3 golden rules to keep fundraisers and volunteers engaged

3 golden rules to keep fundraisers and volunteers engaged

The decision to support a charity or cause is often an emotional one. Fundraisers and volunteers generally feel a personal connection with a campaign, and choose to give because they care about what you’re doing.

So people hear about your work and sign up for their first donation or event. What happens next is largely up to you. Unless you reach out quickly and start building a relationship, they may well walk away, satisfied that they’ve done their bit. But if you manage to engage them, and show them how valued and important their support is, there’s every chance they’ll become a committed ongoing supporter.

Why is this so important? Well, firstly it takes a lot of money and effort to find and convert a potential supporter or volunteer, and it’s much more efficient to retain the ones you have than to find new ones. But there’s more to it than that. By engaging and appreciating your supporters you’ll build a loyal, close-knit ‘tribe’, who’ll advocate for you in the community and go the extra mile to help get your important work done.

So what’s the secret to building a meaningful relationship with your supporters? Here are the 3 Golden Rules of successful engagement.


Show them they matter

There’s really nothing more important than saying THANK YOU to your fundraisers and volunteers. Back it up with real information about how their support has helped.


Make it personal

A thank you, update or request will feel much more authentic and heartfelt if it’s personalised. Use their name and specifically acknowledge the amount they’ve given, the event they’ve taken part in or other information they’ve provided.


Make it timely

Prompt responses are more gratifying and meaningful. Set up systems so you can thank people immediately for their support, appeal urgently for help in the event of a crisis, or send personalised messages at key moments leading up to an event.

SMS is a great tool for building supporter engagement this way. It’s effective, immediate and easy to personalise, and it’s more likely to be read than an email or letter. SMS is also great for building the buzz around an event or appeal – we’ve already seen great success with this during campaigns for Fred Hollows with Coastrek and the Great Cycle Challenge.


Here are examples of the SMSes that were sent out on key specific days to their fundraisers to further motivate them:

[firstname], today is Kick Cancer’s Butt Day! ALL donations you receive today will be matched (up to $100,000) thanks to our awesome sponsors. Join us and take action to give cancer the butt-kicking it deserves. Check your Inbox for this morning’s email and get started now! GCC Team.


[firstname], today is the anniversary of Fred’s death…so let’s take action and DO IT FOR FRED! Receive just one donation today to go in the draw to win a $300 Sport Gear voucher & if your team raises just $100, you could win a $500 team lunch! Check your Inbox for more details.


Luke Edwards, Director, Elevate Fundraising, was involved in assisting both these charities with their campaigns.

“SMS has been very successful for us when promoting campaigns, events or specific days of action, especially when used with tandem with an urgent deadline,” Luke said. “We’ve found the key is to ensure that the recipient feels compelled to act immediately.”

Get in touch today and enquire now to tailor a solution for you.

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