Archives for February 2016

How to Make a Multichannel Fundraising Ask

Abby_Blog

Guest Post Contributed by: Abby Jarvis, Communications Coordinator at Qgiv

As clichéd as it may sound, no two donors are alike. Each of your nonprofit’s supporters has a different giving preference whether that be check, cash, credit card, or other payment method. Some enjoy giving time over money. And others like giving many small gifts over one larger donation. Just like these preferences matter to your donors, so too do the ways in which you ask for those donations. But if you have more than a few donors, it’s sometimes difficult to know which methods donors like and respond best to.

The best way to alleviate this issue is to use a multichannel fundraising approach. With the multitude of ways for your nonprofit to get in touch with donors and ask them for donations, using a multichannel fundraising approach not only makes the most sense, but is also effective at bringing in more donations for your organization and helping you acquire more supporters.

Check out these best practices for using a multichannel fundraising approach before you start asking for donations:

1. Ask your donors which method they prefer.

Before you start mailing out hundreds or thousands of direct mail appeals or hit the send button on that email campaign, talk to your existing donors and connect with them. Find out which communication methods they have liked in the past.

Your nonprofit should be constantly assessing donor preferences whenever you make donation appeals:

  1. If a donor makes a contribution online, include an option on your online donation form where they can select how they’d like to be contacted.
  2. When talking to donors one-on-one, ask them whether they’d like to receive emails, direct mail, phone calls, or a combination.
  3. Have a table at your fundraising event where donors can indicate their communication preference.
  4. Include a form in your direct mail appeals that donors can fill out expressing how they’d like to stay in touch.

Asking donors how they’d like to be reached is a good first step on the road to making multichannel fundraising asks.

2. Don’t overdo it with email.

There’s nothing worse than ending up on the email list of a company that sends too many emails. It clutters up your inbox and causes needless frustration. Many people wind up unsubscribing from those emails.

Make sure your donors aren’t unsubscribing from your emails. Sending out email appeals makes sense for many nonprofits; it’s a cost-effective and efficient way to connect with donors and ask them for contributions.

But not every email should be a request for more money. Instead, you can:

  • Update donors on current projects they’re funding.
  • Offer volunteering opportunities.
  • Promote your next event.
  • Share success stories.
  • And more!

3. Go mobile.

If you’ve been to a coffee shop, bus station, or really any public place lately, you’ve probably noticed that nearly everyone is on their cell phone. Whether they’re calling their friends to make dinner plans or using an app to find the perfect place for dinner, almost everybody has a smart phone to their ear or in their hand.

How is your nonprofit showing up on donors’ phones?

Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile and tablet use. But even more importantly, have a mobile version of your donation form. This way, donors can give even when they aren’t sitting in front of their laptops or desktops. They can even donate while waiting in line for their coffee! In the past year alone, mobile giving has increased by over 200%! Make sure you aren’t missing out on those donations.

You can also try using text-to-give. Technology has made text giving easier than ever, and your nonprofit can’t afford to miss out on this simple way to bring in donations.Donors like the ease and convenience of giving on the go. Meet that demand and go mobile!

4. Train your staff members to make better asks.

While a lot of fundraising appeals can be made through digital avenues, sometimes a good old fashioned face-to-face donation ask can be the way to go. In fact, for your major gift solicitation, in-person donation appeals are pretty much the only way to go.

But your face-to-face meetings might not go well if you don’t properly train your fundraising staff members.Training your team might mean practicing making donation asks in a group setting. It could also mean sending your staff to a fundraising conference to learn more about the latest trends and techniques.Your staff won’t be properly equipped to make those important in-person donation appeals if you don’t give them the tools they need!

5. Don’t discount direct mail.

Even though email and social media donation appeals are more cost effective, there’s still something to be said for direct mail. Many donors prefer writing out a check, placing it in an envelope, and sending it off to a nonprofit. While not all of your donors will want to go through that process, there is a significant portion of your supporters who like the physical, tangible aspect of direct mail.

Sending out direct mail letters, postcards, and other materials can be a great way to ask for donations from those donors who prefer a more traditional giving method.

6. Do some digging.

Multichannel fundraising asks may seem a bit perplexing at first. How can you determine which communication methods will work best for each donor? You could try using a crystal ball or a psychic, but the surefire way is to simply do some research.Just like past giving is a great indicator of future giving, past success with donation appeals speaks to future success.

Look back at your fundraising asks. Did a particular email campaign bring in more donations than you thought it would? Did a speaker at a fundraising event spur the crowd into action?

Whatever your big-hitting donation appeal strategies were in the past, use them for your future multichannel fundraising asks.

7. Say thank you more than once.

There’s an old proverb that says, “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” This isn’t just good advice for our personal lives; it’s also a good tip for nonprofits!Nonprofit fundraising and multichannel donation appeals aren’t just about asking for money and then walking away. You have to show your gratitude to your donors if you expect to form a lasting relationship with them. Whether your supporters make donations online, over the phone, in person, or with direct mail, you must have a comprehensive acknowledgement plan in place.

This plan might look something like this:

  1. Immediately thank a donor for their contribution. As soon as you receive the funds, you should be thanking the contributor.
  2. Send follow up information when appropriate. If a donor expressed a desire to volunteer or attend an event, get that info out as soon as possible. Use it as a way to thank the donor a second time.
  3. Acknowledge past donations in your current fundraising asks. If you send out a solicitation to a loyal supporter, mention their past contributions and give examples of how their funds are being used.

Naturally, this plan will need to be tweaked depending on how you ask for donations. The key is to express your gratitude more than once.

Multichannel fundraising asks don’t have to be complicated! By diversifying your donation appeal strategy, you’ll be able to reach more donors via their preferred communication method. Follow these seven tips and you’ll be bringing in more donations than ever!

4 Letters and Emails Your Nonprofit Should Send to Grow Your Matching Gift Revenue

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Guest Post Contributed by: Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation

It doesn’t make much sense for you to walk around with only one shoe, and it certainly doesn’t make sense for your nonprofit not to talk to your donors about matching gifts. Skipping the matching gifts talk is like going out the door with only one sneaker on your foot.

But how exactly should you go about promoting matching gifts to your donors?

You’ve probably got questions, but luckily, we have answers. Read ahead for more information about matching gift communications you should be sending out to help you bring in more matching gifts than ever! Check out these four donor communications your organization needs to send out to boost your matching gift revenue.

Take a look at this article to learn how better writing translates into stronger connections with your supporters.

1. Matching Gift Reminders

Your donors might not remember to submit their matching gift requests unless your organization reminds them to do so!

Mention matching gifts in your various donor communications including:

  • Invitations to your fundraising events like school art auctions, church family fun days, or organizational dinners.
  • Newsletter updates about ongoing or completed projects.
  • Donation appeals.
  • Thank you letters.
  • Emails about volunteering opportunities.
  • And more!

Whenever you communicate with donors via letter or email, make sure that you mention matching gifts at some point. When the opportunity to double their donation is fresh in their minds, they’ll be more likely to submit requests to their employers sooner rather than later.

You can either dedicate an entire email or letter to matching gifts, or you can briefly mention it. However you choose to let donors know about matching gifts, make sure you give them a way to find more information:

  • Include links in your emails to a matching gift tool or database where donors can look up their employers’ programs.
  • Encourage direct mail recipients to talk to their employers or their HR departments to learn more about matching gifts.

The more informed donors are about matching gifts, the more likely they will be to have their donations matched!

2. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Donors

Everyone likes feeling appreciated, and your donors are no exception! If they’ve submitted a matching gift request to their employer and you’ve verified and received the funds, send out a thank you letter or email as soon as possible.

Why?

Well, you’re already thanking donors for their contributions after they make their initial donation. But the process of submitting, verifying, and receiving a matching gift can take weeks or even months. A donor might have completely forgotten that he or she even submitted a matching donation request! By sending out a matching gift acknowledgement after you’ve received a donor’s employer’s contribution shows that you see donors (and their employers!) as more than wallets or ATMs, an important component of donor stewardship.

And if you’re sending out emails on a regular basis, check out these five ideas for increasing your open rates!

3. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Companies

Let’s not be too quick to forget who sends the second donation to your organization! Companies and businesses deserve recognition and gratitude just like donors do.

In fact, if you’re looking to form long-term partnerships with your donors’ employers, then you absolutely need to acknowledge the donations that they send your way.

This gratitude can take several forms:

  • If one company in particular matches the donations of several of your donors, you can feature the business on your website or in your letters and emails to donors. Thank them and explain what their donations are going toward.
  • Send a formal thank you letter to the companies that match employee donations. Have a senior executive or board member sign the letter to add a personal touch.
  • Send the company email updates on what their donations have helped accomplish (P.S., this will encourage them to give in the future!).

Fundraising with matching gifts wouldn’t be possible without the help of the companies that donate those second contributions. Make sure that you’re including them in your letter and email acknowledgements and follow up communications.

4. Invitations to Special Events

Whether someone had a major gift matched by their employer or they’ve repeatedly had donations doubled, you might consider hosting a special “Matching Gift Donor Day” and sending out invitations via email and direct mail. Sending out personalized invitations is a good way to remind your donors of their past contributions and encourage them to give in the future. Previous giving is the best indicator of future donations, but sometimes your supporters just need an extra reminder.

Your special event can be a fancy, black tie affair, or a more laid back social event. However you plan on thanking your matching gift donors, make sure that their invitations adhere to the following criteria:

  1. The greeting is personalized. No one starts out a party invitation with “Dear Friend,” and your nonprofit shouldn’t begin yours with “Dear Donor.” Get personal with your supporters and take the time to make each letter begin with their preferred name.
  2. The body of the letter makes mention of their previous donations. If you have a good enough relationship with your donors to invite them to a special event, your letter or email should definitely include a reference and acknowledgement of their past support.
  3. The letter doesn’t ask for another contribution. If you send out an invitation to a special event, don’t try to sneak in an extra donation appeal. It will only make donors feel isolated and unlikely to come to your event or donate again!

Your letter and email invitations should be special, just like your matching gift donors!

There are other letters and emails that you should be sending out to all of your donors, but these four examples are a great starting point if you want to start growing your matching gift revenue. Start asking for (and receiving) matching gifts by sending out these four letters and emails as soon as you can!

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