If you’re looking at your organization’s fundraising strategy and trying to find areas where you can improve it before the year-end rush, you’re in luck! With each new year comes improved technology and plenty of new ways to enhance your fundraising.
Whether you’re planning to launch more campaigns or looking for the right software, you should try to sustain your fundraising strategy and successfully engage new and old donors alike.
Let’s talk about the 5 ways you can do this:
- Prospect research
- Peer-to-peer fundraising
- Web design
- Social media
Your nonprofit depends on the success of its fundraising to pursue its mission. This also impacts your daily operations. That’s why each year it’s important to evaluate your past progress and identify ways to up your game. Are you ready to take a closer look at the ways in which you can keep your fundraising strategy up to par? Let’s dive in!
1. Upgrade your technology.
Today, a huge part of keeping your fundraising strategy fresh means acquiring the right tools. If you upgrade your technology, you’ll more easily run your fundraising campaigns, plan more engaging events, stay organized, and more.
Examples of ways technology can help you include:
- Event fundraising tools. Use event-specific software for more specialized features across the board. If your organization is running an auction, for example, you can incorporate mobile bidding software into your event. Send outbid notifications, allow guests to check out, and automate much of your fundraising process.
- Event planning tools. Make sure your next event runs smoothly with online registration, ticketing, and other features that can enhance your admission process and the event itself.
- Online donations. Create online donation forms that are branded to your organization and make it easy for individuals to give to your cause. Make sure you can customize the donation amounts and the fields on the form so you ask only for what you need, as asking for too much information can lead supporters to abandon the form altogether.
- CRM database. Investing in the right CRM for your organization will help ensure you manage your constituents efficiently. Keep track of your correspondence, history, and relationships with each constituent using robust individual profiles.
With the right software, you can make collecting contributions, planning and running events, and storing data much easier. Your most important job is to carry out your mission, so incorporate technology that helps you keep your top priorities in order. Once your planning and administrative tasks are taken care of, you can concentrate on what really matters.
2. Perform prospect research.
Prospect research should be an ongoing element of any strong fundraising strategy. There are many ways you can conduct this research, and it can help you reinforce relationships with your current donors as well as create new ones.
What is prospect research?
This is a technique that nonprofits use to learn about their current major gift donor pool and the surrounding community. The objective is to learn about both a prospect’s ability to give and their affinity to give. Prospect research can be very effective if done correctly, so be sure to recruit the right people and tools to do this.
Follow these steps when performing prospect research:
- Ask yourself what your fundraising goals are. This way, you’ll have a set goal in mind as to how many major donor profiles you want to add, for instance.
- Keep the data in your donor database clean. Remove duplicate profiles, update outdated contact information, and remove inactive donors from your list. All of this will help you stay on top of the new information you receive.
- Make sure your data is accurate. Avoid acting on misinformation by validating your results. Be sure you have up-to-date records and that you have the right person in your database, in case they have a common name.
- Analyze your data. Determine the best way to sort through your prospective donors and figure out who would be most able and likely to contribute.
- Solicit your donors. Start making fundraising asks based on the information you’ve secured and keep track of these efforts in your donor database.
Effectively organizing your donor data requires your nonprofit to have the right donor database. Keep track of your progress, reviewing each donor profile to identify individuals you could focus more attention on in future campaigns.
3. Incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising.
One of the most engaging lead-ups to an event (though it also works well on its own!) is peer-to-peer fundraising, which is a powerful type of social giving. Essentially, a nonprofit calls on its supporters to raise money on their behalf, reaching an audience that they might not have otherwise found.
Here’s how it works:
- The nonprofit sets up its main campaign page.
- The nonprofit calls on individual participants to set up their own campaign pages.
- The nonprofit provides educational resources and support to the participants.
- The participants then launch their campaign pages and share them with friends and family through social media and other digital channels.
- The nonprofit continues to provide support and tracks the progress of the fundraiser.
There are many ways to go beyond simply having others set up their campaign pages. You can also incorporate gamification techniques, such as fundraising thermometers and leaderboards, to encourage friendly competition between your fundraisers. Make sure your tools are mobile-optimized, as well, as much of peer-to-peer and social fundraising takes place on mobile devices.
4. Design an appealing website.
When supporters want to learn more about your organization, they turn to your website. For that reason, you should aim to make it as professional and engaging as possible. After all, if people are going to donate through your website, it should look legitimate and instill trust in them.
Online giving is a norm nowadays, and there are many ways you can design your website to keep people coming back. When designing or revamping your website, you should:
- Optimize it for mobile. A majority of website visitors are now viewing websites on their mobile devices, so you have to provide a great experience on screens of all sizes. Your content should be easy to view and interact with, which will lead to more donations.
- Keep your branding consistent. Choose a few colors to use throughout your website and continue this pattern on your donation page so that donors will know they haven’t left your site when they go to donate.
- Tell your story throughout. Using both text and visuals, communicate your story and your mission to your visitors. Break up text with videos and photos of your organization’s beneficiaries, and even include personal stories from some of those individuals. It’s important to engage your donors and appeal to their empathetic side by demonstrating the work you’ve already done.
Your website should tell your story, be accessible from any device, and showcase your brand so that others recognize and trust it. If you want your fundraising to stay fresh, consider giving your website a makeover and keeping it updated with your organization’s other marketing collateral.
Nonprofit web design is important because your website keeps much information about your organization accessible in a single location, so it should represent it in the most positive light possible. Focus on building and/or maintaining your brand, and you’ll be set!
5. Take to social media.
With new social media platforms rising in popularity all the time, it’s important to focus on the platforms your supporters are using as a part of your fundraising strategy. This means doing your research and determining the best platform(s) for your organization to use.
Follow these strategies to enhance your nonprofit’s brand awareness on social media:
- Take a look at your donor base. Are many of your supporters Millennials, or are they Baby Boomers? This may impact who you tailor your outreach to on social media. Though Facebook is popular for several generations, others like Instagram or Snapchat tend to be more popular among younger ones.
- Regularly update your content. It’s important to regularly post relevant content to continue engaging your supporters. Update them on your fundraising progress, events, and general mission updates so that they’re always in the know.
- Allow sharing on social media. Let your donors share that they’ve donated to your cause on social media, which can encourage others they know to get involved, too.
Social media can be a great way to continue engaging supporters. But you should do your research and make sure you’re reaching out to the right people on the platforms they’re using. Whether you track your engagement metrics or boost a Facebook campaign, there are many ways to evaluate the impact you’re making online and continue pushing forward.
Even more, having updated social media strategies in place will be important once the year-end fundraising seasons begins.
From investing in the right technology to incorporating social giving methods and outreach, there are multiple ways you can keep your fundraising strategy fresh. Be sure to do the required reading and determine which methods are right for you, and from there, you’ll be on your way to improving your fundraising endeavors even more.
Start trying these strategies out for yourself and witness the impact they can make!
Kelly Velasquez-Hague brings over 20 years of fundraising, nonprofit management, and sales/marketing experience to her role as the Director of Content Marketing for OneCause.