5 Effective Year-End Fundraising Strategies Your Nonprofit May Be Overlooking
With the year almost over, your nonprofit is probably looking for ways to optimize your fundraising. Luckily, your supporters are in a giving mood: Up to 50 percent of total annual income for nonprofits comes from the year-end ask alone!
Let’s take a look at five ways to to amp up your year-end fundraising:
Strategy #1: Engage with donors using mobile channels
It’s no surprise that the end of the year is a busy time for donors. And even though your supporters are looking for more ways to give, they don’t always have time to search for those opportunities.
You probably plan on sending regular emails and direct mail to motivate your donors to give, but have you thought about using mobile communications?
Texting your supporters is a great way to interact with your donors because they always have their phones handy.
Still not convinced? When you send your donors a text message, you have their undivided attention. Here are some best practices to use when communicating with donors via text message:
- Keep your messages short. A text message is not the best platform if you want to send donors a lot of information. Keep your messages short and concise.
- Send images, videos, and links. The great thing about text messages is that you can quickly direct donors to more information. Don’t be afraid to send your supporters images and videos to build that emotional impact. Links are also good to include in your text messages. You can link to your online donation form (mobile-friendly, of course) with clear donation instructions to encourage supporters to give.
- Don’t send too many messages. While sending text messages is a little less obtrusive than sending multiple emails in one day, don’t go overboard. A couple of text messages every few days is fine. If you go over that amount, your messages will start losing their impact.
If you want to start communicating with your donors via text message, look for a text-to-give provider. Not only can you start accepting text donations, but also many of those providers support features that allow you to send out mass text messages to your donors.
The bottom line: Your nonprofit should focus on engaging donors in the most prominent ways possible. What better way to get your donors’ attention than through their mobile phones?
Strategy #2: Modernize your direct mail outreach
Despite the growth of online giving, direct mail is still an important and relevant way to reach out to your supporters. In some cases, like when reaching out to your major gift donors, it may be the best way to start the conversation.
Additionally, your nonprofit can reach a wider audience when you vary your communication methods. So, don’t give up on direct mail entirely in favor of more digital communications.
However, sending direct mail doesn’t mean you have to stay traditional. If you want your direct mail outreach to garner some impact, you should try taking a more modern approach.
Along with your donation request letter, it’s common to include reply envelopes for checks. But why stop there? Provide donors with even more ways to give by inserting instructions on how to donate via mobile or online.
This can work, even if it’s just something simple like: “To make a donation online go to [insert URL to online donation form] or text your amount to [enter text-to-give number].”
Adding these straightforward instructions to your donation request letter will give your donors another option when they want to make a contribution.
The bottom line: You don’t have to separate your traditional fundraising efforts from your modern ones. Combining your communication methods will help you get the best results.
Strategy #3: Notify donors about your matching gift program
If your nonprofit already accepts matching gifts, then you know about their many benefits. When donors use their company’s matching gift program, it can help boost your year-end fundraising.
The problem is that many donors don’t know this option exists. It’s up to your nonprofit to make supporters more aware of these programs. When you educate donors on matching gifts and how to put in requests, your donors will be more motivated to complete the process.
To get your donors more involved in their employers’ matching gift programs, you can:
- Include a mention in your request letters. The request letter is a prime place to include information about matching gifts because you have more room than a text message to explain the process. That way, your donors will become more familiar with the program when they decide to donate.
- Add information about matching gifts on your donation pages. If the whole process surrounding matching gifts is unclear, donors might be hesitant or unsure of how to submit their requests. Create a section on your donation page that briefly explains the process so that donors can make the most of their employers’ matching gift programs.
- Post about matching gifts on social media. Posting about matching gifts helps you spread the word. Your supporters can learn about the program and pass the information to their peers.
- Choose the right platform. You should pick a platform that allows your fundraisers to create and customize their pages. Additionally, pick one that lets you track your campaign’s progress.
- Set fundraising goals. Your donors will be more motivated to raise funds if you set achievable goals. Give fundraisers a clear visual of their progress by using fundraising thermometers.
- Share content and get active on social media. Share videos, images, or articles, with your fundraisers so that they can post the content on their fundraising pages. Use social media to send out updates on the campaign’s progress.
You want to make matching gifts easy for your donors to increase the chances that they make a matching gift request.
After your supporters get more familiar with matching gifts, they still need a convenient way to know if their employer has a program. You can make it easier for donors to search for their employer by subscribing to an online matching gift service.
The bottom line: Donors can’t use matching gifts if they don’t know the opportunity exists. Teach your supporters about the programs and make it easy for them to find out if their employer has a matching gift program.
Strategy #4: Widen your reach with a peer-to-peer campaign
Did you know that the largest source (just over 70 percent!) of charitable giving last year came from individuals? (Source: National Philanthropic Trust) That means a lot of your year-end donations could be coming from your supporters and potentially their endorsements.
Your nonprofit should use this fact to help increase your fundraising potential by organizing a peer-to-peer campaign.
Hosting a peer-to-peer campaign as a year-end fundraising strategy is a great way to empower your supporters and bring in more first-time donors.
Essentially, with a peer-to-peer campaign, your donors reach out to their peers to raise funds on your behalf. They can use their personal connections to your cause to motivate their friends and family to give.
Plus, this is also a great way to involve supporters who cannot give or want to do more for your organization.
If your nonprofit wants to host a good peer-to-peer campaign, you first need to recruit the help of your most loyal supporters. Your nonprofit can use the following strategies to facilitate your next peer-to-peer campaign:
The bottom line: Use peer-to-peer campaigns to get supporters actively involved and fundraising for your cause. Your efforts might just help you exceed your year-end fundraising goals!
Strategy #5: Optimize your online giving channels
You’re nonprofit probably offers supporters many ways to give. But are your online and mobile donation forms optimized to make sure donors have an easy and quick process?
When donors don’t have an easy process, they’re more likely to abandon the form before they make a gift. You don’t want that!
Optimizing your donation form is another fundraising idea. Improving your donation form is about more than just creating a better giving experience; some features on your forms can actually encourage donors to give more.
If your nonprofit wants to create better donation forms, take a look at these three strategies:
1. Make your donation fit on one page
Shorter donation forms are quicker to complete, and they look less intimidating to the donor. Keep your donation form to one page, so that donors can easily see what they need to complete and gauge how long it will take to finish.
Moreover, your nonprofit will be more purposeful about the fields you include on your form, because you’ll have limited space.
2. Use donation buttons and recurring gifts to encourage bigger donations
Features like preselected donation buttons and recurring gift options can actually help your nonprofit gain more donations.
When you use suggested donation amount buttons, you give donors some direction on how much they should give to your nonprofit. When a donor sees the preselected amounts, they’ll presume that everyone is using them and decide to use the buttons, too.
Additionally, recurring gift options encourage donors to give on a regular basis. Although, supporters may donate a smaller gift, their contribution will add up to much more than a single contribution.
3. Make sure your donation form is secure
Some of your supporters may be nervous about donating online because of security reasons. Whenever a donor makes a gift, they want to know that their information is safe. Put your donors at ease by getting familiar with payment processing and your software’s security measures.
Make sure that you use online donation software that is PCI-compliant. If your software is PCI-compliant, that means it adheres to a strict set of rules created by the Payment Card Industry.
Also, look out for other layers of security, such as 2-factor authentication and tokenization.
The bottom line: When a donor knows that their information is protected, they are more likely to give. You can bring in a lot of online donations when you optimize your forms to make it more convenient for your donors.
With these strategies, you can start raising more funds to reach your year-end fundraising goal. Who knows? Your organization might just exceed your goals!
About the author:
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
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