Integrating digital fundraising strategies is crucial for just about any fundraiser when it comes to streamlining any part of the fundraising process, including marketing and uncovering new opportunities.
When you’re working to take your organization’s fundraiser to the next level, remind your team of some key strategies for planning digital campaigns:
- Streamline your nonprofit’s fundraising tech.
- Update your constituent-facing technology.
- Carefully choose the type of fundraiser you need.
- Focus on donors who have given to your organization before.
- Collect analytics after the fundraising campaign ends.
The great news is that all of these strategies can be accomplished quickly and easily when your nonprofit has access to the top fundraising technology that helps you make an impact on society.
Let’s dive in to learn more about digital fundraising strategies.
1. Streamline Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Tech
The first step your nonprofit can take to augment the impact of your next fundraising campaign is to streamline your operational and constituent-facing technology.
What do we mean by this?
Operational technology at your organization includes the internal tools that you use to make new decisions. For instance, you need an internal database with information about your donors, management tools to organize events, and reporting tools to help you draw conclusions based on impactful data.
Meanwhile, constituent-facing technology includes the tools and communication outlets that help your organization reach out to and engage supporters. Common examples are email or form building tech, a direct mail solution, peer-to-peer fundraising software, and marketing automation solutions.
Streamlining your entire technology infrastructure helps your organization track everything from individuals’ donor journeys, the success of your organization’s past and present fundraising campaigns, and more with minimal manual input of data.
The benefits of a system that streamlines your technology include:
- Saving staff members’ time
- Minimizing human error
- Advanced security as data doesn’t change hands as frequently
According to CharityEngine’s nonprofit CRM guide, the best way to accomplish this type of fully integrated solution is to invest in an all-in-one donor management solution. With an all-in-one solution you’re sure to have access to everything you need at a fraction of the cost that it takes to purchase each tool separately.
Top software platforms will often integrate with one another, providing similar benefits as a built out solution. Manually building out an integrated toolkit in this way, though, can be fairly expensive and time-consuming.
2. Update Your Constituent-Facing Technology
Once your technology is well connected with one another, you should double-check to make sure that every tool that falls in the constituent-facing category is up to standards. This isn’t to say that your internal operations technology shouldn’t be up to standards as well, but anything constituent facing will much more directly impact the success of your next fundraiser.
Some of the updates we recommend nonprofits make include:
- Prominently display your mission. According to Gallup, 81% of donors cite a charity’s mission as a major reason that they donate. Therefore, make sure your mission will be immediately obvious to new supporters who may decide to give.
- Brand communication materials to your nonprofit. Make sure your direct mail, emails, and other communication materials are immediately recognizable as belonging to your organization by using your standard colors, fonts, and logos. Adjust the wording of your communication templates. Follow the latest and most effective trends in fundraising communication. Sincerity, appreciation, transparent goals, and honest need can go a long way in communication strategies.
- Mobile-optimize your technology. Be sure that your constituents will be able to view your emails, website, donation pages, etc. from any device. Mobile-optimization ensures your organization won’t lose out on potential donors for something as silly as them not seeing your message.
While you’re updating these constituent-facing tech tools, go ahead and update your internal operational tech as well. Check your CRM’s deduplication settings to ensure you don’t have duplicate profiles of supporters. Save your key reporting templates, and organize your software dashboard to prioritize your campaign goals.
As more and more people give to your organization’s campaign fundraiser, data will be streamlined into your cleaned up system ensuring it’s easy to find relevant information quickly.
3. Strategically Choose the Type of Fundraiser You Need
Depending on the goals of your nonprofit’s fundraiser, you have various types of campaigns you can choose from to help you reach them. Before you can get started raising money or setting up the campaign page, be sure to explicitly define your goals in order to begin setting some concrete plans.
For instance, here are some of the goals nonprofits may have and some corresponding fundraisers that will best help reach these goals:
- Goal: Quick funding for immediate projects. Fundraiser: Pledge campaign.
- Pledge campaigns are frequently used for disaster relief because of their ability to quickly gain traction and raise funds.
- Goal: Community recognition or stewardship. Fundraiser: Fundraising event.
- Planning and organizing a fundraising event raises money, but also helps people get involved in the organization and allows community involvement.
- Goal: Funding projects as a new nonprofit. Fundraiser: Grant proposals.
- Even small grants can make a huge difference when nonprofits are first getting their start. For instance, community foundations or insurance companies frequently offer small awards to help nonprofits find their footing.
- Goal: Donor acquisition and engagement. Fundraiser: Peer-to-peer fundraising.
- As your supporters create their own fundraising pages and contact their friends and family to donate, your organization can acquire their contacts as new supporters.
- Goal: Spreading brand recognition. Fundraiser: Branded product fundraising.
- Branding material items like t-shirts help spread awareness of your organization’s logo, colors, and mission.
While the idea of building your campaign around your particular goals may seem very straightforward, it does get a little more complicated as you combine various fundraising strategies to make the largest impact on your organization and touch as many objectives as possible.
This is also where streamlined technology can be incredibly helpful. For instance, if you host a peer-to-peer fundraiser leading up to your organization’s next event, including all metrics in a single all-in-one fundraising solution provides a more holistic view of that fundraiser.
4. Focus on Donors Who Have Given to Your Organization Before
One of the ideas that can easily trip up nonprofits is the concept of acquiring new donors versus focusing on existing supporters. There’s a certain level of natural turnover in a nonprofit’s donor database, so you definitely need some focus on acquisition. However, many organizations take this idea to the extreme and forget about the existing supporters in their database.
In reality, focusing on retaining your existing supporters helps your organization raise more while cutting back on acquisition funding.
It takes substantially more funding to acquire a new supporter than it does to convince an existing donor to give again. Here are some top strategies to help your organization focus on donor retention:
- Personalize emails and create a regular communication schedule. Top donor management software solutions provide the tools nonprofits need to gather information about supporters to make outreach as personal as possible. Plus, many will allow you to trigger automatic emails to support regular communication.
- Steward potential mid-level or major donors. Conduct prospect research to determine which of your existing supporters have the ability and affinity to take their gift to the next level. Then, adjust your outreach to those supporters accordingly to build a more personal relationship with them.
Healthy donor retention relies on your team using an effective platform to store information about your supporters. That’s why it can be so helpful to have communication tools in the same integrated system as this information.
5. Collect Analytics after the Fundraising Campaign Ends
All throughout your organization’s fundraising campaign, be sure you collect all sorts of relevant data to help you paint an analytical picture of the fundraising success. From this data, you’ll find it easier to plan effective campaigns in the future.
According to DonorSearch, the different types of fundraising analytics you should consider tracking include:
- Descriptive analytics – Those that help your organization classify and segment donors.
- Predictive analytics – Metrics that help you map out relationships with supporters.
- Prescriptive analytics – Those that help your organization strategize for decisions.
Be sure you have an effective system for storing, reporting, analyzing, and communicating these metrics with your team members.
Take some time after your fundraiser ends to walk through the different metrics you’ve collected. Then, compile an internal report to distribute to your team. This allows your staff to celebrate the success of the last campaign and plan for the next one.
With a comprehensive report of the relative fundraising metrics, your organization can learn more about which aspects of the campaign were successful and which could be improved upon. With these things in mind, you can plan to make your next campaign even more successful.
As your nonprofit works hard to raise money, be sure you keep in mind all of the benefits that will come out of it. Don’t get stuck in the slump of blindly raising money because it’s “what nonprofits do.” Really think through the implications of the money and the impact the act of fundraising will have on the community.
Leigh Kessler is VP of Marketing and Communications at donor management software platform 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.