[NPFX Ep. 55] Boost Donor Engagement with Messaging That Matters

donor retention nonprofit copywriting nonprofit fundraising podcast tips and resources

Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to empower nonprofits to succeed so they can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Boost Donor Engagement with Messaging That Matters

Messaging that engages your audience is the key to good fundraising, which in turn is what allows your organization to deliver the programs and services that impact your community. In today's episode, we examine the 5 essential elements of messaging, share real world examples of how to apply them, discuss pitfalls to watch out for, and more.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts

  • Topic and guest introductions [0:50]
  • Explaining the 5 essential elements of effective messaging [2:24]
  • Why "kitchen sink" messaging doesn't work [6:25]
  • The ways "meaningful" and "valuable" differ for donors vs. prospects [9:17]
  • Using personalization and segmentation [11:13]
  • How to use the full year calendar to create "timely" messaging [14:52]
  • Focusing on personal stories to make messages "compelling" [17:33]
  • Using authentic urgency to motivate supporters [22:30]
  • Direct mail can still be "timely" with some advance preparation [26:30]
  • Examples of the different levels of using personal stories, from testimonials to keynote speakers [28:15]

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Samantha Timlick is the VP of Client Services at IPM Advancement. Since 2007 she has managed renewal, appeal, and acquisition programs encompassing more than 200 million total recipients — focusing on highly segmented direct mail microtargeting, personalized inbound and outbound telemarketing, and integrated e-campaigns.


Russ Phaneuf, a co-founder of IPM Advancement, has a background in higher education development, with positions at the University of Hartford, Northern Arizona University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. As IPM's managing director & chief strategist, Russ serves as lead fundraising strategist, award-winning content creator, and program analyst specializing in applied system dynamics.

Rich Frazier has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. In his role as senior consultant with IPM Advancement, Rich offers extensive understanding and knowledge in major gifts program management, fund development, strategic planning, and board of directors development.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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