You already know the importance of fundraising for your nonprofit. Without financial means, it’s more difficult—or even impossible—to achieve your mission.
To get there, you’ll need to perfect the art of making a fundraising ask. That is, the process of soliciting your donors and securing gifts for your cause. But, what is the most effective way to make a fundraising ask?
The answer is: there isn’t just one surefire way to ask for a gift. Rather, you can (and should) utilize several fundraising channels to make these all-important fundraising asks.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the many ways your nonprofit should be diversifying your asking strategy by leveraging tech tools across multiple fundraising channels. Here are five tech-enabled strategies that you should consider as you embark on a multi-channel fundraising effort:
- Leverage your CRM data to make effective asks.
- Engage with supporters on diverse social media channels.
- Tell a visual story with your nonprofit’s marketing materials.
- Learn from data insights to hone your fundraising strategy.
- Use tech tools to automate the acknowledgment process.
If you’re ready to explore efficient ways to make a fundraising ask across multiple channels, let’s take a look at these awesome strategies!
1. Leverage your CRM data to make effective asks.
It can be challenging to keep your nonprofit’s data organized, especially if you’re growing in size and working with several sources of information. The key item to remember is that, in order to make an effective fundraising ask, you need to know your community well.
If your nonprofit has a CRM on hand, you should be able to access all the data you need to tailor your asks to individual donors, as this will allow you to get to know your constituents and discover the most effective fundraising channels for your cause.
Knowing your donors well starts with doing the right donor research. One way you can research donors is using your CRM to gain valuable insights into your community. In order to make the most of your CRM data, do the following:
- Keep clean donor data. Keep your data organized and clean by removing duplicate profiles and extraneous information that’s not relevant to your fundraising strategy. Choose a CRM like Salsa’s donor database software that offers in-built data management tools to ensure your donor data is streamlined and accurate.
- Segment your donor lists. Once you have created unique profiles for your constituents, you can segment each profile into groups (such as repeat givers, female donors, supporters who have reached retirement age, etc.). This way, your team can learn which asking strategies work best for individual groups of donors.
- Personalize asks to donors. After you’ve gathered details about your constituents from their profiles, you can then reach out to them in a more personalized manner. For example, you can draft a customized letter and cite their donation history, as well as how it has helped your nonprofit in the past. Engaging on a more personal level yields a higher chance of creating a long-term relationship with your donor.
Bottom line? The key to effectively using your CRM data is categorizing your donor lists and keeping the data organized and clean. Doing this will give you a better handle on your constituents as the number grows, and still allow you to personalize your asks—which in turn will increase your chances of getting donations.
2. Engage with supporters on diverse social media channels.
Your nonprofit might not be reaching the right donors on social media, which can limit your overall outreach. That’s why it is important to engage with potential donors on platforms they are already using. Remember that the most important part of using social media is developing relationships. On Twitter, for instance, you have limited characters to share your story, but the connections you make as a result can be invaluable.
In order to figure out which channels are most effective, and to determine what platforms particular donors are using, try these tech tools:
- Know which platforms your supporters use. In order to successfully reach your potential donors, you should have an understanding of what online platforms they are using. You can obtain this data in a few ways, such as by sending out surveys or tracking engagement metrics on the platforms you’re currently leveraging.
- Use social media marketing tools to automate output. Social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, offer tools that allow you to automate your posts. So, you can schedule when posts are sent out, and on what platform. This helps your nonprofit ensure you reach the right supporters at the right time on the right platforms.
- Leverage engagement insights to tailor your strategy. In order to optimize your output on social media, you can measure certain engagement metrics, such as the number of impressions on your posts. For example, if you get a high volume of impressions but very few engagements with the post (such as shares or likes), then you should reevaluate your content strategy.
Bottom line? Be sure to take advantage of multiple platforms, as you’ll widen your audience and have a higher chance of reaching potential donors. However, you must also send the right content to the right platforms. Image-based media, for example, might engage more people on Instagram than on Twitter. Once you know what platforms your potential donors use, you can then optimize your content on those platforms and begin to cultivate relationships.
3. Tell a visual story with your nonprofit’s marketing materials.
In order to connect with your constituents, you want to tell a story. Storytelling is an effective way to not only reach out to your potential donors, but also connect with them on a deeper and more personal level. If you don’t offer a compelling reason for someone to make a donation, you are less likely to receive one.
Visual storytelling is an effective method and should not be overlooked. To give your constituents that compelling reason to donate, you should:
- Share images and videos to show donors who you are. Frequently engage with your audience by posting images and videos about your organization. Images and videos are more engaging than long text posts, and more likely to be shared and liked.
- Put your beneficiaries front-and-center. Show your donors specifically who they are supporting. Include visuals in your marketing materials and make it clear who the beneficiaries are. For instance, impact videos highlight the impact your nonprofit makes and are a great way to share the spotlight with your beneficiaries on social media.
- Establish a unique brand identity across channels. Make sure your logo, color scheme, and voice of your nonprofit are clear and consistent across all marketing channels. For example, your branding should be consistent on your website and in your direct mail fundraising materials. A stronger brand yields higher credibility.
Bonus! When pursuing direct mail fundraising, you can use tech resources to make your direct mail efforts more powerful. Tell your story in a visually appealing and easy-to-digest manner, but also use your CRM to draft your letters and personalize them to each constituent. (Fundraising Letters offers a great resource for customized template letters.)
Bottom line? There are multiple ways to create your visual identity, but it should be consistent in order to project a professional image and give your organization more clout. From there, you’ll be on your way to inspiring your constituents to donate and forming lasting bonds with them.
4. Learn from data insights to hone your fundraising strategy.
There’s a lot you can learn from social media and the data insights it provides. Data will show you how effective your content is and will also help pinpoint areas of improvement. More specifically, you can track social media impressions, as well as your click-through rates and conversion rates, and compare them across platforms.
In order to successfully gather and evaluate data, focus on some of the following factors:
- Social media impressions. Compare your impressions against engagement metrics, such as click-through rates and conversion rates. Using this data can help highlight where you’re losing supporters in the engagement pipeline.
- Click-through rate. How many people have clicked on your links? If you’re receiving clicks on one social media platform, focus on sharing content like your donation form or volunteer sign-up forms on this channel. If you’re not receiving sufficient clicks on another platform, how can you adjust the content you’re sharing to yield more clicks?
- Conversion rate. How many people have clicked-through your links and donated as a result? Create a conversion goal for your nonprofit, which can be broken down by donor segments, in order to track your success in each category.
Bottom line? If you’re getting a lot of impressions on social media but very few engagements, use that data to reevaluate your tactics and optimize your content. On the other hand, if you’re receiving many clicks on one particular platform, take advantage of that and direct those clicks to important pages on your website, such as donation forms.
5. Use tech tools to automate the acknowledgement process.
The most effective way to create and maintain donor relationships is to show them they are appreciated. You want to continue engaging with your donors and openly communicate, and that in turn will make them more likely to donate again.
Making sure your donors have a good experience with your nonprofit is important. In order to foster a strong relationship, you should note the following:
- Personalized thank-you messages should be sent out immediately after receiving a gift. In order to create a long-term relationship with a donor, you want to ensure they know their donation has been received and appreciated. Creating an automated thank-you message is key to quickly following up with a donor to thank them for their contribution.
- When a campaign is complete, thank donors again for helping you get there. Thanking your donors once the campaign has finished gives you an opportunity to explain what their contribution helped achieve. For example, you may say, “With your $200 contribution, we were able to reach our $10,000 goal to put toward breast cancer research.”
- When you ask for another gift, reference their past giving history. Noting your history with the donor will help them feel appreciated and acknowledged, and make them more likely to donate in the future. Before asking for another gift, consult your CRM to see when this individual has given in the past, what they gave, and what kind of campaign they previously supported.
Bottom line? Similar to creating relationships through social media, you want to continue nurturing relationships with your donors after the fact. Continue to show them how their contribution has benefited your cause and be sure they receive acknowledgement. Your donors want to know where their money went, so communication is key.
Want to learn more about which tech tools can enhance your asking strategy? Take a look at this list of top fundraising software to see what features could push your efforts forward.
If you want to make the right ask, use these tried-and-true methods and be sure to utilize these tech tools to help improve your strategy. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be on your way to effectively engaging with your donors and building long-lasting relationships!