Suggestions on how to improve your fundraising appeals and plan


Let’s face it. Times change, and those things that don’t evolve and keep up with the times get old and stale. And this applies to everything in life including your fundraising plan (which includes your goals, strategies, tactics and sometimes even best practices). I’ve asked Abby Jarvis from Qgiv to weigh-in with her suggestions on how your organization might evolve its approach to soliciting donors and polishing up its fundraising plan. I think you will like her five suggestions. Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


5 Ways to Make Better Fundraising Asks

By Abby Jarvis
Blogger, marketer & communications coordinator for Qgiv

improvementYour nonprofit is constantly trying to improve. Whether you’re developing an efficiency hack for your staff members or trying new fundraising events, openness to change is what allows your organization to grow, acquire more donors, and raise more money for your cause.

One area that nonprofits can constantly improve in is their donation appeal strategies. There is always room for improvement, whether you ask for donations over the phone, in person, with direct mail, or through any other method.

Check out these five ways to improve your fundraising appeals!

1. Update your website

Donors who find themselves on your nonprofit’s website don’t want to see pages that haven’t been updated since 2007.

Part of improving your fundraising efforts should involve sprucing up your nonprofit’s website and donation page.

Online donations are steadily rising and becoming the preferred giving method for younger generations who have grown up surrounded by technology.  Make sure that you aren’t losing these donors’ interests by having an outdated donation page and website.

Check out these great examples of donation forms for a little inspiration.

2. Start personalizing your direct mail

You wouldn’t send a letter to your Aunt Margaret that started off with “Dear Relative.”

You shouldn’t be doing that in your direct mail appeals either.

One characteristic that unites all nonprofits with successful direct mail solicitation is the personalization of their letters.

Personalization doesn’t just mean using the donor’s name in the greeting, though. It also means:

  • Referencing past involvement or contributions.
  • Offering new ways to interact with your nonprofit.
  • Suggesting giving levels based on past contributions.
  • A personal signature from an organization member.
  • And more!

Make sure that you’re personalizing your direct mail appeals to bring in more donations for your nonprofit!

3. Ramp up your email campaigns

More and more nonprofits are looking to improve their email marketing techniques. Is your organization ready to join them?

Ramping up your email campaigns means taking a look at the successful emails you’ve sent in the past and improving the ones that weren’t as effective.

Don’t just send out donation appeals in your emails, though. Give donors regular updates about your organization with:

  • Success stories.
  • Info on current projects.
  • Volunteering opportunities.
  • Invitations to events.
  • And more!

Sending out emails to your donors is a cost-effective and efficient way to keep them in the loop and to ask for donations.

4. Host really great fundraising events

Even though event fundraisers come with a cost, they can be fantastic opportunities for your supporters to interact with one another and your nonprofit.

They can be a valuable be a great way for your organization to ask for donations!

Let’s say you’re hosting a family fun day for your church’s mission trip. During the opening or closing ceremony, let attendees know why their donations are so important and what they will help fund. Then, give them ways to donate either through physical, on-site donations, or digital methods like text-to-give or mobile donation forms.

Hosting a fundraising event takes a lot of planning and coordination, but with the right tools, your nonprofit can make better fundraising asks at the events you host for donors!

5. Take a look at your major gift strategy

Asking for donations from major gift prospects can be tricky. Not only do you have to convince someone that your organization is worth supporting, but you have to ask that person for a significant amount of money.

The best way for your nonprofit to succeed when it comes to major gifts is to develop a strategy for going after those donations. This strategy should include:

Major gifts are often some of the biggest donations that a nonprofit can receive. In fact, an individual who has made a gift between $50,000 and $100,000 is 25 times more likely to donate than an average person is. Make sure you aren’t missing out on these large contributions because your major gift strategy has been found lacking.

Your nonprofit should have several goals for improvement, but one of them should definitely be to make better fundraising asks! With these five tips, you’ll be set for success. Happy asking!


AbbyAbby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on February 25, 2016, in Fundraising, nonprofit, philanthropy, resource development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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