By donorsearch

Treating Event Sponsors as Major Gifts Prospects

Do you dismiss your event sponsors after your event is over? Many organizations are guilty of this practice and it can make an individual or business feel used, undervalued, and less than invested in your organization’s success. Instead of taking an event-centric approach, focus on cultivating long-term relationships with event sponsors. Give them the same level of respect and the same mindset you bring to prospects for major gifts. Kristin Steele of Swaim Strategies said in a recent webcast, “If we can create emotional resonance between our organizations and our donors, we’re going to evolve out of the transactional relationship that we have with them. When people feel like they’re treated like a checkbook, eventually they’re going to move on to someplace where they’re seen as people taking action to change the world.” Steele continues, “The event is an opportunity. When people walk into a room and the event wraps its arms around them and brings them into the organization, they feel like they’re a part of something.” Here are some tips to help you change up your event approach:

1) Research and Target Prospects

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By donorsearch

5 Ways to Reach Donors Likely to Give

This article comes to us from Eileen Blake, Marketing Manager of AlumniFinder. After hours of careful effort and planning, your donation campaign has been sent! You can’t wait to sit back and see the donations rolling in, but as they do you start to realize with a sinking feeling that you’re not getting what you expected. The results of all your hard work are going to be much lower than anticipated. This is obviously the last thing that any sane person who works in development ever wants to experience. At the heart of any solid fundraising effort, you need to know that you’re going to reach the right people. But, who are the “right” people? Reaching the right group of potential donors who are likely to give is not as tough as it might sound. Here are five ways to reach this all-important group:

1. Segment your audience.

A database of supporters is a great tool to have at your disposal, but it can get you only so far if you’re sending the wrong messages or sending your messages the wrong way. What we mean by this is that if you have a 26-year-old female millennial donor, reaching out to her is different than targeting a 45-year-old male donor. It seems like common sense when you see it laid out that way, but many nonprofits still make the classic mistake of treating every single prospective donor in their database the same!

2. Find donors who are donating to organizations like yours!

By doing a simple search, you can find people who are already giving to organizations that are similar to yours. If you are a nonprofit focused on a medical cause, such as cancer, you can find individuals who have already donated to another cancer-focused nonprofit. Someone who has a connection to the cause of cancer and has donated is likely to donate again. This time, they could be giving to your nonprofit!

3. Clean up your data.

The worst thing in the world is when you spend time (or money) reaching out to people whose contact information is no longer accurate. Bad phone numbers can derail a phone-a-thon, bad email addresses are a waste and can lower your send reputation, and bad mailing addresses cost you money. In short: bad information is bad for your nonprofit. Take care of your valuable data by maintaining it properly, much like taking your car in for an oil change.

4. Send only to donors who are most likely to give.

One way to further cut down the cost of your donation campaign, especially if you plan to send mail, is by strategically targeting only the supporters in your list who are most likely to respond to the request. Predictive models can search through an entire database of donors to highlight which ones are most likely to respond to your request and make a donation, taking the guesswork out of your donation campaigns.

5. Stand out in the crowd!

When you have an in-depth understanding of who you are reaching out to, another great thing you can do is personalize your message. Personalized marketing typically generates a better response, so feel free to send an email with your supporter’s name in it. Mail personalization is great too, so pick colors and designs that more closely match the interests of the segment you wish to reach. Now, imagine that you’ve put in months of effort, and as you sit back you see an outstanding response rate. You know that not only will you achieve your fundraising goal, but you’ll have accomplished it under budget and with a better response than ever before. Wouldn’t that be a great feeling? Make it reality today! This post was brought in collaboration with Eileen Blake, Marketing Manager of AlumniFinder. AlumniFinder increases fundraising results by efficiently staying in touch with donors, identifying new supporters and keeping your records up to date. Learn more by checking out their website:

By donorsearch

Donor Recognition Policies: A How-To Overview

To launch a successful fundraising program, an organization should have created a number of documents, including the Case for Support, Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures, and a Donor Recognition Policy. The Case explains “why” you are raising money, the Gift Acceptance Policies delineate what constitutes an acceptable gift and under what circumstances your organization will accept the donation, and the Donor Recognition Policy explains how you will express gratitude to the donor. The purpose of the Donor Recognition Policy is to ensure that those who support the organization through donations receive recognition that is appropriate, equitable, and consistent. The Policy is developed with the attitude that all gifts are important; that nurturing each donor is the business of the organization; and that a monetary gift is never more important than individual relationships. Through the Donor Recognition Policy, the organization hopes to:
  • Cultivate relationships with existing donors and encourage them to reach higher levels of giving.
  • Attract new donors.
  • Ensure that, in fairness to donors to the organization, one clearly stated policy of recognition is applied at all times.
Items to be addressed in writing a Donor Recognition Policy include:
  1. The Policy needs to address the confidentiality of donations;
  2. How the Policy will be explained to donors;
  3. A clear definition of the types of gifts the organization will accept;
  4. A table that demonstrates giving levels and the recognition to be afforded each level;
  5. If cumulative giving is to be recognized separately, then a table defining the cumulative giving program needs to be created;
  6. How to manage gifts that may require special consideration such as tribute gifts, in-kind gifts, and capital or endowment gifts.

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By donorsearch

Major Gift Fundraising: 13 Expert Tips (Nonprofit Tech Carnival)

jQuery(window).on("hashchange", function () { window.scrollTo(window.scrollX, window.scrollY - 155); }); This month’s Fundraising Strategies & Nonprofit Tech Carnival is all about one thing: major gifts. At DonorSearch, we’ve written extensively about major gift fundraising and the various elements that go into the entire process, from prospect identification all the way through to post-gift stewardship and ongoing retention.  But, you can never learn too much about the major gift process; it is just that important. As we explain in our guide on the topic:

Studies have shown that, on average, over 88% of all funds come from just 12% of donors. That 12% constitutes the donations from your major gift contributors. Given their respective impact on your fundraising total, it’s clear to see why having a robust major giving program should be a priority.

So, we put out a call to the community of nonprofit experts looking for the best advice we could find to help nonprofits of all shapes and sizes improve their major gift efforts. And here’s what you had to say! Following the lead of the preceding carnival host (check out last month’s Annual Fund Development Carnival here), we’ve divided the contributions into categories to help direct you to the advice that is most relevant to your needs. Click on the links below to jump straight to the major gift tips and strategies you’re looking for: Scroll down to read about all of the included resources. (And don’t forget to subscribe to the carnival newsletter to find out how you can get involved!)

General Major Gift Fundraising Best Practices and Strategies

1. Major Gifts: 12+ Actionable (And Effective Strategies)

We’ve already linked to and quoted this guide earlier in the article, but for those who skipped right to the resource list, this guide explores major giving inside and out. It starts with the basics, moves on to how you can start a program yourself, and finishes with advice for improving your efforts. Click here to check out the DonorSearch resource on major gifts.

2. Nonprofit Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide

This Double the Donation resource features comprehensive coverage of the entire practice of fundraising, and it has a helpful section that highlights major giving. A particularly salient segment offers a great piece of advice for major-gift-seeking nonprofits:

Practice your pitch. You never want to go into a major gift meeting unprepared. In order to have the greatest success, you’ll need to practice your pitch and the different scenarios that could play out during the meeting.

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By donorsearch

Women’s Philanthropy: 12 Key Insights

12 Insights into Women’s Philanthropy by Angela E. White, CFRE, Senior Consultant and CEO, Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates   [Excerpt: Helpful tips to engage women in support of your nonprofit] I often speak passionately about the importance of broadening our philanthropic initiatives to include women philanthropists and I’d like to share with you what I think are some very important insights into Women’s Philanthropy. Over the years, my colleagues and I at Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates have developed significant expertise in Women’s Philanthropy issues through our work with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in addition to our extensive work with clients. Our experience has shown us that the ability of women to contribute and make a lasting impact in philanthropic campaigns is often over looked and under-utilized.   After examining the results of the Women Give 2010 report, it is evident that in truth, women are driving many of the philanthropic decisions in this country.   I’d like to share with you 12 helpful insights gleaned from this report and my own experience in Women’s Philanthropy that can help engage women in your cause:
  1. Women are responsible for 86% of household’s consumer purchasing decisions – they are not a niche market – they are the market.[i]
  2. Forty-three percent of the nation’s top wealth holders are women.[ii]
  3. Women control 51%, or $14 trillion, of personal wealth in the U.S. and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020. With women outliving men by an average of six years, it is more likely they will be making decisions around the transfer of wealth and bequests to charity.[iii]
  4. Women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of households and hold almost 52% of all management and professional level jobs. [iv] The number of women with six-figure incomes is rising at three times the rate of men.[v]
  5. Women are increasingly higher educated and now earn more bachelor’s degrees and attend graduate school more often than men. In 2012, 57% of bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women and 63% of master’s degrees.[vi]
  6. As women’s incomes rise, they are more likely to give to charity than men.[vii]
  7. Married men and women are more likely to make larger gifts than single men.[viii]
  8. Single women are more likely to give than single men and more likely to give higher dollar amounts.[ix]
  9. In 61% of U.S. households, the couple makes their gifting decisions jointly. When it comes to approaching a couple about making a donation, make sure that the woman in the couple is also engaged in the process, and their input is equally valued.[x]
  10. Never overlook or underestimate the philanthropic potential of female CEOs and small business owner’s. Women own 36% of all non-farm, privately-held businesses.[xi]
  11. Remember, women’s philanthropic involvement does not mean to exclude men, but rather include women.
  12. Women want to establish a relationship with organizations they give to, it means more to them than just a business transaction. Make sure you take the time to foster that donor relationship. Women also prioritize their giving to those organizations where they volunteer or are on a board, so it is important to find ways to engage them in your organization.[xii]

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By chris

Turning Events Attendees and Volunteers into Major Donors: 8 Strategies

// In the first place, planning and pulling off a successful fundraising event is challenging for all nonprofits, regardless of size or status. But for those nonprofits who are looking to procure major gifts from their event attendees and volunteers, the process can be even more involved. That’s precisely why we’ve compiled 8 of the top strategies for identifying prospects and cultivating major gifts from your event attendees. If you’re curious about the specific tactics we’ll be exploring, you can go ahead and check out this short table of contents: #1. Segment Your Donor Database #2. Use Mobile to Collect New Data #3. Employ Fundraising Software #4. Conduct Prospect Research #5. Determine Giving Levels #6. Make the Ask! #7. Acknowledge Every Donor #8. Don’t Forget Donation Receipts

#1. Segment Your Donor Database

A critical piece of the major gift puzzle is having a clean and organized donor database. What this means for your organization depends on the current state of your existing database. If you’ve recently updated your contacts and segmented your database, then no need to worry. A database doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be functional and helpful. That being said, if you haven’t updated your contacts in a while, now may be the time to look into renewing your database. The process is actually quite simple. There are three primary steps:
  1. Segment your donors by giving frequency.
  2. Further segment them by average gift size.
  3. Identify prospects who have given consistently for 3 years or more.
Now that we’ve identified those three steps, let’s take a deeper dive into how to accomplish each one:

#1. Segment your donors by giving frequency.

The first step in cleaning your donor database is to sort your donors out by giving frequency. The more frequently a volunteer or event attendee has given, the more likely they are to give major gifts in the future. Feel free to eliminate donors who haven’t given in over 2 years.

#2. Further segment donors by average gift size.

Once you’ve narrowed your database down to your most frequent and involved contributors, you can start sorting by gift size. When you’re on the lookout for major gift donors, the greater the contribution, the better. Sort out smaller contributions, but don’t eliminate them from your database entirely.

#3. Identify prospects who have given for 3 years or longer.

Major gift donors will be most likely to have given over a longer period of time. Organize your database accordingly. Look for donors who have given for at least 3 years, as these prospects will be the most probable major gift candidates. Again, you won’t want to eliminate those who’ve given for fewer than 3 years, but for the purposes of this exercise, you can push them aside. With a fresh, squeaky clean donor database, your organization will have a clearer idea of the prospects you’ll need to focus your efforts on. Takeaway: You can narrow your organization’s list of major gift prospects by narrowing your candidate pool in 3 easy steps.

#2. Use Mobile to Collect New Data

Speaking of databases, did you know that mobile giving provides nonprofits with easily exportable data? It’s true! With industry-leading mobile fundraising technology, your nonprofit has access to a bevy of donor information, such as:
  • Name,
  • Phone number,
  • Address,
  • Email,
  • Donation amount,
  • Time of donation,
  • Donation frequency,
  • Donation type,
  • And more!
And it’s all automatically captured each time that a donor gives through one of your mobile giving avenues, from text-to-give to mobile email and more. How does this help you with converting volunteers and event attendees into major donors? It’s quite simple. Because it’s so easy to do, mobile giving increases the number of contributors to your nonprofit. Donors can give in just a few steps. Plus, there are many providers that offer other features that make the process even more intuitive. For instance, some providers have incorporated different forms of account verification so that no password is required for donors to access their accounts to donate. Essentially, donors can use their emails to verify their gifts when they give via text message, a mobile-friendly donation page, etc. Passwordless authentication helps make the donation process more seamless and secure, thus encouraging more of your volunteers and event attendees to contribute. Organizations can easily promote mobile giving at fundraising events and gain useful information on guests and volunteers. As a result, you can put that captured data to use by performing prospect research to whittle your list down to the top candidates. You may be thinking, “But don’t mobile donors typically only donate a few dollars?” True. The average text-to-give donation is $107, BUT that doesn’t mean that a donor who gave on the go wouldn’t be amenable to giving more. You just might be surprised to find out that your smaller gift donors are actually capable of so much more. Takeaway: Your nonprofit can use mobile fundraising technology to gather more data about your event participants to find out who among them is a possible major gift donor.

#3. Employ Fundraising Software

Fundraising software can help your nonprofit accomplish all sorts of goals, including (but certainly not limited to):
  • Learning more about your volunteers and donors.
  • Targeting major gift donors through their preferred communication channels.
  • Making donation processing easier, so donors can give however they’d like.
  • Tracking donor interactions to sharpen your nonprofit’s strategy.
  • Retaining contributors through expedient correspondence.
Of course, each organization will use fundraising software differently (and will likely use different types of fundraising software). Some organizations will choose to employ peer-to-peer fundraising software, which is perfect for widening your nonprofit’s reach and engaging with your donors on a meaningful level. Still, others will take a vested interest in online advocacy software. And just about every nonprofit should be using some kind of constituent management software. As we mentioned earlier, a clean and organized donor database is your organization’s best friend. When you’re looking to convert volunteers and event attendees into major gift donors, it’s vital to utilize fundraising software to the fullest. Make sure that you’ve explored all of the capabilities of your platform. You just might stumble upon a new way to target and engage with your volunteers and event participants in a way that encourages larger contributions. By inviting your volunteers to join a peer-to-peer campaign, you’re giving them another way to support your cause that doesn’t involve donating money. Since volunteers donate time to your cause already, donating more time to reach out to their peers and solicit donations isn’t a stretch. Additionally, you can encourage volunteers to participate by connecting your fundraiser to their interests and hobbies. You can use your donor database to learn more about your donors and what strengths they can bring to your peer-to-peer campaign. For instance, you might have a volunteer that writes a cooking blog. That volunteer might be the perfect person to spread the words about your fundraiser through her blog. Her blog comes plenty of viewers that might be interested in supporting a cause that she is passionate about. But if you don’t update your CRM to include that info or keep a record of your volunteers, you won’t know what they can bring to the table. Because, let’s be honest, your organization may have dozens of potential major gift prospects. What will convince those potential prospects that you’re worth investing in? Investing in them and knowing what makes them tick. To learn more about fundraising software and how it can take your nonprofit to the next level, check out this excellent guide: Takeaway: You can use all sorts of fundraising software to learn more about your volunteers and event attendees in order to better identify and target major gift donors.

#4. Conduct Prospect Research

Few tasks will give your organization more insight into its volunteers and event attendees than prospect research. A major gift donor, ripe and ready to contribute to your capital campaign, might be hiding right under your nose. Or, more likely, sitting in the center aisle at your last benefit concert. They have the passion for your cause, the wealth to spare, and they’ve given to other organizations in your field. By every measure, they are an ideal candidate to give a major gift to your nonprofit. But you would never know any of that unless you’d conducted a screening on your benefit concert’s attendees. That one participant might have remained nameless and gone on to contribute millions to the nonprofit next door. Don’t let that happen to your organization. Don’t lose out to another nonprofit whose staff has taken the time and care to screen their event attendees. If you do take this route and decide to conduct screenings, make sure that you’re looking at both factors that determine a solid major gift candidate: philanthropic indicators and wealth markers. Some examples of philanthropic indicators include:
  • Previous donations to your nonprofit.
  • Donations to other nonprofits.
  • Personal information, like volunteering habits.
  • Nonprofit involvement, like board membership.
Examples of typical wealth markers:
  • Real estate ownership.
  • Business affiliations.
  • Political giving.
  • SEC transactions (stock holdings and such).
Alone, these factors don’t mean much. But when you fit them all together, the puzzle becomes less puzzling, and you have a complete picture of a major gift donor–all from a little information you gleaned during a brief interaction! Takeaway: Conducting prospect research is a surefire way to discern who among your volunteers is an actual major gift candidate.

#5. Determine Giving Levels

Giving levels across your donors will naturally vary, from extremely substantial gifts to everyday contributions. But when you’re after major gifts in particular, you want to be sure that the giving levels that you’re seeking are within reason. To be fair, “major” will mean different things to every organization. Some nonprofits consider anything over $2,000 dollars to be a major gift. Others only count anything in the $100,000 and above range. Before you can move on, you must first decide, definitively, what a major gift looks like for your organization. It’s entirely possible you already know. But in case you don’t, make deciding what constitutes a major gift a priority. All of that being said, the true focus of this strategy is determining giving levels for potential major gift donors. Prospect research is one of the best ways to determine these levels. Within prospect research, you’ll be conducting wealth screenings, and those screenings will be able to give your organization greater insight into a volunteer’s capacity to donate. For instance, if you find out that a volunteer or event attendee owns over $2 million in real estate, you’ll know that they are 17 times more likely than their peers to donate a major gift. Combined with other factors, this knowledge can help you figure out just how much to ask for. You don’t want to make the mistake of asking for too much, thereby scaring off or offending a potential contributor. Then again, you don’t want to make the opposite mistake of asking for too little and missing out on thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars that your organization could use to help your cause. The key is to find that sweet spot: right where your potential donors feel comfortable, but where they’re also giving everything they’re capable of. Takeaway: Several factors go into determining how much to ask for when seeking a major gift. Make sure you’ve done your homework before you make the ask.

#6. Make the Ask!

Now that you’ve (hopefully) done your homework, you’re ready to make the all-important ask. Whether or not it’s your designated major gift officer doing the actual asking, the key to making this step of the process go as smoothly as possible is to be as prepared as you can be. The donor database cleaning, mobile donor info gathering, and prospect screening that you’ve done will have brought you to this point. And if you’ve followed these strategies to the letter, you should have absolutely no problem making the ask when the time comes. At this point, you’ve made the initial connection with your prospects; they’ve attended one of your nonprofit’s events, or they’ve spent their time volunteering with you. You’ve broken the ice. After the ice has been broken, you’ll need to warm that prospect up a little more. You can’t dive right into the ask. Because you’ll be asking for such a large sum, you’ll want to be as personal as possible with your cultivation approach. Court your potential donors in a way that makes them feel valued and important. There’s no set formula for cultivating and stewarding a major gift donor. You’ll have to try it out on a case-by-case basis to determine what works best for you. Over time, you’ll learn to streamline the process. You’ll discover what works well and what’s a waste of effort. Ultimately, the moment of truth will be when you make the ask. You can make it in person or over the phone. It’s entirely dependent on what you feel is appropriate for the situation. Although, truth be told, most major gifts should not be asked for over the phone. Regardless of the medium, you’ll want to go into your direct ask with a well-rehearsed script and a good sense of improvisation. Be prepared for any eventuality and know exactly how much you’re looking to walk away with. Takeaway: Making the ask is the most difficult part of any major gift strategy, but it’s made easier when you have a plan and you’ve done your due diligence.

#7. Acknowledge Every Donor

Not every prospect will end up being a major gift donor. And that’s okay. Even if you put in the effort and the time and the resources, some people just won’t be receptive to donating a large amount of money. But that doesn’t mean you’ve lost. It doesn’t even mean that you should give up on that prospect as a potential donor. They might not feel comfortable contributing that much at the moment. But maybe, beneath that cold “No” is a “Maybe next year.” That’s why it’s important to: A) Have a backup plan, and B) Acknowledge anyway. When a donor rejects your direct ask, it can be tempting to give up on them completely. It’s understandable. But in order to be successful in the long run, you can’t relent. Fall back on your backup plan. Ask your donors to get involved in other ways. If they’ve volunteered with you, provide them with more, unique opportunities to give back (that aren’t monetary). Seeing that you’re not solely after their money should convince them that you truly care. And getting more in-touch with the day-to-day work that you do for your cause will show them how instrumental their donations could be. Even if they still don’t end up giving, it’s important to acknowledge and thank them regardless. Their time is important, and they’ve given it freely to your organization. Plus, you never know when they might change their mind. Thank them in any case, just in case. Takeaway: Whether or not your major gift prospect ends up donating, it’s important to thank them, acknowledge their other contributions, and have a backup plan for encouraging future considerations.

#8. Don’t Forget Donation Receipts

In every instance where money is exchanged, receipts are crucial. They’re important for record-keeping purposes on your nonprofit’s end. But they’re also incredibly essential for your donors’ taxes. Any way you slice it, donation receipts are a necessary part of the major gift process. In fact, they’re legally required for any donation that’s over $250. But they’re especially significant when it comes to donations of a given level. The larger the donation, the greater the bearing that a receipt has on a donor’s decision to continue contributing. Not thanking your major gift donors is one thing, but it’s another thing entirely to forget to provide a receipt for a substantial contribution. So maybe you wouldn’t forget to provide a receipt. Maybe you’d just push off writing the receipt til a couple of weeks later. That’s just as ill-advised! Receipts and thank-yous need to be sent out no later than 48 hours after a donation has been made. Donors who have been properly stewarded–and that includes receiving an on-time receipt–are far more likely to give again than those who waited or never got them at all. If you’re looking for great concrete advice on donation receipts, take a look at Qgiv’s comprehensive guide on the subject

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By donorsearch

10 Insights into Women’s Philanthropy

I often speak passionately about the importance of broadening our philanthropic initiatives to include women philanthropists. I recently recorded a short video interview on the subject and would like to share with you what I think are some very important insights into Women’s Philanthropy. Over the years, my colleagues and I at JGA have developed significant expertise in Women’s Philanthropy issues through our work with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, my work with Women’s Fund of Central Indiana and previously as the VP of Institutional Advancement for Saint Mary of the Woods College, in addition to our extensive work with clients at JGA for the last 15 years. We know through our experience that the ability of women to contribute and make a lasting impact in philanthropic campaigns is often over looked and under-utilized. After examining the results of the Women Give 2010 report, it is evident that in truth, women are driving many of the philanthropic decisions in this country. I’d like to share with you 10 helpful insights gleaned from this report and my own experience in Women’s Philanthropy that can help engage women in your cause:

1. Women are responsible for 84% of household’s consumer purchasing decisions – they are not a niche market, but are the market.

2. Forty-three percent of the nation’s top wealth holders are women.

3. Women’s median income has increased more than 60% over the past 30 years.

4. Married men and women are more likely to make larger gifts than single men.

5. Single women are more likely to give than single men.

6. When it comes to approaching a couple about making a donation, make sure that the woman in the couple is also engaged in the process and their input is equally valued.

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By chris

Increase Donations with a Savvy SMS Marketing Strategy

This blog focuses on the world of prospect research and various related fundraising topics. To diversify our subject matter, we like to feature the work of our friends and colleagues in the community. Join me in welcoming Sophorn Chhay of Trumpia, and please enjoy this post on SMS marketing strategies to increase donations.

Increase Donations for Your Nonprofit with a Savvy SMS Marketing Strategy

Donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit, which is why your nonprofit needs to develop an effective marketing strategy. A savvy SMS marketing campaign is one of the best ways to increase donations for your nonprofit. Here are a few clever ways to implement an SMS campaign in a way that will grow donations and the reputation of your nonprofit in equal measure.

Utilize SMS to Improve Event Attendance

A successful nonprofit depends on quality events to gather donors and fundraise. With more people at your events, your nonprofit will enjoy larger donations. However, donors and volunteers are busy people with jobs, social lives and varied interests. These factors can lead to your nonprofit’s event being forgotten by even your most ardent supporters. SMS marketing can fix that. Implement a texting campaign announcing the event’s date and time, and don’t hesitate to include exciting tidbits about the event and what attendees can expect. Leak out info about special guests or intriguing activities that will drive interest and increase attendance. Then, follow up via SMS with reminder texts as the event date approaches. In the end, you will enjoy greater attendance that will increase donations and put your nonprofit on the path towards meeting annual donation goals.

Inspire Your Biggest Fans

Nonprofits work best when they are inspiring their greatest supporters. SMS marketing is a great way to let supporters know about the exciting and inspiring stories your nonprofit has helped create. As an example, if your nonprofit aims to reduce poverty, send out an SMS that highlights the progress made in the fight to reduce poverty. Inspired donors will be reminded that their belief in your nonprofit and cause is a well-founded one, which will increase the likelihood of long-term donors who are firmly committed to your nonprofit’s cause.

Engage vs. Ask

Often times, text messages don’t even need to be a direct ask. You can use them as reminders of upcoming fundraising campaigns, follow ups for pledges, or even just a reminder that you’re thinking of a donor. Small gestures like text messages can have HUGE results and even lead to unexpected gifts. Lloyd Claycomb of Denver, CO had this to say:
I had been thinking of making a donation to an organization near and dear to my heart, the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center of Phoenix, for a while but hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it! Then, I was eating lunch one Saturday morning and received a SMS message about an upcoming fundraising campaign that the organization was holding so I decided this was the perfect time!

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By donorsearch

Buying Fundraising Software: 20 Questions Answered

// Although many nonprofit organizations understand the value of fundraising software and want to make the switch, many are stumped by how to approach the buying process. And who can blame them? There’s a lot to take into account when considering a new platform. Not only do you have to figure out what types of platforms and features are out there in the first place, but you also need to understand how software would work for your organization specifically. The buying process is much simpler if you have the right considerations in mind. Here are 20 questions that nonprofits need answered before they buy fundraising software: What is fundraising software, exactly? Why are we shopping? How much do we have to spend? Who will be using the software? What major efforts do we need help with? What type of base software should we go with? What platforms do we need to integrate? Do we need any additional features? Is this solution scalable? Does this software allow us to manage our data easily? Can it hold our data securely? How are we going to transfer our data over in the first place? What does the list price cover? How much does the software actually cost

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By chris

3 Things You Might Not Have Known About Your Donors

This blog focuses on the world of prospect research and various related fundraising topics. To diversify our subject matter, we like to feature the work of our friends and colleagues in the community. Join me in welcoming Jess Confer of GiveGab, and please enjoy this post on surprising donor traits.

3 Things You Might Not Have Known About Your Donors

1.They really don’t care about you.

Yes, I know, this sounds harsh but hear me out! Your donors don’t give to you, they give through you. What your donor does care about is feeling good and needed. They want to be the heroes of the story. Just think about it. How does it feel when someone talks about themselves for an entire conversation? It doesn’t feel good – right? It may even turn you off to that person. Likewise, how does it feel when someone praises you for doing a good job, asks for your opinion or asks you how you are doing?? It feels good, right? It shows that the other person genuinely cares and that they value what you have to say. So when it comes to communicating with your donors, try not to inundate them with talk about your organization and your services. Don’t get me wrong, your services are important and better served being included in a grant application. What your donors do care about is feeling needed and important. They are the heroes! They are the missing puzzle piece! Without them, you wouldn’t be able to sustain those services for the beneficiaries you serve.

2. They want to be in the loop.

I cannot tell you how many times I receive an initial “Thank You” email but then never hear from the organization again! (At least not until the next appeal many moons later!) You don’t need a reason to reach out to your donors. Keeping your donors in the loop and keeping the lines of communication open is donor stewardship at its best. Just take a look at what Charity: Water sent me in regards to my personal fundraiser I ran with them last year: This is a great example of showing your donor the direct impact of their gift and how without them it wouldn’t be possible!

3. They have preferences that matter

Your donors have preferences when it comes to how they like to be contacted. Some prefer to be contacted via email, while others may love receiving snail mail! With that in mind, have you ever considered asking your donors how they prefer to be communicated with? Why? Because your donors are more likely to respond to you if you are showing you genuinely care about their preferences. Plus, you’re reaching them where they like to be reached so they’re more likely to listen! Dr. Adrian Sargeant, a renowned marketing professional specializing in charities, said this of donors: “…once donors are in a relationship with a charity, their focus shifts from what the charity does for its beneficiaries to how the relationship makes them feel.” Make your donors feel needed, included, and cared about in your communications and interactions with them. After all, they are the lifeblood of your organization and cultivating your donor relationships can be a truly rewarding experience. Jess Confer is the Creative Director at GiveGab, the Nonprofit Giving Platform. She and her team enjoy creating helpful content for nonprofits so they can better cultivate relationships with their supporters.
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