Nonprofit 411: 6 Tips for Spring Fundraising Success

Fundraise.com Guy Kawasaki

As the winter is finally winding down in Massachusetts and the planning is turning up for spring, here are 6 tips to consider for successful fundraising from the experts at fundraise.com (pictured above on tour last summer with former chief evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki).

1) Communicate Regularly: Communicating with your donors through regular newsletters that highlight your organizations’ accomplishments, updates, new & ongoing campaigns and fiscal transparency will help bond supporters to your mission and build loyalty while keeping your cause at the forefront of their minds. Ask supporters for their newsletter frequency preference, but generally speaking, one to two carefully timed issues every 4-6 weeks is acceptable. While every newsletter can feature a “donate” button, not every newsletter should be a formal ask. Think about it, would you be excited to hear from a friend or colleague who asked you for something every time they wrote you an email? Probably not.

2) Outline your Impact: Savvy donors don’t like to throw money at a problem that seems to have no identifiable solution. However, on the other hand, donors love to know exactly where their donations are headed or exactly what they’re doing. At fundraise.com we encourage clients to set their donation amounts to tangible items or solutions “x dollars will buy a new soccer goal,” “x dollars will send a child to camp,” “x dollars will vaccinate x people,” and so on. Be creative in your structuring and don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn” with all the good you’ve done after a fundraising campaign or an event.

3) Focus on Strengthening Your Community: The community you build around your organization is both the backbone and communal face of your nonprofit. It includes donors, volunteers, members, regular patrons, etc. They have become part of your community because your organization interests them. They have given of their time or their money because they want to see your organization prosper; it is crucial to genuinely engage with these people not only because of the strength in numbers they can bring to your organization, but also because they are great advocates for your cause in the community and can reach out to potential volunteers and donors to grow both bases. Take care of this important group and encourage and listen to the valuable feedback they amass.

4) Say Thank You: “Thank you” – two very simple words that go a very long way. Most all organizations associate a “thank you” with a donation or a tax-deductible receipt, but think about other ways to thank your tribe of supporters. Formal get-togethers like breakfasts and cocktail hours are great ideas, but thanks to technology today there are also plenty of inexpensive ways to show your appreciation – Facebook and Twitter are a super way to thank both groups and individuals for their time and energy. Post photos with volunteers tagged for their friends to see or tweet at individuals who went the extra mile. Showing appreciation for even the smallest acts furthers your mission and leaves a lasting, positive online impression.

5) Clean-up Your Website: Your website is the face of your organization online and many times, it will be the first impressions your organization makes on a potential donor. A nonprofit website can make or break a supporter’s perception of the organization and can impact whether or not they chose to support you. Review your existing site and ensure that the following vital components are integrated:  1) Your ‘Donate’ button is easy to find, functions properly and is on the first page; 2) Make the purpose, mission, and urgency of your organization obvious on the first page, with links to additional experiences and stories; 3) Make sure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and provides a positive user experience while telling your story; 4) Optimize your website for viewing on mobile devices. At fundraise.com we see about 40% of our clients’ traffic coming from mobile devices and tablets – this is a huge percentage you don’t want to miss.

6) Move the Strategy Online: Obviously at fundraise.com, much of our focus is on the importance of online giving and social media due to the tremendous growth seen in these platforms and our involvement in the space. Moving your fundraising strategy from direct mail to email and easy-to-access online pages is more important than ever and becomes easier everyday – we promise. Spring is a great time to clean up your strategy and start raising more money.

fundraise.com is a social fundraising platform that provides fundraising and event solutions, and is also an MNN affiliate member.