Monday, February 2, 2015

Having a Succesful Year of Fundraising in 2015

The first month of 2015 is nearly over, and for most organizations, the new year marks a time of rebirth and renewal. Businesses, schools, and nonprofits alike utilize January as a pivotal starting point for new ideas, goals, and trends to increase their fundraising efforts over the next calendar year. So what are the best ways to approach 2015, fundraising-wise?

According to The Non-Profit Times, visual storytelling will be crucial to being successful while fundraising this year. “Organizations will have to find creative and innovative ways to engage supporters in a world full of distractions, and visual components are key,” says Rich Dietz, senior product manager for digital fundraising at Abila Software in Austin, Texas. Previous research indicates that people process visuals at least 60,000 times faster than text, meaning if your organization is looking for engagement, creating something eye-catching is necessary.

Another opportunity to be on top of your fundraising game this year is to be aware of donor’s wants and needs. Most donors are interested in knowing directly where their contributions end up, and as GuideStar points out, there’s a simple formula for how to talk about your strategy in a successful, communicative way.

The “MPI formula,” created by Gail Perry, focuses on three fundamental parts of any fundraising conversation. These basic questions are:
  • M: How much money your organization wants to raise.
  • P: What project will fund.
  • I: What impact your fundraiser will make.
Perry says the initiative works because it requires your organization to define a concrete goal, connect to donors specifically, and inspires communication about your project and what it will accomplish. Successful communication between volunteers, donors, and leaders is key in establishing trust between your organization and the people who help it, which usually results in more investment in the long run.

Another key in having a good fundraising year is understanding your audience. While audiences differ depending on the organization, it has been documented by the Huffington Post that sixty-four percent of donations are made by women, and seventy-seven percent of people in the United States believe everyone can make a difference by supporting causes they care about. Do some research on your audience to cater to your target demographics, and see the difference in your donations.

Last but not least is looking at the role technology plays in your fundraising efforts. The Pew Research Center states that more than ninety percent of all Americans own a cell phone, making it the most popularly used form of technology to date. But is your organization utilizing it the way it should be?

Larger organizations, like nonprofits and schools with larger budgets, will benefit from using responsive design on their website -- allowing users to seamlessly browse from either smartphones, tablets, or computers. Smaller organizations can also use technology. Social media, like Facebook or Twitter, is a great way to draw attention to your fundraiser without spending more money than you can afford.

Of course, there are numerous ways to have a successful fundraiser, and these are just a few trends worth noting as you create your goals for the upcoming year. It is worth pointing out, however, that organizations willing to embrace new ways of thinking and take risks often benefit the most from new trends and research.

We wish your organization the best of luck in the new year, and hope to help you with any and all fundraising you plan to do in 2015!