Looking for ways to raise more? Here are five tips to up your fundraising game this year.
1. Plan now
The next few months are going to be a whirlwind of opportunity. If you want to make the most of it, you have to have a plan.
Have a unified campaign theme. Set actionable goals. Decide on what channels you will use to spread your message. Write your appeals. Grab a copy of this 2017 Year-End Planner to get started.
As your planning your campaign, remember who your audience is (your donors). The most effective campaigns are the ones that focus on your donors and how they can make a difference. Farra Trompeter talked about this in a recent webinar which you can listen to here.
2. Launch your campaign on #GivingTuesday
With all the hype about #GivingTuesday, how much can a small nonprofit actually stand to gain from participating? A lot, it turns out. Research shows that nonprofits who launch their year-end campaigns on #GivingTuesday raise, on average, five times more during year-end. No matter how small your organization (even if you’re a party of one) you can win big on #GivingTuesday when it’s seen as the kick-off for a month-long marathon of fundraising.
Action Tip: Sign up for our free #GivingTuesday Masterclass to learn mobilize your community and win big on #GivingTuesday.
3. Invest in a better giving experience
Not only do you need to make your campaign message donor-centric, but you have to make your online giving experience donor-friendly. What does this mean?
First, your website and all of your appeal emails should make it super easy to see where to click to donate. Make sure your donate button stands out, above the fold.
Next, make sure your donation page itself is clear, simple, and matches the look and feel of your website. Remember too, that donors are more likely to give (and give big) when there are compelling images, suggested donation amounts, and impact labels to give them an idea of what their gift could accomplish.
Finally, make sure you have a clear and simple system for tracking gifts and following up with donors. Gratitude is so important – beyond just good manners (although that’s enough of a reason). A memorable thank you goes a long way towards getting more of your donors to give again in the future. Donor’s remorse is real, and it’s usually experienced when donors feel like their gift was unnoticed, unneeded, and unappreciated.
4. Start your email series early and keep the momentum going
30% of all charitable giving happens during the month of December, which means that there’s going to be a lot of competition for your donor’s attention (and dollars). If you want your donors to choose you, you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Keep your organization top of mind with your donors by engaging with them throughout the last few months of the year. Send them an email every week or so to share stories of what their gifts have been able to accomplish through your organization. Not every email should be an appeal – you want to start soft.
Your goal through these emails is to warm up your donors so that when you DO send an appeal for #GivingTuesday and year-end, they’re already interested and motivated to give. Of course, it helps a lot when your donor management system already comes with these engagement email templates pre-loaded into the system, like the one here at Network for Good. Think of it as mad-libs for year-end fundraising.
5. Track your success
Whatever gets measured gets improved. If you want to be as successful as possible, it helps to start with a foundation of lessons and data from last year. Don’t have any data from last year? Start collecting now. Keep track of how many existing donors give again, how many new donors join your community this year, the average gift size of returning and new donors, how many supporters opened your last email, how many clicked “donate”, etc. Use your donor management system to quickly run reports and see your progress in real time – and adjust your plans accordingly.