It’s easy to fall into the routine of using the same old fundraising campaigns year after year. What’s familiar is comfortable. Unfortunately, what worked effectively in the past won’t necessarily be the most effective strategy today. And approaching donations with the limited mindset of fundraising through just a few “reliable” channels majorly impedes success.
The good news? There are so many ways to fundraise. And chances are, your donors might be comfortable with more variety than what they currently use. This article aims to get you thinking outside the box and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Take each of your existing channels one step further and open the door to multiple options of giving for your donors.
1) Use events to harvest donor contact info for year round communication:
In-person events are very persuasive and it’s no wonder that they are one of the most preferred fundraisers. But they can do even more for you than just landing a one time, major donation. They can help initiate a crucial and promising communication opportunity. Think about it: an inspiring picture or video slideshow combined with a powerful speaker provide a convincing argument for your cause, making in-person events the best time to ask for donor contact information. Once you have your foot in the door, keep contact frequent but not excessive, and begin to show donors the multitude of ways in which they can give.
2) Offer pre-registration for events:
By collecting donor information prior to the actual event, you can easily take advantage of express donations on site, meaning all members have to do on the day of the event is pledge an amount. And, if a member already intends to give at an event ahead of time, pre-registering takes the hassle of out of the way early on. By the time he arrives at the event, there is nothing to stand in his way. And for donors that have already registered in the past? Using a donation technology such as Snowball’s two-click express will allow them to give instantly, and its ease will prompt them to do so again and again.
3) Give donors the option of a technology update:
Not all your donors are the same. There is no “one size fits all” method of fundraising, so donors should not be required to give according to your preferred or most convenient donation method. You also shouldn’t have to decide to prioritize one group over another. Instead, provide multiple options that appeal to different donor preferences in one place. Are you a fan of sending paper mail and flyers? Older donors might benefit most. However, paper mail is not completely worthless to younger donors either. While they might not contribute directly by this channel, you can use paper mail to advertise a better method, for example, Text-to-Give. List the number and explain the two step process, and then sit back and watch as the instant donations roll in. You can also add QR codes to pamphlets and newsletters to offer another easy online option as well. Then all a donor has to do is send a text message to your number, or scan the QR Code using their mobile device. Another example of a technology update is to send e-newsletters with an option to donate directly from an email with Snowball’s express donation buttons.
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4) Use existing fundraising channels to promote new ones:
Those monthly emails you send out? Include an instructional segment on your new Text-to-Give option. Is Facebook a preferred method of instant news updates? Use it to share and generate interest in your latest story-telling video on YouTube. You don’t even have to promote “new” channels. Sometimes, it’s just about making sure your donors are aware that they have more options than simply waiting for a once-a-year pamphlet in the mail. Educate your donors on your different channels—it’s the best way to make them comfortable with alternate approaches to giving. Use social media to quickly spread the word. Who knows? They could be unaware that different channels are more convenient at different times for them.
Offer different fundraising channels because they complement each other; one channel can prompt a response via another channel. Let’s say I receive a pamphlet in the mail. My first thought might be, I don’t have any checks handy and I am certainly not about to send cash in the mail. But, written on the pamphlet is an option to donate online, along with step-by-step instructions of how to do so. Because of it, I respond via an online gift, the channel that is most convenient to my taste. In this example, overall fundraising indirectly benefits from paper mail fundraising.
5) Ask your donors what they want!
What better way to find out which channels are relevant to your donors than to ask? Send out a Facebook update or an email survey asking for feedback. Let your donors speak for themselves.
The takeaway—Multiple channels function not only as a different way to receive donations, but also as a way to highlight the strengths of other channels and ultimately allow donors to choose the method of giving that works best for them. Not only do multiple donation channels offer you more sources of revenue, they also increase your donor lifecycle.