Everyone’s looking for the next big thing: the newest trend in nonprofit marketing, the latest hot topic in the charitable giving world, the biggest names in fundraising.
These trends often change over the years, responding to fluctuations in how nonprofits raise money and how donors like to give. It can be tricky to predict the trends to which donors will be most receptive and which ones nonprofits can feasibly implement.
Of course, some strategies will remain constant. For instance, you should always be genuine and sincere when asking for donations and never forget to say thank you after you receive funds from anyone.
But if you’re looking for new ways to raise money and tips for more effective fundraising, you’ve come to the right place!
Check out these top five strategies for smarter fundraising.
1. Simplify your online donation page
Online donation pages are nothing new; they’ve been steadily becoming a go-to fundraising method for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes for the last several years.
But best practices for online fundraising are always changing, and so are your donors’ preferences. Your donors aren’t going to respond well to complicated, hidden, or outdated websites, and current tastes need to dictate how you set up your online donation forms.
The easiest way to overcome this issue is to simplify your online donation forms.
Simplifying your online donation forms means:
- Getting rid of extraneous links that might lead donors away before they finalize their donations.
- Eliminating extra options that might distract donors from giving.
- Keeping the donation page consistent with your nonprofit’s brand.
Keeping your online donation page simple will boost your online donation conversion rate (e.g., the number of people that land on your donation page that end up making a contribution).
2. Use social media for help with your grant writing
Whether your nonprofit is just getting started with grant writing or you’ve been doing it for awhile, you can always stand to improve a little (or perhaps a lot!).
Social media isn’t often used as a point of discussion when it comes to grant writing, but in this tech-focused age, it can be used as a way to stay in touch with funders and share accomplishments and updates with a wider audience.
Additionally, you can use social media to:
- Connect with a wider audience and find new grant-making organizations.
- Get questions answered from grant makers.
- Obtain feedback from other nonprofits who may have submitted a grant request in the past.
- And more!
Social media in general is a powerful tool for nonprofits who are trying to fundraise smarter, but it’s also incredibly helpful for organizations who are looking into grant opportunities.
3. Develop a major gifts strategy
All nonprofits want to receive major gifts, but, unfortunately, many don’t have a comprehensive major gifts strategy in place.
If you want to start fundraising smarter, you absolutely must implement a major gifts strategy for cultivating and stewarding your major gift prospects.
This strategy might include some of the following steps:
- Appoint a major gifts officer. If your organization doesn’t have the resources to make one single person a major gifts officer, make sure that all of your fundraisers are aware of how to solicit major gifts.
- Develop a timeline for making major gifts appeals. Because major gifts are large sums of money, your stewardship and cultivation processes will be much more detailed and in depth.
- Practice your in-person appeals. Most, if not all, of your major gift solicitation will happen face-to-face. Make sure that your fundraisers are well prepared for these conversations by having them practice in front of each other and develop general and specific talking points.
- Create a robust acknowledgement program. Your major gift donors deserve more than a “Thanks, buddy!” and a pat on the back. If you have a major gift society or club, invite your major gift donors to join. You can also dedicate buildings or scholarships (when applicable) to your major gift donors.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to start receiving more major gifts and fundraise smarter!
4. Transform your advocates into donors
If your nonprofit has a pool of advocates that help you accomplish your mission in a very tangible way, you can start fundraising smarter by tapping into their love for your cause!
While many of your advocates might already be faithful donors, some of them might not have taken that step. In order to find out which of your advocates might be a good fit for donor status, consider performing a prospect screening.
With a prospect screening, you’ll be able to determine which of your advocates has a history of donating to nonprofits similar to yours and what the right asking amount might be.
Some of your advocates may be perfectly content serving your cause with their time and service. But there might be some that enjoy donating their money as well. You’ll never know unless you ask!
5. Take your fundraising efforts mobile
Next time you’re out in public, take a look around you. If you’re surrounded by more than a few people, you’ll notice that the majority of them are on their phones. Whether they’re calling, texting, or tweeting, people can’t seem to detach themselves from their cellular devices.
How is your nonprofit showing up on your donors’ phones and tablets?
If the answer is “not at all,” you might want to start fundraising smarter with the help of mobile giving.
Granted, not all of your donors will want to give on their smartphones or their tablets, but many will enjoy the ease and efficiency of giving on the go.
Picture this: you’re hosting an annual fundraising event to raise money and interact with your donors. At some point in the evening, one of your speakers can tell your attendees about text-to-give and encourage them to make a donation right then, before the event ends.
You might be able to capture more donations with text-to-give, a donation technique that takes seconds without the donor even having to leave their seat, thank you would be if you relied upon people remembering to write checks or go online once they get home.
Fundraising trends will come and go. Maybe in a decade or two, there will be another new topic that will help nonprofits raise money smarter.
For now, though, these five ways are some of the keys that can help organizations unlock a few fundraising secrets.
Contributed by Abby Jarvis at Qgiv:
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.