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3 Winning Communication Strategies for Your Nonprofit

3 Winning Communication Strategies for Your Nonprofit

A strong communication strategy is critical to your organization’s success. After all, if you’re unable to effectively reach your audience, you won’t be able to mobilize support for your organization. This can cause your nonprofit to miss out on revenue and significantly slow its growth.

Your nonprofit may already have a communication strategy in place, but are you doing everything possible to keep supporters engaged and motivate them to give? If you’re seeing low engagement on your social media posts or low open and click-through rates for your emails, you’ll need to start incorporating new communication strategies.


Your communications should keep supporters up-to-date with your nonprofit, its goals, and how they can get involved to be a part of the solution. In this article, we’ll walk you through three winning communication strategies you can use to develop a strong case for support and motivate supporters to take action:

  1. Assess your current communication strategy. 
  2. Use nonprofit storytelling.
  3. Create donor segments.

Creating a smart, targeted communication strategy is an important element of your nonprofit’s fundraising plan and can build lasting relationships with supporters. Let’s begin.


Assess your current communication strategy


To make your donor outreach stronger and more effective, you’ll first need to assess your existing communication strategy. Identify gaps by looking at factors such as your:

  • Donor conversion rate for website visitors.
  • Social media metrics.
  • Email newsletter click-through rates.

If your audience isn’t taking action after reading your messages, this is a clear sign you need to refine your communications—this may be done by adjusting the communication platforms you use, making your communications more specific or adding more emotional appeal in your calls to action.


Take a deep dive into your organization and reflect on the major goals you hope to achieve with your communications. Let’s consider a nonprofit that experiences donor churn. A concrete objective for that nonprofit should be to advertise recurring giving in their communications so one-time donors will give more frequently. This nonprofit can then create a widespread outreach campaign across relevant communication channels to promote recurring giving.


Consider your audience’s demographic and the type of communications they are most likely to engage with. Social media can be a valuable tool to spread the word about your nonprofit, but different platforms are better for reaching different demographics.


For instance, if your nonprofit is targeting an older demographic, posting about your organization on Facebook may be more effective than posting on TikTok. Use communication platforms that will engage your target audience and motivate them to act.


Use nonprofit storytelling


Reinforce your relationships with donors by incorporating storytelling into your communications. If your communications lack emotional appeal and fail to convey the importance of your nonprofit’s work, your supporters will be less likely to give.

To make your communications more moving, use the following tips:

  • Spotlight constituents. When audiences read your communications, they may struggle to understand the tangible impact of your organization’s work and why you’re worthy of their support. A great way to confront this is to call attention to real people your nonprofit has helped. For example, if you’re a healthcare organization, you can spotlight a patient your nonprofit assisted and describe how donors’ contributions made this possible. 

  • Develop a compelling story arc. Compare the main character of your story’s life before and after your nonprofit helped them. To do this, take your audience through a complete story arc that has an exposition, conflict, rising action, climax and resolution. Be sure to incorporate emotional appeal throughout your story by using vivid descriptions. This will help your audience relate to and sympathize with your character.

  • Use visuals. Photos and videos can help bring your story to life, drive emotional impact and ground your story in reality. For example, you can create a video interview with the main character of your story or show before and after photos. 

  • Create a clear call to action. At the end of your story, you need to channel your donors’ emotions into action. Create urgency and use strong action verbs to successfully motivate supporters to be a part of the solution and contribute to your cause. Make your call to action specific and list relevant resources or steps to get involved such as signing up for email newsletters or making a donation. 

Your nonprofit storytelling should convey your values and allow your audience to get a good idea of what your organization represents. Working with a nonprofit consultant can help you better understand your organization’s values and how you can best convey them in your communications.


According to Aly Sterling Philanthropy, a consultant in the nonprofit industry can help your organization refine its communications and develop an effective plan for stewarding relationships. When researching consultants, choose a nonprofit consulting firm that will align your organization’s values with a strong plan of action that will help your nonprofit grow.


Create donor segments


With segmented donor lists, donors can receive specific communications that are more likely to resonate and prompt them to act. For example, instead of sending a general request to donate, make this specific to the type of donor—whether that’s a donor that hasn’t donated in years, a bi-annual donor you’d like to ask to give more frequently or even a major donor that you want to increase their donation.


To support your fundraising goals, consider dividing your supporters into segments using the following donor characteristics:

  • Recency. Consider how long supporters have been giving to your cause and tailor specific email journeys based on their recency of involvement. For instance, you may have donors that used to give frequently but haven’t given in the past year or donors that gave for the first time six months ago but haven’t donated again. Develop specific emails that target these different types of donors.

  • Frequency. While you may have donors that give every month, your nonprofit has likely struggled to retain one-time donors. Create a donor segment for recurring givers that thanks them each time they contribute as well as a donor segment that targets one-time donors and encourages them to give again. 

  • Amount. It may seem obvious that your major donors require special communication to motivate them to give again or even in a larger amount, but it can also be valuable to target your other donors. For example, mid-level donors are responsible for a significant portion of your nonprofit’s funds, and a segmented email list can motivate them to continue giving. 

To create segmented email lists, use a fundraising platform with a fully integrated, single, and unified donor relationship management database that provides you with a 360-degree view of your donors and supporters. The right platform will automatically craft donor profiles and segment them by similar characteristics. Choose a fundraising and donor relationship management platform that has these features and fits within your organization’s budget.


A strong communication strategy can help your nonprofit grow significantly. Nurture your donor relationships with regular communications to boost revenue and support for your organization. Along the way, be sure to refine your communications based on your donors’ preferences to create a message that they will not only read but channel into a next step that will benefit your nonprofit. Good luck!