Your nonprofit can build relationships with donors in numerous ways, such as by sharing thank-you messages, sending physical gifts in the mail, and hosting community events. One new, technology-driven method for connecting with donors is eCards.

Nonprofit eCards are electronic postcards that can be sent via email, text message, or social media. Like traditional postcards, eCards feature an eye-catching photo or illustration and a message from the sender. But unlike physical postcards, eCards can be delivered immediately, are eco-friendly, and have more options for creative visuals like animations.

Nonprofits interested in eCards have several options for using this supporter outreach tool. In this guide, we’ll explore a few ways your organization can use eCards to raise funds and build relationships with supporters.

1. Sell charity eCards.

eCards are a creative fundraising tool that earns donations for your nonprofit and gets supporters to promote your organization to their networks. The process involves just a few steps: supporters buy an eCard from your nonprofit to send to someone else, write a message to the recipient, and send the card.

To elevate your eCard fundraiser, try these strategies:

  • Tie specific eCard designs to specific programs. Rather than having all eCard sales fuel your annual fund, try creating specific eCards for different programs. This gives donors more control over how they support your nonprofit and makes buying an eCard more meaningful. For example, check out eCardWidget’s case study on how One Tail at a Time used eCards to promote different services their nonprofit provides.

One Tail at a Time used these eCards to support different parts of their mission. 

  • Add additional gifts and bonuses. Make eCards more special by giving buyers an exclusive gift, perk, or other bonus. To entice mid-level donors, you might have a lower base price for just the eCard and a more expensive option that adds a special perk, like a free ticket to an upcoming event, a grab bag of your nonprofit’s merchandise from your nonprofit, or access to a virtual tour of your nonprofit. For instance, One Tail’s donors could upgrade their donations to have real puppies brought to visit their card’s recipient.
  • Feature eye-catching images. Visuals are what makes eCards shine. Your eCard platform should provide basic templates and assets to design your eCards, but feel free to get creative and upload your own illustrations and photos. Some eCard platforms even support animations, allowing your nonprofit to add extra visual allure to your designs.

But why would a supporter participate in an eCard fundraiser? Essentially, charity eCards are a way to donate on behalf of someone else as a gift. For example, during the holiday season, many people want to give back and also need to find presents for their loved ones. Charity eCards allow them to accomplish both of these objectives and send a festive greeting card at the same time.

2. Recognize volunteers with eCards.

Volunteers help your nonprofit host fundraisers, complete mission-related projects, and promote awareness of your cause. However, Double the Donation’s volunteer statistics report shows that 63% of nonprofits state that volunteer recruitment is “a big problem.”

One solution to volunteer recruitment is boosting their retention. Volunteers who stay with your nonprofit long-term gain knowledge about your nonprofit, develop skills related to their roles, and can promote your nonprofit to other community members.

You can improve your volunteer retention rates with eCards. Try these strategies to make your volunteer appreciation eCards extra meaningful:

  • Reference specific accomplishments. When you recognize a volunteer for their hard work, call out actions they’ve taken, values they’ve embodied, or other specific results from their time with your nonprofit. Try creating eCards with visuals that represent different achievements, such as reliability, leadership, teamwork, or creativity.
  • Try a peer-to-peer recognition strategy. Give more volunteers the appreciation they deserve with a peer-to-peer approach to recognition. This method allows volunteers to send eCards to one another, rather than just your volunteer manager sending the eCards.
  • Incorporate a bit of public recognition. If your volunteers want a little more recognition, try making accomplishments recognized through eCards more public. The initial eCard acts as a personal thank you to a volunteer, and follow-up recognition, such as reading off eCard messages to your entire volunteer staff, makes them a public celebration.

Volunteer recognition is about uplifting your volunteers, so ask them how they prefer to be appreciated. Some private individuals may be happy with just eCards, while others might want to share their eCards on social media or with the rest of your volunteer community.

3. Thank donors with eCards.

Showing appreciation is key for earning repeat donations. Not only do donors like feeling appreciated, thank-you messages let them know that their donation was received and is meaningful to the nonprofit.

Thoughtful eCards can elevate your donor appreciation strategy. Rather than sending a straightforward thank-you email, try sending eCards to thank donors for supporting your nonprofit in a number of ways, such as:

  • Donations. When supporters donate, send an eCard. You can choose to send every donor an eCard or save them for significant gifts, such as donations over a certain amount or for first-time donors.
  • Event attendance. eCards can be used as both event invitations and a way to thank supporters for attending events. Create special eCards that explain how the event helps your mission and why your supporters’ attendance matters.
  • Continued support. Nonprofits often focus heavily on crafting relationships with new donors to persuade them to give. However, to build a successful recurring giving program, you should continue to show appreciation to the donors you already have. Send these donors eCards for milestones, such as five years of giving to your nonprofit.

eCards are a flexible tool and can be sent to donors for any reason your nonprofit wants to, whether it’s to celebrate a successful fundraising campaign, say happy birthday to a valued supporter, or celebrate your nonprofit’s anniversary.

When your nonprofit gets creative with how you communicate with supporters, your message will stand out, leading to increased brand recognition and potentially increased support. Try experimenting with eCard platforms to find a solution that lets you create eCards that represent your nonprofit and send them to supporters for whatever reason you like.