Category

Fundraising

Fundraising During COVID-19

By | Fundraising | No Comments

If you’ve been hesitant to restart fundraising activities during COVID-19, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that it’s not in poor taste or tone-deaf to restart your organization’s fundraising activities during the pandemic. Although their attention is elsewhere, most people recognize that nonprofits still need money to continue their good work.

The bad news? In-person fundraising activities are canceled, at least for the foreseeable future, until scientists provide us with a vaccine, a cure, or both for COVID-19.

But take heart—even if you count on the annual silent auction or dinner-dance for most of your funds, you can switch to fundraising online. And, if your organization is also using technology to support its fundraising activities, you’re in an excellent position to continue operations.

What Do Donors Want?

Donors want two things: transparency and accountability.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million charitable organizations registered in the U.S. with the IRS. Nonprofits must work hard to secure donations when donors have so many choices.

Take steps to ensure that your organization’s activities are visible. Keep your website up to date as well as your social media channels. Use stories, case studies, and data to illustrate the work that you’re doing. A donor-centric approach to fundraising means putting your donor’s needs front and center. When you do this, all of your digital communications will be both accountable and transparent.

Keep in Touch Regularly

Some nonprofits fear that they send too many messages. In their quest for both transparency and accountability, their communications manager sends emails, newsletters, and direct mail to donors. How much is too much?

According to the Network for Good, 28% of recurring donors say that the best thing a nonprofit can do to keep them engaged is to send plenty of success stories and communications. Only 4% of respondents to their survey said that nonprofits send too much information. The same study says that 40% would like communications from their favorite nonprofits once or twice a month.

Keep the good news coming. Donors want to know what their favorite organizations have accomplished!

Doing Digital Donor Relations Right: 5 Must-Have Tools

There are many ways to keep in touch with donors. The following five digital communication tools can be used to support donor communications and outreach and ensure fundraising efforts remain consistent. You’re probably using many of these digital communication tools right now. Track, monitor, and measure the response to each, and use more of what works to improve digital fundraising and donor relations.

  1. Email: Emails are the most popular digital fundraising tool in use. Email ‘blasts’ or messages sent to your entire list with a fundraising appeal can be easily tracked and measured. A clear call to action or request to donate positioned prominently within the email can improve response rates.
  2. Blogs: A blog can be used to share stories and updates. Tools added to blogs can automatically send links from new posts out to your social media sites. Blogs are also useful for SEO or search engine optimization. Each time you publish a piece on your blog, it adds one more way for search engines to help people find your nonprofit, so consider the topics of your blog posts and the keyword phrases you select for the issue very carefully; and use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to assess potential traffic for a keyword phrase.
  3. Social media: Social media remains a popular medium to connect with the public. Use plenty of photos and keep profiles updated. Monitor social media channels for questions and respond promptly.
  4. Online giving pages: Specific pages on your site dedicated to encouraging online giving are a great way to use your site for fundraising.
  5. Mobile giving: Mobile giving is a text-to-donate method that enables people to text donations to your organization. The 2019 M + R Benchmarks Survey states that mobile fundraising has a 13% click-through rate, which is noticeably higher than other channels.

These are just a few ideas of how your organization can continue its fundraising activities right now. If you’ve been hesitant to ask for donations during the pandemic, when so many people are out of work or on partial pay due to social distancing, hesitate no longer. Many people remain employed, and loyal supporters want to hear from their favorite nonprofits. To remain silent is to be forgotten; stay top of mind by using digital technology.

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Five Traits of Successful Fundraisers

By | Fundraising | No Comments

Having a successful fundraiser on your team is a great feeling. These are the rock stars of the nonprofit world, but unlike the big-haired bands of old, they aren’t smashing guitars or getting their faces splashed on the front page of gossip magazines. Instead, they’re quietly, calmly, and creatively generating the funds you need to keep the doors open and the work moving towards fulfilling your organization’s mission.

What’s their secret? How do they work their magic? Here, we distill the five secrets of successful fundraisers.

5 Traits that Successful Fundraisers Have (and You Can Learn!)

You may think that successful fundraisers are born. But anyone can learn or embrace the characteristics that great fundraisers embody. Read through this list and see which ones you can add to your skill set.

  1. Curiosity – Great fundraisers remain curious about the world around them. This curiosity opens them to new possibilities, connections, and potential, which in turn leads to the creativity that’s needed to launch effective campaigns.
  2. Understanding of human behavior – One of the main traits of successful fundraisers is that they understand how the average person thinks and acts. This in-depth knowledge can be intuitive or acquired through reading, study, and experience. It leads them to develop campaigns that get responses because they understand the motivators and drivers of human behavior and can connect it to the cause supported by your organization.
  3. Insights into the target donor – Many people new to fundraising create campaigns based on their likes and dislikes. That can lead to mistaken messaging and poor response rates. Good fundraisers understand that they are different from the donors they approach. Most donors are in their 60’s and follow specific personality characteristics unique to a given nonprofit. Those who donate to animal charities may differ from those who support healthcare nonprofits, for example. Understanding the “end customer” is marketing-speak for knowing why your donors give and how to approach them so that they are likely to say “yes.”
  4. Data-driven mindset – While great fundraisers are also creative, they embrace a data-driven mindset and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and crunch the donor campaign data. The resulting facts are then used to fuel the next round of marketing. Data is used to support decisions and improve response rates.
  5. Networking – Great fundraisers are also good net-workers. They network with people both within the nonprofit world and those from the profit-driven business world. Thanks to this relentless networking, they have a large circle of colleagues and friends who can share advice and best practices. They absorb information from throughout their network and aren’t afraid to share their learning and understanding, too, to help a friend succeed.

But the Most Important Characteristic?

The most important characteristic of successful fundraisers isn’t one that can be taught or bought. It’s the love of the cause and a passion for fundraising.

These are the people who genuinely believe in the mission of the organization and who aren’t afraid to go the extra mile to support it. They have a genuine love of the fundraising world and embrace best practices in direct response marketing, direct mail marketing, advertising, and digital marketing to help them achieve their goals. They find joy in developing relationships with donors and sharing the mission to drive margin.

Successful fundraisers are worth every penny of their salary. They not only raise money, but they also lift spirits. Because of their dedication, others in the organization find themselves recruited into the fundraiser’s orbit. Fundraisers are the rock stars, but they are also the rock of any organization, creating the foundation from which margin flows and organizations can meet their objectives.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Three Ways to Get Board Members Involved in Fundraising Activities

By | Fundraising | No Comments

One common refrain heard among nonprofit management everywhere is “I can’t get my board to help with fundraising!”

Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Many board members perform their duties faithfully but fail to support or engage in fundraising activities. That’s a shame, because board members have a lot to offer an organization that they are deeply involved with and know very well.

It’s not impossible to get busy board members to help you with fundraising activities. The trick is to make it easy for them to say yes. Give them specific things they can do and the fundraising tools to help them and with the right amount of effort and support, your board can become your best advocate.

3 Tips to Get Board Members to Help with Fundraising

The key is to remove any objections they have to helping with fundraising. Common objections include:

  • “I don’t have time to help”
  • “I don’t know what you’d like me to do”
  • “I’m not good at fundraising”

To overcome each objection….

“I don’t have time to help”

 

  • Create a list of fundraising tasks you’d like help with and distribute it via email and at your next board meeting. Be as specific as possible. Break large tasks into smaller steps.
  • Ask people directly if they can help with one task. By asking them personally, rather than sending out a blanket “please help” message, you’re making it much more likely for them to say yes to the specific request.
  • If board members aren’t sure how to perform the task, offer to  demonstrate it, but avoid doing it for them.
  • Break tasks into small half-hour increments or things that can be completed in half an hour or less. After all, who doesn’t have half an hour each week to give to their favorite charity? It’s not much time  to give and it’s easier for people to agree to the request.

 

“I don’t know what you’d like me to do”

 

  • Asking for help with a specific task(s) on your list (see above) overcomes this objection.
  • Ask each board member to approach one friend as a potential donor.
  • If they aren’t comfortable asking directly for donations, ask them to provide you with a list of people they think might be willing to donate to the organization.
  • Spend time with board members writing appeals and solicitation letters. Provide them with templates and text to send out on their own.

 

“I’m not good at fundraising”

 

  • Offer support and training to help with the fundraising process.
  • Involve them at every step of the way: creating donor lists, approaching potential donors, writing appeal letters, reviewing donor marketing, etc.
  • Provide them with individual web pages they can use to process donations. This can be a simple way to track who is following up on fundraising activities and personalize the appeal for each board member.

 

Working with your board may seem like a  challenging process, especially when it comes to securing their help with fundraising activities.Although it’s an important task that they should embrace, they may not. You can help them become your best advocates by overcoming their objections to fundraising in a positive, proactive way.

Fundraising and Donor Software: Accountability and Transparency

Fundraising and donor software can help you track all fundraising activities including those in which your board members are engaged. The right fundraising and donor management software makes it easier view everyone’s activities and ensure accountability and transparency.

If you’d like a free consultation to discuss fundraising and donor software, please contact Welter Consulting.

Prepare for Spring Fundraising Season with These Handy Tips

By | Fundraising | No Comments

Spring may not strike you as the perfect time for fundraising, but in many ways, the longer days and warmer weather lends itself to creative fundraising events and activities. The holidays may be the peak donation time for many nonprofits, but spring may be equally as busy if you can maximize the fundraising opportunities.

Raise 4X more this Spring with MobileCause. Learn about our online Fundraising solution for Community Brands or schedule an online demo today. 

Spring Fundraising Ideas

Depending on your nonprofit, you may come up with other ideas. Feel free to pick and choose from among this list to find an appropriate fundraising idea that matches the spirit, tone, and brand of your organization.

Make sure you know the three most common fundraising pitfalls and avoid them as you plan.

Outdoor Fundraisers

With the warmer weather, people want to get outside. Indulge their need for fresh air and outdoor activities by hosting outdoor spring fundraisers. 

  • Garden parties offer an elegant outdoor event that can double as a fundraiser. A themed garden party, such as Derby Day (for the Kentucky Derby) or an afternoon tea may appeal to different groups. Event ticket sales, raffles, and door prizes are all great ways to add fundraising opportunities to the event.
  • Donation drives may be held outdoors for organizations collecting tangible goods. Animal shelters and charities can find willing partners to grant the space to set up tables and bins to collect dog and cat food, cat litter, bleach (always needed at shelters to clean the kennels), old towels, and related items; other charities can collect clothing, canned goods, or whatever they need using a similar strategy.
  • Sell outdoor products such as seeds, gardening tools, and plants. Plant sales are a great fundraising activity in the springtime as peoples’ thoughts turn to their gardens.

Adjust the Timing 

Fundraising solicitations may also be sent out to coincide with various spring holidays. Easter, Mother’s Day, and Earth Day are all opportunities to organize donation campaigns around a theme. Use your creativity and imagination. Time the communications so that they arrive several weeks before a holiday, especially if you are asking for donations to be given in honor of someone,  like a memorial plant for Easter, a gift honoring Mom, or planting a tree for Earth Day or Arbor Day.

Be Aware of School and Vacation Schedules

School and vacation schedules tend to be different across the nation, with some schools dismissing for the year as early as May and others much later. As the season draws closer to summer, their minds turn to trips, vacations, time at the pool, beach, or barbecue. Send email donation campaigns and snail mail donation campaigns out well before the end of the school year and the start of peak vacation time in your area.

Manage Fundraising Campaigns with Ease Using the Right Software

Manage your fundraising campaigns with ease using the right software. It’s difficult to track, monitor, and measure fundraising activities using spreadsheets. They can be cumbersome, and one error can throw off the entire spreadsheet and drive you crazy looking for it among all the cells. 

Instead, try fundraising and donor contact management software. It allows you to track and manage fundraising campaigns and donor contacts to ensure transparency and accountability. With the right fundraising software integrated into your accounting system you’ll find it easier to track, manage, and measure fundraising campaigns.

Spring is in the air, and with it, change. If it’s time to change how you conduct your fundraising activities, we invite you to explore fundraising and donor contact management software. Contact Welter Consulting for a free consultation.