Fundraising Best Practices

Fundraising best practices to get more donations

Nonprofits have critical goals but, without the funds to get them done, their missions will never be achieved. Fundraising is necessary in the nonprofit world, but not everyone is comfortable with or educated on the best ways to raise funds for an organization. And that's ok - we're here to help with these tips and best practices!

1. Create a strategic plan

Before hosting an event or online campaign, nonprofits must create a strategic plan. A strategic plan focuses on a nonprofit’s mission and lays out how the organization will reach it. Strategic plans include organizational goals, annual budget, fundraising goals, donor management, volunteer onboarding, staff management, marketing techniques, and more. These plans require all members of the leadership team to participate.

When creating your strategic plan, it is best to develop SMART goals to ensure the success of your fundraising. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. By setting these goals, your fundraising office and board of directors are more likely to stay on track.

2. Have a dedicated plan for donors

Your nonprofit should have a dedicated plan to research prospects, acquire and segment donors, and steward them for long-lasting relationships. To start with, know all types of donors that you can possibly target. Once you’ve done so, use the moves management process to effectively reach them and make the ask.

Moves management uses a step-by-step process that includes segmenting donors into each category, defining goals for each type of donor, and sending personalized communications to build and strengthen relationships with them. As you focus on building these donor relationships, you should track when you send communication pieces and how each donor reacts.

Pro tip: Invest in a donor management tool to maintain a clean donor database, unique donor records, keep track of your donor communications, segment donors in categories, and integrate with marketing tools for better communications. Donorbox not only offers you all this, but also gives your supporters their own donor accounts that they can use to manage their donation plans.

QuickDonate feature makes repeat donations easier than ever. Your donors can quickly repeat a donation right from their smartphone any time they want without having to refill the donation form. Check out this video to learn more about this powerful giving tool:

3. Tell impactful stories

Every business will tell you how essential customer testimonials are to their marketing efforts. Nonprofits are no different - many have realized the importance of sharing stories from beneficiaries. These stories show how peoples' lives have been impacted by the organization, and how necessary donations are to their success.

When writing beneficiaries’ stories, you must make them specific and focus on ways donors have made a difference instead of just the organization. Nonprofits that do not deal directly with individuals or animals can ask donors or volunteers to write their own tales on how their involvement has changed their lives.

4. Promote a recurring donation program

As we’ve said earlier, recurring donors are vital to nonprofits. Nonprofits would love to turn every supporter into a monthly donor, but many do not have a recurring donations plan to do this. Nonprofits that include the option to give monthly/weekly/yearly will benefit from these gifts and can plan for more programs and fundraisers because the amount from these donors can be relied upon in their annual budget.

If your organization has projects that need significant funding throughout the year, a recurring donor program may be ideal for you. After creating a campaign page, share it on social media and via email blasts. During other events and fundraising campaigns, your nonprofit can also share the option for those donors to give every month/quarter/year. Adding a recurring donations option to your online donation page and in all mailed marketing pieces will help keep this option in donors’ minds. Here’s an example:

5. Encourage donors to become advocates

A great way to reach those who have never heard about you is by asking donors to share your story with friends and family. Peer-to-peer campaigns are excellent ways to do this. You can invite your best supporters to become advocates and create their own fundraising pages to start raising funds for your nonprofit. This helps you spread the word about your organization, acquire new donors, and boost donations through the power of your donors’ networks.

Nonprofits can - and should - support peer-to-peer fundraisers by sharing success stories and images they can use on their individual pages. You can also keep your advocates updated on how the campaign is doing and how their donations are already having an impact.

Donorbox offers a powerful peer-to-peer fundraising feature to all its nonprofits. It simply involves toggling a switch on the dashboard to get started. You can invite your supporters, friends, or anyone you deem fit for this role, and they can start fundraising in minutes. Here’s an excellent example of a successful peer campaign.

6. Charge up your fundraising events with advanced giving techniques

Fundraising events like galas, auctions, walk-a-thons, raffles, and others are often the primary sources of funds for a nonprofit. But with changing times, nonprofits have started to look for ways to adopt newer techniques and giving methods. Advanced giving techniques like a QR code linked to your online donation page, text-to-give, and membership programs can take your fundraising to the next level.

QR codes can be the easiest way to encourage attendees to make a donation online. Download and print the QR code that links to your donation page - you get one with each fundraising campaign you create on Donorbox - and display it around your event venue, on tables, signs, and other common places, to inspire more donations.

Text-to-Give is a simple but effective giving method that helps attendees make a donation via a quick text. Donors simply text your unique campaign ID or keyword to a designated number to receive the link to your mobile-friendly donation page. Next time they want to repeat a donation, all they have to do is send another text.

If you have a membership program - or decided to start one - an event is a great way to promote it and acquire new members. Such programs not only help you create a loyal supporter base, but also raise significant funds on a monthly/yearly basis. Approach people who have made donations during the event and you may be surprised with the number of new members you acquire this way!

Pro tip: Create an online event page to make it more convenient for your attendees to buy tickets and share their preferences. It also helps you maintain and track all your tickets and purchasers’ information on the backend. Plus, an event ticketing solution like Donorbox also helps you accept donations from the event page, calculate tax-deductible amounts, set ticket sales quantity limits and deadlines, and much more. Learn more about Donorbox Events here.

7. Take supporters’ feedback

Feedback is vital to a nonprofit’s marketing plan. Nonprofits can gain this feedback through various ways, including online surveys, donor calls, and in-person meetings. Anytime your organization has a chance to speak with donors, you should ask for feedback. Donors will appreciate your interest in their opinions and will be more likely to continue giving.

Making personal calls may seem like a difficult task, but you should practice this more often for the best results. Have your board members make calls to your recurring donors, members, and major donors and ask their opinion. This way, your donor will know you think of them as more than a cash machine and will have a better chance of greater involvement. Write down their suggestions (add them to your donor records on your fundraising tool) and assure them they will be taken into consideration.

8. Collect data

Nonprofits that do not track how their fundraising campaigns are performing often miss critical information. Without these details, nonprofits cannot improve fundraising efforts and may be stuck with methods that no longer work for their donor base.

A few details an organization should learn from their campaigns include:

  • How many donors gave?
  • What was the average gift amount?
  • How many donors were new to the organization?
  • How many donors did you lose from previous years?

Answers to these questions will help determine where changes must be made and where the organization has found success.

When marketing the success of these campaigns, donors appreciate data as well. Including these details in your outreach will help donors see how their gifts are used and who is benefiting from their generosity:

  • Number of beneficiaries
  • Increased improvement in programs
  • Amount of time spent on each project
  • Number of workers on the ground

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