4 Tips to Improve Nonprofit Fundraising Results in an Uncertain Economic Climate
Recently I spotlighted results from the Giving USA 2013 Report which reported a 1.5% increase (factoring in inflation) in 2012 nonprofit fundraising results over the previous year. The last six year period has definitely been a challenging one for nonprofits and although results are improving year over year they are yet to reach pre-recession levels even though (slight) increases were reported in the latest Blackbaud. Despite this uncertainty, there have been organizations that have been successful in maintaining, improving and, in some cases, recovering from the impact the recession has had over the past six years.
Recently npVoices, a webcast by npEngage, interviewed Gregg Carlson of the Giving USA Foundation who has over 50 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and insight on how successful organizations have overcome the challenges presented in an uncertain economic climate. The following are some tips he shared that we are expanding on and some of my own that can help organizations improve their overall fundraising results:
- Invest – As the common saying goes it takes money to make money. In fact investing in your resources and strategic fundraising initiatives can help produce stronger fundraising results. As Carlson mentions “charities that continued to invest in fundraising and infrastructure better enabling fundraising to support their mission were the first to come out of the recession.” Investing in your fundraising team could include enrolling them in courses or provide industry learning tools to become better fundraisers. Even hiring a fundraising consultant, coach, or trainer could set the organization’s fundraising team on the right path.
- Don’t Be Shy – It’s important to not to be shy or give up. Although the great recession has financially affected nonprofits and their community of donors it’s important to step up asking initiatives instead of backing down. A focus on retention of existing donors and converting one-time donors into monthlies over acquisition programs can help increase results as this helps maintain and foster a long term relationship while making the initiative more cost effective for the organization.
- Take Risks – Innovative and outside the box strategies can be risky, however taking risks can garner significant rewards. By assessing the risk vs. rewards and measuring it against your own knowledge and past successes and failures can net stronger fundraising results. Risks can include implementing new campaigns, peer-to-peer fundraising events, social media initiatives on new or existing platforms or developing new innovative content to share with your community of supporters.
- Strategic Communications – How you communicate with your supporters will impact your overall results. All communications should be conversational, less formal, in the first person and relatable. Length of each communication is also key keeping it short and to the point otherwise you risk losing your reader as they are often already inundated with messages on a daily basis. It’s essential to create valuable content that people will be engaged with and care to read about and, to a certain extent, focus less on developing your SEO. Finally, follow the communication trends and understand how other industry leaders are strategically communicating with their donors.
Certainly the state of the economy has directly impacted nonprofits fundraising results, however how an organization tackles this ongoing challenge will determine its success. How has your organization overcome the recession? Share your tips in the comments.
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.