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Beyond the Ask: Comms Strategies for Effective Donor Engagement

The way organizations communicate with donors matters—a lot. Think of it this way: trying to raise funds without a tried and tested comms strategy is like navigating without a map. Your mission and the incredible work you do can get lost. 

Your comms strategy should tie intrinsically to your North Star; it's what makes you stand out amongst the digital buzz. It isn't just about the ask - it's about connecting with people in your shared journey of power-building and long-lasting change. Here's what two alumni grantees learned while experimenting with their comms strategies:

SAALT, a champion for racial justice and institutional change, faced hurdles in engaging donors at the beginning of their project. They adapted by simplifying their messaging and focusing on demonstrating values - leading to a significant revenue surge and learning that clarity and relatability in messaging drive increased donor retention.

The Sunrise Movement launched a lead-gen campaign on Facebook and Instagram, tweaking their approach through the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movements. Testing diverse ad creatives resulted in considerable engagement. Still, differences in performance across the ad types made it challenging to determine which creative to invest in moving forward, learning that there's a need for more precise differentiation in messaging and imagery for effective digital engagement strategies. 

Insights from peers like SAALT and The Sunrise Movement pave the way for our active grantee partners' experiments. Here's how two groups - Engage Miami Foundation and Citizen SHE United - are leveraging communication strategies to transform their mission and drive revenue. 

Engage Miami Civic Foundation:

Driven by young Black and Latinx leaders, Florida's top youth organizing and voter registration group is crafting a storytelling campaign to cultivate a sustainer program and major gifts initiative. Embracing dynamic tactics, from quarterly newsletters spotlighting young civic leaders to video storytelling and an e-store for merchandise, they're expanding fundraising avenues while amplifying brand awareness. 

Citizen SHE United: 

Advocating for the rights of Black Women and their families, this Louisiana-based group is investing in narrative storytelling campaigns. Their toolkit includes income-generating resources, legal education, and consulting services, empowering their community for sustainable, impactful change.