What Is Fundraising?
The term fundraising is usually defined as the process of seeking financial support for a charity, cause, or other organization. The purpose of fundraising is to support an organization’s cause while raising awareness for that cause.
Why Is Nonprofit Fundraising Important?
An organization’s ability to fundraise can ultimately determine the health and future of a nonprofit. In order for a nonprofit organization to achieve its mission, it must be able to raise the money needed to cover operational and functional costs as determined by its board members. All successful fundraising campaigns start with a solid strategy, and many nonprofit organizations can benefit from putting the following suggestions into practice.
10 Ways to Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts
- Offer Convenient Text and Online Giving Options
It’s obvious that giving should be easy. The easier it is to give, the more likely it is that your campaign will be successful.
Provide convenient text and online giving options so no matter the preferences of your donors, giving is straightforward and effortless. After all, what’s easier than sending a text message?
Another tip that is often overlooked is to make sure your Donate or Give button is easily identifiable. Place a highly visible Donate Now button in a prominent location on your website. If it’s not immediately obvious, try moving it to a different location.
Lastly, verify that donors can easily share their activity via social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most other social media platforms make it easy to share giving with friends, family, and other potential supporters. Allowing donors to show their support for your organization is a great way to encourage others to give as well.
- Reward Your Fundraising Staff
An effective fundraising staff doesn’t just identify prospects; they nurture relationships, identify key supporters, and uncover new opportunities. Rewarding their contribution is a terrific way to show your appreciation.
There are some people outside of the nonprofit sector that may view bonuses and incentives as inappropriate, but it is actually quite common and growing in popularity. Organizations that are actively using incentive-based compensation and bonuses include Wounded Warrior Project, The Boy Scouts, and The Metropolitan Opera.
- Create a Donor Recognition Wall
A donor recognition wall is a beautiful way to thank your most generous supporters. By carving their names into stone or plaster, you can show appreciation for your most important donors and the nature of their giving.
Some additional benefits of a recognition wall include:
- The opportunity to acknowledge donors at different contribution levels
- A talking point that sparks conversation and engagement
- An optimal moment to pitch your mission and fundraising strategy
- Show Gratitude for Your Donors’ Involvement
Thanking donors for their contributions is rewarding for both the nonprofit and the donor. When supporters hear from your organization on a regular basis, they will feel as though they are an important part of the cause and not just being asked for more money.
Send consistent messages that thank them for their contributions, let them know how their support is being used, show pictures of their work in action, and provide data on how their money is helping your organization reach its goals.
- Ask for the Donation in a Clear and Concise Manner
Whether you are soliciting gifts in person or through technology like mobile giving or a website, make sure to explicitly ask for the donation. Many campaigns fall short or fail miserably due to one major shortcoming: there wasn’t a clear ask for the donation.
One related conversion tip that is often overlooked is the inclusion of a clear call to action. An ideal call to action explains to supporters how they can contribute, and then it explicitly directs them to the location (a donation page, text giving platform, etc.) where they can complete the action. The easier you make the donation process, the better your odds are of converting prospects into donors.
- Host Events Catered Toward Major Donors
An event for major donors is a great way to attract potential donors who could give a very large amount. This brings together a lot of people who are capable of making a large donation so they can learn more about your organization, the constituents you serve, and the kind of impact their gifts could have. Meanwhile, your fundraiser can get to know the prospects at the same time.
With some of the recent obstacles that have made social gatherings extremely challenging, the growth and popularity of virtual events has skyrocketed over the last few years. With the right tools and virtual event platform, you can host a successful event from the comfort of your home, and it doesn’t always have to be a gala or a live auction.
- Communicate the Impact of Gifts to Donors
Donors deserve to hear about the tangible results of their support. After all, they’re making a significant investment in your work, and they deserve to know their money is going to accomplish something substantial.
When pitching your cause to potential new donors, be sure to mention specific accomplishments of your nonprofit due to previous major gifts, and also try to include data-centric details about the positive impact these gifts had on your mission.
For example, you could explain how past donors’ gifts have enabled your nonprofit to expand into four new communities and reach 4,000 more people every year, and as a result, you have served more than 16,000 people across the country.
- Incorporate Video in Your Campaigns
Savvy nonprofits have noticed the power of video marketing and are leveraging it accordingly. It allows them to tell their stories in an authentic way, connecting with the hearts and minds of their audiences in a way no other medium can.
Many successful nonprofit organizations are using live videos to open people’s eyes to the work they are doing, which is an excellent way to peel back the curtain and allow supporters to glance into your daily operations. Video is a fast, inexpensive way to communicate with the masses, and it also has a reputation for converting well.
- Reach Out to Celebrities to Endorse Your Cause
While it may seem like a long shot, getting a celebrity to endorse your mission is not as far-fetched as it may seem. This is especially true if it is a well-known individual with local roots, such as an actress who went to a high school in your city, a professional athlete who was successful at a nearby university, or even a prominent local newscaster.
Take some time to research the causes famous people are talking about. There are countless local and national celebrities who are throwing their energy behind meaningful causes that make a difference in other people’s lives. Once you narrow down a short list that is a good match, reach out and see if they would be interested in endorsing your mission and organization.
- Create a Unique Fundraiser and Then Make It a Recurring Event
After you successfully host your first annual fundraiser, why not replicate it? And why not learn from your mistakes in the process? Documenting the entire process of organizing the fundraiser can help you plan better for next year’s event, and it raises your organization’s profile among those in your area.
While implementing an event as a tradition, make sure to add personal touches of creativity each year so it is clear to participants that your fundraising staff is keeping things fresh and innovative. Some nonprofits run events so routinely that they run the risk of boring their supporters. Others put so much effort into planning just one big fundraising event that they miss other possible opportunities to raise money throughout the year.
Tools to Help With Your Fundraising Needs
It is no secret that fundraising is a challenging endeavor. Between creating fundraising strategies, organizing special events, marketing your events through social media sites and other channels, and raising money to support your mission, it can easily turn into a full-time job.
Fortunately, Aplos has created a solution to help you streamline your fundraising efforts. This intuitive software allows you to manage events, track donations, simplify your email marketing campaigns, and much more.
Learn more about saving time and minimizing stress with Aplos’ fundraising tools. Try Aplos free for 15 days.