The concepts of boosting nonprofit fundraising and engaging your organization’s supporters go hand-in-hand, each benefiting the other. When your fundraising strategies are strong, engagement rates increase; when engagement rates increase, fundraising revenue also increases.
Therefore, it’s important to work towards boosting both engagement and fundraising strategies simultaneously. That way, your nonprofit will see the greatest impact of your strategic adjustments.
Luckily, we have seven great tips that will help you strategically boost your fundraising and further engage supporters. These tips include:
- Speak a single tech language.
- Optimize your online resources.
- Employ donor data for fundraising asks.
- Reach out to supporters on various platforms.
- Ask about matching gifts.
- Make the most of fundraising events.
- Track and measure important KPIs.
Ready to learn more about getting the most from your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy? Let’s dive in.
1. Speak a single tech language.
One of the best things your nonprofit can do to boost all of your strategies (not only fundraising and engagement) is to ensure all of your tech tools speak the same language. This means you can transfer data from one tool to the next.
In other words, your nonprofit should look for the most comprehensive software and take advantage of available integrations.
CharityEngine’s donor management software guide puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of an all-in-one solution that will meet all of your organization’s needs. While this is the easiest solution (and the least expensive), finding software that integrates together can serve a similar purpose. The advantages of speaking the same tech language between tools include:
- Fewer errors from the manual transfer of data. Because you eliminate the need for manual data transfer between software solutions, you also eliminate the potential for human error while transferring that data.
- Less time spent on administrative tasks. Not only does the elimination of manual data transfer reduce the risk of human error, but it also frees up the time of your staff members so they can focus on more mission-related tasks.
- Solution updates are in-sync. If you invest in an all-in-one solution rather than rely on integrations, you can rest assured that all of your tools will update at the same time. With integrations, uneven scheduling of updates can throw off the functionality of data transfer between tech tools.
When everything is running smoothly within your organization’s software, you are better set up for your fundraising strategies. This will ensure you know exactly where relevant data lives and how your nonprofit can best leverage it in your fundraising.
As you can see, finding a software ecosystem with an interconnected base can help your organization cut down on unnecessary errors and wasted time. It can help you refocus your organization on what matters: your mission.
2. Optimize your online resources.
Your online resources are a popular engagement opportunity, especially for newly acquired (or soon-to-be-acquired) donors. For instance, your website is where:
- Interested prospects go to learn information about your mission and what your nonprofit does to support it.
- New donors (and some existing donors) go to use your donation page and contribute to your cause.
- Volunteers visit to find opportunities such as events to donate their time at events or in your office.
Optimizing online resources ensures your nonprofit’s website is navigable, provides the information supporters will be looking for, and presents opportunities for engagement. It should do all of this in a way that draws the reader’s attention and holds it for a long time.
Take your donation page for example. Your donation page should have no more questions than are necessary for your supporter to contribute. This simplifies and streamlines the giving process.
You should also make good use of white space on this page while still employing one or two visual components to pull at your supporters’ heartstrings. Include your branding such as your logo, font, and colors to reinforce that the donation is going to your nonprofit.
3. Employ donor data for fundraising asks.
Donor data can make a huge impact when your nonprofit starts asking for gifts from your supporters. Knowing their background with your organization can make all the difference between a donation and a rejection.
Pull information from your organization’s donor database to learn the details you need in order to make the best ask. For instance, you may want to know details such as a donors’:
- Average gift amount
- Preferred giving platform
- Preferred communication platform
- Engagement level
Donor data can drastically improve your fundraising if you use it correctly. It helps you ensure you’re asking the right person for a donation and asking them for the right amount.
For example, if your organization is looking for major prospects to give during a capital campaign, you’ll analyze their past communications with your organization to continue with past messages and ensure you’re reaching out using the best platforms. Plus, you’ll want to analyze their past giving and wealth data to ask for just the right amount.
4. Reach out to supporters on various platforms.
While many donors have a preferred primary platform, this doesn’t mean that’s the only platform you use to reach them. Instead, you should still reach out to supporters using various communication platforms.
Make sure to fully employ supporter segmentation in your CRM to best craft the message you want to communicate to various groups.
For example, you might send a “welcome” email to the supporters who just made their first contribution. You may also reach out on social media and invite them to follow your organization.
No matter which platform you’re using to reach your supporters, start with a letter template. Make adjustments and reword the template to match your nonprofit’s voice and brand. The template will make sure you have all of the necessary elements that you need to appeal to each supporter. This site has some great example templates you can use to get started.
After you’ve adjusted your starting template and written your messages out, be sure to save them in your CRM. You can then use these messages and tweak them for future outreach.
5. Ask about matching gifts.
One of the top ways nonprofits can boost their efforts is to incorporate matching gifts into their fundraising strategies. Matching gifts are contributions made by corporations with a corporate giving program. These gifts are given in response to (and in support of) their employee’s contributions to eligible nonprofits.
Corporate giving programs essentially provide free money to nonprofits. However, not enough employees know that they’re eligible for matching gifts. That’s why, according to Double the Donation, $4 to $7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed each and every year.
Investing in a matching gift database will help your nonprofit inform donors of their eligibility and encourage them to ask for a match from their employers.
Plus, according to the same Double the Donation article, donors who are eligible for a match are more likely to give in the first place. In fact, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to give and one in three say they’re likely to donate more if they know about their eligibility.
6. Make the most of fundraising events.
A little bit of additional time and effort spent on the planning process for nonprofit’s events can make a huge difference when it comes to boosting your fundraising strategy.
First, your nonprofit needs to figure out what the primary purpose of your event is and keep that in mind throughout the planning process. For instance, the purpose of the event might be to:
- Steward major prospects
- Cultivate existing donors
- Acquire new supporters
- Develop relationships with donors
Too many nonprofits get swept away in the planning process and end up losing focus on the primary purpose of the event. Try writing down the primary purpose of your event somewhere notable so that you don’t lose focus during the planning process.
Once you have established the primary purpose of your nonprofit’s event, you can start honing in on the additional aspects of the event that will boost your strategies. For instance, make sure you have plenty of interactive activities, but don’t take away from the intermingling of supporters.
You may choose to offer mobile bidding for an auction or sponsorship opportunities for a fun run. No matter the activities you choose to incorporate into the event, collect data from the success of each using your nonprofit event software. Then, save this data in your CRM to inform your decisions regarding future events.
7. Track and measure important KPIs.
No matter what strategies you employ to boost your nonprofit’s fundraising and engagement efforts, you should have an effective way to measure the success rates.
Measurable and specific key performance indicators can help your organization see how well your efforts are playing out. For example, you may track and measure metrics such as:
- The open and click-through rates for email communications
- The number of matching gift requests submitted by supporters
- The number of new event attendees at annual gatherings
- The average gift size contributed to your organization
- The overall donor retention rate at your organization
- The funding information for different mission-based goals
As your organization decides what KPIs are most important to you, make sure you take a base measurement before you vary your existing fundraising strategy. This will help show the impact that your strategic changes have made and how much more effective new efforts can be.
Effective nonprofit fundraising is key to retain the money necessary for advancements in your organization’s mission. And high donor engagement levels are necessary to maximize your fundraising efforts. Strategically boost both of these efforts with the strategies we’ve listed above. You’ll be amazed by the difference it can make! Good luck.
About the Author
Leigh Kessler is VP, Marketing & Communications at CharityEngine and a frequent speaker on branding, fundraising, data and technology. He is a former nationally touring headline comedian and has appeared on numerous TV shows including VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, CNN’s “Showbiz Tonight”, Discovery Channel & Sirius Radio. He has overseen and informed research and branding strategies for some of the most well known brands in America.
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