As a nonprofit, you have probably looked for ways to make your fundraising efforts more effective every time you’ve started a campaign. Here are some easy ways to achieve just that.
Always ask supporters for what you want: a donation
You’ve written a great letter that tells about a young man, who grew up poor, graduated at the top of his college class and is now headed for medical school. Your letter’s recipients helped fund the scholarship that made this possible. This is smart; donors love to hear the tangible ways in which their support pays off.
More than once though, I’ve read a similar letter only to discover that the writer never asks for continued financial support, aka, another gift. Is the writer being subtle? Sending a subliminal signal? I don’t know.
Here’s the thing. You have to be stick-arrow straight and tell your supporters exactly what you need. Don’t just throw in a return envelope and expect them to throw in a check.
Be specific. Ask for a gift, and enclose a gift card with donation options they can check, starting with the amount they gave last year and going up in increments of $50 or so. ($100, $150, $200, $250.) The easier you make it for supporters to donate, the better your campaign will go. And, this is one of the easiest ways to make your fundraising efforts more effective, too.
Ask your donors for more than money
No doubt, nonprofits need financial support. But your supporters can contribute in other ways. When people are part of the inner workings of an organization, they tend to be more invested in its mission and they tend to give more of charitable donations to it. Regularly ask supporters if they’d like to take on additional roles in your organization. Offer them chances to volunteer for a single event or on a standing committee. Let them know about volunteer options in your newsletter, on a gift form, via email or in a direct mail piece. When you need new board members, reach out to donors who have shown exceptional interest and ask if they would enjoy being a leader of your organization. These invites can be delivered by a personal note or a phone call.
Data rules; don’t ignore it, use it
The more you know about your donors, the more money you will raise. Think about this. Your data tells you where your donors live so you can plan fundraising events in areas with high concentrations of supporters, guaranteeing a better turnout and likely, a good financial return. Your data also charts the success of your direct mail campaigns or social media messages. You can identify patterns of giving. And don’t forget to use your data to personalize letters and other mailings. “Dear Donor,” doesn’t cut it. Make your letter as specific as possible. Make it clear that you know how much they gave last year and that you’d love it if they upped their gift.
Don’t make donating online a game of seek and find
A donate button takes up next to no space on a screen. There should be a button on every page of your website so that when your donor wants to give, they can be whisked away to the donate page with a quick click. Likewise, make donating by any method as easy as possible. Make sure you point out in any fundraising letter that donors can give by check, by phone, on the website, by text and any other options you offer. While it may seem obvious, this is one of the ways to make your fundraising efforts more effective that is often overlooked.
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