Fundraising is the backbone of any successful nonprofit. It’s what allows your organization to continue to help people and make a difference in the world. If your fundraising efforts are lacking in any area, you won’t be able to efficiently complete your goals on schedule.
That’s why effective fundraising practices are so critical—by giving your organization a greater fundraising boost, you can keep your nonprofit afloat and continue working toward your mission. Whether you’re looking to refresh your fundraising ideas or reinforce ongoing campaigns, it’s never a bad idea to assess your progress and check if you’re adhering to current fundraising best practices.
At NXUnite, we stay up-to-date on the latest trends and ideas in the fundraising field to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising capacity. We’ve compiled a list of four top tips for raising money more effectively:
- Choose high-ROI fundraising campaigns
- Promote upcoming fundraisers with direct mail
- Advertise matching gift opportunities
- Keep donors updated with campaign progress
Fundraising is more than just earning donations—it’s about meeting supporters where they are and developing relationships to secure ongoing support. These tips will help you make the most of your campaigns this year while fostering relationships in the process. Let’s jump in!
1. Choose high-ROI fundraising campaigns
Nonprofits usually operate with tight budgets and don’t want to spend too much funding on soliciting donations. Plus, as a nonprofit professional, you want to prove to your board that the funds you put into carrying out fundraising activities are justified because of the value they create for your nonprofit. Therefore, search for fundraising campaigns that have the highest return on investment (ROI). Some fundraising ideas with a high ROI include:
Product fundraisers such as popcorn, face-mask, and discount card fundraisers are all fun and unique ideas to help your organization raise more. With these fundraisers, you offer supporters something valuable (or delicious!) in exchange for their donations.
Although digital marketing and fundraising channels are gaining traction, direct mail continues to be the greatest source of individual donations in the U.S. Individual donations account for about 70% of total giving, representing roughly $309.66 billion in 2019.
In the fast-paced, frenzied virtual realm, it’s easy for your nonprofit to get lost in the fray and for supporters to miss your message amid all the other online interactions. However, with direct mail appeals, you can speak directly to supporters without the interference of other notifications. You can share compelling stories that appeal to their emotions and influence them to give to your mission.
In addition to product fundraisers and direct mail appeals, there are also a number of other ways to garner critical support for your campaigns. Other tried-and-true fundraising ideas include virtual a-thon-style events where people are challenged to walk, bike, or run a certain distance and raise donations throughout the challenge.
Further, virtual events and experiences such as classes, concerts, or trivia nights can be productive fundraisers as well. These are higher-ROI events because they take place virtually which lowers event overhead costs but engage supporters in an activity or challenge that generates greater fundraising support all the same.
With these high-ROI options, you can revamp your fundraising practices this year and raise more for your organization.
2. Promote upcoming fundraisers online
While traditional marketing methods like fundraising events and direct mail can be highly effective, a well-rounded approach that merges traditional and digital media will garner the best results.
Billions of people use social media and the internet each day, and it’s critical that your nonprofit build a presence online to capture both current and potential supporters’ attention. Some of the most effective digital marketing platforms and methods to use include:
- Email. Email is a personalized, flexible way to market your fundraiser to supporters. For example, you can enable automated features within your email marketing tools that add the recipient’s first name to the subject line or greeting in your emails. If you’re in need of an email list clean-up, consider working with an email appending service to verify and update the addresses in your file.
- Social media. Remain active on a variety of social media platforms to appeal to your audience’s differing communication preferences. Some popular options include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. To build strong followings across your social media platforms, make sure to cross-promote your accounts and include links to each profile page on your website.
- Influencer marketing. Partner with individuals who have a significant following in your community or niche and ask them to promote your cause to their audience. This is a great way to reach new, untapped audiences. Because the influencer’s followers have already established trust in them and their opinions, they’re more likely to listen to their recommendations and support your organization.
- Search engines. To market your website on search engines like Google, your nonprofit should create high-quality, educational content designed to rank for relevant keywords. To position your site even higher in search results, you can apply for the Google Ad Grants program to receive a monthly allowance of Google Ad credits. Before applying, be sure to check that your website meets the Google Grant’s requirements.
An increased digital presence can boost brand awareness, making your nonprofit more memorable to supporters. Additionally, you can educate a broader audience about the ways to support your cause (including matching gifts!).
3. Advertise matching gift opportunities
In corporate matching gift programs, companies match donations made by their employees to eligible nonprofits. An estimated $4-$7 billion goes unclaimed in matching gifts every year, making this a largely untapped fundraising source for many nonprofits and other fundraising organizations.
To take advantage of matching gift opportunities, promote these programs to your supporters. Ensure your donors are aware of the opportunities and empowered to check if their own companies offer these programs by sharing information across your direct mail messages, website, social media, and email newsletters. To get started, Double the Donation offers a matching gift database you can embed on your website that allows supporters to search if their companies offer matching gifts.
This type of fundraising revenue not only brings in a large number of funds for your organization, but it improves your donors’ experience as well. Supporters will be amazed that their initial donations can have an even greater impact on your mission than they realized.
4. Keep donors updated with campaign progress
Donors want and deserve to know how your fundraising campaign is coming along. They’re not only interested in learning about your organization and your activities, but also want to ensure their investment in your organization was worth it. Donors use this assessment to decide if they should continue to give their support in the future, so you should keep donors updated on your fundraising progress in a few different ways:
- A fundraising thermometer: A fundraising thermometer is an easy and free way to keep supporters informed on how close your nonprofit is to reaching its fundraising goal. You can type in your target amount and the amount you’ve raised so far to create an updated thermometer. Frequently share your thermometer across your website and social media pages to remind supporters to give and celebrate your progress so far.
- Your nonprofit database: Your nonprofit database system contains supporter information like donor names, contact information, and giving history. You can use this information to reach out to donors and share progress about the specific campaign they gave to.
- Your marketing platforms: Keep supporters informed about your progress across all your marketing channels—including your direct mail letters, website, social media pages, and email lists. Taking a multi-channel approach ensures you can speak to all supporters and properly inform them about your nonprofit’s activities.
Keeping donors updated on your fundraising progress shows supporters that they’re more than just a number to your organization. They’ve donated some of their hard-earned money to you, and you’ll show your respect and appreciation for their gift by keeping them in the loop.
Your nonprofit’s approach to fundraising doesn’t have to be complicated. By reaffirming your commitment to donor relationships and choosing campaigns with the greatest returns, you can maintain and even boost your fundraising efforts for long-lasting, continuous success. Happy fundraising!