Educate Your Potential Donors
Nonprofits – no matter how big, small, well-known or new-on-the-scene – should not expect potential givers to know their mission and core values off the top of their heads. It’s important for nonprofits to educate potential donors before asking for their money; people are more inclined to give when they know where their hard-earned money is going. Your nonprofit likely already has a meaningful origin story and employees with endless passion for the cause – be sure to not only tell your purpose but sell it! Educating your potential donors through thoughtful storytelling can help them relate to the cause and start fostering a relationship between the donor and the nonprofit, which can lead to repeat donations.
Nonprofits should consider educating their donors by:
· Highlighting successful programs your nonprofit implemented with the funds raised
· Sharing personal stories of people who were positively impacted by your nonprofit’s work
· Including transparent explanations of what each donation contributes to on your donation page next to your donation form
Ask for Donations via Nonprofit Fundraisers, Donation Forms and Donate Now Buttons
Once the potential donors are up-to-speed on your nonprofit’s purpose and have expressed interest in learning more or helping out, it’s time to make the ask. You might be wondering how to raise money for a cause; hosting a nonprofit fundraiser is one of the most successful methods. Below are some tools of the trade to help convert your community of supporters and website visitors into donors.
Organize a Nonprofit Fundraiser
Nonprofit fundraisers are a great way to attract more donors. Many nonprofits host various fundraisers throughout the year, ranging from small, grassroots fundraisers to massive campaigns that exist on a global scale. Nonprofit fundraisers can include peer-to-peer fundraising, crowdfunding and online auctions, to name a few. Nonprofits should focus on the type of fundraising experience, personal storytelling technique and consider incorporating online giving into an in-person fundraising event. Hosting virtual events is a great way to target specific donor personas.
Use a Well-Crafted Donation Form
In today’s digital age, online donation forms are a great way for nonprofits to easily solicit funds from donors. Donation forms are digital tools used to collect donor information to process a donation. To personalize the giving experience, nonprofits can invest in technology that allows them to customize donation form questions and fields – such as an option to make the donation a recurring gift, or implement suggested donation amounts – while maintaining the look and feel of the donation form through branding.
Incorporate Donate Now Buttons Throughout Your Site
To make donating even more convenient, nonprofits can incorporate “donate now” buttons throughout their site. Once a donor clicks on the button, the donation form will pop up for easy completion. Donate now buttons don’t need to be intrusive but should be clearly visible on your nonprofit’s site. Donation forms and donate now buttons simplify and speed up the donation process.
Thank Your Community for Donating to Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser
Perhaps the most important part of attracting and retaining donors is to always thank them for their charitable contribution. Showing gratitude to donors via considerate donation thank you letters or emails is a surefire way to promote repeat giving. Thanking donors can go a long way in cultivating lasting donor relationships and should be a part of your nonprofit’s donor retention program. Here are some simple but sincere ways to show appreciation for your donors:
· Include a thank you note in the donation confirmation page after a donation is made
· Send a personalized thank you email that doubles as a confirmation/receipt to thank them for their donation
· Write a handwritten thank you letter (prioritize this after a second donation, on the anniversary of their first donation, around the holiday season and/or during your Giving Tuesday campaign)
· Thank donors on your social media platforms and be sure to tag them
· Create a donor spotlight page on your website to profile your most active supporters
· Host an annual or semi-annual donor appreciation event
Why Do Donors Donate to Nonprofit Fundraisers
Every donor has a reason – a story – behind why they give. Your nonprofit would be wise to listen to these personal anecdotes to gain a deeper understanding of what motivates people to contribute to a cause. With this insight, nonprofits can personalize their messaging, increase donor engagement, and raise more funds.
Donors are Mission-Focused Altruists
It’s not surprising that many donors are simply trying to give back and support their local community and causes across the globe. It gives donors great pride and joy to be a part of a mission that is bigger than themselves. Altruistic donors are helpers and problem-solvers with idealistic visions of a better future. These selfless givers should be a main target audience of any nonprofit.
Donors Trust Your Nonprofit
For many donors, it is also vital that they trust the nonprofit they are supporting. Nonprofits must gain donors’ trust; in fact, according to a 2019 Give.org Donor Trust Report, 69.8% of respondents rated the importance of trusting a charity before giving as 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. Strategically thinking about why your nonprofit exists, what problem(s) you are addressing and the direct impact of donors’ funds, helps to build credibility for your organization. Trust, transparency and effective communication are key aspects of any fundraising campaign.
Donors Enjoy the Social Aspect of Fundraising for Nonprofits
What’s more thrilling and rewarding than helping a cause via raising funds for a nonprofit you care about? Doing it with friends and family! We are all social creatures who love building long-lasting relationships. Peer-to-peer fundraising events – like walks, runs, rides digital campaigns, and DIY fundraisers – are a great way to encourage teamwork and fun while giving back. Giving is inspirational – when we see our friends getting involved with a charitable organization, we follow their lead.
Donors Are Personally Affected by Your Cause
Whether it’s the donor themselves or a close family member or friend who is intimately affected by the cause your nonprofit is dedicated to solving, those with a personal connection are likely to want to become part of the solution. Their proximity to the issue at hand extends to their network of family, friends and coworkers, who often give as well.
By investigating the personal reasons why donors give, nonprofits can tailor their fundraising campaigns to attract and retain these donors. In a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, nonprofits must learn to engage with donors virtually. Acknowledging digital donors’ reasons for donating in the first place can help customize email campaigns, website copy and social media posts to keep them inspired and involved.
Fundraising: Why Do Donors Stop Giving
Just as every donor has a story behind why they give, those who don’t give, put their giving on pause – or stopped giving entirely – likely have a specific reason behind their actions. Nonprofits must be aware of any potentially deterrent activities they are doing that are driving donors away from nonprofit fundraising and be quick to remediate them as soon as possible.
Here are some key reasons why donors stop donating to nonprofits.
You’re Over or Under Communicating About Fundraising
Communication is everything, and these days, if it’s not clear, customized and compelling, it might as well not happen. Donors become frustrated when nonprofits reach out too often or too infrequently. By spamming donors with emails, texts, written mail or a combination of the three, donors can be turned off by the incessant requests for donations. On the other hand, if your nonprofit doesn’t reach out enough, your request can get lost in the shuffle and forgotten. Finding a happy medium of how much to communicate to your donors can help maintain a healthy donor roster.
Donors’ Financial Situation Changed
For many donors, especially repeat or monthly givers, sustaining their donation over the course of their lifetime can become costly. When certain situations arise – such as buying a house, starting a family, putting children through college, unexpected hospital bills and more – donating might not be feasible. Whether they decrease the amount or frequency of their donations, or stop altogether, it’s important for nonprofits to stay in touch with the donor. Don’t burn any bridges – you never know when the donor could come back!
Donors Feel Like They’re Being Taken for Granted
A simple thank you goes a long way. Donors are altruistic, generous people who give their hard-earned money to your nonprofit. But, if the donor feels like he or she is being taken advantage of, ignored or not appreciated, they may call it quits. Nonprofits have the obligation to thank their donors, early and often. In fact, nonprofits should send notes of gratefulness to their donors far more than they solicit donations. Make sure your donors know how valuable they are to your nonprofit by thanking them.
Lack of Transparency on Where the Funds Go
It might seem like an obvious thing to do, but communicating where the donor’s money is going is sometimes overlooked by nonprofits. Being transparent and accountable is key to establishing trust with a donor, therefore ensuring their continued support. Think about it – would you continue donating to an organization if you had no idea how your money was being used? Unlikely. According to a 2019 report by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, nonprofit-donor relationships matter and nonprofits should focus on cultivating these relationships going forward. Your organization should make it easy for donors to stay updated on your progress and part of that is providing them with details on how and who they are helping with each donation. Share with your donors how their support specifically helps the cause.
Donor attraction and retention for nonprofits can be tricky, so nonprofits must take extra care that they don’t participate in any of the above fundraising faux pas to avoid deterring donors.
Reaching Donors in the Digital Age
Traditionally, many nonprofits collect checks and cash from in-person fundraisers, which is then deposited and distributed according to the organizations’ mission. In a world where everyone is glued to their screen in the palm of their hand, it’s important to meet donors when and where they are connected, and provide other options to donate, including mobile giving options. In the previous section on how to attract more donors, we discussed how utilizing online donation forms and incorporating “Donate Now” buttons throughout the nonprofit’s site are two quick and convenient ways to engage potential donors. We’re taking that one step further to examine the best ways to reach digital donors on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.
Reaching Digital Donors through Social Media
The advent of social media changed the way people consume and share content, engage in social activities and entertain themselves as we know it – as well as how nonprofits fundraise. Now, virtually every potential donor spanning all locations and generations has, if not is consistently active on, various social media platforms. Nonprofits should be aware of which groups of donors prefer which channels, such as:
· Facebook being a source primarily for Gen X and baby boomers
· Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter being preferred platforms for Gen Z and millennials
Remember donor personas? Your team can research and discuss internally which social media platforms your ideal donor prefers and, therefore, how to pursue them. Social media is a powerful way to reach digital donors – 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, with 59% of that group donating money.
Incorporating a social media strategy as a key part of your nonprofit’s donor attraction, interaction and retention plan is a great way to reach new and existing supporters and drive them to your online giving campaigns. Although some social media tools have digital donation capabilities directly integrated into them, such as Facebook Fundraising and Instagram digital stickers, you may want to consider sticking to your own digital hub and events for donation drives. This is because most social media platforms with donation capabilities do not share crucial information with nonprofits to help them grow their fundraising programs, such as donation totals and donor information. Without this information, performing analysis on your campaign is impossible.
But, utilizing social media to drive traffic to your donation campaign is a bonus that boosts digital donations. Also, communicating via posts and shares also helps recruit volunteers, engage with your target audience and promotes your nonprofit’s brand and story. And, the more people see their peers promoting their own charitable giving on social media, the more likely they are to donate themselves.
Don’t Forget Fundraising Apps
Fundraising apps are similar to social media, but allow for even more control over and customization of the look and feel. 77% of Americans own a smartphone. With that, many potential donors are on their smartphones daily, downloading and using various apps, it’s a no-brainer that nonprofits should be leveraging mobile apps in their digital fundraising efforts.
Some innovative technologies are taking it a ‘step’ further by incorporating fundraising capabilities directly into their platform. For example, FrontStream partners with MoveSpring, a fitness tracker platform, to integrate a fundraising function into the MoveSpring mobile application, and provide real-time step challenge data into a virtual fundraising event within Frontstream’s Panorama platform. Now, users can create a step challenge and tie it into a fundraising campaign. These customizable, community-focused features help reach donors in today’s digital era.
The Convenience of Mobile Donations
Nonprofits should take advantage of social media channels with fundraising options already built into them as well as mobile apps with donation capabilities to help reach digital donors. Mobile donations via social media, fundraising apps, donation forms and donate now buttons are quick and easy ways for donors to simply plug in their contact and payment information and give on the go. Nonprofits should seize any and every opportunity to expand your donor list and increase donations and tapping into the power of mobile donations is a great start.
Learn how FrontStream can help you attract more digital donors