Master These 8 Goals for Better Fundraising Asks
It's not just about the money, but also the how.
Large or small, new or established, your nonprofit needs to set realistic fundraising goals.
This is not about setting a specific dollar amount as a target (although this is still critical).
This is about how you ask for donations.
Here are the strategies and goals to use if you want to broaden your fundraising or improve in a particular area
- Look to Multichannel Fundraising
- Segment Your Donors
- Turn to Crowdfunding
- Host Better Events
- Consider Corporate Support
- Get Your Board on Board
- Create a Great Donation Form
- Use Acknowledgments Wisely
1. Look to Multichannel Fundraising
Your donors are in more than one place; are you asking for donations in more than one way?
Using multichannel fundraising should be one of your organization’s top goals.
Multichannel fundraising is your best bet for:
- Connecting with more supporters and prospects.
- Raising more money for your mission.
Think about it.
Some of your donors will appreciate a phone call. Others like opening mail from your nonprofit. Some supporters might prefer email and other online appeals.
The only way to satisfy most of your donors most of the time is to embrace multichannel methods.
The options for fundraising across channels in our digital age are endless.
- Encourage donors to donate via text-to-give.
- Use videos to raise more money.
- Implement a peer-to-peer fundraiser to engage with donors.
- Send out email blasts at key times, like #GivingTuesday.
- Direct donors to your online donation form.
- And more!
Turning to multichannel fundraising might seem like a big goal to set. But if you don't use all available fundraising methods, you might miss out on a big piece of the giving pie.
Your goal in one sentence? Expand your fundraising methods to reach more donors and raise more money for your organization.
2. Segment Your Donors
Segmentation goes hand in hand with multichannel fundraising.
No two donors are alike. They deserve to be treated as the individuals that they are, not as faceless ATMs.
Segmenting your donors will do two things:
- It helps you target your messages and reach the right donors the right way.
- It gives your donors a better, more personalized experience with your organization.
- Experience with your organization.
- Preferred communication method.
- Communication frequency.
- Preferred giving method.
- Giving level.
Make the message as personalized as possible by pairing segmentation with your fundraising asks. Address the donor directly and correctly spell his or her name.
Each appeal should reference past involvement and support, when applicable. Donors are more likely to give when you acknowledge their previous donations of time or money.
Your goal in one sentence? Generate more revenue by segmenting donors and sending personalized appeals.
3. Turn to Social Fundraising
Social fundraising (also known as peer-to-peer fundraising) helps by::
- Growing your donor pool.
- Deepening the engagement of your current supporters by involving them in your fundraising.
If you are unfamiliar with social fundraising, it usually goes something like this:
- Your nonprofit finds that it needs to raise a certain amount of money (often tied to an event).
- You ask your most dedicated supporters to help you.
- These advocates raise money by reaching out to friends, family members, and coworkers.
- Usually, you'll use a peer-to-peer online platform, from which your army of ambassadors can send messages to their friends.
- By leveraging the connections of your supporters, you can raise more money and find new donors.
Your goal in one sentence? Use social fundraising to grow your donor base and involve your most eager supporters.
4. Host Better Events
Any nonprofit professional can tell you horror stories about bad fundraising events.
Our invitations didn’t make it out in time.
No one showed up.
Our speaker was late.
We did not even raise enough money to cover the costs.
Do these crises sound familiar?
You can’t control the weather, traffic, or invitations getting lost in the mail. But you can cut these risks by planning a great event and setting attainable goals.
Some tips for events include:
- Promote your event.
People won't attend your fundraising event if they do not know when or where it is. Using the segments you determined in goal #2, send out invitations and reminders through a variety of communications.
- Tailor your guest list.
Some supporters prefer a walkathon rather than a formal charity ball. Send invitations to the most suitable donors based on how they like to interact with your organization.
- Use speaking time wisely.
Many events dedicate some time to speakers. Don't use this time to just talk about your organization. Introduce your donors and thank them for their support. You can even encourage them to donate right then and there with text-to-give.
Your goal in one sentence? Engage donors and help your organization raise more money with fundraising events. Events should not put you in the red.
5. Consider Corporate Support
Most people think about individuals when it comes to fundraising. Nearly 75% of all charitable donations come from individuals, after all.
But that does not mean you should disregard other forms of fundraising.
Specifically, nonprofits shouldn’t ignore corporate giving programs. All kinds of companies use corporate giving programs to give back to nonprofits.
But, to raise money from businesses, build connections to companies with similar philanthropic interests. For instance, some companies only donate to a particular type of nonprofit (environmental, family-oriented, educational). So do your research first.
Let’s look at a few examples of corporate giving:
- Matching gifts: These programs double employees’donations to nonprofits.
- Volunteer grants: Companies give money to organizations where their employees volunteer.
- In-kind donations: Not every corporate donation is monetary. In-kind donations are contributions of goods or services.
- Community grants: Companies want to help causes in their local communities. Many choose local nonprofits or accept applications to receive an annual community grant.
Your goal in one sentence? Don’t just rely on individual contributions; supplement your fundraising efforts with corporate giving programs.
6. Get Your Board on Board
Boards can set a good example by donating themselves and identifying potential new donors.
If your board of directors is not invested in your cause, how can you convince other people to give?
Luckily, it should not be too difficult to get your board engaged in fundraising. There is a myriad of ways for board members to do their bit.
Here are some examples of board fundraising:
- You are launching a capital campaign to raise money for a new building. You need to secure generous lead gifts. Ask your board members for those donations. Help them to be leaders.
- You want to start a peer-to-peer fundraiser but don’t know whom to ask to kick off the fundraising. Look no further than your board of directors.
- You are about to host your annual winter gala and your speaker just canceled. Who better to replace him/her than one of your board members?
Don't leave your board of directors out of your fundraising efforts. Involve them and show your donors how much your leadership cares about your organization.
Your goal in one sentence? Raise more money, and encourage others to donate, by engaging your board members.
7. Create a Great Donation Form
Think about how many things you buy online every month. Like most consumers, you probably purchase a lot on Amazon or eBay or a store’s website.
Everyone buys things online--why wouldn’t your nonprofit’s supporters want to donate online as well?
More and more donors use online donation pages to give to their favorite causes. But they expect and deserve an easy donation process. Do your website and donation form give that to them?
If not, it might be time to use these four best practices:
Don’t Distract Donors
Your donation form fails when donors leave before they press the submit donation button.
Limit sidebar and top-of-page navigation to increase your donation page conversion rate.
Include a logo that links back to your homepage, but don't add more links or navigation.
Your website likely has some level of branding. You use consistent colors, fonts, images, and graphics.
Don’t interrupt that consistency by having a different-looking donation form.
Include the same colors and fonts as on your website and place your logo in a prominent place.
Donors want to know that they are giving to your organization. You can reassure them by using the same branding as your website.
Keep Donor Data Safe
If your supporters feel their information is not safe, they will not give online.
Make sure that your online donation form adheres to the Payment Card Industry’s guidelines (also known as PCI DSS compliance).
Use the proper security logos and images on your donation page to reassure donors.
You can also tell donors at the top of your page that the form is secure.
Do not make donors jump through hoops to give $50 to your organization.
Make the donation form as easy and painless as possible. If supporters have to give a ton of information, they are likely to become frustrated and give up.
Only require the information that you need to process the contribution. Drop any other fields or make them optional.
Do not complicate your donation pages. Done right, they are an excellent way to raise money from donors who want to give easily and quickly.
Your goal in one sentence? Make your donation page super easy to increase your donor conversion rate.
8. Use Acknowledgments Wisely
Let’s get an important point out of the way first: do not use your acknowledgments to ask for more money.
When you send thank-you notes to friends and family for birthday presents, you don't add a list of items you want for your next birthday.
That same principle applies to your donor thank-you letters.
But, even though you do not ask for donations in your acknowledgment, thank you letters do serve a vital purpose in your fundraising planning.
An acknowledgment shows your donors that you appreciate them. Communicate your gratitude and build a strong relationship so that donors want to give again.
You can use acknowledgments as a way to encourage future involvement. Remind donors of volunteer opportunities. Mention matching gift programs. Inform them of upcoming events.
Acknowledgments are also donation receipts. Donors, who deduct their donations on their tax returns, need proof that they made a contribution. Your acknowledgment (by email or direct mail) is that proof.
Your goal in one sentence: Craft meaningful acknowledgments that engage donors.
Finally, don't send your fundraisers out into the world without goals for raising money.
Use these eight goals, and maybe some of your own, to achieve fundraising success.
As Communications Director at Qgiv, an online fundraising platform, Abby Jarvis stays on top of the newest and best fundraising strategies for nonprofits.