4 Strategies for Attracting Parents to Support Your Nonprofit Organization
Of all the donor segments that your nonprofit engages, one of the hardest to connect with fully are parents. They often benefit from nonprofit-related activities and are inclined to give back, but they have busy lives in which their families’ needs may take precedence over donating to or getting involved with your organization.
With these considerations, the key to engaging parents is to get them involved with your organization alongside their kids. They and their families will enjoy any kid-friendly opportunities and events your nonprofit offers, and parents tend to donate out of gratitude to organizations that provide these family-friendly activities.
In this article, we’ll walk you through four tips for connecting with parents:
- Provide family-friendly tours of your organization.
- Design educational resources and creative projects for kids.
- Host fundraisers that parents and kids can participate in together.
- Prioritize parents in your marketing efforts.
Once you make it easy and appealing for parents to get involved, you’ll open up a valuable donor segment that will help your nonprofit make a positive impact.
1. Provide family-friendly tours of your organization.
On weekends and during school breaks, parents are often looking for fresh activities to engage their kids, and many will appreciate it if their kids learn something while they have fun. Hosting family tours, either in person or virtually on your organization’s website, will be an enjoyable and educational way for families to get involved with your nonprofit.
If your organization has facilities or exhibits related to arts, culture, history, or other aspects of your mission, advertise them to parents. If you don’t, you could plan a tour of or make educational videos about your nonprofit itself to teach kids and parents how your staff and volunteers work to impact your community. Providing recommendations for involvement during tours will help create connections between your nonprofit and appreciative parents.
2. Design educational resources and creative projects for kids.
For those days where parents would prefer to stay home with their kids, they’ll often look for creative activities that they can do together, or ones that kids can do on their own while parents are taking care of other responsibilities.
To connect with parents by meeting this need, your organization could design kid-friendly educational resources or creative projects. The activities could take the form of downloadable worksheets, coloring books, or supply packets to make a craft. Any of these resources would be great tools for telling the story of your nonprofit’s mission, both to the kids doing the activity and the parents looking for and helping them with it.
Through these resources, kids will stay occupied and learn about your organization, and parents will again be grateful. Don’t underestimate the importance of parents thanking you for your work—gratitude for educating and entertaining their kids often leads parents to donate, volunteer, or get involved in other ways.
3. Host fundraisers that parents and kids can participate in together.
Organized fundraisers are a great way to engage parents and bring in donations. But traditional donation drives and adult-focused events might not fit well into parents’ busy schedules. Instead, you’ll want to adapt your fundraising strategy for parents by holding fundraisers that they and their kids can participate in together.
You can find tons of family-friendly fundraiser ideas online, including these fun, easy ones:
- Movie nights. Find a large room indoors or an outdoor field where you can set up a video projector, pick a kid-friendly movie (G- or PG-rated), and sell tickets to families with the proceeds going toward your mission. You can bring in more donations by setting up a concession stand to sell movie theater snacks and beverages.
- Bingo events. Bingo works well as a fundraiser for participants of all ages. Set up tables and chairs in your event space, buy a bingo set or make your own cards and numbered ping-pong balls, get a volunteer to call the numbers, and either charge a flat rate for the whole event or have participants pay per round.
- Fun runs. Turn a classic race fundraiser into a family-friendly event by picking a fun theme and setting up a short-distance course (a one-mile race or a 5K would work well for kids depending on their age). You’ll encourage kids to be more active while getting their parents to support your organization.
- Product fundraisers. Having kids and parents sell a product where a chunk of the proceeds go back to your organization is both family-friendly and highly rewarding for your organization. Kids will especially be excited to sell fun items like holiday decorations, gourmet popcorn, or discount cards.
Once you find a way to involve kids in your fundraising efforts alongside their parents, you’ll be able to develop long-lasting donor relationships with grateful parents whose kids had a great time participating in your fundraisers.
4. Prioritize parents in your marketing efforts.
Getting parents involved with your nonprofit in any way—tours, educational resources, or family fundraisers—and retaining them as donors will mean prioritizing your communication with them. So, you’ll want to create promotional materials targeted specifically at parents as part of your nonprofit’s overall marketing strategy.
Of your nonprofit’s marketing channels, you can most easily leverage three of them for parents:
- Your website. Create a “For Parents and Families” tab displaying family events and educational resources, and add a “family-friendly” highlight to your online calendar so parents can easily find opportunities for them and their kids.
- Email marketing. In your organization’s email list, make a subsection of contact information for people who’ve attended family events or downloaded resources for kids, and send email blasts about upcoming opportunities or even a parent-specific digital newsletter just to that group.
- Graphic design. Use bright, eye-catching colors and images of family fun when you create social media graphics or flyers for family- and kid-friendly activities.
If your nonprofit uses other communication channels, experiment with them to see how you can best market your organization to parents. Whatever channel you use, make sure that your mission and their families are front and center in your message.
Parents can be a challenging donor segment to engage, but they can be invaluable to your organization once you connect with them using a little creativity and strategy. Also, when you get parents involved with your nonprofit, you’ll already be starting to reach out to your next generation of supporters as parents show their kids the value of giving back to their community through your organization’s activities.