Are your supporters making stock donations to your organization? If not, it may be because you’re not asking for them as part of your fundraising strategy. In fact, many supporters simply don’t know that donating stocks is an option, or if they do, they view it as a burdensome challenge.
In this guide, we’ll walk through the most important steps for your organization to ask for stock donations from your donors, including:
- Determine your target audience(s).
- Personalize your ask.
- Share the benefits of giving stock donations.
- Make the donation process easy with an automated investing platform.
- Spread the word across multiple platforms and channels.
Donations of stock can have a significant impact on your organization’s bottom line and change the trajectory of your fundraising. Infinite Giving’s Ultimate Guide to Stock Donations notes that “nonprofits receiving stock donations (in addition to cash) can increase their fundraising contributions by 55% over those only accepting cash donations.” This type of impact on your fundraising can lead to exponential organizational growth.
Ready to start asking for stock donations? Let’s dive in!
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Step 1: Determine your target audience(s).
Not everyone in your donor database will be interested or able to make a stock donation to your organization—and reaching out to them to do so will be an ineffective use of your limited marketing spend. Thus, before you begin asking for stock donations, make a concerted effort to define who you will be asking.
To identify the best audience for your outreach, take the following steps:
- Organize and clean your donor data. Make sure your data is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, appending with third-party data as necessary.
- Narrow down your target audiences. Use your data to filter donors according to wealth indicators, such as income and stock holdings, and philanthropic indicators, such as age and past donations, that show both an ability and interest in giving stock donations.
- Create audience segments. Once you’ve identified your high potential stock donors, consider their interests and preferences and create segments based on shared traits. For example: What is their preferred mode of communication? How and when do they want to be asked for donations?
With this information in hand, you can better personalize your ask to make it as compelling as possible for each potential donor.
Step 2: Personalize your ask.
You’re likely already familiar with using smart fields to personalize your direct messages and emails with basic recipient information, such as supporter names and addresses, from your constituent relationship management system.
But personalization can go far beyond adding names to an email and play a major role in engaging your most likely stock donor prospects. In addition to including individual donor details, on a larger scale, you can also personalize the tone and language, medium, formality, and timing of your ask based on the audience segments you determined in Step 1 above.
For example, some potential stock donors may have indicated that they want to talk to a program officer to get to know your organization and its programs better before considering a stock donation. Reaching out to them with an ask via social media might alienate them and risk damaging your relationship. On the other hand, others may be ready to donate and want the process to be as simple as possible—streamlined through a single email campaign.
Personalizing how and when you make your ask ensures that you’re putting your nonprofit in the best possible situation to grow your relationship and receive a stock donation.
Step 3: Share the benefits of giving stock donations.
One of the most critical elements of any ask is showing donors how they’ll benefit from giving to your nonprofit. For stock donations, explaining the benefits for donors is both important and particularly easy because the advantages are clear:
- Financial incentive. When selling stocks, individuals may have to pay up to 37% tax on the appreciated value of their shares. However, when they donate stocks directly to a nonprofit, they instead receive a tax deduction on the market value of the donated amount.
- Simplicity. While in the past, it may have been challenging to donate stocks securely, these days, a stock donation can be safely completed by donors online in mere minutes. It’s just as easy (if not easier) as any other form of donation. (More on this below!
- Doing good. Finally, one of the main reasons donors of all types give is to make an impact in their community and power social good initiatives. Because your nonprofit will receive the full pre-tax amount of stock donations, those donations stretch further, your nonprofit gets more money, and donors maximize the value of their gifts. For every donation, make it clear the impact it will have on your organization. Will their stock donations go to building your reserve funds, funding a capital campaign, or supporting regular programming? Wherever it’s going, describe why funding for that area is crucial to achieving your mission.
Just as you personalized the other elements of your ask, you’ll likely want to personalize how you discuss the benefits of stock donations, depending on your audience. For example, for some donors, you might want to emphasize the financial benefits of stock donations. For others, you might focus on stock donations as an additional way to get involved and make an impact.
Step 4: Make the donation process easy with an automated investing platform.
Donors of all kinds can be turned off by a difficult donation process. In the past, donating stock was one of the most complicated processes, requiring a significant time investment from both nonprofits and donors. Today, however, with the rise of modern automated nonprofit investing platforms making stock donations can be incredibly easy for donors and for your development team.
How does this work? Once you create an account, you’ll receive a secure giving link that you can share with your supporters and potential donors. Through this link, donors can fill out a brief online stock donation form that automatically transfers their stocks into your account.
In addition to being easy on your donors, an automated investing platform also makes it easy on your internal team. You can adjust settings to either hold stock donations (not recommended) or automatically liquidate and reinvest them in a diversified portfolio. As a result, your team can focus less on busy work and more on engaging donors.
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Step 5: Spread the word across multiple platforms and channels.
Finally, it’s time to put the above pieces together into a cohesive message to send to your supporters. Here, you’ll use personalization strategies to determine the best places to share your ask. These will likely include the following channels:
- Your website. List stock donations as a clear and easy option for donors on your website’s donation page.
- Email. Mention in your next email newsletter that your nonprofit can accept stock donations or plan an entire email campaign around asking for stock donations.
- Social media. Post about your ability to accept stock donations on your social media accounts and encourage followers to share with their network.
- Digital ads. According to Getting Attention’s Guide to Google Ad Grants, nonprofit organizations can receive up to $10,000 to spend on Google advertisements each month. Consider using these ads to target potential stock donors and lead them back to your information page on your website.
Across channels and platforms, remember to include the link that donors will use to donate stock along with instructions on how to make the contribution. For example, in an email ask, you could embed a clickable button that reads: “Donate stocks today!”
Ultimately, by following these steps, you’ll have a custom ask for stock donations that potential donors will engage with and respond to positively. Remember, receiving a stock donation (as a result of your top-notch ask) should never mark the end of your relationship with a donor. Rather, for the most successful fundraising teams, it’s only the beginning!