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Fundraising strategies

6 steps to launching a successful fundraising campaign

Implementing a successful fundraising plan will always be on an organization's list of top priorities—and fortunately, we're here to help.

Kylie Davis
January 21, 2022
Nerd Mr Butter

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You cannot ensure the success of your nonprofit without implementing a successful fundraising strategy.

Year over year, fundraising has proven to be a top concern amongst nonprofit leaders. A survey conducted by the Nonprofit Leadership Center found that executive directors cite fundraising as their "top challenge." Particularly with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, canceled events, a loss of corporate partners, at-risk government contracts, and other fundraising concerns threaten the survival of many nonprofits seeking to better our communities.

Implementing a successful fundraising plan will always be on an organization's list of top priorities—and fortunately, we're here to help. Below, we offer a number of tactics your team can implement to help boost and/or streamline your fundraising efforts, thereby allowing your organization to continue to transform your community for the better. 

6 steps to implementing a successful fundraising strategy 

Successful fundraising: happy woman celebrating in her office

There is no singular path toward a successful fundraising campaign. Instead, your ability to reach your fundraising goal depends on a series of moving parts, including: 

1. Recruit a passionate, well-equipped team 👯

Implementing a successful nonprofit fundraising strategy cannot fall on the shoulders of one single person. Instead, it has to be a team effort. 

Unfortunately, research shows this is rarely the case. Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising shows that nonprofit organizations tend to rely on one role to raise funds for their cause: the development director. This creates unrealistic standards for any staff member seeking to enter that position, which is why 16% of nonprofits state the role has sat vacant for more than two years.

Instead, recruit and encourage all parties—board members, full-time staff, and even volunteers—to take an active role in fundraising. Even startup nonprofits can assemble a passionate fundraising team by implementing an effective volunteer recruiting strategy, gaining extra sets of hands to take part in fundraising events and other initiatives.

2. Look for fundraising opportunities year-round 📆

Within the nonprofit sector, it's no secret that the end-of-year timeframe marks the peak of the fundraising season. Research shows that nearly one-third of annual giving occurs in December, with 12% of online donations taking place in the last three days of the year.

However, this year-end scramble can create a bottleneck of resources (not to mention a period of high competition as nonprofits seek donors' attention in the last three months of year). In fact, over half of nonprofit organizations report having to plan for their Giving Tuesday push in 90 days or less, which prevents them from implementing an effective fundraising strategy. 

Instead, look for ways to attract new donors year-round—not just in the last three months of the year. Consider implementing your grand, annual fundraising event during an off-peak time, such as the spring or summer months. Research online for themes that tie in your mission to spring weather, back-to-school season, or even fall break

3. Broaden your online donation options 🤑

Here's a simple piece of advice that's often overlooked:

To increase donations, you need to make it as easy as possible for supporters to donate.

To do this, take a hard look at how you accept online donations. A 2020 study found that online giving was up more than 20%, bringing in $3.2 billion across nearly 5,000 organizations. Supporters are continuously searching for quick, easy ways to give—which frankly, usually isn't handing over cash or mailing in a check.

To help increase online donations, be sure you invest in a donor-friendly fundraising platform like Givebutter that accepts most any online payment option such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and text-to-donate. In addition, since mobile use accounts for roughly 57% of all internet traffic, ensure that your fundraising page and online donation forms are mobile-friendly (Givebutter's already are!).

Givebutter payment methods

4. Transform loyal supporters into your best recruiters 📣

Your most loyal supporters don't just offer predictable revenue for your nonprofit. Instead, their passion for your cause can help bring in a new wave of first-time donors. 

Research shows that people are 4x more likely to make a purchase when referred to by a friend. In addition, customers acquired through a referral have a 37% higher retention rate than those acquired through other means. While this research is based on for-profit companies, you can use the same logic to transform a potential donor into a recurring supporter.

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is a type of campaign where loyal supporters recruit their family members, friends, and colleagues to give to a cause. To implement this strategy effectively, you need a fundraising campaign that supports peer-to-peer campaigns, as well as a number of outreach methods. Preferably, your platform should allow supporters to invite their network through SMS, email templates, and social media links, thereby compounding the inbound traffic to your campaign (Givebutter does!).

A GIF of Givebutter team members

5. Invest in your marketing strategy 📬

A supporter cannot donate to your campaign if they don't know you exist.

You cannot expect to launch a nonprofit and immediately start to raise money—particularly if you haven't invested in a marketing strategy. Studies show that two-thirds of individual donors do no research before making an online donation. Your target audience is not sitting at home, Googling away on their computers to find a nonprofit that aligns perfectly with their values.

Translation: You can't expect new donors to approach you—you need to make the first move.

Set aside time within your annual strategic planning session to map out a marketing strategy. Research your donor base to determine which channels—whether it be direct mail, email marketing, social networks, or SEO-optimized blog posts—are most likely to grab their attention. 

From there, devise a marketing funnel that will educate potential supporters over time, driving people toward your donation page. Invest in a fundraising platform like Givebutter with built-in marketing automation functionality and reporting metrics, so you can measure the success of your marketing strategy over time. 

successful fundraising: Givebutter GIF

6. Partner with local businesses 🤝

​Many times, nonprofits get caught up in targeting individual donors—forgetting that many major donors come from corporations.

According to the 2021 Giving USA Annual Report, corporations donated $16.88 billion to charity in 2020 alone. There are seemingly limitless ways to make corporate giving a central part of your overall online fundraising strategy—you just need the right tools (and a little creativity) to make it happen. 

The next time you launch your major annual fundraising event—whether it be a local golf tournament or a charity 5k run/walk—consider reaching out to local business owners for potential sponsorships. In addition, reach out to your most loyal supporters, seeing if any of their employers would be interested in launching a matching gift campaign benefiting your organization. 

Lastly, speak with local business owners about offering employee incentives as part of a larger CSR program, whether it be through a workplace giving program, paid leave for volunteer work, or launching a giving day.

Nonprofit fundraising success starts with investing in the right tools 

Two excited men doing a handshake to celebrate

Launching an effective fundraising strategy is imperative to the overall success of your organization. Only with a successful fundraising strategy can your organization continue to tackle its mission—and it starts with getting the right tools. 

A successful fundraising strategy depends on your ability to recruit (and track) volunteers and supporters, research fundraising ideas year-round, increase online donations, launch an effective marketing strategy, and partner with individual and corporate donors alike. For the all-in one, user-friendly fundraising platform that seamlessly handles all of the above, make the switch to Givebutter.

Givebutter is the always-free, modern, donor-friendly platform that comes complete with 130+ fundraising features, built-in marketing automation, and CRM capabilities. To see how Givebutter's platform empowers the changemaker in all of us by offering a seamless donor experience, take a tour today.

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