November 28, 2017
Like everything else, both professional and personal, the Internet has changed fundraising--but non-profits, due to funding challenges, can often be behind the technological curve. On the flip side, social media can be some of your lowest-cost fundraising efforts, and some of the most effective when used well. Stay on top of the trends for successful fundraising for 2018:
1. Video: Some things never change, and connecting your donor directly to the impact of the money they give continues to be important. According to Heroic Fundraising: 1: "The fundraisers having the most success today are those who can — in the midst of many loud voices — focus on the quiet truth that donors want to experience the joy of giving. The shorter the emotional distance from the donor's hand to the hand in need, the greater the joy."
To leverage the trend, note that every smartphone is a video camera now--have your program staff take video of programs in progress to give every donor the ability to see the results of their dollars, up close and personal. Posting them to Facebook is free, and they can be promoted with very little cost. Cisco2 expects that videos will grow from 73 percent of Internet traffic in 2016 to 82 percent by 2021. If you're not posting video, you're already behind the curve.
2. Crowdfunding: It's been around for nearly 70 years as telethons, according to the Huffington Post3. However, the growth of crowdfunding apps on the Internet has made it terrifically easy for nonprofits to use with no upfront costs. In the HP Blog, Lamson goes on to note that you need to set attainable, smaller goals--high dollar numbers can be intimidating for donors. He also suggests you do the first wave of communication before pushing it out to the Web--get dollars in the fund before widening the net, because nothing is more intimidating to a donor than a campaign that's at zero or near it.
Leverage those same program videos that tug at donor heartstrings, and connect them up to your crowdfunding asks. Don't forget too, to follow up. Donors need reminding--and you can use all the communication channels to keep pushing the crowdfunding link. Be careful, however, to remove the e-mails of those who've already given. Asking a donor over and over again who has already given is a good way to find yourself consigned to the donor's junk e-mail file.
3. E-mail: Using e-mail incorrectly can end up with high costs to your organization, by losing your donors by asking for money over and over again. Bombarding your donors with e-mail that only asks for money will just get you into the junk folder. Use e-mail, instead, for connecting your donors1 to your organization and to the clients you serve. Add a link at the bottom for donation, but skip the direct ask, especially in the subject line. Give the donors what they crave--the connection of their dollars to the results of those funds. Donors should look forward to your e-mails, not just skip them as a matter of course. Bonus tip: Make sure your e-mails are mobile-ready.
4. Direct Mail: According to The Fundraising Authority4, direct mail is not only not dead, but should be used by every nonprofit, particularly to stay in contact with their current donor base. You should have a good read on your donor base's average age, as well. Many mature donors are more comfortable with real mail as a connection point to their nonprofit of choice. Postage and stationery costs may seem daunting at first, but one significant donation can defray your costs.
If there is one takeaway from the above, it's that the world of communication with donors is changing rapidly, and changing with it is key for any nonprofit to survive. For more information, contact us today.
1. TrueSense Marketing, Heroic Fundraising: https://www.truesense.com/blog/13-fundraising-trends-fundraising-best-practices-2018.
2. Cisco Systems Visual Networking Index 2016-2021: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.html
3. Huffington Post, How to Successfully Crowdfund for Your Nonprofit: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-lamson/how-to-successfully-crowd_b_4274202.html
4. The Fundraising Authority: What Every Nonprofit Ought to Know About Direct Mail Fundraising: http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/fundraising-by-mail/know-about-direct-mail/