Bringing in the Funds

Fundraising is the lifeblood of nonprofits. And while fundraising as a strategy isn’t new, there is a continuing flow of new (and renewed) tools and ideas being cultivated as our cultural trends shift and as technology advances.

Day of Giving

With some advance planning, your organization can capitalize on the excitement and free publicity surrounding these days. Lisa Goddard, Online Marketing Director of Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, participated in an area event called Amplify Austin which raised more than $7.7 Million in just 24 hours. Lisa shared advice on how to make programs like hers work in ThirdSectorToday.

  • Leverage Visuals: Images Move People
  • Social Proof: Start building “buzz” in advance and motivate potential donors. Try a video like this one featuring the organization’s president making a contribution. It’s like priming the tip jar!
  • On Point Messaging: Email segmentation—content should be specific to the day. For example, a local Day of Giving should include images and content associated with the community.
  • A/B Testing: Track the performance of your social media posts to see what people actually react to, versus what you think they will react to.

Two big Days of Giving to consider are Give Local America and Giving Tuesday. Both of their sites offer numerous tools and tips: Give Local America May 3, 2016; Giving Tuesday November 29, 2016. If you are worried that your staff is stretched too thin to effectively implement programs such as these, consider using temp help from nonprofit staffing agencies.

Monthly Giving Programs

While receiving a big check provokes high fives and immediate revenue boost, having a regular, predictable stream of revenue builds stability. Giving patterns can be unpredictable, hindering a financial commitment to the investments necessary to increase impact. Organizations can easily offer monthly giving options on your online donation form—and donors can participate feeling comfortable with regular, smaller donations, too.

A monthly giving program reduces paper use and mailing cost and increases donor security. If that’s not enough reason, monthly donations give you permission to connect with your donor on a regular basis.

Matching Gifts

What organization would knowingly leave money on the table? Unfortunately, this happens all too often when nonprofit organizations miss out on the money available through corporate matching gift programs. Corporations of all sizes offer matching gifts for contributions made by their employees. It’s a fabulous way for a for-profit to not only “give back” but to offer a helping hand to the causes important to their employees. Find out more about how corporate matching programs work.

In a similar manner, donor challenges are a great way to match gifts during fund drives. Secure a donor who will make a certain gift with the contingency of reaching a benchmark. For example: “For the first three hours of our drive, “Donor A” is matching all contributions”. A challenge brings out the competitive beast in all of us—and this approach also provides Donor A with social proof that others find the cause a worthy one. Promote, promote, promote.

Social Media

While most experts will agree that your social media strategy shouldn’t make “The Ask,” it is a place where you should be priming your audience for an Ask. Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, and Linkedin updates can be used to “drive engagement” among your donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders for free. Tip: using personal recommendations on LinkedIn is a great way to increase awareness of your cause.

According to the most recent Giving USA report, a total of $358.38 billion was donated in 2014, representing an increase of 7.1% over the previous year. Individuals made 72% of all contributions, and social media is a very effective channel for reaching a lot of these donors. The key to driving engagement through social media lies in understanding psychology. Check out this video which delves into the relationship between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and your social media strategy.

Peer Pressure

Peer to Peer” (aka P2) is a fundraising strategy in which your supporters raise funds on your behalf and is generally tied to an event. From head-shaving to endurance races, P2P has been growing in popularity over recent years.

Research shows that an average of 1 in 4 “Asks” from your supporters to their network will result in a donation. Considering the average conversion rate of a direct “Ask” from most organization is 1:1250, this approach can really move the needle. For helpful advice and best practices, check out the P2P Forum.

We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tweet us @PNPStaffing and use #P2P for a RT on our page!

Add to Today’s Tasks: Try 5 New Ideas to Bring in the Funds

Amy DeVita is a publisher, entrepreneur, mother, wife, social media enthusiast and fan and avid supporter of the nonprofit/ for-impact sector. She has written for Top Nonprofits and Third Sector Today; she has been quoted on pieces about social media and social impact on The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She was named to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ Monthly and she is a member of Social Media for Nonprofits’ Leadership Council. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, traveling, and playing Scrabble. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs. In 1984 she earned the “Most Improved Average” honor on her bowling league.

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