Just as reviews are key for marketing any small business, testimonials are key for marketing for non-profits. Research has shown that people trust stories from their peers over any other form of marketing.
Testimonials back up claims and vouch for the value of your organization. they carry more credibility than anything you could say on your own behalf. Testimonials can also inspire giving. According to marketing research, the simple act of placing testimonials on a lead generation page can increase conversions by as much as 50%.
But before you start asking all of your volunteers and donors to start singing your praises, you want to collect testimonials in the right way. It’s important that these testimonials give the right mental picture and paint a story about your organization. So you need to guide your volunteers and beneficiaries by asking the right questions that will help paint the picture. This can be more effective than an “open mike” call for testimonials.
When asking for testimonials, you will want to ask leading questions that will encourage your donors or volunteers to share more information. We recommend segmenting the different questions you have depending on the group, whether it be volunteer, donor or beneficiary.
Include “how” and “why” questions in your testimonial requests. Questions like “How has our organization positively impacted your life” or “Why do you continue to support our organization” will provide positive, detailed answers in your testimonials.
It also might be easier to ask for specifics and have your donor, volunteer or beneficiaries tell a story involving your organization. These specific, moment-focused questions can create stories that will draw perspective volunteers or donors into the narrative. For example, asking for a specific success story from a volunteer where they felt proud to be part of the organization or asking for a a specific moment from a beneficiary where they felt empowered or helped by the organization will create a powerful story in testimonial form.
Once you’ve created the questions, you can reach out for testimonials in a variety of ways. You can create an email sequence leading up to or following a campaign or event. You can also conduct in-person interviews with a select group of volunteers, beneficiaries or donors. With the growing popularity of social media for non-profits, many use this platform to regularly call for testimonials from their supporters.
Some non-profits take it a step further than just asking for testimonials. They also include name, age, location and even a photo of the testimonial writer. Photos can humanize and strengthen a testimonial.
Once you have captured your testimonials, you want to use them in the most impactful ways possible. For example, if you are sharing your testimonials on your website, you might choose to place on directly below a “Donate Now” button. Be strategic about the placement of these testimonials on landing pages, in email sequences or on social media posts. You may even want to think about the different steps of your marketing funnel and how supporters connect, learn and donate to you. Testimonials can help strength loyalty, overcome objections or attract new followers. No matter what your goal is, if you need to market a non-profit, then testimonials should play a role in that process.