With online and mobile fundraising becoming more popular each year, it’s no surprise that traditional fundraising methods are starting to see exciting changes. But while online and mobile fundraising certainly offer a variety of benefits for your cause, not everyone immediately understands the value of adopting modern fundraising methods.
That’s why we created our top six ways to increase your fundraiser proceeds, using modern fundraising methods. Please use this as a guide to understand the benefits of online and mobile fundraising, and as a starting point for your next fundraiser!
Brief disclaimer: When we mention modern fundraising, we’re mostly referring to online and mobile fundraising. This can be anything from online donation pages to mobile silent auctions and raffles, or even a peer-to-peer or social media campaign.
1. Utilize Modern Fundraising Tools
Lets face it. We’re all busy and you likely have far more on your plate than you’re able to handle. Try to work smarter, not harder.
Fortunately there are fundraising tools available for nearly every aspect of a nonprofit’s operations including:
- Silent auction and raffle tools (check out Accelevents)
- Text-to-donate tools (check out Snowball)
- Nonprofit CRMs and database management software (check out SalsaLabs)
- Crowdfunding platforms
The key is to pick an easy to use service and then invest the time on the front-end to better streamline your nonprofit’s operations.
- Choose a silent auction tool and use it diligently for your fundraising events.
- Choose a text-to-donate tool and use it as part of your core fundraising efforts.
- Choose a nonprofit CRM and use it daily as a way to keep up with donors.
- Choose a crowdfunding platform and use it for one-off campaigns in the lead up to events.
It can be tough to make time in your schedule but utilizing modern software is one of the best ways you can help your nonprofit grow in the long-term.
For instance, if you’re hosting a charity auction, you might want to choose a charity auction platform that enables attendees to register before the event itself and look at the items up for grabs before the auctioneer takes the stage.
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Additionally, this software can help you capture more information about your donors, helping you to prepare for the next auction you host!
On the whole, you want to be proactive about identifying and engaging with cutting-edge software that can improve your organization’s performance. Your donors are embracing new technology trends almost daily, so it is crucial that your organization keeps up with the trends.
2. Expand Your Donor Base beyond Those Attending Your Fundraiser Event
One of the biggest advantages of modern fundraising methods is that they are extremely effective at increasing your donor base.
Online fundraising tools now make it easier than ever, to quickly and effectively create a customized fundraising campaign, which can then be distributed to a large group of potential supporters.
This brings us to our first tip – Try expanding your donor base beyond just those who are present at your fundraiser event.
Modern fundraising tools allow you to leverage the Internet, in order to dramatically grow your potential donor base. Rather than being reliant only on those people attending your physical fundraising event, you can share your online fundraising pages to your entire network.
Sharing your story online will amplify social reach for your cause, and will result in much higher awareness for your fundraising campaign.
To explain this, let’s consider how a crowdfunding campaign could bolster the performance of a nonprofit’s walkathon.
Imagine you work for an organization that funds critical research in cancer prevention practices and each year, you host a walkathon that is one of your biggest sources of funding. (For more on walkathons, crowdfunding, and medical fundraising, check out this resource.)
In the lead up to the actual event, you could have your walkers set up their own crowdfunding pages that feed back into the larger fundraising effort. This would serve two purposes. First and foremost, it would increase how much you’re able to raise. Second, it expands your network and showcases your walkathon to new prospects.
Online fundraising tools will also allow your potential donors to submit donations and and make payments online, meaning they do not need to be present at your event to show their support!
3. Maximize Your Donation Acceptance Period
Another common problem we see with traditional fundraising events is that attendees often think that they can only submit donations on the day or night of your fundraising event.
Our second tip is to encourage you to maximize your donation acceptance period beyond the day or night of your event!
A very simple way to increase your fundraising donation period is by accepting donations before and after your fundraising event.
Online fundraising tools make it extremely easy for donors to submit donations and make payment from anywhere, at any time.
What does that mean for a fundraising event organizer? It means that you can begin accepting donations before (and after) your event!
As an example, let’s imagine that you are including a silent auction as part of your fundraising event. Using traditional methods, you would probably have paper bid sheets, and collect cash or checks, meaning your donors can only participate if they are present at your event.
On the other hand, with online fundraising, your event host could share the link for your online silent auction or fundraiser to your attendees and supporters of your cause. This method elicits additional support and awareness for the cause, as well as early donations!
The goal here is to give your donors as much time as possible to support your cause. People are busy, and may need the extra time to ensure that they can support your fundraiser without time constraints.
4. Transform Your Supporters into Your Best Fundraisers!
As you may have figured out, the key to modern fundraising is taking advantage of online and mobile tools to remove potential barriers for your audience to donate.
This brings us to our final tip on increasing fundraising proceeds – Embrace your supporters and transform them into your best fundraisers and advocates for your cause.
Online fundraising has led to a new movement known as Peer-to-Peer fundraising. The basic premise here is that fundraising hosts and organizations should begin engaging their best donors in a way that turns them into their organization’s biggest advocates.
This involves engaging your supporters and empowering them to raise funds for your cause, instead of only donating to it!
Essentially, a peer-to-peer fundraising effort involves giving supporters each their own crowdfunding page through which they can solicit donations on your behalf.
In order to be successful, you need to equip your newly minted fundraisers with the right tools to raise money effectively.
As this resource on fundraising ideas explains, to set up a crowdfunding page you, “Set a fundraising goal, create your crowdfunding page, and promote your campaign.”
You’ll need to offer support and instructions for your peer-to-peer fundraisers during each step of that process.
By enabling your donors to become your best fundraisers and advocates, you will be leveraging a much larger group in order to create more awareness, a larger donor base, and a long-term increase in your proceeds!
5. Don’t forget to keep major donors engaged!
Despite modern technology increasing the effectiveness and reach of most nonprofit organizations, you still can’t forget the importance of keeping your major gift donors engaged in the philanthropy process.
Whether it’s making a donation on behalf of your cause, recruiting other major donors, or acting as a leader in your community, major donors can play a critical role in any modern fundraising effort.
Here are a couple really good examples of major donors making a significant difference to local organizations:
- Lloyd Claycomb, a Denver-based businessman, recently gave a major gift to fund autism research through the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center of Phoenix. Not only is he supporting the organization directly but he’s hosting a fundraising dinner to help connect one of his favorite nonprofits with his friends, family, and business partners.
- Joey Logano, a Nascar professional, recently donated $50,000 to Folds of Honor in Tulsa. It all started through an informal conversation but Joey took up the cause as his own.
The key for your staff is to understand who your donors are and engage with them over time. These major donations don’t happen overnight but it’s important to foster these relationships!
To ensure that you’re successful in reaching out, it’s important to keep up to date records on donor relationships within your nonprofit crm. By keeping a past donor’s contact information, giving information, and relationships all in one place, you make it easy for all your front line fundraisers to keep major donors engaged and happy in the fundraising process.
6. Empower your donors to submit matching gifts!
Did you know between 15-19 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs? These corporate giving programs are an easy way for your donors’ gifts to go twice as far.
Through matching gift programs, companies such as Bank of America, Verizon, Home Depot, Microsoft, and thousands of others will match a donation made by employees to a wide range of organizations (likely including yours). For more detailed examples check out this list of 20 matching gift companies.
If you’re a large nonprofit you should use one of the following matching gift tools:
These modern fundraising tools will help you raise awareness and make it much easier for your donors to submit matching gifts.
Zach Hagopian is the co-founder and COO of Accelevents, a mobile fundraising platform that enhances silent auctions and raffles through online and text-message bidding. An active member in the Boston fundraising scene, Zach focuses on improving traditional fundraising methods and increasing fundraiser proceeds.