From Donors to Evangelists: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Ascending Supporters

We’ve discussed reaching new audiences, engaging subscribers, and converting leads into supporters.

But what happens after that? How do you keep your supporters invested in your organization’s mission and committed for the long haul?

Today we’ll dive into the fifth and final stage of the Relational Marketing Map: Ascend.

Ascending supporters is all about deepening their commitment to your organization and its mission. There are essentially four ways people ascend with your organization:

1. Ascend Value of One-Time Donations

Encouraging supporters to give larger one-time donations is an effective way to increase their investment in your cause.

It’s essential to communicate their contribution’s impact and show appreciation for their generosity. Consider offering recognition or benefits for larger donations, such as a personal thank-you note or an exclusive event invitation.

2. Ascend Frequency

Recurring donations, such as a monthly giving program, are a powerful way to build a sustainable funding source and deepen relationships with supporters.

Offer different giving levels and communicate how each level can make a difference. Make it easy for supporters to sign up and manage their donations, and don’t forget to show appreciation for their ongoing support.

3. Ascend Involvement and Gifts

Engaged supporters are more likely to stay committed to your cause.

Encourage supporters to volunteer their time or skills, and offer opportunities for them to connect with others who share their passion. Recognize and celebrate their contributions, and consider offering leadership or mentorship roles for those who want to take on more responsibility.

Plus, research shows that recurring donors give additional one-time gifts on top of their regular commitments. In fact, they are 75% more likely to do so compared to one-time donors! The average size of these one-time donations is also higher for donors with recurring giving plans, with an average of $150 compared to $113 for one-time donors.

If you aren’t asking your recurring donors for additional gifts or to increase their monthly giving, you’re missing out on a valuable stream of additional revenue. 

4. Ascend Promotion

Word-of-mouth is among the most powerful marketing tools; satisfied supporters can be your best ambassadors.

Encourage supporters to share their experiences and spread the word about your organization. Collect and showcase testimonials from supporters, and offer incentives for referrals or social media shares.

Putting It All Together

Ascending supporters is all about building deeper relationships and creating opportunities for deeper investment in your cause. By offering value, recognizing contributions, and creating opportunities for engagement and promotion, you can turn supporters into lifelong champions for your organization.

Today’s Action:

1. Create a spreadsheet with the following four columns (see example below):

  • Type
  • Activity
  • Audience
  • Notes

2. Fill in your spreadsheet with the ascension activity you currently use.

3. Ask yourself, “What else could we be doing to ascend our subscribers at different levels of commitment?” and add that to your spreadsheet.

We’ve reached the end of this 5-part series. If you’ve followed along, you should have five spreadsheet tabs that map the intentional actions you need to take for each step of your Relational Marketing Map. Did you miss a week? Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Awareness + Reach

Step 2: Lead Engagement

Step 3: Conversion

Step 4: Subscriber Engagement

What’s Inspiring Us

When that dreaded afternoon slump hits, nothing is more motivating than a quick snack to get your creative juices flowing again. If you’re in a snack rut, here are a few of our team’s recent favorites:

  • Fruit + almond cream cheese
  • Goobers
  • Pistachios + cottage cheese
  • Brookside Dark Chocolate Blueberries
  • Salted hard-boiled egg
  • Trader Joe’s Mango Cream Bars

Your digital marketer neighbors,
Ben, Janelle & Chris

Next Steps

When you’re ready, here are 2 ways we can help you grow your nonprofit and amplify your mission:

Unlimited Marketing for Nonprofits – Get unlimited marketing and creative services from a team of nonprofit marketing experts who care about advancing your mission for less than the cost (and hassle) of hiring a full-time marketer.

Free Workshop Replay – Watch this replay to get help mapping your ideal audience journey using the Relational Marketing Map. You’ll learn the critical actions you need at each step to build valuable long-term relationships with your audience.