No matter what types of digital approaches you choose to take, ongoing refinement of your fundraising can only provide benefits explains Dr Steve Francis.
Try something new this year. Trialling a few different digital strategies and fundraising techniques could make all the difference for your charity in 2017. Here are some fundraising ‘tune-up’ ideas for you to consider.
Mix up your social media and email marketing
I’ve said it before: fundraising and social media can be a match made in heaven, however social media is only one part of the whole digital story. Email campaigns can achieve more fundraising success than social so don’t abandon them. It is, however, worth putting some effort into refining and improving your email marketing.
Have a broad look at your data by checking open rates, clickthroughs, popular subject lines and the times and days that material was sent. It’s good to try out new approaches with social media and email marketing. Adjust your analytic parameters to make sure you capture everything you need to consider, and apply the genuine results that can improve your content and impact.
Peer-to-peer events vs costs
Review your strategy for fundraising events for the year and calculate whether the costs will be worth the funds you’ll generate; further question if the marketing mix is right for the spend you have budgeted.
We can already see that even more challenge peer-to-peer events will be coming online in 2017, particularly fitness events such as runs, walks and cycles. FrontStream touched on this in a 2015 blog that referred to fundraising minimums. We identified that, unlike other types of challenges, the rate of participant fundraising in cycling events is close to 100%.
We also expect to see a more creative approach to the style of peer-to-peer events that are cropping up. Consider unique viral campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. What event or challenge could ignite your peer-to-peer calendar for this year and beyond? It’s worth having a few brainstorming sessions to see what you can come up with that responsibly utilises resources and provides a memorable, shareable experience for your nonprofit’s supporters.
Regular giving is the backbone of a sustainable fundraising program
When you look at your donation forms, ensure there is an option to donate monthly (rather than only make one-off donations) while enabling donors to choose their processing date and number of instalments.
Here are the reasons why sustainable monthly donations are best for all:
• Take your lead from utility companies. They know most consumers can get overwhelmed by requests for big dollar amounts and are more comfortable with monthly payments.
• The good work you do needs time and planning to make a difference – accruing a monthly income from engaged donors best supports a sustainable program. When this is sincerely explained to supporters, it’s easy to understand, so make this clear.
• Also, when you have a regular donor relationship spanning months and years, you have a long-term, engaged supporter, advocate and cause champion, and that is the goal!
Once your team is tuned into identifying potential regular donors, whether it be through face-to-face fundraising or simply asking any existing donors, volunteers or fans to give monthly, you may be surprised at how generous your donor base can be, particularly if you present an engaging narrative.
Show businesses how to improve staff engagement
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a thriving concern in the big business world. Companies are tuning into the understanding that their public image and philanthropic offering has a significant impact on their workforce and future staff. One straightforward aspect of CSR is workplace giving and corporate gift matching – the ability to allow a donor’s employer to match their workplace giving donations, usually dollar for dollar.
Not enough businesses take advantage of this opportunity, so make 2017 the year to educate businesses on the importance of having a workplace giving program with corporate gift matching. It’s quick and easy to set up, and it could result in your nonprofit receiving higher donations than ever before.
Innovative online platforms such as that of FrontStream provide customisable options so employees can create and track their own regular giving campaigns. This feature enhances workplace giving by informing employees about how their donations are impacting the causes they care about. Workplace giving programs are a big incentive for employees and aids staff engagement and retention, doubling the benefit for employers.
This year could be the time for big or small changes for your mission. Try to implement new strategies: sometimes little tweaks and efficiencies can make all the difference to the bottom line for now and in the long term.
Dr Steve Francis
Steve is Managing Director Asia Pacific at the online fundraising provider FrontStream. He has a PhD in Anthropology, 20 years’ experience working in not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, and a passion for growing businesses that do social good.