4 Simple Steps to Maximize Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Efforts
Fundraising through events comes with many challenges. For one, you never know if the turnout to an event will meet your expectations. For smaller nonprofits, you don’t have the time or resources to keep hosting events which means every event is crucial for bringing in enough funding.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of 4 steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your fundraising efforts. With this step-by-step plan, you spend a little time understanding your donors and trying to find ways to retain them. You can increase your nonprofit’s funds while having enough time to stick to your cause and do what you do best within your community.
STEP ONE: GATHER INFORMATION
Let’s start with developing a donor database. You need to learn as much about your donors as you can. Once you do, you can begin to understand what compelled them to contribute in the first place so you can gain insight into attracting future donors.
Perhaps someone donated because your mission statement spoke to them, or maybe they heard your organization’s message at an event and it motivated them to contribute. In either case, these are the people who can give you insight into your target audience. Your list should look something like this:
- Contact information
- Geographic location
- Gender, age, household income, and other demographics
- Events attended
- Donation frequency
- Donation amount
- What motivated them to donate to your organization
- How / where did they first become aware of your cause
If you have other specific data that you think you’ll need from your donors, include it. You can have them fill out a questionnaire to update your data whenever they donate.
Quick tip: create a contract of confidentiality that lets donors know their information is safe with you and won’t be given out without their permission.
STEP TWO: CATEGORIZE YOUR DONORS
Now that you have the specifics on a group of donors, you need to start leveraging it for the benefit of your organization. Some simple analysis is sure to reveal some opportunities.
To give you an example, if you suffer from having low donor turnout at fundraising events, try separating your donors based on their geographic location. You might find that a large group of them live in a specific city. If this is the case, then perhaps your organization can hold an event in that area. You can invite your existing donors and extend an invitation for them to bring a neighbor or friend.
Another example is if you have trouble getting large donations. You can focus on who your highest paying donors are and reach out to them. Think of ways you can involve them more. You could invite them to present at one of your events or participate in a board meeting. The more you keep them in the loop, the more opportunities will arise for your organization’s message to resonate with them, and the more involved they will become.
Quick tip: utilize new technologies like Google Analytics, CRM systems, and Business Intelligence to gain even greater insight into your donors.
STEP THREE: COMMUNICATE WITH DONORS
Communication is essential for creating lasting relationships. Getting people to stay with you over the years isn’t easy, but your organization needs them more than they need you. And that means you need to find ways to connect with your donors and show them how important they are. One startling statistic is that most people only donate to a cause once, so you need to find reasons for them to come back.
A mistake a lot of nonprofits make is not effectively communicating about how a donor’s financial contribution is being spent or how it’s aiding in your cause. You need to show people that their donations are being put to good use. Send your donors a thank you card, along with a few photographs, explaining how your organization’s purpose couldn’t be achieved without their help.
Quick tip: offer donors the opportunity to volunteer with your organization. You know you can always use the help, plus they will see the value of your nonprofit firsthand and might be inclined to spread the word about your cause.
STEP FOUR: MEASURE, EVALUATE, AND REPEAT
If you’re not seeing a difference in donations, you should examine new ways of reaching out to people. If people donated to you before, you can compel them to donate again. Keep analyzing ways in which you can expand your base and revisit what worked in the past. Maybe the data is trying to tell you something that you’re not seeing right away. The answer is there, you’ll eventually find it.
One final tip: don’t forget what your mission meant to you in the beginning. Sometimes when you tell the story of WHY you decided to join a nonprofit, it will resonate with people and draw them in.