Being strategic when finding new supporters can save you time and trouble, as well as bring you donors that will stick around a long time.
Here are three mistakes nonprofits usually make when looking for new donors.
1. You may think that because you’re enthusiastic about your social cause, everyone else is. But the truth is that you’ll not find that many people who are as passionate as you. You need to stop expecting donors to have your enthusiasm and accept whatever level of appreciation they have. These donors can still contribute without being as passionate as you. They just need to care.
2. Do not try to request donations from your entire community. Keep in mind not everyone contributes to charity, and of those who do, most have their favorites ones. It’s easy to get thrilled about the thousands of people who will be aware of your cause, but there’s only a small segment of the who will care, and of those, an even smaller part will, indeed, take action.
3. If you’re showing up everywhere you can to speak about your cause, hoping that because your NPO does a fantastic work that people will support you, that’s not entirely true. Be more careful when selecting your donors and the groups you spend your time talking about your cause, and you’ll see better results.
Now, how do you avoid these mistakes and add hundreds of right, new donors?
You can start by creating a Donor Profile to give you an idea of precisely who you’re looking for.
This profile will identify the top psychographics and demographics of your best supporter. And it shouldn’t be complicated to determine that out. Think about your top donors and figure out what they have in common: their age? Their gender? Their education? And all the other variables you can think of.
The secret, really, is to identify who your best current donors are, then find more people just like them. You’ll be way more likely to get supporters that will contribute more and for longer periods.
For the last ten years, crowdfunding has empowered people to fundraise for any cause, including charities—and now nonprofits are joining the trend! Creating a fundraising page is fast and easy; NPOs are setting up crowdfunding pages to raise money.
Don’t let its simplicity misguide you! While it is easy to create a webpage, launching a campaign requires time and preparation, as well as the right cause for it to succeed.
In this article, we’ll cover some guidelines on how you can raise money with crowdfunding:
Before you start a campaign, determine if crowdfunding is the right fit.
1. Determine if crowdfunding is the right choice.
Before you launch a campaign, you need to assess your goals to evaluate if crowdfunding is the best option.
This will help you check if you have resources in place to run a successful campaign and if your cause for fundraising fits this strategy.
Crowdfunding matches best for campaigns that have a targeted project that needs to be funded by a specific date. With that in mind, crowdfunding isn’t ideal for broader fundraising initiatives, like annual funds, for example.
Furthermore, you should look internally to see if your organization has the right resources and structure to profit from a crowdfunding campaign.
2. Select the best crowdfunding platform for your needs.
Not every application offers the same features and capabilities. That’s why it’s essential to find a website that not only meets your requirements but also has the functionalities that will make your campaign succeed.
There are different crowdfunding websites available, so you’ll need to filter out your choices by considering the platform’s:
In short, choosing a solution can have a significant effect on the outcome of your campaign. Consequently, you should carefully analyze your options and pick the one that best fits your needs and budget.
3. Tell your story.
A compelling story can help enhance your crowdfunding campaign for several reasons:
Including a detailed description isn’t just beneficial for your supporters. Stories help increase your awareness and visibility on search engines and make your content shareable.
4. Share Your Campaign - Offline and Online.
The key to the success of a crowdfunding campaign depends on your people sharing your webpage and getting the word out about your cause.
The most common way to spread the word is, indubitably, through social media. You can use it to post videos and images related to your campaigns to attract more attention. Besides, social media isn’t just a way for your organization to promote the campaign; your donors can also share your page with their networks as well.
5. Giving standards and motivations.
Most crowdfunding platforms give you the option to add levels and incentives to drive donors to contribute. Giving levels allow you to suggest different donation amounts (for example $5, $25, $50, etc.), making the giving process a bit easier for your supporters. When creating giving levels, it’s essential to consider your donors and how much they can donate.
You shouldn’t set your levels too high because your donors won’t use them, or even worse, it could discourage them from giving at all. Use these levels as a way to show how far donations will go. For instance, if you’re crowdfunding to assist children in hunger, you can explain that $6 will provide three meals.
6. Plan an event with your crowdfunding campaign.
With an event you will have the opportunity to interact with donors face-to-face, answer their concerns, and assessing their responses to specify how you should adjust your pitch.
Typically, events will work best at the beginning of a fundraising campaign. This will get people excited! At your event, you should also have a donation table where supporters can learn more about your cause and how to contribute.
Use these tips to help you launch a crowdfunding campaign and reach your goals!
Have fun fundraising!
Sending out a fundraising email is a GREAT way to tell your supporters a story, inspire them to contribute, then offer them a way to do so.
Raising money through email campaigns is both art and science. You must write a compelling text so that it will persuade the donor to contribute. This doesn’t seem complicated, but it’s harder than it looks.
Many NPOs send emails without doing previous research. Then, what happens is that the text doesn’t resonate with the reader, and their results are not great.
First, organizations must realize that donors are busy, and your email is, most likely, an interruption. They will decide, very quickly, whether or not to open the email and, in a few more seconds, choose whether or not to give. Your text must grasp their attention, tell a story, and, finally, ask for a donation. And it has to be easy to read.
Second, understand that people won’t read the entire email. So you must hit the main points in the beginning and often.
Here are a few ways to enhance your email for more opens and replies:
1. When people feel touched by a cause, they’re likely to contribute. What causes a donor to have this kind of response? An emotional story. It could be a story that describes the difficult situation your clients are in, or something that makes them see and feel the injustice.
2. Write about the need and impact. A few years ago, people would donate just because your NPO existed. It’s very different nowadays. Donors want to know how exactly you’re making a difference. The most significant way to do that is to explain the social cause your organization addresses as well as the effect you’re having.
3. Ask for an amount people can visualize. Instead of asking for arbitrary amounts, try using figures that will mean something. Donating can, frequently, feel like throwing money into a black hole unless donors know how it will be used. What will $25 do for your nonprofit? What will $100 do? Figure it out and use those numbers.
4. ALWAYS link to your website where people can get more information. Keep your email short and concise. If your story is long and there’s more crucial back-up info story to tell, put it on a particular page on your website, and include that in your email. It’s imperative that there’s a “Donate Now” button on your web page and your email so, if someone lands there, reads the rest of the story and decides to donate, it’s pretty straightforward.
A Fall appeal should be part of your strategy to get the most from this Fundraising Season. It’s your responsibility to build the relationship with your donor and stay in touch.
So start now while you have plenty of time, and plan your campaign for mid-October!
Change is certain and, to survive, NPOs will need to adjust how they respond to donors. Because of the need for nonprofits to obtain new supporters, the reasons that motivate donors to give, and the new ways to do this created through technology, we’ve gathered four trends we believe will change this landscape.
1. Organizations will use technology to engage with donors.
Fundraising has always been about developing relationships with people who are willing to give. Most NPOs recognize that face-to-face interaction is the most valuable way to build those relationships, but it’s usually reserved for significant donations because it’s expensive, less scalable, and time-intensive.
To justify the cost, nonprofits will increasingly use technology to identify prospects before donors make significant donations, and then use that data to drive face-to-face visits and upgrade requests.
2. Organizations focused on solving problems will increasingly challenge permanent NPOs.
Many of today’s supporters donate based on perceived needs, not because they have a history with an organization. So what would be the next step? As donors become more and more results-driven, we will see more NPOs formed for a small period.
3. Big data will become universal and easier to manage.
Almost every organization tracks donation frequency and monetary value data. More and more NPOs are using external wealth-screening data, which evaluates a donor’s capacity to contribute. Analyzing behavioral data is no longer prohibitively expensive. Organizations have the opportunity to leverage publicly available data points to improve their relationships with their supporters.
4. NPOs will become proactive to different opportunities in fundraising.
It’s time for nonprofits to leverage the incredible media awareness, and develop strategies for potentializing events that connect with their cause and mission.
The social fundraising sector is changing; the most efficient leaders will understand this and adjust their strategies to become relevant and make an impact.
As an NPO, you are probably always trying to come up with new and inventive ways to fundraise. Most organizations love the idea of hosting events, but frequently fundraising events end up being time and money consuming, with no real benefit for all the effort. To organize a successful fundraising event, your team must first develop an event idea. But what exactly does that mean? Here are some of our tips:
First of all, your team must first come up with the purpose of the event. What is the main goal? Is it to raise funds and meet a financial objective? Do you want the event to be for networking or to gain sponsors? Before you begin any plans on a concept or theme, you must first determine the reason that you are hosting the event in the first place. Ensure that the purpose of your event also aligns with your organization’s overall mission.
You must work with your financial team and board of directors to establish an appropriate budget for the event. Knowing how much you can spend for in this activity will play a large part in coming up with what kind of concept you pursue for the fundraising event.
3. Target Audience
Who will be attending your fundraising event? Do you want to focus on individual sponsors or corporate donors? Once you define a broad category for the types of guests you will invite to the event, brainstorm various ideas or themes that might resonate with this group.
4. The ‘It’ Factor
To make sure that your audience will spend their time at your fundraising event, try to determine something one-of-a-kind that attracts guests in. This could be anything from a specific person who gives a keynote address, a particular location or an activity that will take place during the event. Make sure your team also uses personal connections, this is always a good idea!
Additionally, determine some ways for your fundraising event to be interactive for the guests in attendance. Finding a way for your donors to be actively involved and invested will ensure greater success!
Building a good relationship with donors is crucial to all NPOs, and the way to do it is just as important.
There are three main issues to keep in mind when communicating with potential supporters:
There are different ways to build trust with someone you’ve never met. The first one is to be transparent in all communications. An important tip would be to keep those initial email requests short, with only one or two points. Always let your supporter know that you’ve done your part of the ’deal,’ so they aren’t immediately replying their automatic response.
Your email should demonstrate that you have done your research, and you do not want to waste their time. The idea is to keep the communication short and meaningful.
Each communication you have with the donor, especially in the early stages, should contain an exciting piece of information. A little something that makes them say, “Wow, I had no idea.” If you embed value to those communications, you’ll see that the person on the other end will be more eager to talk to you, because they have learned that they will walk away with a new piece of information. In short: You are interesting.
Really Knowing And Understanding Your Audience
Understanding who you’re communicating with can be critical to how you interact. Even if you don’t know anything about this person, you can pick up small hints from the way they respond to your initial request. If they are abbreviating information or writing the entire words can help you determine how best to communicate with them.
Social events are a great way to raise money for your cause and create awareness and engagement about what your organization does. They also help to straighten relationships with your supporters, as well as educate about the impact your organization has on the community. At an event, donors will be able to truly understand your nonprofit firsthand — so, don’t just view it as a way to make money, but also a way to build personal and long-lasting connections.
On these occasions, you should take advantage of the fact that there is a group of people gathered in one place, at the same time, willing to hear all about your organization’s story. With that in mind, Here are some ideas about how you can increase your fundraising event’s impact to instruct people about your mission.
Before the event
While promoting your event, take full advantage of all of the channels that you have to reach your donors. That includes e-mail invitations, social-media campaigns, “tell-a-friend” forms on your website, creation of specific pages for your event/campaign, and many others. Use these opportunities by clearly communicating your organization’s cause and making it easy for people to share and forward the information to their network.
Don’t forget that the invitation to your event is an advertising tool to promote not only the event but your organization as well. Every invite is a chance to inform potential donors about your organization, especially for the people who can't attend your event. It’s important to tell potential donors about your organization’s impact and provide a way for these recipients to donate without attending the event.
During the event
This is the time to engage and educate your supporters. Try different ways to interact with your attendees throughout the event. Here are some suggestions:
Make sure the message is delivered from the moment people walk in. Display large signs of the event at the entrance of the premise, as well as registration check-ins. This reinforces their attendance and your branding and messaging.
Invite speakers who have benefited from your mission. They can provide real and effective testimonials for your organization and your cause.
Technology is another tool you can incorporate at your events. There are many creative ways to use it to accept donations, promote your mission, and engage your donors. One example is to consider taking contributions before, during, and after an event by using an online platform.
After the event
After the event, you want to thank your donors. This is another opportunity for you to engage even further with them, tell your organization’s story and cherish the relationship.
Proper planning will help your organization turn your event from the only time donors hear from you to the beginning of a beautiful and fruitful relationship that grows during the rest of the year.
Effective fundraising events can be expensive and time-consuming. There are so many small details to plan out. From ticketing and registration to managing guests, organizations have a lot on their plates.
Luckily, fundraising platforms can help you greatly! These solutions were created to streamline the efforts non-profits have while planning social events and make it easier for them to focus on their core competency: raise money to various causes. Here are 10 ways that fundraising systems can help your organization with your next event:
1. Choosing the right event:
When selecting the type of event, you should take your organization’s cause, goals, and resources into consideration. However, you should also think about the interests of your supporter base, since they will be the ones attending the event. And a fundraising platform can help you get a detailed look into your supporters’ preferences.
If it’s a cause they’re interested in, they’re more likely to attend!
2. Creating event workflows:
Having so many tasks to keep track of can make it challenging to get things organized and assuring everything gets done at the right time. It’s especially easy to overlook small tasks or repeat them if there isn’t a centralized system in place to keep everyone on track. Not only this could be a huge waste of time, but also money.
That is why fundraising software solves this problem by offering nonprofits that centralized platform where they can create specific workflows to plan out every step of the process and keep everyone in the loop.
This kind of solution gives everyone access to the same information, so everyone will always be on the same page.
3. Inviting the right people:
Even though you’d probably want to invite your entire base to your event, filtered lists oftentimes have a much more significant result in terms of fundraising.
Fundraising platforms can really come in handy for those times where you need to target your event to a specific group.
That way you can keep the members that fit your criteria up-to-date without risking inadvertently annoying supporters to whom this information doesn’t apply.
4. Sending invites:
With a platform like this, the process of sending out invites a whole lot easier, too. No matter how your nonprofit chooses to send out invites, the fundraising platform will have features in place to help.
If your platform also has an email marketing functionality, you can take your guest list an extra step and approach your invitees with email campaigns!
5. Online registrations:
Attendees and volunteers will be the two critical groups that will impact the success of your event. It’s crucial to make sure they participate by making sign-up easy and as convenient as possible. One of the best ways to do so is by providing online volunteer sign-up and event registration forms.
Software tailored for NPOs will come with online donation capability, where organizations can build online donation pages, and create customized sign-up and registration forms branded to their events.
6. Managing your guest list with ease:
With a fundraising solution, your organization will no longer have to spend the time manually inserting attendee information. Once supporters have registered online to attend your event, their data will automatically be saved in the software.
7. Selling gifts:
Selling products is an excellent way to raise more funds and get people excited to attend your event.
With a fundraising platform, selling merchandise is much more manageable. The best solutions should allow organizations to create online product catalogs so people can easily buy them online.
8. Enabling mobile giving:
With a mobile-friendly platform, attendees will be able to promptly donate at your event wherever they are by simply accessing the mobile version of your donation page!
Remember, when it’s suitable, donors will be more likely to contribute.
9. Complementing your event with a peer-to-peer campaign:
P2P campaigns mobilize donors to fundraise on behalf of organizations by requesting donations from their peers. They’re an excellent technique to expand your supporter base and increase your fundraising donations.
It might seem difficult to organize a base of fundraisers but, with the right peer-to-peer platform, it’s not. With this online solution, fundraisers can build personalized donation pages that can be branded to your organization, making it easy to process donations and oversee fundraisers’ efforts.
These solutions also provide social sharing so that supporters can request donations from their friends on social media.
10. Automating receipts and follow up messages:
Once your event is over, it’s essential to follow up with your attendees and acknowledge their contributions. To do so, you’ll need to send them a thank you message and a donation receipt.
‘Thank you’ or follow-up letters are important because they make supporters feel appreciated, which is a crucial part of the stewardship process. Now, receipts are not just important, but they’re also often necessary, especially for tax purposes.
Online donation and mobile giving platforms can help enormously because they automate the sending out process, right after the donation is made.
Bottom line, a powerful fundraising software will make planning and executing social events a much simpler process for nonprofit organizations. The solution can streamline many of your event planning by centralizing your efforts. It’s also easier to collect donor data because all sources are tracked in one place. That way, you’ll get deeper insights into your donors, so your next event will be even more informed and successful!
Creative Ways to Ask for Donations
Whether your nonprofit is small and is just starting in the fundraising sector, you’re probably looking for different ways to ask for donations. Technology and the internet have enabled nonprofits to ask for contributions in a variety of ways.
If you’re looking for some ways to ramp up your fundraising strategies, we have some smart ideas that will help your organization in new, creative ways.
1. Ask for Donations on Social Media
While your nonprofit may have to compete with your donors’ friends’ updates and their engagement photos, you can start using social media to solicit donations from your followers.
One way you can start raising more money is to use it as a place to link donors to your online donation page. You shouldn’t be making donation requests within every single post, but you can encourage followers to contribute by posting a status with an interesting image at least every week.
And just as a bonus, your nonprofit will likely gain more followers when you ask for donations on social media. Provide them ways to share their contribution with their friends, and you’ll probably see an increase in your post reach.
Social media fundraising is on the rise. Make sure you use these tools!
2. Ask for Donations via SMS
People use their cell phones for everything these days, and your nonprofit should take advantage of text-to-give technology.
Text-to-give campaigns were made accessible in 2010, and now nonprofits can make use of this technology, allowing donors to quickly contribute.
3. Ask for Donations at Fundraising Events
Ok, so fundraising events aren’t exactly the newest ways to ask for donations, but your nonprofit can still get creative with your activities and encourage supporters to donate to your cause.
Fundraising events are an excellent way for your donors to interact with one another and with members of your NPO. Not only can these events serve as fantastic social opportunities, but they are also perfect for your nonprofit to raise some extra money.
Whether you’re hosting a charity race or a gala for a museum, using fundraising events as a way to ask for donations can be a great way to generate more funds for your organization.
In addition to your standard event fundraising strategies, you can implement a text-to-give campaign during your fundraiser or have a designated table set up where people can donate.
Planning doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. It does, however, require some serious thought, especially when it comes to planning your next fundraising structure. If you can answer the following questions, you’re in the path of having your best fundraising year ever!
1. How much money does your nonprofit organization need?
It’s critical to set up a specific goal for your fundraising plan. There's no such thing as “we just want to raise more money,.” After all, how much is ‘more money’? The smartest way to come up with the amount your organization needs to raise is first to understand the goals you’d like to achieve with the donation and then figure out how much that will cost. That specific amount will be your fundraising goal!
2. Where will the donation come from?
Will it be from different individuals? Or perhaps a few foundations? Events? Firstly, you’ll need a mix of various revenue sources to ensure your organization’s financial health. That’s why you’ll need to determine where and from whom the money will come from BEFORE setting up your goal and diversify the sources as much as you can. For example, if all your revenue comes from one grant and something happens to that one revenue stream, you’ll find yourself struggling.
3. Who to ask?
The golden rule here is: be specific. Creating lists of current and potential donors to ask works enormously. By the way, this works best if you’re using a good donor tracking software. It’s unrealistic to expect the entire community to support your organization’s cause. The right approach is to target current donors, lost donors, and warm leads.
4. When to ask?
A calendar that includes grant/events deadlines, appeals, etc. will give you a complete overview. You can start with the hard deadlines and then add event and requests, newsletters, etc. This will help you quickly visualize what’s happening and when. An important tip: be sure to space out your ‘Donation Requests’ and include some personalized touches to ensure you aren’t always showing up in the mailbox/inbox with your hand out, asking for money.
5. How to ask?
This is crucial, and you really need to think through the amount you’ll ask your donors in advance. An excellent way to start is by making a list of what you need: How much will it cost you to achieve your goal? What equipment will you be needing? The more clearly you know what you need, the easier the ‘Request’ is, mainly when it represents something tangible.
6. How to follow up on a gift?
In order to decide how to follow up on your donors, firstly, you’ll need to define a way of thanking them after they contribute to your cause and, consequently, engage them into a relationship with your organization. You’ll want to have this all planned out in advance so it can happen shortly after they give. Another action that needs to take place right after a donation is the sending of the donation receipt. Keep in mind that thanking donors is critical to your fundraising success.
Once you have the answers to these six questions, you’ll have the foundation for your fundraising campaign. You can use this guide for all campaigns you might create, knowing that you’ll be ready for a successful year.