Girl dips toes in the water

12 Top Tips to Build Community and Broaden Your Nonprofit Donor Base

Philanthropy should not just be about big checks.

Last week I shared some reasons not to eschew small gift fundraising. Today I’m following up with some tips for building and mobilizing your community to find, sustain and grow these gifts.

This is important, because a donor’s first gift is seldom their largest.  It’s a starting point.

The majority of your gifts will be small, but the majority of your income will come from a small group of major donors.

You have to grow this cadre of loyal, passionate philanthropists by building relationships with supporters over time.

The lion’s share of major gifts come from previously small gift donors.

A client I’m working with told me 50% of their major donors began with very small gifts.  How about tracking this for your organization? Sure, some major donors come in at the top. But I’ll bet you a majority start by dipping their toe in the water. How can you get folks more fully immersed?

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Painting of three eyes

Boost Nonprofit Marketing Results: Message, Time, Place

As year-end approaches, you want to consider leveraging your message across channels. You also want to tailor your message to meet the needs of different target constituencies.

One-size-fits-all messaging seldom works as well as segmented messaging.  The former is all about you, your convenience and your needs.  The latter is about your constituent’s needs.

Successful fundraising and marketing is customer- and donor-centered.

Is your year-end strategy setting you up for success? Are you truly putting your best foot forward?

If you’re not inside your constituents’ heads, you need to get in there! To be constituent-centered requires you to (1) talk to the right people,  (2) with the right message, (3) at the right time and place. Recently, I enjoyed a post on precisely this subject. I share it with you here, and if you’re not yet hip to the Marketoonist, allow me to introduce you.

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Humanitarian aid

Using Visuals to Enhance Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising

Is your nonprofit using Instagram yet? Pinterest?

I’m going to suggest you give it some serious consideration.

Why?

We live in the age of information overload. A wealth of information creates a scarcity of attention and thus a need to efficiently allocate attention.

Visual to the rescue!

Visual is a huge trend in marketing, using the power of digital to communicate your message and stay within the diminishing attention span of today’s online readers –8 seconds (one second less than the attention span of a goldfish).

Glub, glub.

If human minds are adapting to information overload this way (to multitask, prioritize, and consume quickly and efficiently), it makes sense for your nonprofit to adapt as well.

Otherwise, you’ll work really hard to put messages out there – that no one will read.

Want to stop working just hard and start working smart?

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PB&J

Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising Are Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

They’re meant for each other. Yet it may take a while to bring them together.

Here’s what I mean:

Peanut butter was first introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It didn’t get mixed with jelly until 1901, when the first PB&J sandwich recipe appeared in the Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics. It was served in upscale tea rooms, and was exclusive food. Until the world changed.

The 1930 Depression made peanut butter, a low-cost, high-protein source of energy, a star. But not the combo sandwich. Not yet.

Then…WWII.

Peanut butter and jelly were on U.S. Military ration menus. Soldiers added jelly to the peanut spread to sweeten the sandwich and make it more palatable. When soldiers came home from the war, peanut butter and jelly sales soared.

Suddenly this marriage became the norm. Why separate them?  After all, they went together like… PB&J!

We never looked back.

How is Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising Integration like the Marriage of PB&J?

They didn’t start out married, but they belong together.

Here’s what I mean:

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Just as there's a first kiss, there's a first time for everything for your nonprofit.

How to Persuade New Donors to Join Your Nonprofit Mission

What makes us think a perfect stranger, who’s never given to our organization before, will choose to do so?  It’s highly counter intuitive.

People are more likely to continue doing what they’ve done before.
Commitment and consistency is one of Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence, and it’s useful in nonprofit marketing and fundraising. But only if you’ve got existing donors.
We talk a lot in fundraising professional circles about the folly of concentrating too many resources on donor acquisition and too little on donor retention. And for good reason. It’s significantly easier and more cost-effective to keep a current donor than to recruit a new one. Why?
It’s appreciably more difficult to get people to reach a new decision than to repeat an old one.
Whenever I coach volunteers to do fundraising, I always suggest they remind current donors how many years they’ve already been giving to the organization.  This acts as a decision-making shortcut for these folks. Aha! They already decided this was a good idea.  No need to sweat it out again.  Done!
But… what if you’re a start-up organization that doesn’t have many donors?
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Reading on Laptop - How to Improve Your Nonprofit Newsletter

How to Improve Your Nonprofit Newsletter

Does your nonprofit have an email newsletter?

I’d rather see you rock a blog, but let’s talk a bit about your newsletter. Since you already have one, you may as well make it better.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

[BTW: If you don’t have an e-newsletter, go read the article above about creating and rocking a blog. Also read this. A blog can serve the purpose of an e-newsletter, and do so in a more donor-centric, user-friendly fashion. IMHO]

Okay. Back to improving your newsletter.

The real point of a newsletter is to stay top of mind with your supporters.

Why?

Because you want to keep them, of course!

Just like with any relationship, if the only time someone hears from you is when you want something from them, they’re not likely to stick around.

You need to woo them.

What Newsletters are For

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Cinderalla and Step Sisters

Is Fundraising Cinderella to Your Nonprofit Marketing Communications?

Cinderalla and Step SistersToo often ‘Fundraising’ is made to sit in the corner while her step-sisters, ‘Content Marketing’ and ‘Online Communications’, get busy dressing up for the ball.

Poor ‘Fundraising.’

Her step-mother and step-sisters think raising awareness is more important than raising money.

They think all they have to do is look pretty, and they’ll naturally get chosen. Nobody wants to be bothered to include Cinderella (aka Fundraising) in the planning.  After all, she’s “dirty.”

Is Fundraising Your Nonprofit’s Dirty Step-Sister?

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5 cereal boxes

5 Strategies to Improve Nonprofit Use of Donor Data

I cannot tell you how many times I begin a consultation with a small nonprofit, only to discover they have no real donor database.

They’re still using Excel or Filemaker or something that was developed for the program or finance department many moons ago.

I also find many nonprofits that do have a decent fundraising database, but they aren’t really using it to their advantage.

It’s the equivalent of having a 747; then using it to drive down the block to the corner store.

If you’re not exactly maximizing the resources you have, or if you simply don’t have the resources you need, it’s going to adversely affect your fundraising results.

We live in an era of ‘Big Data.’ Which means that understanding why data is important, what data is most meaningful to you, and how to prioritize data collection and evaluation strategies to help you reach your goals has never been more important.

If your fundraising and marketing strategy is not currently undergirded by data, I guarantee you’re missing opportunities, working inefficiently and leaving money on the table.

Could you use a bit of guidance?

Read on…

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Use the 'Seven is Heaven' priorities on your pathway to passionate philanthropy in 2017 - and beyond!

7 Powerful Nonprofit Opportunities: Your Path to Success in 2017 (Pt.2)

Last week I gave you my top priorities for nonprofit success in 2017: “Seven is Heaven.”  I suggested you focus on each of these with written plans in the year ahead, and that you persist in improving your mastery in each area.

If you embrace these priorities, I’ve little doubt you’ll see greater success in generating the contributions your nonprofit needs to fulfill your mission this year — and in the years to come.

  1. Create Compelling Annual Giving Offers
  2. Master Integrated Online Social Fundraising
  3. Master Major & Legacy Giving
  4. Master Donor Retention
  5. Master Donor-Centered Content Marketing
  6. Embrace Sustainable Business Leadership
  7. Shift to an Organization-wide Culture of Philanthropy

Last week, in Part 1, we covered the first four priority areas.  Today we focus on the final three areas.

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