There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. – that’s a lot of people doing good work. And all that good work needs funding – most often through fundraising.
It may be the height of summer, but nonprofits around the country are starting to plan for their year-end giving campaigns. At SPR, we have already developed one plan and have meetings on the books to talk with some of our other nonprofit clients about how we can maximize their year-end giving through effective communication.
Nonprofits need to keep in mind that even though they are doing good work, they still have to compete for space with other nonprofits and corporations in the minds of consumers. So you can’t just rely on the traditional ask letter pleading to help your cause – it takes developing a story and getting that story in front of people in many different ways.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to get a cohesive year-end campaign in front of your donors, volunteers and community members. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Video: Utilizing video in your year-end campaign is one of the most effective ways we’ve found to tell the story. How a video is positioned makes a big difference, however. It needs to share the impact of your organization through the voice of those you are helping – not your giving officer. Identify individuals or families from the populations you serve to create the most effective case statement and let them tell their story from their own viewpoint. Authenticity is key.
- Social media: Whether through Facebook, Go Fund Me or another online platform, there are great online tools out there to increase the reach of your campaign. Facebook, in particular, has been increasing its number of tools to aid nonprofits in its fundraising efforts. They just rolled out a whole slew of new tools this summer. The key with your social media efforts is to share your story and offer viewers to give in an understated way, however. (This means you shouldn’t put a big, red graphic saying DONATE TO US.) Instead, let your story work for itself and offer a link to your donation page at the end.
- Electronic Mail: Utilizing your electronic lists to reach your audience is a simple, yet effective way to increase your year-end gifts. An email can contain a moving ask, great imagery, a link to your video and a “donate now” button. If you are utilizing email in your fundraising tactics, be sure that you don’t inundate your prospects. We all receive too much email so don’t be obnoxious. Utilize it sparingly, but when you do, make sure it’s effective. If you have the resources to do some interesting things with list segmentation and personal customization, that’s icing on the cake.
- Direct Mail: Though much is moving to electronic communication, there still is a place for direct mail. When you’re using direct mail, it needs to be very special (a.k.a. not a boring white envelope and letter.) Find a unique format that is authentic to your brand and that allows you to share your story in a beautiful way. Maybe it’s a booklet, a fun game or even an odd size paper, creating a piece that is unique tells your donors that you are unique. As mail increasingly becomes junk and bills, sending a special piece can really wow your donor and make them feel special.
Though there are many tactics to get your message across; the one key point is to be cohesive and authentic in your messaging. Using one family or individual throughout all your tactics will give prospective donors multiple opportunities to consume your story. Don’t forget to trust your instincts – you know your donors, community and story.
Check out this fundraising video our Photo-Video Guru, T.J., created for Aquinas College’s Day of Giving.