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Guest Post by John Killoran
Keeping up-to-date with current fundraising events is integral to maximizing your incoming revenue. On the heels of a global pandemic and an looming recession, it can be impossible for fundraising professionals to know for certain what the fundraising industry will have in store this year.
Let’s dive into all the new fundraising trends that have blossomed over the past year to help you present your nonprofit as a forward-thinking organization. This can establish you as an active presence in the nonprofit community and boost morale among your supporters.
Implementing modern and increasingly effective fundraising methods can help you reach new goals you hadn’t previously thought were possible. Here are our recommendations:
- Using a multi-channel marketing strategy
- Implementing text-to-give
- Stepping up your social media strategy
- Embracing virtual fundraising
- Spreading the word through Google
Falling behind on fundraising trends can mean losing donations to more up-to-date organizations.
Stay on target by embracing the changing times and implementing new strategies to maximize your revenue potential.
Ready to embrace the times? Let’s get started.
1. Using a multi-channel marketing strategy
People are always on the go, so what better way to reach them than through their preferred channels? Multi-channel marketing is the practice of sharing your message in unique ways on different platforms, so you can reach different segments of your audience.
When donors sign up for your marketing messages, consider asking their preferred form of communication so you can meet them in where they are in their daily communications. If you have multiple channels of contact open, there are more opportunities for your messages to reach your supporters in formats they use frequently.
A few channels to consider include:
- Email campaigns. With 91% of all U.S. consumers checking their email daily, you can reach your donors and supporters in their inbox. Be sure your name and subject line are compelling so supporters are encouraged to open your messages.
- Text messaging. Sending text updates about your campaign is a great way to reach out to the younger generation of donors. You can also set up a text-to-give program for easy access to giving.
- Phone calls. Personalize your campaign by having volunteers call and thank annual donors. This can reach older segments of donors, show appreciation for, and encourage your longtime supporters to continue giving.
- Direct mail. Who doesn’t love getting letters in the mail? Include your donors’ first and last names to personalize thank you letters or your organization’s printed newsletter.
- Social media. People seek out social media to engage with others and stay-up-to-date with the world. Be sure that the context you publish has a purpose, is informational, and worth sharing.
Depending on your donor base, your target age groups may vary widely. Be sure to have several campaign channels to broaden your reach as widely as possible. Social media, email and text campaigns are more likely to reach the younger generations. Using these platforms to target different generations have the potential to make your organization’s campaigns more accessible for easier giving.
Don’t forget about traditional methods such as phone calls and direct mail to reach targeted audiences, as well. If a donor is likely to engage with these methods, the extra time or cost to provide a more personal touch can have a big impact.
2. Implementing text-to-give
While text-messaging can be a great way to share information, text-to-give allows you to just as quickly and conveniently garner donations. Within seconds, supporters can donate by texting your nonprofit’s phone number with your keyword and their pledge amount.
Donors will receive a link to a donation form immediately after sending their text, and all they have to input is their payment information to complete their first gift. Any subsequent gifts will go even faster since their information can be saved.
To set up this form of fundraising, your organization will need to invest in an outbound text messaging software. Look for text-to-give software providers that have multiple integrated features such as:
- Campaign Customization
- Pledge Options
- PCI-compliant Processing
- Intuitive Reporting Features
For example, Snowball’s nonprofit text messaging plan includes PCI compliance, a CRM, campaign promotion, and text-to-give features. The marketing feature has branding, message templates, and analytics tracking so you can customize and follow the progress of your campaign. Look for pledge software that automatically collects donor data and securely stores it for your convenience. Be sure that the plan you choose is also PCI compliant, protects all donor payment data, and stores their information so donors only have to enter payment information once.
Be sure to have an opt-in form to confirm the donor’s consent to receiving your messages because under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to send text messages to supporters who did not agree to the messages.
Text-to-give campaigns can distinguish your nonprofit’s fundraiser from the competition by reaching out to donors wherever they carry a phone. Don’t miss out on your mobile audience the next time you’re planning a fundraiser.
3. Stepping up your social media strategy
Social media can be purely for entertainment, but leveraging it during advocacy campaigns, awareness campaigns, and peer-to-peer fundraisers is a must today.
Donors may start out as people unknowing of your cause, so reaching out via social media can start rapport between your nonprofit and potential donors about the importance of your cause. Increasing your followers on social media grows your community and can help spread awareness of your cause.
To build your social media strategy, consider these ideas:
- Write a compelling bio. If people don’t know what your nonprofit supports or where you are located, it is unlikely they will continue to view your profile. Include your donation page link to make supporting your cause accessible.
- Use images throughout. You can make your nonprofit cause seem approachable if you post images to your feed that include staff and volunteers working toward your cause. Image posts are a great place to encourage your followers to volunteer for your events.
- Share ways to get involved. Post a graphic for upcoming events and ask for volunteers to join your nonprofit’s effort. This is a great way to widen your nonprofit’s support network beyond donors.
- Stay up to date with trends. Make your social media compelling by using trends like popular audio clips over videos or using common editing style. Be sure to post regularly.
Social media should be a part of all nonprofit marketing and fundraising strategies, but ultimately staying up to date with trends is most important when optimizing your social media. Be sure to pay attention to who engages with your content and champions your cause.
Partnering with nonprofit social media influencers can be a great way to ease into new trends and testing out how your network responds to more personal posts. Influencers such as Aliguma Young and Andrew Mosawi who cover nonprofit management and nonprofit campaign support can be found among NXUnite’s list of up-and-coming nonprofit influencers.
Look for opportunities to partner with individuals who can act as influencers to promote your brand and mission. There are many up-and-coming nonprofit influencers who cover a variety of topics ranging from nonprofit consulting, virtual fundraising, and nonprofit leadership. Partnerships on social media are common, help boost your following, and vary your content, so don’t be afraid to reach out to the influencers who align with your nonprofit’s cause and core values.
4. Embracing virtual fundraising
Virtual or hybrid fundraising can be an effective way to include more people, regardless of health, preference, or location. While in-person events are always good for connecting with new and familiar faces, they are not always an option for your supporters. Some donors may have physical, health, or time limitations that may not allow them to travel to an event venue to support your cause.
To maintain some of these supporters and increase your reach to a network beyond the state or country in which you operate, consider implementing virtual fundraising strategies.
Try some of these ideas for your next event:
- Virtual auctions. Have your nonprofit invest in a hybrid auction software system, so your auction can be joined from anywhere. Create a procurement team at least 6 months in advance to gather items for the event.
- Virtual walk-a-thon. Consider having a video element so those involved can watch and encourage their fellow walk-a-thoners.
- Social media challenges. Whether it be posting why they support your cause, raising funds from their network, or answering trivia about your nonprofit, give your donors an opportunity to post about their support for your cause.
- Virtual show, movie night, or talent competition. Partner with your local park to set up a movie night under the stars or a talent show for your supporters to showcase their skills.
- Virtual trivia night or game night. Revv up enthusiasm and friendly competition by hosting an online trivia game night. Have people sign up in teams to build intrigue and get your supporters to reach out to their networks.
Virtual fundraisers can require a lot of internal communication and coordination. You need to have a good system in place to ensure that the virtual event is accessible and runs smoothly for as many supporters as you anticipate having join. Be sure to include virtual fundraisers in your campaigns often, so you can expand your organization’s reach nationally and globally. The more online opportunities you provide, the easier it will be for your base to donate and share. have
5. Spreading the word through Google
With the surplus of forprofits and nonprofits sharing their organization’s campaigns online, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition. Using Google Ads can increase the effectiveness of your online campaigns by increasing web traffic and attracting new supporters to your cause. Be deliberate about your chosen keywords and ad content so that it is optimized to reach as many people as possible.
Be sure to unlock the full marketing potential of Google Ads, like applying for a $10,000 a month Google Ad Grant.
To qualify for a Google Ad Grant your nonprofit must:
- Have a 501(c)(3) status
- Adhere to the grant policies
- Have a functioning website
- Install a SSL on your nonprofit’s website
Because Google Ad Grants has several website requirements, it is a natural pathway to expanding your nonprofit’s growing web presence. This monthly stipend is not limited to a certain number of nonprofits, so if your organization qualifies, it is likely you will be able to benefit from the program.
According to Getting Attention, Google Ad Grants should take only 2-14 days to set up if you already meet the qualifications and are registered with TechSoup, an organization that businesses use to verify the legitimacy of nonprofits when making in-kind donations of technology licenses.
Once your organization receives the Google Ad Grant verification, you can use the opportunity to spread awareness, attract new donors, recruit volunteers, and inform those in need of your service, and promote upcoming events. Track your campaign progress via Google Analytics to monitor the success and weak points of your campaigns.
Nonprofits are always looking for a way to increase awareness and support of their cause, which means that you and your competition are always looking for innovative ways to fundraise. To stand out from the crowd, try new methods to rally your supporters by giving them unique opportunities to work with or donate to your organization.
Your donors are often looking for intriguing ways to help your cause or to demonstrate their support of your cause, so be sure to maintain open networks of communications with your staff and donors.
Don’t be afraid to try new fundraising strategies like virtual events, new messaging platforms, or social media trends. Your supporters want to see your organization thrive, so show them that you are trying your best to grow.
Author: John Killoran
John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.
Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.