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5 Research-Based Fundraising Strategies For Modern Campaigns

In the world of nonprofit fundraising, much of what is considered best practice is steeped in tradition, passed down through generations of fundraisers.

While there’s immense value in learning from experienced individuals, it’s essential to acknowledge that what works for one organization may not necessarily work for another, and even widely accepted practices can lose their efficacy over time as circumstances evolve.

It’s imperative for nonprofit fundraisers to prioritize evidence-based strategies that yield tangible results. By incorporating findings from recent empirical research, organizations can optimize their fundraising efforts for greater efficiency and effectiveness in an increasingly competitive landscape.

To that end, here are five proven fundraising tips from the latest empirical research to implement with your next fundraising campaign.

5 research-based fundraising tips for your next campaign
Tip #1: Raise more by suggesting a specific donation amount.

New research published in the Journal of Consumer Research involving seven studies and over 9,000 people shows that asking for a specific donation amount (like suggesting $5, $10, or $15) results in more contributions than asking for a non-specific amount. It doesn’t matter if the suggested starting donation is low or high —it still encourages more giving.

Tip #2: Encourage all board members to give. It does matter.

A recent study published in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly examined donation data from 12,369 nonprofits. The results showed that when board members give more, the nonprofit tends to receive more donations from outside. The findings indicated that board giving is especially important for organizations seeking corporate donations.

Tip #3: Use proactive language for more effective fundraising copy.

Recent research explored how different ways of presenting charity goals influence people’s willingness to donate. The study found that presenting charity goals in a positive, proactive way (promotion-framing) resulted in more donations than presenting goals in a negative, cautionary way (prevention-framing).

Tip #4: Leverage emotions in campaign images to increase donations.

Key findings from a recent study using deep learning algorithms to classify emotions in images, demonstrate the importance of emotional design in charity fundraising. The research suggests that project images should aim to evoke contentment and sadness — while minimizing fear — to encourage donations.

Tip #5: Use “gift” instead of “donate” for potent messaging.

Recent research in the Journal of Marketing shows that presenting contributions as gifts instead of donations can increase giving. Gift framing decreases donors’ perceived social distance from beneficiaries and increases charitable contributions. However, gift framing may be less effective for donors valuing social distance and status.

In a fundraising environment where giving is low, and competition is high, it’s crucial for fundraisers to grasp what truly drives success in their efforts. Evidence-based practices offer a solid foundation for achieving this goal. Strategies such as suggesting specific donation amounts, highlighting the contributions of board members, crafting proactive language in fundraising materials, harnessing the power of emotions in campaign imagery, and gift framing stand out as invaluable tools for executing fundraising campaigns that effectively support the work of the organization.

This blog post by Sheena Sullivan was published on Bloomerang. Read it here