Guest blog by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President, DonorSearch
Are you frustrated that your fundraising efforts don’t have your desired result? That’s okay! It’s good to be frustrated at your fundraising campaigns because that means you have not only identified a problem, but you are willing and ready to make some changes to fix it. (You should be worried if your team seems unconcerned that your organization isn’t yielding as much revenue as it could!)
You should be doing everything in your power to ensure your nonprofit’s fundraising campaigns are bringing in as much support as possible. After all, the more funds you raise, the more you will be able to do to further your cause¹.
Technology has the power to revolutionize the way you manage your fundraising strategies. New technologies are developed every day to make our lives and our jobs easier. There’s no reason not to take advantage of these technological opportunities when they present themselves.
So many tasks are made simpler and more effective with the help of technology and nonprofit fundraising is no exception. Your nonprofit should follow these technology tips:
- Conduct prospect research.
- Utilize a quality CRM.
- Screen your donor list for new opportunities.
- Promote matching gifts online.
- Communicate with donors online.
If your organization wants to see better fundraising yields without dramatically increasing the amount of time and resources you are investing in your fundraising campaign, you should focus on integrating more technology into your standard fundraising practices. Let’s dive into these tech tips and get you prepared to revitalize your fundraising strategies.
1. Conduct prospect research.
Prospect research is the process of learning more about donors and potential donors to identify whether they are an ideal candidate for a fundraising appeal². By conducting prospect research, you can identify the individuals in your community that are most likely to want to give to your organization.
Of course, the data you could potentially collect on donors is infinite and may seem daunting. Don’t worry! As long as the data you collect is specifically aimed at revealing an individual’s affinity toward your organization, you are well on your way to compiling a useful list of prospective donors.
Consider collecting key data that reveal an individual’s giving history, such as:
- The recency of their last donation.
- The frequency with which they donate.
- The amount of their typical monetary donation.
- Personal information that might convey their philanthropic interests.
This information will reveal their tendencies to be involved with charitable organizations. Don’t forget to not only look at their engagement with your organization, but also their history with other nonprofits in your sphere.
Without a prospect research tool, it would be difficult to discern patterns in the data you collect. A prospect research tool will help you find and assess trends in your donor network and potential donor list.
Accurately utilizing prospect research can help you maximize your donation appeals³. Philanthropic markers like these are the most important indicator that an individual will want to donate to your specific organization. Say goodbye to the days of following dead ends and useless leads!
2. Utilize a quality CRM.
By now, you may be wondering how you are supposed to keep all of this data organized. If you are manually managing all of your data, it can quickly overwhelm even the most experienced fundraising expert.
A CRM, or constituent relationship manager, will easily take a huge weight off of your shoulders and keep track of all your important donor data⁴. This software platform will record and manage relationships with donors and other constituents so that you can create more targeted and successful fundraising campaigns.
If you truly want to maximize your donations, you need the most effective and efficient fundraising strategy possible. Don’t waste your efforts and the time and resources of your fundraising team with a poorly planned fundraising strategy.
A CRM will offer a centralized database that houses all of your donor data in a single location. With this database, you will be able to segment your donor list to better understand and analyze your data. It will lessen the burden of sifting through donor data, effectively saving you time and helping you reach the right audience.
For maximum efficiency, make sure your prospect research tool integrates with your CRM, and regularly clean and update your database before major fundraising efforts⁵. Maximize donations to your organization by using a well-organized CRM and its accompanying tools to successfully find the best donors for your nonprofit and then target your messaging to their interests.
3. Screen your donor list for new opportunities.
While philanthropic indicators are an incredibly important data component to study, it is by no means the only valuable aspect. If you want to not only maximize your donation appeals and find the best candidates to become donors, but also determine how much you can reasonably ask them for, you must conduct wealth screening.
Wealth screening analyzes a donor or prospective donor’s wealth markers to estimate their net worth and determine their capacity to give charitably.
Wealth screening typically evaluates the following:
- Real estate investment. An individual’s real estate ownership can point toward their net worth. Plus, high levels of real estate investment typically correlate with increased charitable giving. An individual who owns more than $2 million in real estate is 17 times more likely to give their money to charity.
- Business affiliations. An inspection of an individual’s business affiliations can not only estimate their net worth but also provide your organization with important, leverageable connections.
- Stock ownership. Look for individuals who own more than 5% of shares in a company or are board members or C-level executives. These individuals have a high net worth and an increased likelihood to give charitably. You can also leverage their connections to expand your donor network.
By utilizing an effective wealth screening process, you will be able to better appeal to your donors for proper fund amounts. You don’t want to let a potential major donor slip through the cracks or simply donate a small amount because that is all you ask for.
You should be conducting regular wealth screenings so that you can estimate the best amount for each donation appeal and make the most of your fundraising efforts⁶.
4. Promote matching gifts online.
Matching gift programs allow nonprofits to tap into corporate philanthropy by getting corporations to match the charitable gifts of their employees⁷.
This is a vastly underutilized form of fundraising because not many people even know it exists or if they are eligible. If you are wondering about how you and your donors can take advantage of matching gifts, the process is simple:
- Step 1: An individual makes a donation to your nonprofit.
- Step 2: The donor checks their matching gift eligibility using a matching gift search tool.
- Step 3: The donor submits the proper paperwork to their employer.
- Step 4: The company verifies the donor’s contribution to your organization and makes one of their own.
- Step 5: Your nonprofit enjoys the extra revenue!
With a matching gift program, each eligible donation is doubled, or even tripled, effectively maximizing the potential impact of each donation.
To ensure your donors know to participate in a matching gift program and to make it as easy as possible for them to do so, you should promote matching gifts on your website. On your donation page, embed a matching gift database tool so they can easily check their eligibility⁸. The easier it is for the donor to begin the process of having their gift matched, the more likely they will go through the process.
Matching gifts are the perfect way to boost revenue from your donations without needing to steward any new donors.
5. Communicate with donors online.
Communication is the key to many endeavors, including maximizing your donations. You should use your tech to communicate frequently and easily with your donors. You can communicate about many topics, but make sure you reach out to:
- Remind them to check their matching gift eligibility.
- Inform donors about prospective donation and volunteer opportunities.
- Pique their interest in upcoming fundraising events.
- Show your appreciation for their continued involvement in your organization.
- Demonstrate the accomplishments and progress of your nonprofit.
If you communicate well with your donors, they will be more likely to remain involved in your organization. This stronger connection means that when they donate again, they will likely donate more. Donors want to feel like their donations are valued and like they go toward accomplishing real, tangible good in your community.
Use social media, email, or text messaging to reach any type of donor, on any device or platform. Donors should be reminded of your organization’s philanthropic value and the work that you do if you want to inspire donors to make donations with greater impact⁹.
Your organization is sustained by the generosity of donors so you should, of course, try to maximize the impact and continuance of donor contributions. Adopt new technology trends into your nonprofit and easily maximize donations to your nonprofit.
For more context and actionable tips, be sure to continue your research:
Author: Sarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.