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How To Evaluate Your Online Giving Solutions

Every year we get a little close to going digital. Just think of it – media is digital, cameras are digital and so is the retail. According to the most recent survey by the Giving Institute more and more donors give online. So, it is important for churches to adapt to these changes too and give their members the option of .

Online payment process

As you think giving an online options for your donors try these three electronic payment types, see what your church members think:

  1. Through their credit card
  2. Electronic Fund Transfer for recurring donation
  3. Automated Clearing House

Evaluating an e-giving solution

As there are numerous programs that offer the service of online-giving, a church should be cautious as to what solution they choose for their congregation.

Here are a few points to remember as you choose the right program:

  1. The frequency of giving: Is the program able to give multiple options for fund transfers? Are there any schedules for recurring donations? The donor should be capable of linking their bank accounts for donation capability with weekly, biweekly or monthly automatic fund deduction capability. Donating frequently should be made easy.
  2. Easy to pledge options: Will the donor be able to pledge an amount for donation and then the payment for the pledge is scheduled over a certain period of time? Can the donor make a down payment on the pledge? Will he/she be able to make a down payment from one account and then charge the rest to another account?
  3. Confidentiality preference: Will a donor be able to remain anonymous?
  4. The process of transaction: What is the duration of the process of fund transfer? How much time does it take for the money to go from donor’s account to bank’s account? How much time does the application processing take these data? And what and how much fee is charged for the process?
  5. Security: Does the program comply with the guidelines of a safe transaction?
  6. PCI compliance
  7. 128-bit secure browser connection for safe data handling
  8. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for information encryption.
  9. End to end data management. Donor’s card details and account information should be discreet. There should be no third party involved in handling the fund transfer.
  10. Price: When buying any product or service the top concern is the cost. Many service providers give unrealistic promises of the increase in the number of online participants in given number of year. But such predictions hardly meet their promise and are very misleading. Much of their charging fees is unexpected and can greatly hamper the collection capability of a church. Fees that are related to the size of the church or factors like how many already are giving and how many will readily switch to online giving, all these matters greatly when you are choosing a software solution. Hidden fees can bury the church in expenses that will make the service exorbitant.
  11. Advertising: Will the vendor also provide the service of promotion? Often the staff at church is not ready to encourage people to donate beyond the walls of the church. So asking the church members to become interested in the new online giving method will require some assistance. You will need a service provider who will help in launching and promoting the program. Many a time the participation in online giving can see a sudden spike but then slows and falls down gradually. The program should be capable analyse giving habits and advise long-term strategies for donation collection.

Online giving should be promoted in every way possible even to members who aren’t that frequent to church. Promoting online giving can be a hard task if the attendance lays low throughout the year. Integration with any social platform can greatly boost exposure of the new giving habit to other members. Attracting potential donors has to be a constant effort. It is imperative to look into expenses of these promotions before you decide on a service provider.

  1. Information: Will the reports of online contribution be available, and in what form? Will the integration of information be automated to enable transfer of data to donation management software? An efficient bookkeeper tracks the donor by funds donated to measure the effective way of using a program. But if the data handling is too complicated a person can falter and margin of error becomes bigger. Also, it shouldn’t be too overwhelming so as to teach a new staff member. The service provider should offer teaching tools and train to help the church staff in organizing data in the most efficient way.
  2. Updates: The vendor should provide frequent updates to keep pace with the changing habits of the donors and to sync with the collection strategies of the churches. The program should be up-to-date and have the most contemporary functionalities. If the application for mobile phones is available then it should provide flexible payment methods and easy donation process. As more people are using smartphones these days, online finance option is now steadily being used by people. Every detail ranging from likeability and functionality of the application to the security provided should be updated as frequently as possible to adhere to changes in need and demand. This will help in maximizing participation in online giving.

Just like you would go to a store to get your groceries, so should you go online to reach your donors for charitable giving.  By going where your donors are you are increasing the likelihood of engaging them not just for that collection, but for recurring long-term charitable relationship. Online giving should be a top priority on your long list of things to do. But remember, we are here to help make your fundraising effort easier. Talk to us by leaving a comment below!

It’s Almost Time to Go Back To School: Are You Planning Your Supplies Drive?

back to school supplies

It’s almost August.  Which means it’s almost time to welcome your students back to school. You’ve probably started planning and making necessary upgrades to your classrooms.

School supplies are always something both teachers and families plan for. You can never have enough supplies. Especially considering stressed school and family budgets.

Consider organizing a fun and easy back-to-school fundraiser or a supply drive. There are many families who have supplies lying around the house they would love to give away. You will be surprised how many will show up to support your initiative. After all, everyone knows that every penny counts when you have a child at school.

Another way to go about this is to organize a buy from a catalogue, where families can order supplies for their children every month from the catalog provided by the school so that the proceeds go directly to the school. The parents will also appreciate the one-stop shopping experience. Buying from one provider in one store online of offline is always helpful.

Here are few things to keep in mind as you organize a drive for school supplies:

  • First, ask the teachers to note down all of the missing equipment and supplies that the school needs at the moment.
  • Advertise your efforts properly. By handing out flyers about your charitable drive you can inform people to participate and show their support. You need to make your request visible at all the right places like the local mall, at stores and churches.
  • You can also advertise by email to the parents and send them proper invites with dates mentioned and ask them to spread the word among family and friends.
  • Let the world know too. Reach out to the local media for a wider publicity.
  • Use social media to your advantage. Facebook and Twitter might be the best platforms for you to promote your event, reach out to donors. You might even attract and engage new donors who are interested in supporting education. We can help with crowdfunding. Just let us know.
  • Arrange the list of thing you need based on priorities. Not all will be able to provide you with everything so the least you can do is make it clear and understandable to them you essential needs.
  • Be sure that you are accurate about the time, date and venue for the drop-off of the donated supplies. Always keep the queries of the donors satisfied. If you give them good response it will be easier for them to donate.
  • Partner with the right people, those who can provide you with a great location for drop-offs of the donated items, a clean and appropriate collection site. Make sure the boxes are nicely stored and are not mishandled.
  • Keep your volunteers informed about the location of drop off and make use of them cleverly to ensure the proper handling caretaking of the boxes of donated supplies. The volunteers are essential as they will later help you to and deliver the supplies from the collection site to the school and later to classrooms.
  • In the end be thankful to your generous donors. Keep in mind to send out ‘thank you’ notes either on paper or online. You will also need to thank all the volunteers for their help.

Back-to-school fundraiser can go a long way and create a positive educational environment. Don’t let time restrains, assumption that the initiative will be a waist stop you from taking action. An action that not only makes it possible for the school to purchase necessary supplies for the children to have an enriching educational experience but also further strengthen your community. Wait no more. Start planning and reaching out to families.

How to Write a Better Donation Thank You Letter (And Why It Matters)

donation thank you letter

You sure know someone who can get anyone do what they want. An executive to give their limited time, an expert – their ideas, philanthropists  – their financial support. What is the secret? It’s not that hard. You just say “thank you” and “please”. And say it from the bottom of your heart.

As you sit down to write a memorable donation thank you note consider these 10 points:

  1. The timing

According to 2016 Burk Donor Survey direct mail matters. Forty Four percent of the respondents used direct mail for their giving. Your letter should ideally be posted in less than 48 hours because the faster the letter reaches the donor, the better you will be remembered. The letter would confirm that you received the donation. It will also make an impression about the efficiency of your organization and its thoughtfulness.

Many organizations are now acknowledging contributions by email. There is a chance that your email might get lost in a full email box or sent to the junk folder. Selecting a good subject line will help your letter reach the donor.

  1. Originality matters

When writing your letter, be human, be creative. Make your first line matter.  Continue by telling a story.  Perhaps an outcome of a cause you received a gift for.

  1. A delicate, personal touch holds the key

When your letter is personal, it touches the cords of the donor’s heart. A mass email message will just put off the recipient. Fundraising managers can ensure personalization of the letter by at least mentioning the name of the donor and the amount that has been donated.

  1. No need of lengthy lines

Keep it short. Keep it simple. Just as you would in real life. Remember the message is simple – you are grateful.

  1. Human touch is important

Try to give your letter a personal touch. Find your voice and use words that sound like they are on behalf of a living, breathing person, rather than an organization. Your words must express a heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful deed that the donor has done rather than being too formal.

  1. Stay away from being too pretentious

Your thank you letter must express your feelings but at the same time not exaggerate. Being too loud or showy will disengage the reader. Rather, using a positive, uplifting tone and perspective, will make donors feel good and help in your fundraising efforts.

  1. Connect back to the campaign

When you write the letter, mention the cause or the campaign you received the donation for. You can also give a brief description about the things that you plan to do with the money and how it will help the cause. This will reassure the donor that their contribution has been put to good use.

  1. Say no to digital signatures

While we live in a tech savvy world, when it comes to signing the letter, avoid using a digital signature. Instead, get the concerned person or authority to sign the letter personally. This will add sincerity and show that you have taken the time to acknowledge contributions and are genuinely thankful.

  1. Include a tax receipt and invite the donor

You can include a tax receipt along with the letter and also invite the donor to come over and visit your organization. Offer a first-hand experience of how your nonprofit works. While the last thing you want to do is ask for more in your thank you letter, including a reply envelope might do the trick.

A brief and genuine letter appreciating your donor’s contribution can be a lot more than just an acknowledgement. It can open the doors to future gifts.

Why Churches Should Offer E-Giving Solutions

Online giving options are simple no matter what your cause is or who your donors are. Not only is it easier but also secure. Institutions of faith and religion are no exception. While traditional way of collecting offerings at churches still stand, the ability to donate online and through your phone remotely has greatly increased collecting efficiency.

Technology is changing habits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report, the age group of 18-49 years makes up the major part of the population of our society today, about 63 percent.  And in future, as this generation moves into middle age they will bring along their knowledge of technology to make their life easier. This will have a significant effect on the collection capability of the churches, which for the time being are dependent only on weekly church attendance.

In a survey by the Gallup Organization, based on over 150,000 it was found that only 35 percent of the total attended church weekly. The rest admitted to rarely attending the church and some even agreed to not attending at all for months.  Based on this survey it is hard to agree to the traditional form of donation collection in churches. Right now the attendance to churches is the only guarantee to collecting offerings. Add to that the cost of handling cash, budgeting and lack of collection strategy and giving becomes a challenge.

Here are some of the reasons why your organization should consider e-giving:

Popular consent

The majority of people  use online payment methods for paying bills and other activities. A large majority admitted to writing checks only when donating to a church or any other non-profit which could not offer online payment method. Some churches who adopted online giving saw an increase in the number of donations every year. Though the success of programs likes these depends mostly on how they are introduced and promoted, most people find it more convenient than the traditional method.

Decrease in use of checks

Seldom will you find someone who carries a checkbook to services.  Most of the time rarely do we carry a lot of cash in our wallets. So if the church offers only these two methods of donating, the person will either give nothing or donate as little as he/she has at the given time. We know that with the boom in digital transactions people mostly use their debit or credit cards, or other online transaction methods to manage their finances.

Reliable collection option

Many programs which offer online payments have the feature of Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). Basically, people can transfer funds to the payee on a fixed timeline. How one can use this is by designating the church as the payee and then the payment will happen automatically on a weekly basis or bi-weekly, however, the account holder wants. This makes it very convenient for the church to collect donation throughout the year.  The flow of donation is stable and reliable too. Many churches that have adapted to this trend have seen an incredible increase in donations. Especially families that are traveling during summer vacations like to keep their faith alive and do make the donation even when they are away.  Many people who travel a lot can sometimes feel disconnected to their faith. With this option, it will be easier for such people to make donations from remote locations to their home church and feel connected and faithful to their faith. Time and space become the least concerning factor when using EFT and the church can concentrate on the faith of the congregation any worry less about how to collect donations.

Hike in donations

Online donations gain increased popularity – think of crowdfunding you recently participated in as one example. The ease, convenience and securing are the main three factors.  These will only, in turn, generate more donations.  Churches that offer the option have seen about 40 to 45 percentage of people using their credit card. Donation capability has increased 8 to 10 percent.

Safety

Safety is a major factor in any transactional process. Safety is taken seriously on all levels and are regulated by strict banking guidelines.  Updates and reviews to make sure there are  no loopholes are ongoing. Most importantly banks have necessary guidelines to which a merchant should adhere to. Any software solution you choose has to meet these guidelines in order for any transaction to be made with a bank. So, weather you are making a payment or donating to a church your transaction as well as personal information is treated with utmost security.

Ease of Donation

As mentioned before online transaction gives the great capability to people to donate at their leisure. Many families who can’t schedule their weekly church visit can still schedule their weekly support with electronic fund transfer. They don’t have to be concerned about attending each and every occasion to support their faith. With e-giving, they can donate regardless of their busy schedule. They can also frequently donate as much as it’s affordable to them and predict a budget for their own convenience. Giving the ability to manage how they donate can greatly increase the donations.

Broadening supporter age group

Baby boomers make the majority of donors today. But the younger generation who are also enthusiastic about supporting their faith are large in number. This new age demographic that is tech savvy and uses their mobile devices for most of their finances, will generally be inclined to use online payment methods.  Giving them the option of online payment will only draw them more towards supporting their church.

E-giving is a trend. It is here to stay and will only grow exponentially every year. Church leaders must react to this change in donor behavior and adapt accordingly. Learn more about our online donation management tools  .

Event checklist for easy nonprofit fundraisers.

Event checklist for easy nonprofit fundraisers

When you plan your fundraising year for your non-profit one event a year is a must. Though more demanding than letters, emails, calls or speeches, fundraising events have many unique benefits, including connecting and engaging with your community, getting people to rally for your cause and generating goodwill for your organisation.

The benefits of a fundraising event can be far greater than the challenge of organizing one, if the event is executed correctly. Here is an event checklist for you to get started:

  • Identify Your Target Audience

The first step in organising any fundraising event is easy enough – to know who you would like to reach out to. Would your cause appeal more to men, women or families? Would it be worthwhile targeting teenagers? Or would your cause resonate more with seniors?

Once you have defined your audience, a lot will begin to take shape; simply because the type of events that appeal to seniors are very different from ones that target teenagers.

  • Define your goals

The more focused your goal is, the more successful your fundraiser will be. Would you like to organise a non-ask event that aims to create awareness and build preference? Alternately, if you wish to raise funds, decide on the amount of money you would like to raise. A common practice is to aim to raise at least 10% of what you spend. Either way, make your goals measurable. Ideally, it is good to have one main objective along with multiple secondary ones. For example, while the main objective may be to raise $5000, the secondary objective could be to get 25 people to volunteer for your cause.

  • Plan the day of the event

Start by choosing a suitable date and venue. You will also have to book a speaker and make arrangements for catering and entertainment. When choosing the venue keep in mind the number of attendees, facilities you could use, and accessibility. When finalising the date, you would have to consider the availability of your speaker and catering and entertainment providers. Treat this as an  opportunity to involve other members of your organisation by reaching out to them for their preferences and recommendations.

An essential part of your fundraising event would be the arrangement for attendee registration. Consider creating a form on your website for the visitors to fill out.  Ask your attendees to include information like emails, phone numbers, postal addresses and more. By further building out your list of contacts you are shaping the success of all your future fundraising efforts.

  • Set a budget

Any fundraiser organised to raise money should give your nonprofit return on its investment. To decide how much you need to invest, calculate your overall spend for the event. Amongst others the costs to consider include venue, catering, entertainment and speaker fees, printing & mailing costs, travel expenses, licensing fee & permissions, marketing & advertising and photography.

Once this amount is decided, it is important to not exceed your spend beyond it. Every effort should be made to stay within the budget.

  • Build your team

Organising an event can become overwhelming when left to one or two members of your organisation.

To build an internal event planning team, define the different roles and their respective responsibilities. Start with team leaders and work through, all the way to the volunteers.  Cover roles in hospitality, marketing, guest and public relations and more. Create productive working relationships by establishing clear responsibilities and authority and building trust amongst team members.

Working together will get more done in lesser time. Here are some great tips to find, motivate and engage your volunteers.

  • Look for sponsors

Corporations often support causes as a way to give back to the community or for corporate benefits. Start your search by reaching out to possible sponsors, educating them about your cause and telling them about your fundraising event. Let them know who you plan to target and how you plan to promote the sponsor.

Bringing a corporate sponsor on board will make it easier to raise money through the fundraiser. It will make more funds available to organise a better event, and help you reach a larger number of people.

  • Promote your event

This is one activity that can be undertaken without limits. To promote your event, use all channels of communication – both traditional media like letters, leaflets and print advertisements as well as new media that includes your website, social channels and emailers.  Your event’s target audience will help define whether to focus more on traditional media or new media. For example, if you wish to reach senior citizens, focus more on traditional channels whereas to reach a younger audience, focus more on new media. Deploy an effective content marketing strategy and involve members of your organisation to get the word out. The more you promote, the more attendees will register; resulting in more donations at the fundraiser.

  • Measure your achievements

Once your event is over, it’s time to evaluate your performance. What went well and what didn’t? Did you manage to achieve your goals? What are the press reviews like? Could you have done things differently for better results? What are the learnings? How could you apply them to future fundraising events?

Hopefully, you would also have a fresh list of registrations or donors. Use these lists for future goal setting, planning and acquisition.

  • Follow up after the event

Once your fundraising event is over, it may seem that there is nothing more to be done. However, just by going one step further you could make your next round of fundraising a whole lot easier.

Reach out to all those who were part of your event – attendees, volunteers and sponsors – and get their feedback. What did they think of the event and the preparations? What was it that they liked best or least? This information is sure to help you in the future.

Lastly, even though you would have thanked your donors during the event, follow up after the event with a final, personalised thank you message.

These small efforts go a long way in keeping participants engaged and building lasting relationships.

Use the above checklist to ensure the success of your event and make raising money easier, both during and after your fundraiser.

Best Nonprofit Conferences To Attend This July & August

nonprofit conferences calendar 2017

We all are lifelong learners in one field or another. Learning from peers, thought leaders is an opportunity to see who’s doing what but also to network and stay connected. Below is a list of events and conferences you do not want to miss. Topics range from fundraising and grants to marketing and communications, and nonprofit technology. So, here we go:

  1. AMI Nonprofit Marketing Conference | Jul 10 – 12 | Washington D.C.

At this conference, organizations will learn how to reach a larger audience on a limited budget, and transform their marketing dollars into maximum impact. Attendees will gain insights and expertise from top and brightest minds in the nonprofit sector and learn the best practices and technologies that can make their time and money most effective.

Related: Best Nonprofit Conferences To Attend – September & October

  1. National Urban League Annual Conference | Jul 26 – 29 | St. Louis, MO

It is the nation’s largest civil rights and social justice conference. It will provide participants with unmatched professional, business development, civic engagement, and networking opportunities. During the four power-packed days, attendees will take the advantage of networking events, sessions and workshops led by industry experts. This conference will focus on health, education, justice, business, and the economy.

The purpose of the conference is to engage participants in the discussions of pressing issues facing Americans and solutions to address these challenges. The major issues to be discussed are:

  • Social and economic inequality across America
  • Improving education in disadvantaged communities,
  • Increasing jobs and job training,
  • Health and quality of life issues that threaten the lives of Americans and other minorities,
  • Creating quality affordable housing options and small business opportunities in American communities.
  1. Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference | Aug 2 – 4 | National Harbor, MD

It is the premier conference of, by and for fundraising professionals. It explores the latest, techniques, strategies, and innovations in direct marketing and fundraising. This will bring you and your organization to the next level. This year, above 2,000 fundraising professionals from every sector will gather for three energizing days of workshops, networking, panels, and more.

This conference will cover areas like:

  • Solutions to Your Tactical and Strategic Marketing Challenges,
  • Practical Insights and User-friendly Ideas to Improve ROI,
  1. Netroots Nation 2017 | Aug 10-13 | Atlanta, GA

Online organizers, labour and organizational leaders, grassroots activists, Social justice advocates, independent media makers, and bloggers will join this conference for four days of practical training sessions and networking opportunities.

The conference will feature:

  • 90 panels
  • 45 training sessions
  • Inspiring keynotes
  • Film screenings
  • Tons of networking and social events
  1. YNPN National Conference 2017 | Aug 11-14 | Atlanta, GA

This conference will cover areas like professional development, networking and more. It brings together nonprofit leaders and professionals from across the country. Here, you will grow your own leadership, and learn about new tools to improve your communities.

  1. ASAE Annual Conference & Expo | Aug 12-15 | Toronto, (Int.) Canada

This conference is open to association professionals, consultants, higher education professionals, industry partners, federal government employees, corporate meeting planners, and attorneys. It will fuel your work as leaders with practical ideas and colleague support.

  1. 2017 Chicago Non-profit Conference | Aug 28-30 | Chicago, IL

Avail the opportunity to connect with hundreds of fundraising and marketing professionals. At this conference, industry leaders will exchange innovative, game-changing marketing and fundraising ideas that generate fruitful solutions to help stronger relationship with donors. It will also focus on improving public awareness.

5 Common Nonprofit Fundraising Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

fundraising mistakes and how to avoid them

To be able to effectively , you would need a strategy along with a team dedicated to your cause. While it is hardly possible to create a fool-proof fundraising campaign, there are certain common mistakes that you could watch out for.

Inefficient goal setting

Often nonprofit organisations believe that a noble cause itself is enough to attract donors and contributions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth since there are more than several thousand noble causes vying for donor attention. That is why it falls upon your organization to help a donor understand your work and its impact. Donors also need to feel that your cause is more important than others. One of your fist goals should be to ensure donors understand that your non profit is offering something of value.

Set your goals both long and short term. Often, when faced with fund shortages, organisations cut back on short-term fundraising programs even though they are profitable. This is a mistake, because it dries up a steady stream of small funds.

Once defined, ensure you stay focused on the decided goals. So, if you’ve decided to organise a non-ask cultivation or a “Thank You” event, ensure it stays so by making no fundraising asks at the time.

Further, when you set a target for your fundraising, make sure it is thought through. Be sure to include elements like the operating budget and campaign management costs that tend to get left out.

A well-designed campaign execution plan is one that details all the phases involved. Set your goals for each phase of every campaign and designate roles and responsibilities. Any successful campaign requires a team of dedicated people that can connect with donors and help them understand the positive change their funds will bring, as well as take on other responsibilities.

In the end, be prepared to adequately measure your performance against the set goals. Evaluate the impact of your activities and ensure use of metrics that are a good fit for your organisation.

Ineffective fundraising events

Amongst other things, a successful fundraising event needs research, financial planning, event preparation, arranging backups and contingencies as well as management of the different phases of the event.

While your fundraising events should target both small and big donors, it’s essential that during the course of your event, all attendees feel welcomed and well treated. Pay attention to your guests and their preferences; don’t make them wait and be a gracious host. Brief your speakers and make sure they don’t bore your audience with lengthy speeches.

Events should also be tailor-made to suit organisational goals – both short term and long term. Another common mistake is to have a fundraising event without a theme. Make sure yours has an exciting one.

To avoid unplanned developments, every fundraising plan should have all aspects detailed out and discussed amongst team members. It’s never too early to start planning your event, so ensure you’re not losing time waiting to start off.

More often than not, fundraising events either come out losing money or hardly covering costs. To ensure your event is not one of these, make a clear outline of all costs that are likely to be incurred during every aspect of an event and plan for their recovery.

Poor donor research

Effective fundraising requires proper donor or prospect research, so that you are able to focus your efforts on your best prospects and make fundraising easier.

Extensive research on the organization’s database of donors must be carried out. Segregate and list donors who have given the largest donations in the past, those who have donated the most often and the newly inducted ones. This will bring clarity about your current donors and open up ways to find new ones.

You could also use one of the many available tools for creating prospect profiles. To get more comfortable with your choice of tool, run yourself through it first.

Also, create different approaches for different target groups, since using the same approach for all donors doesn’t work.

Once prospects are segmented segregat, allocate the required time and resources for relevant fundraising activities.

Not maintaining communication with donors

For successful fundraising efforts, it is important to maintain communication and build lasting relationships with your donors. People who donate, do so only because they are vested in your cause and are able to relate to it. It makes them happy to see their hard-earned money being put to good use and making a positive difference.

Not updating donors regularly about organisational developments is a recurring mistake. Periodic updates informing donors about your nonprofit organization’s current projects, your achievements, future goals and plans, sharing results of received donations and thanking them for their gifts are some of the ways to keep donors informed and involved. This ensures that the lines of communication are always open and makes fundraising much easier.

Successful fundraising appeals also use multiple channels of communication – digital, traditional mail, email, events, radio and more.. The more frequently you communicate, using varied modes of communication, the better will be the results of your fundraising efforts.

Solicitation of social media followers

While soliciting funds on social media may seem like an easy means of fundraising, asking for donations from individuals immediately after they have liked your posts or started following you on social media platforms could backfire.

Auto generated replies and direct emails that track social media followers and keep sending them messages with an ask gives the impression that your organization is solely focused on solicitation. Such asks could make fans wary of your communication or even make them unfollow you.

It would be a much warmer welcome to followers if initial interactions provide information about your organization, its work and its achievements. This will help cultivate and build lasting relationships, providing ongoing opportunities for solicitation.

So, what do you think? Have you experienced any of these fundraising mistakes? Comment below to share your perspective with our readers.

8 Fundraising Email Strategies To Drive High Response Rates

Fundraising Email Strategies

Your non-profit engages in email marketing and the first thing you do is send an email to your supporter and potential donor appealing to them to come forth and donate to your charity. Now you sit and wait for any replies or donations. After several hours when you open your inbox you find that not only there haven’t been any replies but also no donations have been made. What did go wrong?

Besides fundraising events, fundraising emails also provide significant support and steady income source for many non-profits and charities. But not all organisations are similar and you have to think of a way to stand-out form the rest. Without understanding the art and science of email marketing a lot can go wrong. The window of opportunity to convince a donor to make any donation is very narrow.

Here are few fundamentals that if kept in mind will ensure high response to your email fundraising campaign:-

  1. A Compelling Story

It is necessary to draw the attention of your target audience towards your fundraising effort. Create a compelling and engaging story that is relatable and stands true to the cause that the charity supports. The very first step when your mail your supporter is to define the subject line for your mail. It doesn’t necessary needs to explain the content of the mail but should be interesting enough for the recipient to click it open. Have fun with the subject and be provocative. Always keep a clear narrative of your campaign that should be specific to certain segment audience. As long as you understand to treat your target donors with a specific engagement strategy you can be sure that your supporters will always be around to help.

  1. Specific Appeal

Make sure the purpose of the fundraiser is clear to the recipient. Keep it simple, clean and clear. Always make your objective understandable and perceivable to act upon. Your donor will only be interested in donating if he/she can relate to the cause and find your initiative practical and doable. So don’t blabber away in long words about your plans of how your will use their money, but keep it concise and simple and talk only about the executable actions so that the people get motivated to donate to something they understand.

  1. Mobile Phone Adaptability

Most people these days keep their social networking majorly to the phone than to their laptops or desktops. The preference on mobility to their online social life is understandable. So your email format should be adaptable to a mobile phone also. Almost 53% of the emails opened today are on mobile phones. Keep the important graphics and links and minimize texts. Optimize the graphics for mobile phone screen, resize the images and enlarge any buttons you want them to click for donation or any other information related link.

  1. First Things First

Make your appeal to be the first thing visible on your email. The call for support should be featured prominently in your mail, probably the first thing on the email. Don’t push the reader into scrolling further down before they actually understand what you are asking for. Often fundraiser emails can have multiple/conflicting call-to-action. Be careful about what kind of information you are feeding into your email. If you give the recipient too much to consider they will probably think twice before they donate. Just keep it specific and prominent.

  1. Build Relationship

Another important habit is to build trust and relationship with your donor. When asking for donation amount, you can tell what specific amount will help you achieve. If you can include a brief but heartfelt story of the impact you will create with the donated money, it will go on to impress the donor and boost your trustworthiness remarkably. Further ahead in future also keep cultivating your audience by regular feeds of your success stories. People donate because they’re compelled to be part of something bigger, something that will help them make the world a better place. Always convey to your audience that they can ‘help change lives’. The power of empathy and need to help others is one major reason people are always ready to donate.

  1. Be Creative

Remember, an email is not your organisation’s annual report. It is not a letter or request or a short essay of your plans. The only purpose that your email serves is to motivate your community and prompt giving. You don’t have to share your stories in detail but more importantly provide a format that will lead your audience to click just a button to land on your website. So forget about formatting your email in the formal and boring style. Keep it fresh and innovative. You need to entice your audience and not bore them.

  1. Test and Learn

Test every factor related to likeability of your email campaign and use that data to improve in future. Make sure you get the most information out of the campaign. Readers’ preferences and response to specific promotion style should keenly be studied. Constantly research, change, test, calculate again and then change again. It takes time to reach perfect sync with your donor, so invest that time.

  1. Be thankful

Generosity of the donors is one thing that keeps a charity running for years. Philanthropy has greatly helped charities to function efficiently and perform its duties well. Though at its core it is altruistic, it would do no harm to send a thankful note to your donor. This not only generates goodwill but also keeps your supporters’ numbers intact for future.

Electronic mails count for almost one third of the total online fundraising today. Emails have proved to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to raise money for non-profits. The outreach of your brand value to the target audience is enormous and efficient, and the response rate is also quicker. Tapping into this medium can greatly increase your performance as a charitable organisation.