Here’s Proof Of 16 Fundraising Ideas That Worked

October 11, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

More than 2,000 fundraisers and consultants who use direct response fundraising techniques swarmed National Harbor, Md., a few months back for the annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising conference. Following are ideas from three of the sessions.

6 Ways To Use Current Events

You can increase donations and visibility when news breaks by having a solid reaction plan in place. Wendy Marinaccio Husman, account director at Donordigital and Whitney Broadwell, senior resource development officer at International Medical Corps provided a session titled “Use the News: How to Fundraise When the Media Spotlight Shines on Your Organization’s Mission.”

They addressed ideas to help your organization be prepared when it is in the spotlight:

  • Your response on digital fundraising channels should be almost immediate. Having media budgets for paid ads and a social media strategy pre-approved streamlines the process and lets you get your message out first.
  • Don’t create everything from scratch each time. Creating template emails, advertisements, and social media posts that can be tweaked for different news stories moves the process along faster.
  • Consider offline direct response strategies, such as a direct mail “Urgentgram” or an agreement with telemarketing vendors with scripts prepared.
  • Try tapping into powerful partnerships. In the wake of the Nepal earthquake, International Medical Corps partnered with Facebook to place a donation button right on member newsfeeds in addition to Facebook’s own donation of $2 million to the cause.
  • One of the common pitfalls of nonprofit responsiveness is an approval process that is too long with too much second-guessing.
  • Thank donors immediately after they donate and follow up to keep donors updated with news of your efforts on the topic they joined on.

5 Ways To Engage Donors

Turning your donors into fundraisers can be seamless with the encouragement, motivation, and technology.

Caryn Stein, vice president of content and communications at Network for Good, Brandi Powell, director of development and community relations at Interfaith Works, and Mary Jo Bean, assistant director of development at Interfaith Works presented “The Secret to Turning Donors into Fundraisers.” Some of the secrets they shared were:

  • People want to give to people. Donors were three times more likely to donate when asked by a friend or colleague. Donation dollars from peer to peer giving went up 70 percent from 2013 to 2014.
  • Don’t wait for volunteers. Identify your most likely fundraisers, get their feedback, and offer a personal invitation to join your cause. By scripting the actions you want them to take, you show them how easy it can be and paint them a picture of the impact they’ll have.
  • Give fundraisers the right tools. Easy setup, ability to embed personal stories, and easy donation check out make the process seamless.
  • Remember that your campaign should evoke emotion and personal connection and tap into the power of social proof.
  • Collect information on donors in order to expand your reach and establish further contact.

5 Database Marketing Ideas

Relying on intuition or a gut feeling over facts and numbers can end up costing your organization cold, hard cash in the long run.

During their session on using data to discover the most effective marketing, a group consisting of John Perell from Friends of the Smithsonian, Sarah Stallings from National Geographic Society, Laura Connors from National Parks Conservation Association and Kerri Kerr from Avalon Consulting led a talk titled “Trust Your Data, Not Your Instincts.” Some advice they gave for best analyzing data included:

  • Use data to make a benchmark analysis to see how your organization stacks up against other organizations.
  • Many industry reports are readily available to investigate topics such as age trends. Reports such as these can help determine if the upfront cost of donors will match up with future revenue. Target Analytics, Blackbaud, M+R, and Giving USA provide industry updates and benchmarking information.
  • Creating focus groups and distributing member surveys can answer questions such as “Why do my members give to my organization?” and “What messages and topics do our members respond best to?” Rather than using guesswork or anecdotal feedback, this can provide quantitative and qualitative information to remove assumptions.
  • Use testing to guide your program. Since each organization is different, testing can be used to determine what works for you and helps you find ways to improve performance and save money.
  • However, it is important to accurately read the results of your test beyond just “eye-balling” it. A difference in results might be insignificant and within the margin of error.