Good relationships with your donors are crucial to a successful nonprofit. Everybody knows that, but what you may not know is the answer to some of these common donor questions. Donors are making an investment by giving money, time or gifts to your organization and they will usually ask some questions before doing so.
It might even be beneficial to review the common questions below and create a Frequently Asked Questions document or page and make it available for your supporters and staff. This way they have all the information upfront which will help save time and shows transparency.
1) What Can I Expect When I Donate to Your Cause?
This question is really asking what the donor follow-up process would be, and this goes beyond your marketing team!
Let them know if you’ll be sending newsletters with information outlining how their donations are being used and how often they will receive them. If they will be receiving any action alerts or any other call to actions let them know. This is a an opportunity to explain to your donor how you will be communicating and adjust depending on how often your donor likes to receive updates.
TIP: This is a great piece of information to make note of in your donor management software!
2) Why Should I Give Monthly?
Monthly donations are a source of sustainable income, let your donors know how much this means to you! Always include a recurring donation option in donation or pledge forms and anywhere else you are asking for donations. Let people know no matter how big or small their recurring donation is, it helps your organization forecast more accurately for the future.
It’s important to also outline how the process works, do you have one transaction date or does it vary per donor? Can they choose the transaction date? How can your donors pause or stop their monthly donation? Let them know all the information up front as it shows transparency. Knowing that they are able to cancel will also make them more inclined to donate, as they know they have control over the donations and can give what they feel comfortable with.
Don’t forget to mention how their donations will appear on tax receipts, it helps to organize your gifts based on the calendar year.
3)How Can I Volunteer For Your Cause?
Who doesn’t love volunteers? They’re awesome, and the backbone of an organization. Never waste an opportunity to bring passionate people to your cause, even if people can’t give money or in-kind donations volunteering is equally as valuable.
When speaking with a potential volunteer go beyond just handing them an email, make them understand they will be listened to and valued at your organization. Ask them what skills or interests they have and find ways they can apply that to your nonprofit. Have a volunteer application form that will ask questions so your organization can best place volunteers.
TIP: Feature your volunteers on their website and tell their story so people know whats it’s like to work with your organization!
4) How Can I Give an In-Kind Donation?
Your organization should have a solid in-kind statement outlining the gifts that your nonprofit needs the most. Depending on your cause that could be dog food, medical supplies, theatrical props- really anything that supports your specific mission or service.
This can also include Christmas gift drives or other giving programs you hold throughout the year. Be honest when creating your in-kind statement clearly outlining the best way to support you. Make a list of any prohibited items or if monetary gifts are a better option. For example, if you are an international organization who has to pay shipping and handling on items it may be best to give cash directly.
Clearly explain how and where in-kind donations are collected. If there are any drop off spaces or instructions for pick up include that in your outline!
4) What Percentage of my Donation Goes to the Cause?
Classic question, although we know cost per dollar is not the best way to measure a nonprofits success this question is still important to donors. Be honest about your percentages but make your donor understand that overhead is a part of the cause!
Having a great staff, office space and other tools are what keep your organization going. All donations are going towards supporting the cause because it is going towards supporting the organization as a whole. It might also be a good idea to brief the team on this question as well.
5) Why Should We Donate to You?
You may also get this question in the form of "what experience do you have?” How do they know their donation is being put to good use. As you may already know the key to this answer is to be transparent and consistent.
Give them your company's story and the change you are making in the world. If you have trusted supporters who can give you an endorsement ask them for one! This way you have more than just you speaking on your success.
You should also be listening to your audience and understanding their priorities. How is this organization relevant to them and their values, how does it support their beliefs? By being honest and connecting with the person you are speaking with you’re creating a genuine connection that goes beyond just a single donation.