donors?

Aiming to promote the cause or the people/animals/services your supporters are so graciously contributing toward, rather than promoting yourself and your efforts as an organization is key!

What’s wrong with promoting your organization?  Well, the language you use can put a barrier between your supporters and your cause.  

This subject was discussed in a webinar presented by AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) on the components of successful storytelling for nonprofits.  A major aspect of this presentation was teaching the importance of using a donor-centric or supporter-centric communication strategy.   

When you create an email appeal, what story are you telling and who are you giving the credit to for any event, program or campaign accomplishment?  Dr. Adrian Sargeant, a renowned marketing professional specializing in charities, said this of donors:  

“…once donors are in a relationship with a charity, their focus shifts from what the charity does for its beneficiaries to how the relationship makes them feel.”

As a nonprofit administrator, you already know that the process of donor acquisition is an investment and the only way to get a positive return on that investment is through successful donor retention or repeat donations.

And, according to the most recent research on this topic, telling donor-centric stories – where the donor is essentially the hero – is what encourages repeat gifts!

Anchoring Theory 

In the field of psychology, there’s a theory that humans make biased decisions based on relying heavily or “anchoring” on one specific value or piece of information.  The first thing that you read or hear, according to this theory, will automatically be labeled by our brains as being the most important piece of information.

Therefore, when you put your donors first in your communications, you’re sending the message that they are the most important!!

“Thanks to you and other kindhearted donors like you, we were able to accomplish…” 

Ultimately, you’re not turning your donors into heroes, but simply recognizing them as the heroes they already are!  

Download the list of 35 ways to make your donors feel like heroes!

Donors into Heroes