Is Your Nonprofit Running an Outdated Fundraising Strategy?

February 6, 2019
Eliza Parish

It’s time to make sure that you are engaging your donors with an efficient and effective fundraising strategy.

We’re here to tell you it’s time.     Time, time.       It’s time to really dig in and review what’s working with your donors.  It’s time to finally get a clear social media marketing plan.  And, it’s time to evaluate your signature events.  Many nonprofits are finding themselves invested in cumbersome fundraising strategies that are becoming less and less relevant.  At the same time, they’re not taking advantage of more efficient and modern fundraising tools already at their fingertips.  So, let’s take a look at where you need to be heading to continue to reach new donors (and stay in the good graces of the ones you have).

Transition to a Donor-centric vs Database-centric fundraising strategy.

Is your Nonprofit stuck digging out of the same old database of donors for the same old campaigns?  It’s time to switch your focus.  Nonprofits need to be keeping pace and taking notes from other industries.  Take advantage of your unique brand value and use it to acquire new donors.  Other industries have seen client growth by creating ease of access, offering mobile tools (including apps) and increasing daily engagement. Nonprofits can grow supporters the same way.

What does a donor-centric strategy look like?


Tip from the Pros: Treat donors online the same way that you would in person.  Just because something can be automated online doesn’t mean that it should be! Personalized touch points and cultivating the relationship are still critical practices (Colleen Dilenschneider).

Transition to moving your nonprofit beyond legacy fundraising methods to more innovative and convenient strategies.  You won’t even have to educate your supporters on your new campaign strategy, because they are likely already interacting this way with every other company they engage with.  Ray Gary, of Nonprofit hub, notes that “the old database-centric standard of crossing your fingers as you blast hundreds of impersonal emails or direct mail asking for contributions is outdated (nonprofit hub).”

Less email-dependent blast campaigns:

  • More creative and well-rounded marketing, digital marketing and fundraising campaigns
  • Emphasis on treating your online donors the same way you treat your offline donors
  • Holistic and personal-feeling, with deeper engagement

Today’s donors are tech savvy and experience hungry.  Mobile has quickly become the preferred top digital platform.  Supporters want their relationship with a nonprofit to be convenient, but with deeper engagement for a meaningful experience.

Create a Mobile Fundraising Strategy.

Mobile fundraising is undeniably on the rise, and according to The Balance, “a donor confidence survey found that mobile giving has increased 80 percent since 2013 and that 18 percent of donors say they have given with their mobile devices. That number cuts across generations as well. While younger donors are more likely to give via mobile, older donors have also upped their mobile game (The Balance, 2018).”   Mobile fundraising is efficient and needs to be aligned with other goals of a modern platform.   Figure out where this can fit into your strategy to ensure you are reaching all of your donors.

Mobile giving has increased 80 percent since 2013.

80% of social media time is spent on a mobile device. (Impact)

Mobile engagement can be more than just a donation transaction.  The MaximusLife app hosts a variety of fundraising tools for nonprofits – from Influencer campaigns, to Corporate Sponsor Initiatives, to Endurance Training fundraising programs – so many more ways to engage!  The benefits of mobile allow for more direct communication and daily engagement with supporters, that you can’t get anywhere else.

Make Sure Your Teams are Working Together.

An efficient and comprehensive fundraising strategy requires coordination among your supporter-facing departments.  Different teams (marketing, fundraising, social media) need to make sure they are all working together for maximum impact.  So, it’s great if you have a savvy marketing and social media team, but are they talking to the fundraising team to help reach their goals?  The growth of social media and digital marketing have added more tools to the nonprofit fundraising toolkit, but they need to be leveraged effectively to have an impact on fundraising.

According to Colleen Dilenschneider, a Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS Research & Development, a data and technology company, “The fundraising team (next-level meaning-makers) needs the input of the marketing team (and their real-time touch-points with audience members) to identify potential donors and aid their cultivation through an engagement funnel. In fact, social media is the new force empowering giving decisions (KYOB, 2014).

A comprehensive cross department strategy is critical to modernizing your donor strategy, reaching new donors, and retaining those donors with an engaging experience.

Review Your Signature Events.

And finally, it’s time to take a hard look at your signature events (including those galas).  We hear more and more often that turnout to big events, such as walks and races, is on the decline, and events such as galas might not be relevant to up and coming donors.

Combined with the high cost associated with hosting these events, it might be time to evaluate if these events are still paying off for your nonprofit, or if it’s time to explore other options.  Research your donors and understand what motivates them.  Determine if it make sense to scale back on onsite events and invest in more robust digital marketing and targeted fundraising campaigns that speak more clearly to your donors.

Make this year the year your nonprofit gets personal with supporters.  Offer more opportunities to engage new donors, scale back on inefficient fundraising strategies and test out new ways of meeting your donors where they interact the most.  Nonprofits have more resources available to raise awareness and donations for their cause than they did 10 years ago.   But, they’ve also been slower to adapt.  It’s time to catch up!  If you would like to learn more about how MaximusLife partners with nonprofits to modernize their donor strategy – click the button below.

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