If you work in the fundraising space, you know how fast-paced, challenging, and exciting it can be. On any given day, your to-do list might include reaching out to donors, planning engaging events, and promoting your organization online. Whether you work for a nonprofit, university, or other organization, you’ve likely experienced a few fundraising successes and failures and learned important lessons along the way.
Now, you might be looking for some structured resources and tips to help you approach fundraising professional development strategically. That’s probably what brought you here today!
In this guide, we’ll cover a few frequently asked questions about fundraising professional development and provide you with effective formal and informal resources you can use to grow as a fundraiser. We’ll answer the following questions:
- Why is nonprofit fundraising professional development important?
- Where can you find fundraising professional development resources?
- What are the best fundraising resources for professional development?
- What are some informal ways to pursue fundraising professional development?
Taking the time to improve your fundraising skills and grow your fundraising network can help you plan better fundraising campaigns and events for your organization, ultimately helping you raise more. It’s a win-win for you and the cause you’re working for!
Why is nonprofit fundraising professional development important?
Professional development has benefits both for you as a fundraiser and for your organization as a whole. Here are some specific benefits of fundraising professional development:
- Avoid burnout or stagnation. Being proactive and thinking of ways to grow within your role can help reignite your passion for your position and avoid the negative impacts of burnout.
- Advance in your career path. Building your professional fundraising skills may help you receive a promotion and grow as a leader within your organization. This is especially true if you take the time to earn fundraising certificates or other continuing education credits.
- Learn about the latest fundraising technologies and innovations. As you expand your fundraising skill set and general knowledge, you’ll come across information about the latest fundraising software, strategies, and innovations. You can implement these insights into your organization’s strategies to take advantage of new opportunities and fundraising best practices.
- Improve your leadership and mentorship skills. Making the effort to grow as a fundraising professional can also help you grow as a leader and mentor within your organization. You can provide guidance and career advice for other fundraising professionals at your organization, making your team more effective.
To approach fundraising professional development productively, set personal goals. For example, you might identify a certification you’d like to pursue or plan to set aside a specific amount of time each week to pursue professional development. Having a specific goal in mind will help you measure your progress and make tangible strides toward becoming a better fundraiser.
Where can you find fundraising professional development resources?
It can be challenging to parse through the hundreds of websites and resources online that offer fundraising development support. To help narrow down your search, here are a few common sources of fundraising professional development resources and courses:
- Aggregators like NXUnite. NXUnite helps connect fundraising professionals with resources and educational opportunities such as panels and webinars.
- Recommendations from your fellow nonprofit professionals. Long-time fundraising professionals at your organization or similar organizations will likely be able to point you toward resources that they’ve found to be the most helpful. Request a quick meeting with a mentor or other leader at your organization to get more information about their professional development path.
- Nonprofit associations. Nonprofit associations and organizations provide fundraising courses, blog posts from industry experts, conference reminders, and more. You can even join your local chapter of a larger organization to network with other fundraising professionals in your area. We’ll discuss nonprofit associations in more detail later.
- Course catalogs from universities. Higher education institutions will often offer professional development courses and seminars that anyone can attend. For example, the University of Georgia’s Center for Continuing Education offers a nonprofit fundraising essentials course. Indiana University offers fundraising courses through The Fund Raising School with topics such as developing major gifts and managing capital campaigns.
Read on for a more in-depth look at our top options for fundraising professional development resources!
What are the best fundraising resources for professional development?
You have a range of options to consider for different ways you can build your fundraising skills. These options include everything from taking an online course to attending conferences.
Specifically, here’s a closer look at some of our favorite professional development resources for fundraisers:
A webinar is an online discussion or seminar where industry experts share their insights and opinions about specific topics. Nonprofit webinars bring together fundraising experts with individuals looking to expand their fundraising efforts or skill set to provide more value to their organizations.
Webinars are helpful if you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands to devote to fundraising professional development. Most are an hour or less, so you may even be able to join on your lunch break.
Take a look at our top two sources for nonprofit webinars:
NXUnite delivers a wide range of nonprofit webinars and panels with well-known nonprofit experts and influencers. Topics go beyond the fundraising basics to get to the heart of the challenges and opportunities that fundraisers currently face. Plus, these webinars offer insights for the entire mission-driven sector as a whole. That means there’s something for everyone, from nonprofit professionals to professionals working with associations, faith organizations, schools, and more.
Interested in participating in or presenting at an NXUnite panel? Sign up to join the NXUnite community.
Double the Donation
Double the Donation is the leading industry expert on matching gift fundraising. Their webinars can help you understand how to maximize your fundraising revenue from this important but often overlooked source. But their webinars cover more than matching gifts—topics also include volunteer grants, workplace giving, integration deep dives, and general fundraising best practices. Visit the Double the Donation website for more information on live and on-demand webinars.
Online learning has exploded in popularity in recent years, giving fundraisers a way to continue their education while working full-time jobs. If you’re looking for more in-depth fundraising training, taking an online course can be an effective way to develop your skills while working at your own pace. Plus, many online fundraising courses are completely free.
Let’s review some of our favorite online fundraising courses:
Nonprofit.Courses offers thousands of online courses for nonprofit staff and board members and volunteers. Course topics include grantwriting, fundraising, start-up for small nonprofits, and more. They also offer courses to help earn a variety of certificates like a nonprofit management certification. You can also check out the free content offered by Nonprofit.Courses, which includes podcasts, videos, and documents.
NonprofitReady provides free online training courses for fundraising professionals. These courses cover common fundraising tasks and challenges, including accounting and finance, marketing and communications, and much more. They also empower fundraisers to earn free certificates in areas such as fundraising essentials and financial management essentials.
Udemy offers a broad range of courses, not only for nonprofit professionals but also for business professionals. Their nonprofit courses run the gamut from graphic design for nonprofits to how to start a nonprofit with limited resources. Udemy also offers a nonprofit plan for 501(c)(3) organizations, granting them special pricing and access to thousands of on-demand courses.
Associations and accrediting organizations
As mentioned, associations can be a great resource for getting connected to fundraising professional development opportunities. Associations bring nonprofit professionals together to learn, make connections, and grow in their profession. Joining an association can help you find free resources and new opportunities that you might otherwise not have access to.
In addition, there are multiple accrediting organizations that set fundraising standards and offer certifications for nonprofit professionals to earn that prove their fundraising capabilities. Earning these certifications shows current and potential employers that you’ve committed to the highest standards of professionalism in the fundraising space.
Here’s a closer look at a few fundraising associations and accrediting organizations you may be interested in joining:
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) brings together individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations to promote ethical fundraising and train professionals on fundraising best practices. AFP facilitates both in-person professional development and online learning. Check out the event calendar to learn more about and sign up for in-person engagement opportunities.
Their online learning opportunities include webinars, e-courses, and intensive workshops.
Your state’s nonprofit association or membership organization
Joining a local association within your region or state can be highly beneficial for networking with other professionals that understand the unique fundraising environment of your local area.
You can either find your local chapter of a larger association such as AFP or look for other organizations that specifically focus on your area. For example, you might join the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, or CalNonprofits. A regional or local organization will host events and webinars that bring together other fundraising professionals in your area who are dealing with similar issues.
CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) International is an independent nonprofit with a mission to set standards for the philanthropic space and facilitate accreditations for fundraising professionals. To become a CFRE, nonprofit professionals must first earn continuing education points in a variety of topic areas. After reaching the point requirement, professionals can fill out an application and complete a written examination.
Receiving the CFRE certification shows employers that you have a broad knowledge base of fundraising and nonprofit management topics, that you’re invested in growing and developing as a fundraiser, and that you adhere to the highest standards of ethical fundraising. Learn more about the certification and requirements on the CFRE website.
Public speaking and presentation training
Fundraising professionals are often surprised when they realize how much of the success of their role depends on their public speaking skills. As a fundraiser, you probably engage with a variety of internal and external audiences on a regular basis, from your fellow staff members to volunteers, donors, corporate partners, and more. Communicating effectively with these different groups is critical to garnering support for your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.
Let’s take a look at our favorite public speaking resource:
Be Brilliant Presentation Group
Be Brilliant Presentation Group is a public speaking organization that helps working professionals grow in their presentation skills and become more impactful, inspiring speakers. Individuals looking for tailored public speaking coaching can gain access to a tried-and-true presentation framework, one-on-one coaching, and interactive workshops.
Taking your unique presentation style into account, your speaking coach will work with you to help you develop your skills and create an approach that works best for you. Your coach can also help you specifically with preparations for a conference speech or presentation and even provide day-of assistance. Speak with a coach today to find out more.
Nothing brings nonprofit professionals together quite like a conference. A conference allows fundraising professionals to discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities within the fundraising space. These experiences are invaluable for the connections that they foster and strategic partnerships they can help forge between organizations and individuals.
If you’re interested in attending a conference to brush up on the latest fundraising trends and best practices, here are a few to consider adding to your calendar:
Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Summit
Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Summit offers a chance for nonprofit professionals to come together to join in roundtable discussions and hear presentations about matching gifts. This conference will provide you with a more developed strategy for raising more funding for your organization through matching gifts.
You’ll also hear insight about how to use Double the Donation’s tools to their full potential to streamline the matching gift process as much as possible. The easier you can make the matching gift process for donors, the more funding you can earn from this source.
The exact date for this year’s matching gift summit hasn’t been announced yet, but you can check NXUnite’s nonprofit conference page for updates!
Considered the world’s largest fundraising conference, AFP’s International Conference (also known as AFP Icon) is a multi-day conference that brings together nonprofit professionals from a wide array of backgrounds and organizations. The 2022 conference schedule included sessions on leveraging digital ads for fundraising success, inclusion and equity issues in fundraising, and how to advance in your fundraising career.
AFP ICON 2023 is scheduled for April 16-18 in New Orleans. Keep an eye on the website for updates.
Labeled a “must-attend” nonprofit conference by Forbes, Cause Camp brings together leaders, influencers, and other movers and shakers in the fundraising world. Along with presentations and panels, Cause Camp offers breakout sessions that are geared toward facilitating training, not just discussions. Plus, attendees can earn up to five CFRE credits for attending.
Cause Camp 2023 will be held in Greater Sandusky, Ohio on September 14 and 15.
Nonprofit Technology Conference
The Nonprofit Technology Conference (otherwise known as the NTC) is an annual gathering focused on how technology works within the nonprofit sector. The conference is hosted by NTEN, an organization dedicated to bringing together nonprofit professionals to use technology for good. The NTC offers breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and other educational experiences to advance the field of nonprofit technology and use.
The next NTC will be held April 12-14, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.
Check out NXUnite’s roundup of the best nonprofit conferences to explore additional opportunities.
What are some informal ways to pursue fundraising professional development?
Attending a conference or earning a certificate aren’t the only ways to grow as a fundraiser. You can pursue fundraising professional development in more casual settings as well. For instance, you can:
- Listen to podcasts. Podcasts can be a great way to listen to diverse perspectives and learn from anywhere, whether you’re out on a run, at the grocery store, or driving to work. Seek out nonprofit-specific podcasts—there’s no shortage of them!
- Find a mentor. Connect with a leader at your organization, a long-time staff member, or a fundraising professional at another organization to ask if they’d be willing to be a professional mentor. Set up a coffee shop meeting or casual lunch to meet with your mentor and ask for career advice.
- Attend local networking events. Get involved in networking events hosted by local associations, nonprofits, and even business organizations. Speaking with professionals outside of the nonprofit sector can help you think of creative or outside-the-box strategies to tackle challenges or grow as a working professional.
- Reach out to individuals in similar roles at other organizations. Connect with your counterparts at other organizations to ask if you can get their perspective on how they’re tackling common fundraising challenges. Also, ask them whether they’ve pursued any professional development activities and what they found to be the most helpful.
Any opportunities you have to surround yourself with fundraising knowledge and insight is another step toward developing as a fundraising professional.
Fundraising professional development should be an ongoing goal. The fundraising landscape is constantly changing, with new technologies, strategies, and best practices being introduced. Keeping up with this shifting world will allow you to advance in your career and bring more value to your organization.
For more information on fundraising professional development, check out these additional resources:
- Nonprofit Fundraising Training: FAQs and 8 Top Resources. Looking for more information on fundraising training and the best courses to take? This guide has everything you need to know.
- The Top 3 Fundraising Metrics You Should Be Tracking. Understanding fundraising metrics is an important aspect of growing as a fundraiser. Here are three important metrics to be aware of.
- Cause-Related Marketing: A Brief Guide for Nonprofits. Effective marketing is a critical aspect of getting the word out about your fundraisers. Use this guide to help develop your cause-related marketing skills.
Salesforce is one of the most popular options for nonprofits to manage donors and track programs. Specifically, Salesforce products can be especially useful for nonprofits looking for a fully customizable, scalable constituent relationship management system (CRM).
Nonprofits interested in Salesforce should assess the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). NPSP configures the base Salesforce CRM to facilitate a number of essential nonprofit tasks, giving you the ability to launch fundraisers, conduct program management, manage donors, and more.
The Salesforce platform can be customized and expanded through a variety of apps available for download on the Salesforce AppExchange. If you’re looking to run your volunteer programs through Salesforce, then explore Volunteers for Salesforce, an app that adds all the features you need to manage your volunteer program.
What is Volunteers for Salesforce?
Volunteers for Salesforce is a free open-source app that nonprofits can integrate into their Salesforce CRM. With this app, volunteer managers can manage volunteer programs by designing volunteer opportunity posts, creating schedules, and tracking key data about your volunteers.
For organizations interested in managing all of their programs, from fundraising campaigns to case management, through one unified system, Volunteers for Salesforce is an easy solution.
What are some features of Volunteers for Salesforce?
With Volunteers for Salesforce’s user-friendly tools, you can manage nearly every aspect of your volunteer program.
Volunteers for Salesforce provides useful templates and systemized tools that allow nonprofits to create volunteer postings and list them on their website in a manner of minutes. Then, when volunteers apply for a position, the data they input will automatically sync with your CRM, so you can easily find everything you need to get in touch with new volunteers.
To make the most of this feature, consider integrating your website with your Salesforce CRM. You may need assistance from a Salesforce consultant to accomplish this, but doing so will allow you to better track engagement with your volunteer opportunity posts and provide real-time updates to volunteers browsing your website.
Volunteers for Salesforce has numerous scheduling tools that make creating recurring volunteer shifts and assignments simple and efficient.
Specifically, the volunteer shift calendar allows supporters to keep track of upcoming shifts and potentially discover other opportunities they may want to help out with. You can add relevant activities outside of regularly scheduled shifts to the calendar as well, such as scheduled training activities and appreciation events.
One of the most important aspects of a volunteer program is consistent and reliable communication between your nonprofit and its volunteers. Volunteers for Salesforce facilitates the process of getting in touch with supporters by creating individual volunteer records in your CRM that record their information, allowing you to send mass emails to them about new opportunities and easily get in touch with individual volunteers as necessary.
Having a detailed volunteer database to reference also allows you to segment your volunteers based on their skill sets, interests, and history with your organization. By doing so, you can create personalized messages that are relevant to the recipients, strengthening their relationships with your nonprofit.
How can I get started with Volunteers for Salesforce?
Once you’ve decided Volunteers for Salesforce is right for your nonprofit, you can download it for free off the Salesforce AppExchange. From there, if you encounter any issues implementing it or are looking to customize its features, you can partner with a Salesforce developer.
For nonprofits already familiar with and using Salesforce, implementing Volunteers for Salesforce is ultimately an easy and straightforward process. After integration, any data the app collects will flow straight into your CRM for convenient access.
Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.
Salesforce Experience Cloud Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Salesforce Experience Cloud opens up valuable possibilities for creating online experiences that will encourage your supporters and volunteers to stay engaged with your organization. Learn more about its features in this guide.
Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce: 5 Reasons Why You Should Switch – If you’re currently using another CRM, such as Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge, you may be curious about the differences between your current software and Salesforce. This helpful article can help answer your questions.
For service-minded or mission-driven individuals, the nonprofit sector can be a very inspiring and rewarding industry to start their careers. There are many nonprofit jobs available for interested job hunters of varying skill sets and interests. To run a nonprofit efficiently, it’s important to examine and understand the impact of individual contributors.
What are nonprofit jobs?
Nonprofit jobs are paid positions for those who work for social-good organizations to further a charitable cause. Just like in other industries, these workers play a role in day-to-day operations, management, finance, communications, and much more. By collaborating across various teams, nonprofit employees can utilize their skills and education to support their organization’s mission.
What are the main types of nonprofit jobs?
Individuals that take management jobs in nonprofit organizations generally supervise the organization’s activities to ensure that it’s effectively moving toward its goals. These are some examples of management roles:
- Executive director
- Campaign manager
- Foundation director
- Volunteer manager
These individuals play a crucial role in helping nonprofits run smoothly. They deal with big-picture tasks that help their nonprofit progress in the right direction, and often leave the day-to-day responsibilities to others.
Administration, Finance, and Human Resources
From helping managers with their schedules to tracking the company’s finances to hiring new employees, these team members ensure the organization’s success by addressing the daily needs of coworkers and projects.
Some nonprofit positions in this area include:
- Administrative assistant
- Human resources manager
The work of these nonprofit employees tends to be more behind the scenes, but they are essential to the day-to-day functionality of the organization.
Development and Fundraising
Jobs related to development and fundraising typically involve planning fundraisers and donor events, as well as acquiring the necessary funds to achieve the organization’s goals. Here are a few jobs that fall into this category:
- Donor relations managers
- Grant writers
- Fundraising coordinators
- Major gift officers
This area is extremely important for nonprofits, because donations are essential for nonprofits to achieve their goals and make progress toward their missions. While donor management and outreach are extremely important, fundraising professionals will also look at other ways of generating funds, such as through grants or by partnering with businesses.
Marketing and Communications
Employees in marketing and communications roles often work alongside the development and fundraising departments to spread information about the nonprofit’s mission, impact, upcoming events, and goals. Here are a few examples of nonprofit communications jobs:
- Social media coordinators
- Community outreach specialists
- Marketing associates
These roles are responsible for attracting new supporters and donors, as well as making sure that current supporters and recurring donors are kept up-to-date on the nonprofit’s activities. Your donor communication should be thoughtful, transparent, and sent out regularly.
What other roles do nonprofit employees interact with?
Those who work in nonprofit jobs interact with a variety of stakeholders and constituents, such as the following:
Connecting with these groups can be extremely beneficial for nonprofit organizations. For example, when a nonprofit’s leadership team isn’t sure what their fundraising strategy should be for a new year, they might hire a fundraising consultant to analyze their current plans and give them a more objective point of view. Or, if a nonprofit is looking for more funds, their grant writer might apply for a grant from a specific foundation.
Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.
How to Use Nonprofit Marketing – Learn more about communicating with your donors and supporters with this comprehensive nonprofit marketing guide.
Top 17 Fundraising Software Solutions for Your Nonprofit – This article highlights effective fundraising software solutions and their key features.
As a nonprofit professional, you know that staying within your organization’s budget often requires a little creativity. Especially when it comes to nonprofit marketing, your team might have lavish ideas and big plans without the resources to pursue them.
However, nonprofit marketing is vital to the continued success of your organization. It’s how you spread the word about your nonprofit’s upcoming events and opportunities and get people excited about contributing to your cause. Without a strong nonprofit marketing plan, it’ll be difficult to move forward and pursue your mission effectively.
Additionally, there are a lot of considerations that go into successful nonprofit marketing. That’s why we’ve created this nonprofit marketing guide. We’ll teach you the basics as well as strategies you can use to promote your organization, even on a budget.
Here are the topics we’ll cover in this article:
- What is Nonprofit Marketing?
- Developing a Nonprofit Marketing Plan
- Nonprofit Marketing Strategies
- Nonprofit Marketing Ideas
Here at NXUnite, we connect organizations with various resources to help them in all areas of nonprofit operations. Marketing is crucial for nonprofits because it’s how people find your organization, learn about your cause, and contribute to your organization. We understand how tricky it can be to come up with a marketing strategy on a small budget, so we’re happy to provide this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide to help you out.
With that, let’s introduce what nonprofit marketing is and what it can do for your organization!
What is Nonprofit Marketing?
Nonprofit marketing is when mission-based organizations use promotional strategies to educate others about their cause and garner support. It’s an essential part of introducing your organization to people who may want to become involved, including prospective donors, volunteers, and board members.
For your current supporters, nonprofit marketing allows you to inform them about upcoming events and opportunities. You’ll want to grab your supporters’ attention and get them excited about what you have in store.
While implementing effective nonprofit marketing takes work, it can offer your organization a variety of benefits. If you stay organized and follow a detailed plan, nonprofit marketing can help you:
- Spread awareness. At the core of your nonprofit is your mission. Investing time in a marketing plan will not only help to promote your organization, but also educate people about your nonprofit’s cause.
- Raise more. The more people know about your organization, the more fundraising potential your organization has.
- Encourage recurring support. Of course, your nonprofit should appreciate each and every donation it receives. However, recurring donations provide a steady, consistent funding source. They also present the opportunity to build strong relationships with your long-term donors. Effective marketing can encourage donors to continue their support for your organization.
- Recruit other stakeholders. While crucial to your organization’s success, donations are not the only form of support people can lend to your nonprofit. Effective marketing will allow you to recruit other supporters for your organization, such as volunteers, members, event attendees, and board members.
- Promote your services. Potential supporters want to know exactly what steps your organization does to advance your mission. That way, they can decide if they’re interested in joining in. Using a well-developed marketing plan will ensure that your organization’s services are clear to interested parties.
To complete all of the objectives above, it’s not enough to just start posting on social media or adding articles to your website’s blog. You’ll first need to come up with a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines your marketing strategy across multiple channels.
Developing a Nonprofit Marketing Plan
To effectively promote your organization, you must set clear intentions for your marketing efforts. That’s why you need a nonprofit marketing plan.
Creating a comprehensive marketing plan ensures that you stay organized and focused on your goals throughout your marketing efforts. With all of the details planned ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on creating well-designed promotional materials and getting people excited about your cause.
If you’ve never come up with a marketing plan before, it can be intimidating. To help you out, we’ve provided you with the major steps you’ll need to follow to create your own:
Step 1) Review your current marketing efforts.
It’s always good to take inventory of your current nonprofit marketing efforts. That way, you can figure out what successful elements you should continue implementing and what changes you’ll need to make. For a formal marketing audit, you can perform a SWOT analysis. Here’s what it entails:
- Strengths. Start off strong by describing what your organization does well.
- Weaknesses. Recognize any areas your nonprofit can improve upon.
- Opportunities. Identify potential external factors that could help your marketing efforts succeed.
- Threats. Pinpoint any factors that could potentially harm your marketing efforts.
This in-depth analysis will propel your new marketing efforts forward.
Step 2) Determine your marketing goals.
Just as your mission guides your overall operations, your marketing goals should inform your marketing efforts. Of course, you should keep your mission in mind and make sure your marketing goals serve that mission. It’s best to form SMART goals to make sure your goals are clear and meaningful. SMART stands for:
- Specific. Create goals with a certain initiative or event in mind.
- Measurable. Make sure you can track your goals with relevant performance metrics.
- Attainable. Keep your nonprofit’s resources and capabilities in mind.
- Relevant. Develop goals that will further your mission.
- Time-based. Hold your organization accountable by assigning a time frame to your goals.
In addition to following the SMART acronym, you’ll also want to list your goals by priority so you know which ones to divert the most resources to.
Step 3) Understand your audience.
Your audience is likely comprised of different groups such as donors, volunteers, and board members. Make sure you define each audience and their needs. To segment your audience even further, think about the different subcategories of your supporters.
Step 4) Establish your message.
To hone your nonprofit marketing efforts, you’ll want to boil your goals down to a few key messages you’d like to share. These messages should be unique to your organization and able to grab your supporters’ attention. To go along with your message, the language, calls-to-action, and visuals you’ll use should all be outlined as well.
Step 5) Determine your budget.
It’s tricky as a nonprofit to accomplish your marketing goals with few resources. To make use of what you have, you’ll want to determine a budget for your promotional efforts. If you don’t think you’ll have enough to make your goals a reality, try applying for a nonprofit marketing grant. Grantmaking organizations offer free funding for the purpose of promoting your organization and its services, making it a great way to power your marketing efforts.
Step 6) Choose appropriate marketing strategies.
The different marketing strategies or channels you choose to spread your mission should align with your goals and audience. From direct mail to social media, there’s a lot you can do to promote your cause.
In the next section, we’ll go over nonprofit marketing strategies you can use to promote your organization.
Step 7) Analyze your performance.
It’s important to keep track of your progress and performance using data. That way, you’ll know what worked and what needs to be changed for future campaigns. Choose metrics to track that will represent your definition of success. For example, if you’re implementing a social media campaign, you might want to track the number of shares, likes, and comments on your relevant posts.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when developing your nonprofit marketing plan. It can take time to complete a well-rounded plan, but it will be worth it to have your marketing goals, logistics, and strategy all in one place.
Nonprofit Marketing Strategies
There are plenty of ways to promote your organization. However, you should be careful to choose your nonprofit marketing strategies so that they align with your goals and audience. For example, if you’re targeting an older audience, it might not be the best idea to use social media as your main form of outreach.
The great thing about nonprofit marketing channels is that you can use them in tandem with each other. You will naturally want to promote your events via email and share your blog posts on social media. This way, you’re creating as many touchpoints as possible so your supporters can contribute to your cause in the way that works best for them.
To help you determine which nonprofit marketing strategies are best for your organization’s current needs, we’ve listed some of our favorites below:
- Google Ad Grants
- Print Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Direct Mail Marketing
- Event Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Website Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Text Message Marketing
Click on the ones you’re interested in to learn more or scroll through to check them all out!
Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits
Google Ads provide a way for nonprofits to promote their services and mission in Google search results. If someone searches for a term related to your organization, they can find your organization’s website as an ad at the top of the search results and navigate to one of your pages.
However, it can get expensive to run Google Ads. That’s exactly why Google offers an option for nonprofits called Google Ad Grants. The Google Ad Grants program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 per month in ad credits. That way, your organization can expand its reach in a way that aligns with its budget.
Through the program, you can market a range of content, including everything from your donation page to educational content. It’s up to you to pick the right keywords and develop ads that target those search queries.
As long as your organization is eligible and follows all program guidelines, it’s easy to get started. You can even work with a dedicated Google Grants agency for help with the application process or account maintenance.
We recommend the experts at Getting Attention. These individuals know the ins and outs of the program, striving to supercharge your ads and amplify your mission online.
While the digital landscape helps break down geographical barriers, print marketing is a fantastic way to connect with your local audience members. Some nonprofits view it as “old-fashioned” or “outdated,” but print marketing is still a major force in the world of advertising.
Think about the last time you saw a poster for an upcoming event or received a flyer in the mail. When you consider how frequently you personally come across printed marketing materials, you’ll notice that it’s still prominent in people’s everyday lives even with the rise of digital marketing.
In a world driven by quick communication, people rarely see printed communication that they care about. Among stacks of junk mail and bills, a well-designed fundraising flyer is much more likely to catch their eye and mean something to them.
When dabbling in print marketing, there are plenty of options your nonprofit can use, including:
- Flyers and posters
- Brochures and pamphlets
- Newspaper and magazine ads
- Yard signs
Particularly for nonprofits, this type of marketing can help you connect with older supporters who aren’t as active online. Plus, many people interpret it as being more personal since it takes a bit more effort than sending mass emails or publishing a social media post.
No matter what type of print materials you create, you’ll want to make sure they’re designed to catch people’s eyes. Your graphics, fonts, and colors can mean the difference between someone stopping to read your ad and going on about their day without a second thought.
If graphic design isn’t your marketing team’s forte, consider hiring a third-party designer. We recommend Kwala! They work exclusively with nonprofits to produce professional marketing materials for both print and digital outreach.
They design everything from letterheads to capital campaign brochures, like the example above! Reach out to their team to start creating powerful designs for your nonprofit marketing materials.
Email Marketing for Nonprofits
So many nonprofit marketers rely on email marketing. It allows you to reach supporters of all ages and types, including donors, volunteers, event attendees, and board members. Since a large variety of people use email regularly, email marketing has a high ROI and is an easy way to stay connected with your supporters.
Additionally, it’s extremely easy to personalize emails using segmentation tools and email marketing software. That way, you can make your supporters feel special and send them information specific to their involvement with your organization.
Here are some ideas for using email marketing effectively:
- Send a weekly newsletter with the most recent updates and urgent needs.
- Send monthly emails with donation requests and upcoming opportunities.
- Thank new subscribers for joining your email list with an automatic reply.
- Thank donors for contributing to your cause with an automated email.
- Segment your supporters into different groups for more personalized email campaigns.
- Append email addresses to make sure you have accurate contact information and can reach as many of your supporters as possible.
Considering how easy it is to draft and automate emails, email marketing is a great choice for promoting your organization and sharing news with your supporters.
Direct Mail Marketing for Nonprofits
Although many nonprofit marketers think direct mail is dead, it actually has a higher response rate than emails. Perhaps this is because direct mail is even more personal than emails, and people acknowledge the extra time that went into the campaign, especially if you’re using segmentation.
Additionally, the letters you send your supporters serve as physical reminders of your organization and their involvement. Having something tangible that’s associated with your nonprofit may encourage supporters to donate or attend one of your events.
You can create direct mail campaigns for donation requests, event invitations, thank you letters, and more. While you can use direct mail to simply inform people about your organization, it’s best to include a call-to-action to ensure the time and funds you put into your campaign pay off.
To help you create direct mail campaigns that drive your supporters to take action, we’ve compiled some tips:
- Incorporate storytelling. Make your direct mail outreach even more personal with strong storytelling. While facts and statistics are helpful for understanding what your organization does, people want to feel a connection with your nonprofit. For example, if your organization is an animal shelter, tell your supporters about a dog you’ve rescued and given a better life. Seeing the impact your organization has had will inspire people to become a part of it.
- Include powerful visuals. People are drawn to images/ Plus, visually-engaging images help to break up text, make content easier to read, and can help communicate your message. Your supporters will get more out of your letter if you include meaningful visuals that connect to the copy you’ve written. Consider using pictures of real people your organization has helped or informative graphics that illustrate different points you’ve made.
- Combine your campaign with digital marketing. While direct mail is an effective outreach method, you can make it more engaging by connecting it to your online marketing efforts. Including a QR code that connects to an event registration page or listing your social media handles will allow your supporters to navigate smoothly across different digital marketing channels.
- Append mailing addresses. How useful can your direct mail campaign be without your supporters’ addresses? You might not have all the mailing addresses for your supporters, but working with a data append service can help you obtain the information and put it to good use.
Direct mail is a great way to show your supporters you care about them. However, it’s important to regularly check your supporters’ communication preferences to make sure they’re okay with receiving letters from you.
Event Marketing for Nonprofits
Hosting an event provides a chance for people to get to know your organization in person. You can form a connection with potential supporters and tell them directly about the impact they could make on your organization.
There’s a wide range of events your nonprofit can host. If you have the budget for a more lavish event, try hosting a gala. To get your supporters up and active, organize a marathon. The possibilities are endless!
No matter which type of event you’re hosting, there are some general ways to make sure your event is successful at accomplishing your goals. For the ultimate nonprofit event, make sure to:
- Maintain consistent branding across your digital and physical event materials.
- Include your mission on digital and physical event signage.
- Encourage event attendees to stay in touch and show their support.
- Send all attendees thank you letters and follow-up surveys.
- Offer event merchandise so attendees can continue to support your cause.
While they do take a lot of time and resources to plan, events are powerful nonprofit marketing tools. People will remember their experience at your event and retain that association between their enjoyment and your nonprofit.
Video Marketing for Nonprofits
Video marketing has become very popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Videos are even more engaging than static images and can allow you to share an abundance of information in a short amount of time.
While YouTube was one of the first modern video-sharing platforms, others such as TikTok and Instagram have caught onto the short video craze. Nonprofits can take advantage of these platforms to promote their events and missions.
There are several reasons why video marketing is so impactful, including:
- Easy to process. Did you know that people process visual content 60,000 times faster than written content? This makes it easier to inform your audience about your mission or upcoming opportunities.
- Elicits emotion. Reading a paragraph or looking at an image could make you feel something, but it’s much more likely for a video to move you. This emotion can inspire action and a deeper connection to your cause.
- Shareable. Social media platforms make it easy to send videos to your friends over text or through the apps themselves. This way, your supporters can help amplify your cause for you.
- Entertaining. Most people would simply prefer to watch a video to learn about a topic as opposed to reading about it. Videos make topics come to life and will do a better job of capturing your audience’s attention.
While we’ve mostly discussed video marketing in the context of social media, that’s not the only place you can share videos your organization has created. Consider creating an informational video to live on your website’s homepage or a thank you video to send to donors after they’ve contributed.
Videos are extremely valuable marketing tools, but note that they can also slow down the load time of your website. Remember to turn off auto-play to help your website load as quickly as possible.
Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits
Since social media is free, it’s a great marketing choice for nonprofits. It also encourages interaction with your organization and its content. People can comment, like, and repost your content, maximizing its impact.
Social media also gives your organization the opportunity to leverage current trends and build a brand personality. Recently, small brands have blown up on TikTok for their funny and relatable content, and there’s no reason why nonprofits can’t do the same.
Although there’s a variety of social media platforms that all feature different types of content, follow these suggestions to improve your organization’s online presence:
- Share important news about your organization and cause.
- Create a brand identity to boost awareness and recognition.
- Ensure your content includes calls-to-action such as event registrations, donation requests, and volunteer signups.
- Describe real people’s experiences with your organization to recruit new volunteers and employees.
- Thank donors, employees, and volunteers for their contributions.
Considering the number of different social media platforms out there, you’ll want to think hard about which ones fit best with your audience, content, and mission.
If you’re looking to fundraise, Facebook and Instagram are great choices because they have built-in peer-to-peer fundraising features. However, if your goal is to rally young supporters around your cause, TikTok may be a better fit. Be strategic about your organization’s social media presence for the best results.
Website Marketing for Nonprofits
Your nonprofit’s website is likely the first place people go to learn more about your organization, so it’s important to do it right. Your website should not only host valuable information about your organization, but it should also inform supporters about upcoming events and opportunities.
Whether you’re creating your nonprofit’s website or optimizing it, use these tips to make your website ready and engaging for users:
- Review the WCAG and ADA guidelines to make sure your website is compliant.
- Include well-placed call-to-action buttons and links to direct traffic to different pages on your site.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and use.
- Regularly check all tools and content management systems to make sure they’re working as they should.
- Maintain a cohesive brand identity throughout your site.
Think about your website as the hub of supporter activity. It’s where you collect donations, share updates, describe events, and educate people about your cause. Since your website has several functions and purposes, it’s important to make sure it’s working properly and is designed effectively to provide a positive user experience.
Between following the above tips and ensuring your graphic design strategy inspires users to explore your site, your site will be well-equipped to be your ultimate marketing asset.
Content Marketing for Nonprofits
Content marketing allows you to create valuable nonprofit content that can bring traffic to your website and build your reputation in the field. You can create standard blog posts as well as downloadable resources.
To help you get started with content marketing, here are some different types of content you may leverage:
- Informative content about your mission or news in your field
- Typical blog content that’s SEO optimized to help with your page’s search engine rankings
- Shareable content that can help spread your mission further
- Ready-to-use templates and downloadable resources for others to use
Writing content takes a lot of time and effort, so you may want to consider creating a copywriting team for your organization. That way, you can have a group dedicated to filling your blog and adding value to your website.
Text Message Marketing for Nonprofits
Since people are always on their phones, text message marketing has a high open rate and the potential to reach your audience quickly.
One way to use text message marketing effectively is by leveraging a text-giving tool. That way, you can create effective text-to-give campaigns that provide an easy donation option.
You can also use phone appends to make sure you reach all of your supporters. Phone appends fill in the missing phone numbers in your supporter database and update outdated ones. Having this data helps to ensure that you’re reaching out to the right people with the right contact information.
Besides initiating a text-to-give campaign, there are other opportunities for text message marketing. You can use this outreach method to:
- Announce events
- Send urgent appeals
- Remind volunteers about upcoming shifts or training
- Promote donations throughout your campaign or event
- Send donation receipts
While similar to email marketing, text message marketing is better for shorter messages and encouraging your supporters to take action. With a higher open rate, text message marketing allows you to reach your supporters in a way that’s convenient for them.
Beyond the few we discussed, there are so many more nonprofit marketing strategies your organization can leverage. Remember, don’t overwhelm your marketing team. Think about the purpose of your campaign and the characteristics of your audience, and choose the right platforms for your nonprofit. That way, you can reach out to supporters through different channels without wasting time and resources on unviable options.
Nonprofit Marketing Ideas
It can be difficult to come up with specific ideas for how to market your nonprofit, especially for organizations just starting out. There are so many things to keep in mind, which can quickly become overwhelming.
To help you out, we’ve narrowed down some of the most essential nonprofit marketing ideas to make your campaigns stand out, including:
Develop design, personality, and attitude guidelines.
If you want people to recognize your organization’s branding, then you have to make sure it’s cohesive. Work with your nonprofit marketing team to carefully develop your nonprofit’s persona and graphic design preferences.
Commit to improving your content’s SEO.
It’s important to know how to optimize your content for search engines and which factors contribute to your content’s rankings. Research SEO best practices and determine the top keywords you want your content to rank for.
Establish a connected online presence.
We’ve discussed different digital marketing strategies. Whichever ones you choose to implement, it’s best to create paths that connect each platform to each other. For example, include the link to your website in the bio of your social media accounts. That way, people can go straight from one touchpoint to another seamlessly.
Create a nonprofit marketing budget.
One of the most important parts of your marketing plan is your budget. You’ll want to make sure you can gather all the resources you need to promote your organization effectively while still staying within your organization’s means.
Analyze your data.
If your organization isn’t constantly reviewing the data it has and making decisions based on that data, then you’re missing out on crucial opportunities to grow your nonprofit. Data provides concrete evidence for what your marketing team is doing well and what they could work on. Some metrics you could track include:
- Clickthrough rate (CTR)
- Conversion rate
- Email open rate
- Social media impressions and reach
Keeping track of the data associated with your campaigns allows you to improve your future marketing endeavors.
Emulate larger organizations.
The great part about starting a nonprofit is that there are thousands of model organizations to base your strategies on. Find an organization similar to yours and see how they’ve reached success to help inform your own nonprofit marketing efforts.
Dividing your supporters into groups based on shared factors allows you to customize their experiences. That way, you can demonstrate that you understand your supporters’ needs and are willing to meet them where they are.
Personalize your supporters’ experiences.
Segmentation isn’t the only way to give people a personalized experience. Consider sending handwritten thank you cards to your donors or featuring a volunteer of the month on your social media pages. Showing your supporters that you care will only deepen their connection to your organization.
Above all else, it’s important to continuously review your marketing efforts. That way, you can adapt to any new trends or identify any areas that need some work. Just because your organization was up to date five years ago doesn’t mean you can’t change your branding or segmentation to be more current to the present day.
Remember, your number one consideration should be your supporters. All of your promotional efforts are directed at gaining and retaining supporters, so it’s necessary to think about their needs and keep them in mind throughout the whole nonprofit marketing process.
Conclusion and Additional Resources
Now that you know all about nonprofit marketing, it’ll be easier to dive right into the process. Equipped with a marketing plan, strategies, and ideas, you’ll be all set to start reaching out to potential supporters and growing your nonprofit.
While we went over the basics of nonprofit marketing in this guide, there are still so many areas that you can dive into. Especially if you’re a newer nonprofit marketing professional, you’ll likely want some additional resources to look over.
Here are some articles that can teach you a little more about nonprofit marketing:
- Nonprofit Marketing Ideas: Promote Your Cause Effectively. Looking for more nonprofit marketing ideas? This guide will walk you through different categories of marketing ideas to help promote your organization.
- Marketing Analytics: A Guide for Marketing Professionals. As we mentioned, it’s important to review data from your campaigns and adjust them as needed. Check out this article for help with your marketing analytics.
- 18 Free & Discounted Nonprofit Marketing Tools to Use Today. Check out our list of the top eighteen free or discounted marketing tools to empower your mission on a budget.
- Microsoft Ad Grants: The Complete Guide for Nonprofits. Microsoft offers a program that’s similar to Google Ad Grants. Learn how to market your mission on Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines with this guide from the experts at Getting Attention.
Fundraising is the foundation of your nonprofit’s success. If your nonprofit is a car, fundraising is the fuel allowing you to drive your mission forward (was that one too many car puns?) Effective fundraising allows you to continue funding your projects and programs to ultimately help more people and achieve your goals.
As a nonprofit professional (or an aspiring one), you may be looking to improve your fundraising skills for greater fundraising success in the future. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about fundraising training, including:
Fundraising is a skill that you can practice and ultimately get better at over time. These tips and resources will help guide you in the right direction to achieve greater fundraising success.
Fundraising Training FAQs
Before we dive into a few fundraising training course options and resources, let’s explore some commonly asked questions about fundraising training and how to develop fundraising skills.
What level of education is needed for fundraising?
There are no sector-wide degree requirements for nonprofit fundraising professionals. However, certain degrees lend themselves more naturally to eventual fundraising success.
If you’re looking to go into fundraising after completing your college career, the following bachelor’s degrees lend themselves naturally to fundraising:
- Philanthropic studies
These degrees tend to focus on developing communication skills, conducting creative problem solving, increasing efficiency within organizations, and building other skills that can eventually help you become a better fundraiser.
Some universities even offer fundraising-related master’s degrees in the following fields:
- Philanthropic studies
- Nonprofit management
An advanced degree in either of these fields can train you specifically for managing the ins and outs of on-the-ground nonprofit work.
Some degrees may also align with specific nonprofit missions. Having a degree in your nonprofit’s field of research or work can give you an immense amount of credibility when it comes to discussing your organization’s mission and the important role fundraising plays in reaching your goals. The following degrees may be applicable to nonprofit work:
- Public health
- Education administration
- Environmental sciences/sustainability
Keep in mind that becoming an effective fundraiser isn’t about having a certain degree. In fact, many organizations don’t have a degree requirement to be able to apply for their fundraising positions. What’s more important than having a specific degree is that you have a variety of soft skills that fit well within the fundraising space and that you are a fast learner who can pick up new skills on the fly.
What are the most important fundraising skills?
Fundraising requires nonprofit professionals to leverage a variety of skills to spread mission awareness, connect with potential supporters, and ultimately convert these prospects into donors. It’s a fast-paced, engaging field that requires a combination of hard and soft skills such as:
- Written communication. Sending internal and external emails, drafting reports, publishing social media campaigns, and designing marketing materials are all written communications tasks that might pop up on a fundraiser’s daily task list.
- Oral communication. Fundraisers must also be able to deliver their nonprofit’s case for support verbally in front of a variety of audiences. Fundraisers need to be just as engaging when conducting one-on-one donor meetings with major donors as they are when giving presentations at conferences or other large events.
- Analytical skills. Effective fundraising also requires analytical skills to track progress, identify areas of strength and weakness, and create new strategies. Fundraising professionals may need to review fundraising metrics and compile the results into written or oral reports.
- Technical skills. The future of fundraising lies in innovative technology tools and strategies. Fundraisers need to know how to use a variety of tech tools effectively, including a nonprofit CRM, an online donation platform, and digital marketing platforms.
Depending on the size of the nonprofit, the fundraising team might be made up of several individuals who specialize in one of these skills. However, for many nonprofits, the fundraising team is made of just one or two individuals who must manage each of these activities effectively.
What are the main categories of fundraising?
When it comes to fundraising training, you won’t just be learning how to conduct one type of fundraising. Fundraising involves connecting with multiple individuals and groups — individual donors, corporate sponsors, grant funders, volunteers, and community members — to build relationships.
With that in mind, your fundraising training process should incorporate the following types of fundraising:
Each of these activities requires a different approach and skill set. For instance, earning corporate sponsorships requires meeting with business owners and making your case for support using meetings and written communications. Event planning may require recruiting and managing volunteers, handling logistics, and creating marketing materials.
Depending on the size of your organization and the fundraising team, you might be engaged in all or just a handful of these activities daily.
How can I improve my fundraising skills?
If you’re looking to get better at fundraising and increase your positive response rate, there are a few steps you can take right away to get started:
- Set personal goals. Set specific goals for yourself that you can work toward throughout the training process. For example, perhaps you want to improve your public speaking skills, connect better with potential donors during one-on-one meetings, or learn how to use fundraising software more efficiently. Having a clear goal in mind can help guide you as you decide what types of fundraising training to pursue.
- Take fundraising training courses or classes. There are a variety of fundraising webinars and courses available online that you can follow at your own pace. Some resources require a fee, but there are also several free options available. We’ll explore a few quality online training courses in the next section.
- Work with a fundraising consultant. If you’re looking to improve your nonprofit’s overall fundraising approach and train your full team on best practices, it’s helpful to work with a fundraising consultant. These experts have the experience and know-how needed to boost your fundraising strategy by filling gaps in your planning process, connecting with your unique supporter base, and training your team on how to build donor relationships.
- Learn how to pivot the conversation. As a fundraiser, you’ll hear plenty of “no’s” over time. Whether a prospect isn’t in the right place to give or doesn’t feel strongly connected to your mission yet, there are plenty of reasons why potential donors will turn you down. However, it’s your job to make sure you don’t burn any bridges or close any doors unintentionally. As you have conversations with potential donors, start to find ways that you can turn more “no’s” into “maybes” and even “yeses.” For example, figure out how you can engage donors in opportunities that aren’t all about fundraising, or get to know them better to send them fundraising requests that better align with their giving capacity.
- Keep an eye on fundraising trends and tech developments. New technologies, from matching gift software to AI for nonprofits, have vastly altered the way fundraising professionals operate. These innovations will continue to have a major impact on the nonprofit sector. Bookmark relevant nonprofit blogs such as Double the Donation, Getting Attention, and of course, NXUnite. These resources will help you stay in the know about the latest nonprofit software and fundraising strategy developments.
Now that you have a roadmap for improving your fundraising skills, let’s take a look at a few of the best fundraising training programs, resources, and workshops available.
8 Fundraising Training Courses & Resources
Best Fundraising Webinars and Panels
Nonprofit webinars and panels help novice fundraisers learn how to improve their skills from the top fundraising professionals in the sector. Attendees can hear from the first-hand experience of other fundraisers to incorporate best practices into their nonprofit’s strategies. Check out the following sources for engaging, informative webinars and panel discussions.
NXUnite has a full calendar of free webinars and panels geared toward nonprofit professionals and others in the social-good space. Topics range from nonprofit IT best practices to how to connect with donors from different generations. The panelists and presenters are long-time industry experts that offer a wide range of insights and personal experiences.
Double the Donation
If you’re looking specifically for information about improving your approach to corporate giving, including acquiring more matching gifts and volunteer grant funds, look no further than Double the Donation’s webinars. Double the Donation is the industry-leading provider of matching gift software for nonprofits, universities, and other fundraising organizations. Their webinars cover matching gift best practices and industry insights, integration updates, and general fundraising advice.
Best Fundraising Workshops
Sometimes, what your organization needs is an intensive deep dive that allows you to set up more efficient and effective fundraising processes. You can find what you’re looking for in the form of a fundraising workshop, such as the programs offered by Aly Sterling Philanthropy.
Aly Sterling Philanthropy
Aly Sterling Philanthropy is a nonprofit consulting firm that offers fundraising services ranging from strategic planning to board preparation and corporate philanthropy management. ASP offers three practical workshops focusing on board efficiency and engagement, board governance, and fundraising preparedness.
Fundraising professionals can also purchase a variety of primers and toolkits from ASP’s Nonprofit Store. The store includes guides for stewarding donors, creating a strong case for support for a capital campaign, and evaluating your board’s and executive director’s effectiveness.
Best Online Fundraising Courses
Fundraising courses allow fundraisers-in-training to work through relevant educational materials on their own time and at their convenience. With online fundraising courses, you can engage in training from anywhere and take things at your own pace. If you’re interested in taking a fundraising course, consider the following options.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) empowers fundraising professionals by offering professional development, networking, and research opportunities. The organization’s e-courses cover fundraising fundamentals, CRM management, and more. They also offer resources for Spanish-speaking fundraising professionals.
Also, AFP has teamed up with MindEdge to offer over 100 courses on everything from nonprofit leadership to finance and HR. These courses can apply to a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification. This certification designates an individual as an ethical fundraising professional who follows industry best practices and is committed to observing the highest fundraising standards.
Nonprofit.Courses offers thousands of online course options, and the vast majority (over 90%!) of them are free. Popular topics include grant-writing, accounting and finance, and starting up a new nonprofit. Nonprofit professionals can use these courses to earn continuing education certifications, such as certificates in web design, sustainable management, and more.
NonprofitReady offers free fundraising courses, allowing trainees to earn certificates and further their fundraising knowledge. Topics include online fundraising, email marketing, fundraising events, and more. Courses are designed by learning design professionals and nonprofit professional development experts.
Best Fundraising Professional Training Programs
Coaches aren’t just for sports teams—there are also plenty of coaches available to help you advance in your fundraising skills. Some nonprofit professionals dedicate their time to providing tailored training programs to meet new fundraisers where they are and build up their skills. Let’s take a look at a couple of top fundraising training programs and coaches!
The Fundraising Academy offers CFRE-accredited programs that integrate business best practices with donor relationship-building strategies. Their Cause Selling Education program allows you to learn amongst peers in a cohort environment. The program is targeted at helping you advance in all fundraising categories: major gift cultivation, planned giving, digital fundraising, and more.
The Fundraising Coach
Marc Pittman is a leadership coach, fundraising trainer, and founder of The Fundraising Coach, a training and coaching program aimed at helping nonprofit professionals build a variety of skills. These include time management, leadership, marketing, and fundraising. Marc hosts personalized training sessions with nonprofit leadership groups to help build confidence and competency. Plus, Marc also offers executive coaching designed to help nonprofit leaders reach their full potential.
Getting Started with Fundraising Training
Your fundraising training should be an ongoing process— even if you’re an experienced nonprofit professional with multiple years in the sector under your belt. No matter how experienced you think you are, there’s always more to learn!
If you’re looking to get connected and learn from other nonprofit professionals who have been in your shoes, explore the NXUnite community. We offer a variety of resources for nonprofit professionals, including webinars and resource lists of top industry solutions. Also, check out our list of upcoming nonprofit conferences to add a few more learning and networking opportunities to your calendar.
If you’re ready to jump right into fundraising training, get started by exploring these additional resources:
- The Future of Fundraising: AI and Capital Campaigns. The future of fundraising includes multiple innovative technologies that make fundraising easier. Explore the recent trend of using AI in fundraising with this post.
- 25 Nonprofit Podcasts You Should Listen To In 2022. Podcasts can be a great way to learn from anywhere— while driving your car, walking around your neighborhood, or folding your laundry! Here are 25 podcasts that will further your fundraising training.
- 3 Steps to Get Started With Fundraising Data Analytics. For many new fundraisers, reviewing analytics can be one of the most intimidating aspects of fundraising. This guide breaks the process down into simple steps and explains how to get started with tracking analytics.
Whether they consciously think about it or not, nonprofits collect data every day. From accepting donations to receiving new email newsletter sign-ups, every time a nonprofit interacts with its supporters, it’s absorbing different data points.
These days, all types of organizations understand that data should guide decision-making because it acts as clear evidence for trends and occurrences within your industry or operations. Nonprofits should be no different. Using data effectively can help your organization optimize its content and spread its mission even further.
The only problem with this data-driven approach is that if your organization has incorrect or incomplete data, then it can be difficult to comfortably rely on that data. That’s where data appends come in.
Data appends fill in the gaps in your data so that you can make well-informed decisions and communicate with a larger breadth of your supporters. If your organization isn’t familiar with data appends, then we’re here to help you learn the basics and how you can get started with the data append process.
Take a look at the questions we’ll answer in this guide:
- What Is a Data Append?
- What Types of Data Appends Are There?
- What Is a Data Append Service?
- What Value Do Data Append Services Add?
- What Is the Data Append Process?
- How Do I Select a Data Append Service to Work With?
Here at NXUnite, we connect nonprofits with the tools they need to be successful. We believe that data appends are an essential part of good data hygiene, which all nonprofits should practice in order to improve relationships with supporters and grow their organizations. Learning about what data appends are and how they work is the first step in improving your organization’s data hygiene, so you’ve come to the right place!
Equipped with data appends, your organization will not only improve its data hygiene but will also gain better insights into who your supporters are and how you can best reach out to them. But first, let’s learn what data appends are and how a data append service can help you with the process.
What Is a Data Append?
A data append is a piece of new information added to your nonprofit’s database. During the data appending process, data append services pull data from external sources to correct incorrect data or supplement incomplete data. They use any supporter information that you supply them with, such as contact information, to correctly identify the right individuals across different sources.
Data appends are important because they ensure your database is more complete with the information you need. For example, you could be missing an email address for an important donor. Without their email address, you won’t be able to thank that donor for their contributions or update them about your organization, potentially jeopardizing your relationship with them.
3 Different Approaches to Data Appending
While all data appends refer to adding new information to a database, there are different ways to go about the process and obtain the data you need. These are the three different approaches to data appending:
- Forward: Forward appending is what most people think of when discussing data appends. It occurs when an append adds to basic information your organization already has. For example, you may have a donor’s name and mailing address, but a data append could add their phone number as well.
- Reverse: As the name implies, reverse appending is the opposite of forward appending. With this approach, your organization uses a singular piece of data to fill in the related basic information. You might have email addresses from your newsletter subscribers, but you could use reverse appending to fill in their names.
- Fractional: For a combination of the previous two approaches, use fractional data appending. In this case, you could use a supporter’s name and email address to find their mailing address. Fractional appending puts the best of both approaches together to find the information you need.
To determine which data append approach to take, think about which type of data you’re looking for. As we mentioned, forward appending is most typical and the most beneficial for nonprofits, so it’s never a bad idea to start there.
Data Append Timing
In addition to the different approaches to data appending, there are also two different categories of data appends based on the timing of when you’ll receive them:
- Batch: Just as it sounds, batch appending is when organizations send a batch of information to be appended. This approach is best for nonprofits with large databases that have a clear need for organization. For example, you might be missing some of your volunteers’ phone numbers and mailing addresses. To fix this, you can send a file with the data you have to a data append service, and they will add the missing information all at once.
- Real-time: For automatic updates to individual records, use real-time appending. Once you send in your information, a server will update it in real-time when needed. An example of a situation where you could use real-time appending is if you want to analyze your newsletter sign-ups and fill in contact information that subscribers left out.
Again, the choice between batch and real-time appending should depend on your organization’s needs. For most types of data appends, batch appending is more beneficial because it allows you to get all the information you need at once. However, real-time appending can be useful for ongoing data append-based solutions.
What Types of Data Appends Are There?
There’s a wide variety of data types you can append to your nonprofit’s database. Depending on your marketing goals and the information you have missing, you can choose the data appends that best fit your organization’s needs.
If you’re not sure which types of data would benefit your nonprofit, we’ll walk through the four different categories to give you a better idea of what your organization might need.
1. Contact Information
A lot of the data we’ve talked about so far falls under the umbrella of contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Believe it or not, social media profiles are also a type of data append in this category.
Communication with your supporters is essential to keeping your nonprofit running smoothly. Make sure your contact information is complete, up to date, and accurate with contact information appends. It’s important to review and update this type of data regularly since supporters’ contact information can change frequently for a variety of reasons.
2. Demographic Information
Demographic information allows you to learn a little more about who your supporters are. Types of demographic information you might collect include:
- Race and ethnicity
- Level of education
- Marital status
Although the benefits of having supporters’ demographic may not be as clear as those for contact information, knowing more about your supporters can help you reach them more effectively.
For example, date of birth appends allow you to know each supporter’s age so that you can segment them based on how old they are. Younger donors may respond better to text message outreach and social media campaigns while older donors may prefer direct mail. Additionally, knowing your supporters’ dates of birth presents the opportunity to offer birthday gifts or perks.
3. Geographic Data
Using geographic data appends can assist you in creating location-based campaigns. Segmentation based on location can be useful if your organization only operates in a certain area, if there are different localized branches of your nonprofit, or if you’re hosting in-person opportunities in certain areas.
The main geographic data append type is mailing address appends. Having the addresses of your supporters can allow you to send them direct mail and notify them of local opportunities.
4. Donor Wealth Screening
Donors are the primary source of your fundraising, so it can be helpful to know a little more about their assets. That way, you can predict how much and how likely they are to donate. It’s important to focus your marketing efforts on donors who seem to be open to upping or continuing their support at the moment. Doing so can help you prevent wasting time and energy on donors who may not currently be interested in lending their support.
Here are examples of donor wealth data you could append to your donor database.
- Net worth
- Likeliness to give
- Prior donations to other nonprofits
- Business and foundation affiliations
- Real estate
- Stock holdings
Data append services use donation and wealth databases to find this information based on the donor data you supply them with. Once you receive your donor wealth appends, you can customize your outreach to each donor based on their ability and propensity to give.
What Is a Data Append Service?
Since data appending can be rather difficult and time-consuming when done by someone who’s inexperienced, it’s best to turn to the experts. A data append service can help you obtain all different types of data appends. They work to fill in the gaps in your database to help you understand and reach your target audience better.
Data append services are reputable sources for help with your data hygiene. They can append any type of data you need. Additionally, efficient data append service providers will talk to your organization about your current data needs and concerns in order to help you figure out your next steps along your data journey.
You may still not be convinced that partnering with a data append service could be helpful for your organization. If that’s the case, we’ll explain the exact value data append services bring to the table for nonprofits in the next section.
What Value Do Data Append Services Add?
As a nonprofit professional, you must be incredibly careful to budget your funds and resources effectively. Data hygiene is important because it can save your organization time and money by making sure you’re reaching out to the right people.
Basic Benefits of Data Appends
Leveraging data append services is a smart investment for nonprofits because they can help you reach your target audience more efficiently. You’ll be able to make more data-driven decisions and have the right contact information for your supporters.
Now that you know the basic premise of what data append services do, let’s explore the benefits they can provide to your organization:
- New information. Data append services provide you with information you didn’t previously have access to. Whether that’s phone numbers, dates of birth, or mailing addresses, the right data append services can find the information you need.
- Accurate information. You may be missing information in your database, but you may also have incorrect or outdated information that needs to be updated. Data append services check the data you already have and replace outdated data with the most current information.
- Better segmentation. The more you know about your supporters, the better you can group them based on qualities relevant to your campaigns. Segmentation is a great way to customize each supporter’s experience and help them build a deeper connection to your organization.
- Time conserved. With access to the right resources, your nonprofit probably could find append data on its own. However, that would be very time-consuming for your team. Leave it to the experts who offer professional data append services, know what they’re doing, and can help save time that you can reallocate to other projects.
- Money saved. The investment of working with a data append service is nothing compared to the money you’ll lose on behalf of bad data. Data append services can help correct errors in your database to lower your marketing costs.
Beyond rounding out your supporter database, data appends add value to your organization in several different ways.
Nonprofit-Specific Benefits of Data Appends
While the above benefits apply to any organization, there are specific benefits for nonprofits that data append services provide, such as:
- Increased mission awareness. At the heart of your organization is its mission. Once you have the data you need to communicate with your supporters effectively, more people will become aware of your nonprofit’s cause.
- More donations. Now that you’re reaching out to the right audience, you’re bound to see more funds flood in for your cause. Especially if you’re able to leverage donor wealth appends, you’ll be able to improve your fundraising efforts tremendously.
- Industry-relevant data. Of course, all organizations could benefit from knowing their supporters’ names and email addresses, but there are certain data points that are especially useful for nonprofits. For example, if you know a donor’s employer, you can discover whether that employer participates in matching gifts and use that knowledge as an incentive for donors to contribute. Data append services geared toward nonprofits like NPOInfo are helpful resources for identifying opportunities to use data more effectively for your nonprofit.
If you’re looking to understand your supporters better, hiring a data append service provider is the right choice. While your organization won’t have to do much besides supplying them with the data you already have, it’s helpful to know how the data append process works so you can ask them any questions you may have.
What Is the Data Append Process?
We’ve talked a lot about the fact that data append services take the information you already have about your supporters and use it to find the data you’re looking for. How exactly does that process work though?
There are several steps that data append services follow in order to deliver data appends to their clients. Here are those steps:
- Format the data. Before sending over your supporter data, make sure it’s all in the same format. Data append services typically prefer a comma-separated value (CSV) format for the data.
- Upload the data. Next, compile all of the data into one file and send it to your data append service of choice.
- Match the data. Once they receive your supporter data, the data append service will compare it to the databases they have in order to identify which information is missing or inaccurate.
- Complete the appends. In this step, data append services enhance the data you’ve provided by adding the information they’ve found.
- Check the data for accuracy. Before sending the appended information back to you, most data append services will check to make sure the data they’ve found is accurate. They may have manual or automated methods of verifying the data.
- Send the data to the client. Lastly, the data append service will send the client the data file for them to download. While data append services like to work with CSV values, they can convert the file into virtually any format that the client prefers before sending it back to them.
The process is easy to follow, and once your organization formats and uploads the data, it’s all up to your data append service to put in the work. Since they’re experts in this area, they typically complete the process fairly quickly, allowing you to leverage your new data right away.
Now that you understand the data append process and how helpful a data append service can be, it’s time to find the data append service you’d like to work with.
How Do I Select a Data Append Service to Work With?
There are so many data append services out there that are ready to help your organization with its data needs. However, it’s important to do thorough research when finding a data append service provider to ensure that they have the qualities you’re looking for.
If you don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled a list of characteristics that we believe all data append services working with nonprofits should have, including:
- Employs accuracy checking. It would be a waste of your time and funds to go through the data append process and receive incorrect or outdated data. Look for a data append service that has accuracy checks or scans in place.
- Provides multiple kinds of appends. Chances are, you need multiple types of data, or you might in the future. Stick with the same data append service for all your data append needs by finding one that can provide all the information you’re looking for.
- Uses reputable information sources. You might not necessarily know where your data append service is getting their information from, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have a process of verifying the databases they’re using.
- Does a thorough job. Find a data append service that goes above and beyond to satisfy your data needs. In addition to data appends, you might look for a service that can talk you through your current data hygiene or opportunities for using your new data once you’ve received it.
- Has a quick turnaround. The faster you receive your data appends, the faster you can start using them to improve your marketing efforts and supporter communications. Ask your data append service how long they typically take to go through the process.
- Provides quotes. With a tight budget, your nonprofit will likely want to know how much data append services cost before committing. A reliable provider will give you that information ahead of time based on the information you need.
- Specializes in nonprofit data appends. For the best experience, partner with a data append service that regularly works with nonprofits. Of course, you can use a generic data append service, but for nonprofits, it’s best to work with one that is nonprofit-specific. They will understand your needs best and have the expertise you need to propel your organization forward on its data hygiene journey.
- Works with a variety of nonprofit organizations. Even if you’re working with a nonprofit-specific service, there’s no guarantee that they’ve worked with your organization type before. Look for a data append service that has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations such as schools, healthcare organizations, and associations.
With these qualities in mind, NPOInfo is our recommended nonprofit data append service provider. They possess all the qualities we’ve listed above and have extensive experience providing data for nonprofits.
Conclusion & Additional Resources
Good data hygiene ensures that your nonprofit can gain important insights into who your supporters are. An essential component of data hygiene is data appends, which add missing information to your database to expand your supporter profiles. With data appends, you can personalize and even segment your supporter communications to connect with supporters on an individual level.
If you’re ready to move forward with the data append process, the next step is finding a data append service to work with. You can request a quote from NPOInfo, our recommended nonprofit data append service, to learn more.
If you need more information before diving into the data append process, that’s okay. Here are some additional resources about data append types that will help you better determine your organization’s data append needs:
- Email Appends: The Complete Q&A Guide for Organizations. These days, nearly every organization has some sort of email newsletter or communications. Ensure your messages are showing up in supporters’ inboxes with email address appends.
- Phone Appends: A Nonprofit’s Data Enrichment Guide. If you’re looking to call or text your supporters to inform them about upcoming opportunities, your nonprofit might benefit from phone appends. Check out this article to learn more about them.
- Your Ultimate Guide to Employer Appends for Nonprofits. Employer appends can help your organization identify matching gift opportunities. Optimize your fundraising potential with employer appends.
As a nonprofit, fundraising is essential to your success as an organization. It’s not only how you power your programs but also how you can spread the word about your organization and mission to your community.
To optimize the funds they raise, nonprofits are always looking to make their operations more efficient. New technology and apps make this easy so that nonprofits can collect donations without having to put much thought into it. One such tool is Venmo.
Using Venmo for nonprofits allows organizations to leverage a platform many people already use every day. You might already be familiar with Venmo from your own personal use, but we’ll go more in-depth about what it is and how you can best use it for your nonprofit.
Take a look at the questions we’ll be answering about Venmo fundraising:
- What Is Venmo?
- What Are the Benefits of Using Venmo for Nonprofits?
- How Do I Set Up a Venmo Account for My Nonprofit?
- How Can My Nonprofit Guide Donors to Our Venmo Account?
- How Can Venmo for Nonprofits Foster Connections with Donors?
At NXUnite, we’re committed to helping nonprofits find the tools they need to maximize their fundraising efforts. Venmo is an app you may already be familiar with, but it has huge fundraising potential for your organization. We’re here to help you learn more about how your nonprofit can use Venmo to boost donations.
Are you ready to learn about how Venmo could be the next best fundraising tool for your nonprofit? Let’s get right into it!
What Is Venmo?
Venmo is a peer-to-peer mobile payment service. That means people can transfer money from their bank accounts to each other directly within the app. The app makes it easy for people to pay each other back without worrying about cash.
Although there are several similar apps out there, Venmo is one of the most popular. According to Venmo, the app currently has over 83 million users, the biggest group of which is 25-34 years old. In 2021 alone, the Paypal-owned platform processed about $230 million in payments.
It’s clear to see why people have turned to Venmo as their preferred way to send and receive money. All you have to do is link your bank account, debit card, or credit card to your account, and you’re good to go. With the click of a button, you can send and request payments from people.
Additionally, you can choose whether to transfer your funds to your bank account immediately or keep them in your account for future transactions. If you want to leverage both options, you can even select how much you would like to transfer out, leaving you with some money still left in the app.
What Are the Benefits of Using Venmo for Nonprofits?
Venmo solves a typical problem: how to pay people back efficiently. The easy-to-use app simplifies the process of splitting a check, paying your portion of your rent, and so much more.
Now that you a little more about how Venmo works, why is it a good platform for nonprofits? Just like they do for other individuals, people can send money to nonprofits, creating another fundraising source. Beyond creating an additional revenue source, some of the benefits Venmo fundraising can provide for your nonprofit are that it’s:
- Easy to use. As we’ve mentioned before, people enjoy using Venmo because of how easy it is. If someone already has a Venmo account, it simplifies the process of them donating to your cause. Instead of going through your donation page or form, donors can head to the already-installed Venmo app and transfer money to your organization from their account within seconds.
- Affordable. Venmo is a great choice for nonprofits because it’s free to sign up. Additionally, there are no monthly fees and no fees when sending money with a linked bank account or debit card. The only donation-specific fee is 1.9% + $0.10 for receiving funds. There is also a 3% fee when sending money with a linked credit card and a 1% fee for instant transfers to your bank account, but neither of those options is necessary.
- Secure. When using a mobile payment service, it’s important that your information is protected. Venmo uses encryption to help protect your account and financial information. Not to mention, the app’s security makes it a secure form of giving for donors.
- Encourages donations of any size. Some people may want to contribute to your cause, but they might be intimidated by the donation amounts you suggest on your website. Since people typically use Venmo for smaller payments, they may be more willing to donate to your organization through the platform with the extra funds kept in their accounts.
- Includes social proof. Different than other donation methods, Venmo functions like a social media platform in that users can see their friends’ and family members’ payments. Not only can people feel good knowing that their donation is public, but they can also inspire others to donate to your cause.
- Facilitates relationships. Donors can send messages with their Venmo donations, allowing them to personalize their support. You can also like and comment on donations, allowing you to thank donors and start a conversation with them.
Taking advantage of Venmo fundraising can not only raise money for your organization but also help you build relationships with your supporters. They will appreciate the ability to use a platform they’re likely already familiar with to contribute to your cause and amplify your organization to family and friends.
How Do I Set Up a Venmo Account for My Nonprofit?
If you think Venmo would be an asset to your fundraising efforts, it’s time to set up your account. At this time, Venmo does not have an option specifically for nonprofits, but they do allow nonprofits to create regular accounts and use them to collect donations.
Setting up your organization’s Venmo account is simple. Just follow these five steps:
- Download the Venmo app or visit the Venmo website.
- Choose your sign-up method and create your password.
- Verify your phone number and email address.
- Add and verify your bank account.
- Change your username and add a profile picture to reflect your organization.
It’s that easy! If you have a personal Venmo account, you’ve already been through the same process. For more information about creating your account, you can refer to Venmo’s website.
How Can My Nonprofit Guide Donors to Our Venmo Account?
Of course, any organization can say they’ve created a Venmo account and leave it at that. However, you’ll need to go a bit further if you want your supporters to be able to find your account and engage with it. Here are some suggestions for how to promote your Venmo for nonprofits account:
Give a tutorial on how donors can use Venmo to contribute.
Start by teaching donors how Venmo for nonprofits works. You can create a step-by-step video that shows donors how they can give donations to your organization on Venmo.
Let donors know how easy the process is and why it’s a great platform for nonprofits.
Add your Venmo account to your donation page.
You’ll want donors to know that contributing through Venmo is a new donation option, so it’s important that your donation page reflects that.
Include your Venmo username on emails and social media.
Make it easy for donors to find your Venmo account. You probably already promote your social media accounts in your emails, so just add Venmo to the list.
On your nonprofit’s social media pages, link your Venmo account in your bio for easy access.
Share your Venmo QR code with your supporters.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to find Venmo accounts if you don’t know the exact usernames you’re looking for. Eliminate that obstacle by promoting your nonprofit’s Venmo QR code. That way, you’ll know donors are contributing to the right account.
Make sure to share your Venmo QR code with your supporters through various methods such as email newsletters, social media, your website, and at events.
Once donors know how to donate to your organization through Venmo, it’s important to make sure they’re having a good experience using the app.
How Can Venmo for Nonprofits Foster Connections with Donors?
If you use Venmo fundraising correctly, you can make it a fun, interactive, and rewarding donation experience. By prioritizing the giving experience, you’ll ultimately foster better connections with your donors. Let’s walk through a few steps you can take to give your donors a great user experience on Venmo:
Cater to your audience.
Remember that most Venmo users are on the younger side. When commenting on their donations, don’t be afraid to use emojis and have fun with your interactions.
You can also take advantage of the social proof we mentioned before. Younger donors love to be recognized for their efforts, so consider shouting out a Venmo donor of the week on your social media.
Encourage donations of any size.
Again, most people use Venmo for small payments. Lean into that by asking donors for small donations. It will all add up and ultimately acquire new donors who could have been intimidated by the prospect of donating before.
Host a fundraising competition.
Split your supporters up into teams and have them compete for who can raise the most money or make the most donations. The teams can be based on age, location, or another factor of your choosing.
Provide an incentive to the winning team such as social media shoutouts, gift cards, or matched donations. Knowing they could earn a prize, people might be more willing to participate.
Interact with as many donors as possible.
Since Venmo functions like a social media platform, use it like one. Comment on as many donations as you can. You can send an emoji, sticker, or GIF to make it fun. Most importantly, remember to thank donors for their contributions.
Using Venmo for nonprofits opens up new opportunities for building donor relationships like never before.
Conclusion & Additional Resources
With so many new payment apps out there, it’s difficult to decide which is best for your organization. For nonprofits, Venmo is the ultimate choice. With low fees, security features, and opportunities to interact with your donors, Venmo provides an easy and reliable way to raise money and build relationships with your supporters.
Now that you know how beneficial Venmo fundraising can be, you might be wondering what other fundraising tools and nonprofit resources are out there. Check out these articles to help out your nonprofit:
- Nonprofit Conferences That You Won’t Want to Miss in 2022. Looking for the latest nonprofit trends and opportunities to network with other nonprofit professionals? Attend a nonprofit conference to learn from others in your field.
- Top Nonprofit Influencers to Follow in 2022. Follow these nonprofit influencers to keep up with nonprofit trends, news, and tips.
- 25+ Nonprofit Podcasts You Should Listen To In 2022. Podcasts are a great way to delve into a topic you’re passionate about. Read this page for the nonprofit podcasts you need to start listening to.