Nonprofits exist to make the world a better place. But in order to do that, the mission needs funding.
To raise those funds, your marketing team will need to convince potential donors that what you are doing is important enough, and effective enough, that they should part with their hard earned money to support you in your mission.
Here are eight best practices when it comes to nonprofit fundraising.
1. Tell Great Stories About the Impact Donations Are Making
People want to give to organizations and initiatives they know are making a difference, and the best way to demonstrate impact is through story. Find ways to capture how you are positively impacting people’s lives, ensuring that their stories are told in compelling ways across a variety of media.
This includes written testimonials of varying lengths, as well as video testimonies. Your organization may have budgetary constraints when it comes to producing high quality video material, and depending on the strengths of your team, you may need to outsource this important work. While you may not ever be able to create as many of these resources as you would want (because there are so many great stories to tell), strive to prioritize your team’s creative and budgetary resources into producing as many as you can.
2. Make It Easy To Give Online
If potential donors are coming to your website to make a charitable donation, it should be as easy as humanly possible for them to do so. If they are discouraged from donating because of a confusing or poorly designed giving portal or a website that does not load quickly enough, your organization is losing vital resources that could be applied to your mission.
Make every effort to have a streamlined, efficient, and high performing web portal where donors can make their contributions. Remove any barrier that may stop them from making that gift.
3. Promote Monthly Recurring Giving
In addition to having a giving portal that is easy to navigate and quick to use, your marketing team ought to think creatively about how to promote monthly automated recurring giving. While a one-time gift is always welcomed, it is recurring donations that can help take your fundraising efforts to the next level.
Find ways to incentivize automated giving, whether it is by awarding donors with a special title, bonus content and resources, or increased access to your organization’s leadership through exclusive webinars, meetings, or personal communications.
4. Leverage a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Program
In order to maximize your fundraising strategy efforts, your organization should invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) program, such as Hubspot, Zoho, or Salesforce. Keeping a database of donors will enable you to see opportunities to connect with donors and potential donors, as well as to automate follow ups and other nudges to give.
While you want to always maintain your personal touch with donors, it isn’t always possible to individually connect with all of them at scale. Nevertheless, implementing a CRM will enable you to make donors feel personally connected to your organization through automated communication systems and workflows.
Remember that the value of a CRM is found only in its proper implementation and ongoing maintenance of the database, so emphasize the whole team’s continued usage of the system.
5. Invest in Direct Mail
As the world becomes more digital, it may seem counterintuitive to invest in direct mail. It’s expensive, the process of sending it out takes longer than digital communications, and, to some, it simply feels like an antiquated donor acquisition method.
However, there’s a secret about direct mail that only the most successful fundraisers know: it works.
Though it may surprise some, response rates to direct mail campaigns are second only to telemarketing campaigns. So if you aren’t doing so already, consider investing in printed collateral that can be mailed to potential donors with a key call-to-action.
6. Don’t Sleep on Email
On the other hand, email marketing plays a vital role in tandem with direct mail for any successful fundraising strategy.
Regularly connect with donors and potential donors via email. Ensure that not every email communication is a direct “ask” by providing resources, updates, and encouragements to your donors.
7. Pay Attention To Seasonal Rhythms
Throughout the course of the calendar year, there are certain seasons and occasions when donors are primed to give. They are simply waiting to see who will ask them, evaluating which causes most compel them. Pay attention to when those occasions are and create a communication plan with a special request to give.
To illustrate, there was a pastor on staff at a small church who decided on the day before Giving Tuesday to schedule an email to the congregation, asking them to make a special gift. He did so on a whim, not knowing whether anything would come of it. Within mere hours of the email being sent, the church received nearly $10,000 in special donations. The church made a robust and strategic plan for how to leverage people’s readiness to be generous on Giving Tuesday the following year.
Another strategic time to launch a special giving initiative is during the holidays. The mission of your organization may also be aligned with a national day of recognition, which you should also leverage to highlight the impact a donation would make for the cause.
8. Consider a Donation Match Campaign
In conjunction with special giving campaigns organized around a particular season, your marketing team may also consider a donation-matching campaign, wherein you partner with a major donor who will match the sum of donations up to a certain amount.
This gives donors the sense that their donation is making twice the impact of the actual dollar amount they give, and it can be highly motivating. According to one estimate, donation-matching campaigns can increase revenue by as much as 19%.
Your Mission Is Important
The mission of your organization is vital, and it deserves to be funded. By creating a fundraising marketing strategy that puts the important work of your organization on full display, you enable others to be a part of your vision for making the world a better place.