Coming into the new year, it’s a great time to focus on evaluating and solidifying your organization’s fundraising approaches. Today, fundraising for a cause comes at everybody at such a fast and frequent pace, making sure that your organization understands best practices and stands out from the crowd is vital. An analysis of fundraising trends to date bring clarity.
Here are 10 great starting points for your fundraising checklist to tackle 2018 fundraising trends head on.
1. Be Technologically Up-to-Date
Statistics have proven that over half of the population views their Internet content through mobile devices. As our society becomes more dependent on the tiny screens rather than larger screen devices, the amount of donations received online to non-profit organizations also staggers over 60%. To not miss a beat, this means that your organization’s website absolutely must be mobile-friendly to potential supporters from the online world.
Whether commuting to work, on a lunch break or simply winding down in bed, today it seems like everyone is frequently browsing the internet from their mobile devices during their free time. When it comes time to promote a particular cause, many donations come in the form of electronic payments. The deciding factor of whether someone will donate or not maybe whether it is easy to donate from their phones. If they find that the donation website is hard to see or donations are complicated to do from their phone, this can be a major deterrent from gaining a supporter. Make sure your website and donation page are mobile-friendly to assure that the majority of your donations can be completed with a few touches of the screen.
With the rise of electronic donations and the decline of physical checks, confidential payment information should be one of the highest priorities of your donation website. Make sure that your website is encrypted to secure the information transferred between the donor and your website doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
2. A Website That Rings True to “Say Less Equals More”
Simplification is one of the key fundraising trends as we move forward. With the numerous causes, articles and news updates that come through on social media and inboxes, we naturally look to filter out much of this noise. That’s why a simple and visually appealing website that says the most with the least is essential for a fundraising organization.
Some of the most effective means of communicating about your organization include the use of professional graphics. Clean and easy-to-understand graphics (charts or graphs) can illustrate about your cause and goals. Also, a website that has more images than words tend to keep viewers more engaged. The website should be concise and user-friendly, making sure not to dilute the message about your cause. One thermometer of concise is asking yourself, “Can someone get the idea with just a few scrolls on my website?” And at the end of it all, assuring that it is simple to do two primary end goals: to donate to your cause and to subscribe to your social media tools.
3. Consistently Engage Through Social Media
If the organization has been missing a consistent online presence, consider having a social media calendar for 2018. This means allocating the effort to find relevant content to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a newsletter. Having compelling and consistent content that is relevant to your organization’s efforts, causes and events is what builds the online following for these mediums. Having posts several times a week and a monthly newsletter should be the goal, in which the content can consists of the following:
- Relevant Articles from Credible Sources
- Visually Appealing Graphics of Organization or Sector-Related Facts
- Recognition Posts for Volunteers, Sponsors, Staff, Advisors, Board Members
- Storytelling Posts or Videos (See Next Section)
- Event Updates
- Organization Accomplishments
- Holiday Greetings
Also, make it a point to engage with your followers comments in positive and timely manner. Building a relationship happens both face-to-face and digitally.
4. Storytelling through Video
Since we’re on the topic of curating content for a consistent social media presence, this is a great segue into another trend: video content. YouTube has been on the rise as one of major sources of information for all generations across the board. While videos should not be drawn out to almost be a sitcom, quick clips that are under five minutes create quite an impact on telling a story.
Some ideas may include asking someone who has been helped dramatically by your organization to share their story about how your organization helped. Emotion is the point of impact that makes your content more compelling than written words can say. Another way you can take on video content is to find a notable donor that has a strong backstory as to why they support your organization. Is someone that they love impacted by the cause of the organization? Tell the world about it through a video.
5. Balancing Low-Tech, High-Touch Ways
The prior tips are to assure that the frontlines are ready for new prospective supporters. However, that doesn’t mean that the organization’s brand should just focus on building the house of cards from scratch all the time. Retention and reputation are everything in the nonprofit world, so here are some helpful tips to solidify your donor and sponsor base.
6. Building the Reputation Within by Helping Causes from Afar
While your organization is certainly focused on the goals from within the organization, disasters outside of the community are inevitable throughout the year. Taking a moment to plan a disaster relief fundraiser or a collective drive for a larger cause can be one ways to bring the community together that normally would not know about your organization. When the cause at hand is bigger than just the target audience of your organization’s cause, it is a great way to build your reputation while helping others. This may open doors for new sponsorships, partnerships, volunteers or create other great opportunities to meet new faces within your area.
7. Donor Retention is the Fundraising Opposite of Stagnation
The donor list (both in donor count and donated amount) should be increasing, not stagnating.
This is where the concept of low-tech, high touch comes into play best. Give extra effort to execute different ways of recognizing donors and sponsors for their support. While you can approach it through social media, a good old handwritten letter will also make quite the impression. While this is not a new practice, fundraising trends are definitely coming back around to thinking of donors first.
8. Engage with Small Businesses to Gain Local Support
Local businesses and individuals tend to be more of the source of where donations come from, so making sure that we build that relationship should be on the radar. Make it a point to build the sponsorship list for the year and reach out to new local businesses to host an event with them, either a restaurant night where proceeds are donated to your organization, or as a venue where we can bring them business while hosting an event of our own. Nonprofit fundraising through crowdfunding is an ideal way build a stronger community presence.
9. Clean Up Shop Using Lessons from 2017
Progression comes with reflection so that we can build upon what works and what doesn’t from the prior year. However, to reflect, that means there must be data and statistics available to see what events or efforts were most effective. Is your donation website smart enough to provide all of the helpful reports needed to progress into the new year? Such helpful reports for a strategic and effective discussion will include the following information:
- Donor Reporting and Donation Behavior (amounts, frequency of donations, time and date of donations)
- Event Statistics (attendance, funds raised, costs, volunteers)
- Social Media Performance Results (social media channel followers, activity, unique traffic)
If this type of data is not readily available, reconsider if you need a better equipped software or website to help you track your progress to excel into the new year.
10. Peer-to-Peer/Crowdfunding Campaigns
In 2015, over a third of donations for charitable causes came from peer-to-peer crowdfunding fundraising efforts. Fundraising trends show one of the most effective times to donate is during December, when holiday cheers are at their highest. If the end of the year doesn’t have anything on the calendar, consider hosting a crowdfunding campaign during the holidays to capture the generous mood of friends and family.
Creating your fundraising checklist to keep up to date with fundraising trends is wise. Use the most cutting-edge,tech savvy fundraising websites. Engage in the best practices and learn from 2017 to make 2018 the best year yet.