You’ve probably heard that a multi-channel marketing strategy is a surefire way to improve your nonprofit’s fundraising potential. You may have even begun to experiment with a combination of direct mail, email, digital ads, and social media marketing.
While this is a significant first step, successful multi-channel marketing requires more than simply scattering your messages across multiple platforms and hoping for the best. Instead, you need a well-thought-out strategy designed according to fundraising best practices and with your unique audience in mind.
In this article, we’ll look at five ways you can improve your marketing strategy for your next fundraising campaign:
- Pick adaptable fundraising software.
- Personalize your outreach efforts.
- Make giving easy.
- Build a consistent brand.
- Leverage expert knowledge.
Whether you’re hosting a peer-to-peer virtual fundraiser, an in-person gala, or a hybrid auction, these tips can help you spread awareness and increase donations. By following fundraising best practices, these tips are designed to work with a variety of fundraisers. Let’s dive in!
1. Pick adaptable fundraising software.
You’ll need a solid foundation for your fundraiser before you jump into marketing. Your fundraising software is an integral part of that foundation. At its core, your software should be flexible enough to work across every channel you plan to market on.
Robust fundraising software will allow you to reach more people more efficiently in a more targeted way than you could do so manually. Your fundraising software should offer:
- User-friendly interface. Your software should be user-friendly on both the front-end for donors and the back-end for administrators. Moreover, it should adapt to different devices and screen sizes.
- Data management tools. There’s nothing worse than a large set of disorganized data points. Your software should help keep all your donor information organized in a single dashboard.
- Integrations. According to Donately’s guide to donation forms, nearly 90% of donors prefer to make donations within a nonprofit’s website rather than a third-party site. Choose a fundraising software solution that allows you to embed your donation form into your website to help make these donors feel secure when giving.
- Sharing features. With 72% of American adults using social media, your fundraiser’s success relies on it being shared across multiple online platforms. Ideally, the software you choose should allow you to add buttons to your pages that supporters can click to share your content on most major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
- Access. Your software of choice should allow multiple users (including team members and volunteers) access at a range of security levels.
You shouldn’t have to switch to a new software each time you run a different fundraiser. Your software should easily scale to the size and complexity of all of your campaigns.
2. Personalize your outreach efforts.
Once you have your fundraising software ready to go, you can reach out to your supporters and potential donors. However, for organizations with donors spread across the world, it can be challenging to establish the personal connections that come with in-person fundraising activities. If you’re one of these organizations, you’ll need to incorporate personalization into your online engagement strategy to connect with remote supporters.
Personalization can look vastly different depending on the channels and strategies you use. It may include:
- Automatically inputting supporters’ names and titles into your thank-you messages.
- Sending text updates to supporters who indicated they would prefer to communicate through text messages.
- Connecting local supporters with specific donations, events, or volunteer opportunities.
- Altering requested donation amounts based on your supporters’ previous donation data.
Generally, personalization relies on your supporter data to make targeted appeals instead of generic ones. You can further personalize your messages by creating create specific segments according to information collected in your supporter database based on:
- Communication preferences
- Past donations
- Volunteer history
- Previous event attendance
Moreover, personalizing your outreach goes beyond tweaking your content and communication channels. It also involves guiding supporters to give in the ways easiest for them.
3. Make giving easy.
When making a donation is difficult, potential donors often just won’t give. If they run into a glitch on your website or must create an account before they can donate, they’ll likely abandon the process.
On the other hand, when giving is easy, they’re more likely to complete their donation. As you diversify your marketing channels to reach as many people as possible, you should also diversify how supporters can make their donations.
Offer a combination of high and low-tech giving options, including:
- Online donations collected via your website’s donation form.
- Text-to-give fundraising where supporters can donate by texting a designated number.
- Shopping fundraisers that offer participants a product or service in exchange for their donation.
- Event participation that requires supporters to buy a ticket to attend.
- Matching gifts from donors’ employers’ corporate social responsibility programs when they make a donation.
While it’s great to have options, you don’t need to advertise every giving method to every supporter and potential donor.
As mentioned above, not everyone wants to receive the same messages, and not everyone wants to give in the same way. Leverage your fundraising database to analyze your donors’ communication and giving preferences. Then, highlight different giving options to different segments of your supporters based on those preferences.
4. Build a consistent brand.
Even as you reach out to supporters in different ways, with different requests, and via different channels, it’s critical to maintain a consistent brand across platforms.
Inconsistencies in brand elements can reflect poorly on your nonprofit, relaying a lack of professionalism or even confusing some supporters. Moreover, a consistent brand builds trust and recognition with new and old supporters alike, creating more touchpoints and potentially leading to more donations.
The first step to improving your brand’s presence is to assess the current state of your organization’s brand. Take a close look at the materials produced by your marketing team and the platforms on which you’re active. Then, look at the following elements for inconsistencies:
While keeping your brand consistent across all of your channels likely won’t be easy, there are tools that can help. For example, you might decide to develop a style guide that dictates the exact colors, language, and other branded elements for outreach materials across your organization.
5. Collect and analyze supporter and marketing data.
Even when your campaign is going well, you should collect, organize, and analyze supporter data alongside marketing metrics. Plan to collect data across your channels:
- Form data. Usually filled out via an online form, this is the information your donors submit directly to your nonprofit. When supporters make donations, sign up to volunteer, or register for your newsletter, your online fundraising and donor management software will collect their information and store it in their donor profile. Depending on how streamlined you want your form to be, you might also include a request for optional demographic data.
- Engagement rates. To know how successful a given channel or message stream is, you’ll need to understand how your audience is responding to it. For example: Who (and how many people) are opening your emails? Who (and how many) are clicking the links in your Facebook posts? How many of those clicks turn into donations? Your communication software should gather this information and help you create reports to analyze it.
Additionally, you can supplement the data you collect with appended third-party data from a trusted provider. Then, use your data to make decisions, updates, and changes to your marketing plan.
Luckily, you don’t have to organize a fundraiser or implement these tips all on your own. If you’re not comfortable or don’t have time to implement any of the marketing strategies above, there are trained experts who can help.
In the nonprofit space, marketing and fundraising experts can help you determine the right channels for your fundraiser, analyze your data, point out marketing mistakes, and help you earn buy-in from your team.
What do successful online fundraising campaigns have in common?
They have speciﬁc, achievable goals.
There is a sense of urgency to participate – a matching gift, a deadline.
There is trust built up BEFORE the campaign launches.
There is infrastructure in place to promote the campaign.
Use this free Planner when planning your next online fundraising campaign!