We have reached the final and perhaps the most important part of our discussion on 2021 Trends for the nonprofit sector: fundraising. As mentioned in the first part of the series, COVID-19 prompted many changes in the way charitable organisations function, and those who relied on events to increase awareness and raise funds were perhaps affected the most.
The good news is that by 2020, 80% of donors were already familiar and comfortable with online giving, but many not-for-profit organisations still had to explore and set up new systems in order to be able to access and communicate with their prospective and existing funders.
This brings us to the most important point we’d like to highlight today: donor relationship. Solid and continuous relationships with donors are crucial, which means that as an organisation you should invest time and effort to build those relationships. But what are the best ways to do that?
Inform people about your organisation and your needs
First, if people would like to donate to your organisation or your cause, they need to know that they can trust you. You can increase credibility by educating the community about your charity, your members, your volunteers and the work that you do. Tell them why your organisation was founded, who works and volunteers there, what you stand for and what you are trying to achieve. People are more likely to donate when they can envision the end result, so bring them on board with your vision and mission. Many want to be part of positive change, and you can give them the opportunity to do so.
Make giving easy
Utilise innovative tools that are now available to make the process of giving as smooth as possible for your donors. Start with adding a donation form to your website (this is easy to do with infoodle Forms that are customisable to your needs). Explore and use Facebook Social Impact, a suite of tools that includes Charitable Giving. Another great tool is giving your donors an opportunity to donate through text messages (by texting a specific word or phrase that makes the provider charge their mobile phone bill). The idea is to make giving as easy as possible, so that filling complicated forms or using unfamiliar payment methods doesn’t turn people off.
Do not cancel events
2020 saw many cancelled events, but some organisations got creative and transferred what they planned online. Before canceling, check whether this is the only option. Perhaps there is a way to replace your planned fundraising events with virtual ones: conferences, webinars, auctions and even games that are streamed live. This requires planning, set up and some tech knowledge, but it can widen your reach significantly by including audiences that might otherwise not be able to attend.
Keep your donors updated
Second, people who donate want to know that they are making an impact. They want to hear stories of the difference you (and their donations) are making. You can use your website, blog, podcast or social media channels to update them and keep them engaged. Send regular newsletters to let them know how vital their participation is for your organisation and the community.
Remember the importance of recurring giving
Recurring giving is at its strongest now, so it’s a great idea to create a strategy to re-engage previous donors, individuals and companies alike. Send fundraising emails to ask previous donors for an additional gift and provide them with an option to subscribe to making monthly or quarterly donations. Many people do not mind to be involved with charities they have once supported on a regular basis, and this strategy gives your nonprofit more predictable revenue.
Strengthen your relationship with businesses and corporations
Multiple for-profit organisations are well aware of social, environmental or other problems which the nonprofit sector is working endlessly to solve. This is why many companies now have programs of either regularly donating or matching their employees’ donations to selected charities. This is another excellent opportunity to ensure there’s a recurring stream of revenue. Try approaching businesses in your area, town or country to see if they are interested in supporting your organisation.
In conclusion, what 2021 will require is a good understanding of how technology, marketing and fundraising are related and, more importantly, how they can work together for the benefit of your organisation. We need to start by investing more of our time, knowledge and resources in overcoming the challenges of 2020 and focusing our effort on building strong relationships with people in order to learn the best ways to serve our communities and make positive change.