5 Tips on How to Engage Your Donor Audience

June 23, 2020 MogoARTS Marketing

As arts organizations navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, donor support is more important than ever in keeping our arts community alive. As in-person events and the economic health of the country are deeply affected by this pandemic, arts organizations are challenged to come up with strategies to connect with their audience and drive support, especially from their donors. Knowing arts patrons are also facing challenging times, targeting the donors who are still able to give becomes even more important.  So reaching the right audience and striking the appropriate tone is critical in driving a successful donation campaign.

We analyzed 800+ donation efforts to understand what makes a campaign successful. One thing is clear:

Audience matters: Mogo has done extensive audience testing and found that arts organizations are more loyal and generous compared to non-arts donors, such as humanitarian or other charitable causes. Arts audiences are more compelled to give, which is a huge opportunity for you. Here are the numbers:

When comparing art-specific donors to non-arts donors (humanitarian, charitable, or social causes), we have seen: 

  • -10% Decrease in CPA
  • +33% Growth in Conversion
  • +36% Grown in ROAS

What this means is that arts audiences tend to donate more often and give more. Armed with this data, we’ve compiled 5 tips to improve your donation strategy: 

  1. People give from their hearts, not their heads. Have your content tie back to the value your arts organization brings to your community. Share how you foster expression, learning, exploring, educating, and growth for your community. Your audience will resonate with your message and inspire them to give. 
  2. Make it personal. Help your audience understand why they should care and what their gift will mean to the arts and their community. Personalize your message, share what and how specifically a contribution will benefit the community, organization, or effort.  If you have a success story share it. Donors want to connect to the value and benefit their gift will support. It’s also important to keep in mind that during this time, organizations need to be thoughtful about the messages they are sharing. It is important to stay on top of local and national conversations to align messaging with the community’s needs. Focus on your positive, mission-based messaging and be flexible with your efforts. It might mean at times the donation efforts are active and other times paused, depending on the needs of your community. The key is to customize the donation efforts to your donor audience.   
  3. Incentivize donors.  Find ways to create benefits that encourage people to give. Incentives can be anything from giveaways, priority access, and direct recognition that will help reward those who most generously give. Mogo has a blog post all about donation incentives coming out next week.
  4. Let donors support your cause long-term. Can you offer recurring donations? If not, it’s a great avenue to explore. Allow your donors to invest in your future with recurring contributions, enabling loyal patrons to continue to give.
  5. Find the right audience. Test different audiences to see which methods and strategies drive the highest success rates for your organization. While targeting is often customized for each arts organization, here are some examples of audiences that have driven success in the past: prior donors or subscribers, fans and followers, frequent travelers, home and garden enthusiasts, and music lovers just to name a few. Each organization has their own unique audiences, so testing against the top-performing audiences can help deliver results. 

For many organizations, engaging donors means becoming more strategic in their messaging and how to reach their audience. The best place to start is working through mission-based messages to align value with why donors should give. As well as what donation incentives could work for your organization to show donors they are valued. As you work through your strategy, there will need to be further planning and considerations for your long-term donation support as well as how to reach and target the audience most likely to give.  Balancing these 5 tips when you build out your donation efforts, can help align the organization with the right donor audience.