It can be tricky to know which technology trends should play the biggest roles in guiding your strategy development, especially when it comes to fundraising. Social media, for instance, might not have been a major concern for your organization 10 (or even fewer) years ago, but look at the huge difference a short amount of time can make!
Technology moves fast, which means it’s important that your nonprofit’s fundraising team takes advantage of the right tools at the right times.
The right tech tools can streamline your campaign data reporting, boost your corporate giving strategies, and even revolutionize how your organization markets its campaigns and events.
As leaders in the field of nonprofit technology consulting and implementation, we’ve highlighted 5 key initiatives to help nonprofits boost their fundraising efforts and make your fundraising efforts more efficient. They include:
- Optimized data management
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
- Networked organizing and advocacy tools
- Smarter event planning platforms
- Social media engagement strategies
If you already make use of these or similar tools, good job! If you’re unfamiliar with some of them, we highly recommend continuing your research and exploring all your options. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
1. Optimized data management
Your database is your nonprofit’s single most important asset. A strong data infrastructure with clearly-established reporting protocols will strengthen nearly every aspect of your nonprofit’s operations, including fundraising!
If your nonprofit’s data technology could use an upgrade (or overhaul!), carefully weigh your options. Industry leaders each offer unique mixtures of features and capabilities that your organization may or may not find useful.
Read our Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce comparison on the DNL OmniMedia blog for an example of the kinds of software comparisons to look for. Subtle differences between platforms can have substantial effects on their overall utility for your team.
Once you’ve chosen a CRM solution, there are a few key ways to ensure that your database is as useful as possible to your overarching fundraising goals:
- Automatic reporting. Your fundraising software and CRM platform should integrate or, better yet, be part of the same suite of digital tools. Having all your data cleanly reported to one database gives you the big picture, helping you craft smarter strategies.
- Cleanup protocols. These are essential to keeping your data truly actionable. Scheduling time for updating donor profiles and automating the removal of duplicate entries will ensure you get the clearest possible view of your whole strategy.
- Expert guidance. Enterprise-level database platforms and fundraising suites can be overwhelming for many teams. Don’t hesitate to bring on a technology consultant to help customize your solutions and highlight the most relevant tools for your goals.
Understanding big-picture trends and drawing individualized insights is the key to truly adaptive fundraising and strategy development. A tidy, customized, and comprehensive database is the key to unlocking that utility!
2. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
Peer-to-peer fundraising is now a major part of the fundraising world. As a type of social fundraising, these campaigns build on the power of your organization’s extended network of support and brand awareness.
However, some nonprofits, particularly those that are more unfamiliar with some of the complexities of online fundraising, might assume this simply means promoting a fundraising campaign via social media.
Instead, peer-to-peer fundraising requires specific tools and strategies! That’s why so many database and fundraising suites contain their own peer-to-peer fundraising platforms designed to work seamlessly with their products.
If your organization has access to one of these integrated peer-to-peer fundraising tools, like Blackbaud’s TeamRaiser for instance, follow some configuration tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your particular tool! They include:
- Define your exact goals. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns require a considerable amount of planning and strategy on several fronts. Without a clear vision of your goals, your team could get swamped.
- Brand your peer-to-peer experience. All of your campaign’s pages, from its homepage to each of your volunteers’ donation pages, should clearly reflect your nonprofit’s identity and mission. Make sure your platform includes plenty of customization options.
- Train your fundraising staff. Your staff should be trained on how to use your software to its full potential, but your volunteer fundraisers need attention, too! Make sure everyone understands the platform and how to promote the campaign.
As a campaign conducted largely via your existing social media connections, peer-to-peer fundraising represents the logical extension of the ways in which social networks have changed how we interact, do business, and support our favorite causes online.
After all, digital engagement is now just as valuable as in-person engagement! Sixty-eight percent of US adults use Facebook — directly soliciting their support with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss as your organization pursues its mission.
3. Networked organizing and advocacy tools
The tech tools of the fundraising world are always changing, with new software solutions constantly emerging. The one element that unites any effective new fundraising technology? Efficiency.
Streamlining your nonprofit’s work while maximizing fundraising intake (or contributing to the process more generally) is the goal for any tool.
Decentralizing the efforts of campaigning across your network is a great example of new styles of fundraising efficiency. This core concept of peer-to-peer fundraising has begun to extend to other marketing, fundraising, and organizing technologies, too.
For instance, take advocacy apps for top nonprofit management platforms.
Luminate Advocacy is a good example. Designed to work flawlessly within the management and fundraising suite your team already uses, this app can help you build out energetic, grassroots campaigns. There are some social features of modern advocacy tools that make them powerful additions to any campaign toolkit, like:
- Supporter-facing smartphone apps for alerts, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and real-time feedback outlets.
- Comprehensive social media sharing features to grow your audience.
- Supporter list segmentation to better target strategies and identify individuals with the desire and ability to do more.
- Advocate training session creation and management, both in-person and online.
- Easy-to-customize letter templates for advocates the spread the word within their own networks.
Nonprofits and advocacy groups have only just started to realize the full potential of using networked technologies to foster individualized engagement with supporters and constituents. Making it more efficient than ever to provide the personal touch can take your next major organizing project to the next level.
Make sure to follow a few tips and best practices for crafting digital advocacy strategies. Social campaigns require a considerable amount of planning and dexterity!
4. Smarter event planning platforms
Planning effective and engaging fundraising events is essential to continually building and retaining your base of support. There are so many moving parts to a major fundraising event. The planning process can quickly become overwhelming for under-equipped teams.
Even if your nonprofit’s staff has its event planning process down to a science, the right technology can boost your successes even further.
If you’re using an event planning and management platform not specifically designed to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations, you’re missing out. Nonprofit-centric competitors to dominant platforms like Cvent allow you to focus more on fundraising and less on logistics.
With event management tools designed to meet more specific needs like charity auctions or museum tours, you can much more efficiently focus your efforts. Plus, most nonprofit-centric event management platforms integrate with other digital fundraising tools and top CRMs.
Boosting the efficiency of your event planning this way can be a major plus to every aspect of your operation. That’s because smarter event planning generates smarter data. A few of the most important nonprofit analytics you can easily collect and analyze with integrated event planning tools include:
- Invitation email open and click-through rates
- Rates of new attendee conversion
- Existing attendee and donor retention
- Detailed demographic breakdowns
- Satisfaction survey results
Smarter event planning creates a cycle of continuous improvement for nonprofits that know how to find and implement the right tools. By generating smarter data, analyzing it, and refining your event and fundraising strategies, there’s no limit to the levels of success and efficiency your team can reach!
5. Social media engagement strategies
Your nonprofit almost certainly takes the time to maintain a social media presence. It’s essential today for staying connected with supporters and sending updates that everyone will be more likely to see and remember.
Trends arise quickly in the world of social media marketing and fundraising. Even if your organization isn’t springing for an influencer or social media spokesperson just yet, there are still some simple social media best practices to follow that can start making a difference for your fundraising efforts. They include:
- Focus your energy on just 2 or 3 platforms. Rank and prioritize them based on the demographics of your core base of support.
- Fully understand your brand. This is particularly important for nonprofits since fundraising successes spring from more personal appeals and relationships.
- Create and focus on donor personas. These can guide your entire process of building relationships and effectively soliciting support.
- Put real effort and thought into content creation. Posting updates and invitations is important, but don’t leave it at that. Photos and articles can generate more engagement.
As you implement all of these best practices and priorities for your marketing and fundraising though, remember that missing the mark with social media technologies has its own risks, as well. This is especially true in recent years, with the spread of misinformation, shady deals, and data sales that have undermined public faith in the internet giants.
A recent study found that 59% of all social media users would not find it hard to stop using those sites. If your posts and content become intrusive, repetitive, or annoying, followers won’t hesitate to stop engaging with your nonprofit online!
Of course, social media is still hugely important for marketing and fundraising, but statistics like these illustrate the point that you must invest careful thought into your social media efforts. Fostering genuine engagement is the real value of these networked technologies from which secondary marketing and fundraising values derive.
Don’t lose sight of the importance of your interactions with all of your supporters, both in person and digitally!
Knowing which nonprofit technologies to incorporate into your operations at the right times can be a major challenge!
Keeping yourself and your team aware of both general developments and more specific trends across the fundraising and marketing landscapes will ensure that you’ll be ready to spring for the right tool when the time comes.
Carl Diesing, Managing Director – Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.