Guest post by Dr. Steve Francis

We still have two months left in 2017, but it’s time to start thinking about trying something new with your fundraising tactics in 2018! Experimenting with some new digital strategies and fundraising techniques could make all the difference for your charity next year. Here are some fundraising ‘tune-up’s for 2018 – it’ll be here sooner than you think:

Mix up your social media and email marketing

Fundraising and social media can be a match made in heaven; however, it’s only one part of the whole digital story. Email campaigns can achieve more fundraising success than social, so don’t abandon your email marketing plans! It’s worth putting some effort into refining and improving your email marketing.

Have a broad look at your data by checking open rates, clickthroughs, popular subject lines and the times and days that material was sent. It’s good to constantly try out new approaches with social media and email marketing. Adjust your analytic parameters to make sure you capture everything you need to consider and apply the results that can improve your content and impact.

Peer-to-peer events vs. costs

Review your strategy for fundraising events for the year and calculate whether the costs will be worth the funds you’ll generate. After this, go ahead and further question if the marketing mix is right for the spend you have budgeted.

We can already see that challenge peer-to-peer events will continue to rise in popularity, particularly fitness events such as runs, walks and cyclethons. We touched on this in a blog post from 2015 referring to fundraising minimums, and we identified that the rate of participant fundraising in cycling events is close to 100%!

We also expect to see a more creative approach to the style of peer-to-peer events cropping up. Consider the unique and viral campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. What event or challenge could ignite your peer to peer calendar for this year and beyond? Have a few brainstorm sessions to see what you can come up with that responsibly uses resources and provides a memorable, shareable experience for supporters.

Regular giving is the backbone of a sustainable fundraising program

Make sure you allow donors the opportunity to give monthly rather than making a simple one-off donation. Look at your donation forms and make sure there’s an option to donate monthly while enabling donors to choose their processing date and number of installments.

Here are the reasons why sustainable monthly donations are best for all:

  • Take your lead from utility companies and banks who send monthly bills – they know that most consumers can get overwhelmed by big dollar amounts and are more comfortable with easy monthly installments.
  • The good work that you do needs time and planning to make a difference, and accruing a monthly income from engaged donors best supports a sustainable program. When this is explained to supporters sincerely, it’s easy to understand, so be sure to make this clear.
  • Also, when you have a regular donor relationship spanning months and years, you have an engaged supporter, advocate and cause champion in the long term, and that’s the goal!

Once your team is tuned in to identifying potential regular donors – whether it be through face-to-face fundraising or simply asking any existing donors, volunteers or fans to give monthly – you may be surprised at how generous your donor base can be, particularly if you present an engaging narrative.

Show businesses how to improve staff engagement

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a thriving concern in the big business world. Companies are beginning to understand that their public image and philanthropic offerings have a significant impact on their workforce and future staff. One straightforward aspect of CSR is workplace giving and corporate gift matching – the ability to allow a donor’s employer to match their workplace giving donations, usually dollar for dollar.

Not enough businesses take advantage of this opportunity, so make 2018 the year to educate businesses on the importance of having a workplace giving program with corporate gift matching. It’s quick and easy to set up, and it could result in your nonprofit receiving even higher donations than ever before. Innovative online platforms provide customizable options so employees can create and track their own regular giving campaigns. This feature enhances workplace giving by informing employees about how their donations are impacting the causes they truly care about. Workplace giving programs are a big incentive for employees that aids staff engagement and retention, doubling the benefit for employers.

Next year could be the time for big changes or small for your mission. Try and implement some new strategies in 2018 – sometimes the little tweaks and efficiencies can make all the difference to the bottom line for now and in the long term.

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