Planning is an integral part of successful fundraising, and you can never get an early enough start! As the end of the year fast approaches, many nonprofits are busy hosting holiday galas and other end of year events. Most members of the staff are likely occupied with their own personal holiday celebrations as well. Just because the season is coming to an end, however, isn't an excuse to avoid planning your nonprofit's fundraising efforts for the next year.
Now is the time to reflect on your nonprofit's results for the year, and learn from any mistakes that were made during your fundraising campaigns. The following steps can help you to gain insight into what does and does not work for your nonprofit so that you can revise and refine your strategies and be set to start the New Year off right!
Review Results of 2016 Fundraising Campaigns - What Did and Did Not Work?
Before you start making plans for your 2017 fundraising campaigns, take time to reflect on what did and did not work well this year. Go back and look at the metrics for the messages that you sent out during your various fundraising campaigns; did you effectively target your audience and reach your fundraising goals? Were there steps that you could have taken, such as using additional measures to segment your donors list to further tailor your messaging to specific target audiences, which would have improved your results? What specific additional resources do you need to increase your fundraising results in 2017?
Refine Messages and Targeting to Build and Increase Donor Base
Ideally, you should segment your donor lists so that you can ensure that you can tailor your fundraising efforts to match the demographics of your target audience. You should begin by segmenting your list into current and repeat donors and prospective donors, as your approach to reach each of these audiences should be different.
There are other ways to segment your donor list to improve your results and grow your donor base. For example, we know that certain audiences respond well to certain types of messaging and fundraising campaigns, so you should segment your donor list and group them into target audiences to ensure that you are reaching out to donors via their preferred method of interaction, such as email, social media posts, telephone calls and face to face contact.
Once you have segmented your donor lists, and identified their preferred means of contact and interaction with your nonprofit, you can then tailor your message to match preferences that are determined by such demographics as gender, age, location, shared interests and so forth.
Improve Communication and Storytelling to Increase Results
Look for ways to keep your nonprofit's messaging in line with your nonprofit's mission and goals. Make it easier to build connections and increase support for your cause by expanding the ways that you communicate with supporters. In addition to using visual images that carry human interest and convey emotion, consider adding short "micro-videos," that can help demonstrate just what it is that your nonprofit does and how it makes a difference and helps others in your community.
Don't forget to test the messages that you send through 2017, and adjust them to improve your results. This includes the emails that you send about fundraising events and donation requests as well as the other messages and updates that you send to supporters throughout the year.
Use Creative Twists to Update and Market Popular Fundraising Events
Annual events are a great way to encourage repeat donations, but you must be careful to not allow fundraisers such as galas, awards ceremonies, auctions, raffles and other events to become stale and boring. Don't be afraid to use creative twists to keep things fresh, and interesting, at your nonprofit's fundraising events.
Consider hosting events in a new locations, shake up routines by varying the presenters and line-up and look for ways to inject fun and excitement into your nonprofit's events to encourage donors to want to come to your nonprofit's next event.
Test and Overhaul Your Website and Revamp Social Media Efforts
Just as you want your nonprofit's fundraisers to be exciting so that they continue to draw repeat donors and encourage new supporters to attend, you also need to take the time to update your nonprofit's website on a regular basis. Make certain that your posts are fresh, interesting and helpful, both on your nonprofit's main website, as well as on social media posts.
Take time to make certain that all of your site's pages load quickly, and can be viewed on both mobile and stationary platforms. Make certain that posts are easy to share across all of your nonprofit's social media profiles, and make it easy for others to like and share your content as well.
Continue to test messaging, and make certain that all of your posts are in keeping with your nonprofit's mission and goals and will make the impression that you want while also getting your message across.
Above all, make certain that your site's main donation page and donation buttons work well so that it's easy for supporters to donate as well as be able to learn more about your cause.