Fundraising is a dynamic practice that requires creativity and continuous testing. But as with any operation, there are reliable best practices that every fundraiser follows. Whether you’re a local nonprofit with a few dozen donors or a national organization with a wide-reaching donor base, use these three tips to build a successful nonprofit fundraising strategy:
1. Segment your email marketing lists.
Email marketing, a popular outreach channel for nonprofits, can generate an average of $17 per 1,000 emails with an average open rate of 21%. Since emails are quick to send and versatile, you may often rely on emails to boost contributions and meet your fundraising goals.
But there’s more to a nonprofit fundraising strategy than blasting a fundraising email to your entire mailing list. Segmenting your mailing list is the best way to send eye-catching, relevant emails that are more likely to be opened. To segment your list, create narrowed audience lists based on attributes like issue focus or actions taken.
Audience segmentation allows you to send optimized messages that specifically resonate with those receiving your message. You’ll be able to send targeted emails like:
- Small-dollar donation requests for supporters who have never donated before
- Donor testimonials with a request to opt into recurring donations for one-time donors
- Success stories about the impact of donors with a call-to-action to peer-to-peer fundraise (more on that below) for likely volunteers
In sum, audience segmentation encourages more creative fundraising messaging and is likely to increase open rates.
2. Use text messaging for effective supporter engagement.
Although email marketing will remain an evergreen fundraising channel, texting offers an open rate of up to 98% — making it an extremely effective and powerful tactic to get supporters to see your messages.
And since successful fundraising relies on a trusted relationship between you and your donors, texting is a great way to communicate with supporters regularly. Sending a text message is as easy as sending an email (some may argue that it’s easier), and a texting solution like broadcast texting allows you to:
- Trigger welcome texts whenever a new supporter opts into receiving communication from your organization
- Send donation links directly to your donors’ fingertips
- Invite supporters to commit to your cause by joining volunteer events
- Thank volunteers for their time and donors for their financial support
While text messages often have higher open rates than email, both channels have their place in reaching out to supporters. Use both to enhance your nonprofit fundraising strategy!
3. Build a robust peer-to-peer fundraising program.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is the act of activating your personal network of friends and family to fundraise for a cause. This outreach method can make someone eight times more likely to take action than if they were approached by someone they didn’t know! For this reason, peer-to-peer fundraising is a particularly useful addition to your nonprofit fundraising strategy.
To create a robust fundraising program, your organization should make peer-to-peer outreach as easy as possible for supporters. They’re the best spokespeople for gathering support for your cause, but you can’t tap into their value if they lack directions or a means to spread the word. Encourage your supporters to participate in peer-to-peer fundraising by:
- Gamifying the process and encouraging them to compete for most donors they can turn out
- Providing an incentive (like free movie tickets or branded merchandise) to top leaders
- Creating easy-to-use text, email, phone, and social media DM scripts that volunteers can use for friends and family outreach
- Forming a group or team chat with peer-to-peer fundraising leaders to build a sense of community and provide a space for support and ideas
A key benefit of peer-to-peer fundraising is that it can be a lot of fun for fundraising leaders. After all, they get to see the impact of the work they’re putting into their community!
Ready to take fundraising to the next level? Try these three tips above, and assess how they impact your nonprofit fundraising strategy.