The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

4 Lessons from the Trenches to Prepare for Giving Season

NFG Baltimore

Here at Network for Good, we’re continuously innovating our platform. The best way we do this is by immersing ourselves in the lives of our nonprofit users to understand the everyday problems they are trying to solve.

Last week, during a quarterly business review meeting in Baltimore, our team was challenged to meet with local nonprofits to help them drive awareness and increase funds. Below are the cliff notes from the day:

The Challenge

We arrived in Baltimore at 9AM on Wednesday, July 19. We broke into five teams and were given a task: find a nonprofit and help them fundraise leveraging the “Jobs to be Done” philosophy around functional, social, and emotional drivers. The team that raises the most, wins.

The results: $7,360. In a single day.

That’s $7,360 that went to five local nonprofits: Wide Angle Youth Media, Holistic Life Foundation, Playworks Maryland, Women’s Housing Coalition, and University of Maryland Baltimore.

As we got to know these five nonprofits and the people who lead them, four lessons stood out. We thought we would share them in a new Blog Series to help you prepare for giving season.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Giving is an emotional act.

We quickly learned the real-life value of emotionally driven appeals. Most of the donations we collected were from people who had an emotional connection to us. We had greater luck raising funds from text messages to our personal network than asking for donation on the streets – although we did both! This builds the case for the power behind peer-to-peer fundraising.

2. Not all nonprofits are created equal, but they all face time and capacity challenges.

Each nonprofit we helped had their own set of challenges to overcome. Some had more limited resources than others. Some had a lot of pressure on them to fundraise in order to serve their clients, while others needed more strategic help.  But what they all had in common was time and capacity challenges and the need for systems that would solve this problem.

3. All of them wonder, “Are we doing enough?”

All of the nonprofits we worked with that day shared concerns about their funding and sustainability. They wondered if they were doing enough to diversity their funding strategy. Creating a sustainable individual giving program and having the right mix of individual giving and additional funding sources are continual concerns.

4. There’s nothing like the power of a team.

When we set out to raise as much as we could in just one day, we quickly learned that we were all motivated to win the challenge because we all knew what we were working towards. We saw this at the nonprofits too, and believe those with a strong strategy were able to rally their troops and others around their cause more easily.

Check back next week as we dive into the first lesson, on how you can leverage the emotional connection when developing your appeals this giving season.

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About This Blog

Liz Ragland
Manager, Content & Community

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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Want to raise more money and learn how to market your cause with bigger impact? You’re in the right place! The Nonprofit Marketing Blog is managed by our team of experts here at Network for Good. We’re here to bring you the best in nonprofit marketing trends, fundraising techniques, technology developments, and amazing nonprofit examples.

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