Growing your nonprofit takes preparation. Knowing the right questions to ask to facilitate that growth can be more challenging than anticipated, especially if you want to look at growth year over year. The biggest question for any nonprofit is always, “How can we raise more money for our cause?” To get to the root of that question and find an answer that will create positive change for years to come, there are a few main nonprofit fundraising questions that need we need to answer first.
1. What is your nonprofit’s fundraising engagement strategy this year?
Fundamentally, knowing what your fundraising strategy is for the upcoming year is most important in determining how your nonprofit will reach donors. The next step is determining what kind of content you’ll be creating so you can share your fundraising campaigns with the world. Here are a few things to think about when putting together your engagement strategy.
Create content your audience is asking for
In the nonprofit marketing world, we know that storytelling is the most effective way to build brand loyalists and bring in donations. That said, there are many different ways to tell a story.
Once you’ve determined the demographic of your target audience, narrow down what types of storytelling your nonprofit wants to focus on within the realm of written, visual, and audio mediums. While you should use a mixture of different types of storytelling, if you have the budget, focus on video storytelling. By 2021, Forbes predicts that 82% of internet traffic will consist of video content. The more evergreen you can make your content, the better.
Share your content on more than just social media
According to Nonprofit Tech For Good, 29% of online donors listed social media as the communication tool that inspires them to give the most. Still, 27% of donors find inspiration to give through email communications. We know social media is an important and effective way to share, but coming up with an extensive communication plan that covers different types of communication is important.
Keep a spreadsheet or a checklist of all the platforms where you’ll be sharing your fundraising campaign. Or, use a free online organization tool to keep everyone in your organization on the same page. Online organization tools are especially helpful if you have multiple people working on one aspect of your fundraising campaign. For example, if you have three team members working on creating a Facebook post, you can track the creation process online from start to finish. Additionally, you can see all of the different channels you’re planning to share your fundraiser on, as well as the posting dates.
These are a few ways to share your fundraiser:
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn
- Email marketing newsletters
- Direct mail
- Paid ads—if budgeting allows
Don’t be afraid to contact your donors directly
Outside of content created specifically for your fundraiser, you should make contact with your donors regularly throughout the year to make sure your nonprofit stays top of mind. Here are a few simple ways you can do that without pushing donors to disengage with you:
- Inform them of any upcoming events
- Send past donors thank you letters or emails
- Share additional fundraisers for movements like Giving Tuesday
- Email them a newsletter about the impact your nonprofit has made the previous month
Refine your call to action
What is the message you want your audience to share with others about your cause—and is that message obvious in every element of your fundraiser? Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members what they glean from your fundraising campaign before you launch. If the people around you aren’t taking in the message you hoped for, it may be wise to rethink your messaging. Even if a potential donor isn’t able to give, they may share your cause with someone else who will end up donating. Give your audience a clear message that’s easy to remember, and therefore, easy to share.
2. How can you challenge supporters to be more involved?
Getting your supporters involved is a sure-fire way to bring in more donations. On top of that, it’s a great way to retain donors year after year—the more involved they are with your organization, the more they’ll want to help in the future.
Use peer-to-peer fundraising to your advantage
Using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform is the perfect way to make sure your fundraising campaign reaches multiple demographics. By allowing your supporters to start a personal fundraiser for your nonprofit and share it with their personal networks, you’re drastically increasing your reach. Plus, it allows supporters to share why your nonprofit or cause is so important to them, personally.
Host an event that’s tailored to your audience
Charity events are a surefire way to raise money for your cause and they’re also a great way to meet your supporters. Throwing a charity event like a bike ride or a gala is a quick way to get supporters on board that you may not reach otherwise. Plus, supporters of your charity can bring their friends to your event and widen your reach even more. Before your fundraising event is even over, plan ahead to boost post-event engagement.
3. What are the most vital projects or causes your organization needs to fund this year?
Determine your annual budget before you begin your fundraising campaign. If you can show your audience exactly what their donation will go toward, they may be more inclined to donate.
A study by Guidestar found that nonprofits that are transparent receive 53% more in donations. We aren’t just talking about sharing your 990 form or a financial report from the following year—be transparent in how funds that are donated are going to be used to advance your cause in the future. Of course, past financials are important to build trust, but being transparent about future spending is just as important, especially if your funding focus has changed.
4. What’s the easiest way for your donors to give?
Asking this question is crucial to increasing giving. The simpler it is for donors to give, the better. Here are a few things to think about:
The future of fundraising lives online
It’s no secret that online fundraising has taken over the charitable fundraising space. According to M + R Benchmarks, overall online revenue for nonprofits has increased by 24% since 2017. If your organization isn’t yet accepting donations online, this year is the year to start.
It doesn’t matter if you’re friendly if your website isn’t mobile-friendly
If you are already accepting donations online, check to ensure that your website or fundraising platform is set up for mobile giving. You’ll also want to make sure that your site loads quickly and correctly and that donations are going through successfully to prevent donors from running into delays when donating on their phones.
Offer donors a monthly recurring donations option
Monthly recurring donations can drastically increase overall donations to your company throughout the year. Use an online fundraising platform that gives donors the option to create a monthly recurring donation to make sure you don’t miss out on easy donations.
5. How will your organization measure your progress this year?
Having access to advanced data reports on donations made to your nonprofit is the simplest way to track how changes you make are affecting your revenue each year. One of the most important numbers to track is your donor retention rate. While gaining new donors is very important, you also want to focus your strategy on keeping current donors active to assure the longevity of your nonprofit.
If you’re wondering where your donor retention rate should hover, the 2018 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report found that in 2017, the average donor retention rate was 45.5%. This means that 45.5% of people who donated in 2017 donated to the same nonprofit again in 2017.
6. What should you do differently in your next fundraising cycle?
Your fundraising plan should change and adapt year to year depending on how the donor market has changed. For example, next year you should be thinking about how to reach Gen Z supporters, as their generation is slowly but surely taking over the workforce. Therefore, their hard-earned money will soon represent your nonprofit’s donor base.
At the end of the year, you should also perform a deep dive into the data you’ve collected over the course of the year. That way, you can see if you should try a different online fundraising platform that meets more of your everyday needs. Here are a few other ideas to keep in mind when analyzing your year in review:
- Could peer-to-peer fundraising be more effective for your organization?
- Is there additional data that would help inform decision making?
- Can you budget more time and money toward creating compelling content?
- Is there a special event you could throw next year to bring in more donors?
- Are there less expensive software alternatives that offer lower subscription fees?
Are you ready for fewer questions and more answers?
With zero platform fees, GoFundMe Charity can help answer many of your most important charity fundraising questions. Sign up and start a fundraiser to launch peer-to-peer fundraising for your cause. If you’re hosting an event, you can manage all of your ticketing and registration in one place.
GoFundMe Charity also offers an advanced data reporting system so that you can learn about your audience over time and adapt your fundraising efforts to meet their needs. When you start fundraising with GoFundMe Charity, you’ll have time to focus on creating content around your cause that matters. We’ll take care of the rest.