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Upgrade your fundraising strategy in 6 steps

The opportunity to build a successful fundraising programs is bigger than it’s ever been. In 2018, Americans gave $427.71 billion, 68% of which came from individuals. This guide pulls from trends in nonprofit development and success stories to help you strategically attract and cultivate donors, increase loyalty, and make digital work for you.

Upgrade your fundraising strategy in 6 steps

1. Consolidate data to get a complete picture of your supporters

Data is power, especially when it comes to fundraising. Knowing who your existing donors are is great, but being able to target potential donors, based on their interests and actions, is even better. Consolidating all of your data—donor, volunteer, event, social media engagement—into a single place makes it possible to see the bigger picture of what’s going on.  

NationBuilder Tips:

  • Put all of your data, even spreadsheets, into one database.
  • Create dynamic profiles for all your supporters.
  • Append important details with tags that are easy to search.

Success Story: Meridian Hill Pictures

"What we were able to do is transfer all of our contacts and put our network in NationBuilder, and come up with an internal tracking system that allows us to efficiently manage who we reached out to, who donated, and who said they would share the campaign. We had a lot of stuff that was everywhere in spreadsheets before. The transition to NationBuilder made my job and time more effective." - Alison Buki, Communications and Outreach Manager, Meridian Hill Pictures

2. Personalize your fundraising "asks" by mixing outreach media

Most organizations are experimenting with fundraising over multiple channels––but the most successful ones are tailoring their outreach efforts to meet potential donors where they're at, and in the way they want to be communicated with. The key is knowing the best way to cultivate and reach each potential donor with a personalized ask over their preferred outreach medium. Segmenting lists or personalizing messages can lead to doubling your email click through rates.

NationBuilder Tips:

  • Segment your list based on interests, location or engagement history.
  • Address people by name or mention a recent action taken.
  • Mix your outreach medium between email, text, or social.

3. Create a peer to peer fundraising strategy

92% of Americans trust friend referrals over any other form of marketing. Building a good peer-to-peer fundraising pipeline requires trusting people to speak on your behalf and rewarding them when they do. Because this method relies on targeted relationships, the potential payoff is significantly higher than a traditional top-down fundraising strategy.

NationBuilder Tips:

4. Leverage social giving campaigns

Social giving campaigns have seen dramatic results in recent years as demonstrated by the $511 million raised during #GivingTuesday in 2019.

When it comes to giving campaigns, strategy is everything. Setting up a crowdfunding page isn't enough on its own. There needs to be a clear plan of attack that coordinates activities across channels, drives attention to the campaign, and captures potential donors at the moment they are interested.

NationBuilder Tips:

  • Identify your influencers before the campaign; ask them to share.
  • Write compelling messages that tell a story and inspire empathy.
  • Leverage all social channels to drive action to your giving platform.
  • Make donating easy across platforms.

Success Story: Keuka College 
This small liberal arts college launched a one-day fundraising campaign targeted at alumni. The development office raised $253,000more than twice what they expectedby making it easier for alumni to share on social media and encourage their former classmates to donate.

5. Build relationships to increase recurring donors

Acquiring new donors is expensive, so figuring out how to keep your existing donors is critical.

The key to setting yourself up for success is managing donors in such a way that no one fall through the cracks and they are being moved into deeper relationships over time. This requires giving your fundraising director the tools to lead the growing community of fundraisers, potential donors, and donors.

NationBuilder Tips:

  • Manage donor relationships by assigning everyone a point person.
  • Create reminders to follow up with donors at regular intervals.
  • Track details about engagement history and categorize donors with tags.
  • Make it easy for people to set up recurring donations.

6. Get optimized for online giving

Online giving revenue has been on the rise, up 23% in 2017 from the year before. Optimizing your website for online giving can make the difference between a donor converting or not.

The 2008 Obama campaign was the first of many to test various types of online donation forms, operating under the theory that design itself would change how much and how frequently people gave. The end result: a three-part “staged donation” form that asks for amount, then contact information, then payment information. A design that's now used across campaigns of all shapes and sizes.

NationBuilder Tips:

Success Story: Oaktree 
This millennial-driven nonprofit in Australia built multiple layers of engagement into its website. For instance, when a supporter signed a petition, Oaktree directed them to land on a donation page on the same issue. While the group uses other means for fundraising, this deliberate website alignment allowed Oaktree to raise $3,000 in one week, without having to launch a separate fundraising initiative. 



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