4 Things Every Nonprofit Should Do to Optimize Fundraising Results

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4 Things Every Nonprofit Should Do to Optimize Fundraising Results

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Mark Becker

Your nonprofit probably spends a great deal of time on fundraising. You’re already hosting fundraising events, running peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, sending out fundraising emails and more. So, how can you raise more dollars without adding yet another campaign or event to the calendar?

Let’s look at four effective ways to optimize your fundraising results:

1. Keep Your Donor Data Clean

Cleaning your donor data may not be exciting, but it can make a big difference in your fundraising results. Just think about it: Your donor data powers your fundraising efforts. It drives donor communications. It also feeds your fundraising reports. So, no matter how creative and inspiring your fundraising campaigns may be, they won’t deliver the best results if you have outdated, duplicate and/or missing donor data.

Here are a few ways to clean your donor data.

Merge or Delete Duplicate Records

Deduplicate records at least once each week to keep your data tidy. If you haven’t deduplicated your records in a while, then you might need to dedicate a person or small team of people to work on deduplication daily until it’s completed, and then move to a regular schedule for ongoing maintenance.

Find Records That Need Additions or Corrections

To locate records that need to be updated, run a data query in your customer relationship management (CRM) or donor database. The steps needed to perform a data query will vary with each software platform, so look to your software vendor or nonprofit technology consultant for training and guidance on best practices.

Update Your Database Policies and Procedures

Keep your database policies and procedures updated to ensure data is entered and cleaned properly across your organization. Review this document with new staff members to make sure they know the standards. And when you make updates to the document, be sure to notify your entire organization.

2. Analyze Your Fundraising Data

Analyze data from your campaigns and events to uncover trends and find opportunities to boost your fundraising results, and then put your insights to use. Here are some ideas.

Identify What’s Working and What’s Not

It can be easy to rinse and repeat when it comes to fundraising campaigns and events. But taking some time to review your most recent campaigns can help you let go of things that didn’t work so well and give you more time for the things that did work well to make your next campaign even better. Run reports to analyze actions taken, donations made and unsubscribes to help identify strengths and weaknesses.

Once you launch your next campaign, don’t wait until it’s over to begin analyzing it. Review campaign status reports on a regular (daily, weekly, and monthly) basis, and adjust message content and frequency — plus communications channels — as needed to improve results.

Tip: If possible, include source codes in links from your fundraising communications to help you understand which channels are most effective with your audience.

Get Personal

Send more personal and targeted emails by using your data to segment your audiences and customize messages based on their interaction with your organization. For example, look up your previous campaign information, and add a personal note to your email, such as:

  • “Thank you for donating/fundraising $X last year.”
  • “Thank you for being one of our top donors/fundraisers last year.”
  • “Last year you ran X:XX in our 5K and took X place. Are you ready to do it again?”

Tip: Wealth screening software can help you dive further into your donor list, identify potential donors, and target them with fundraising asks that are most likely to appeal to them.

Make Your Messages More Compelling

Organizations often include basic messages about past campaigns in their emails, such as, “Last year, we had X attendees and raised $X.” Take this a step further by adding more compelling data from your past campaign or event:

“Last year we raised $X million. With that money we were able to fund X research grants. So far, those grants have produced X hours in the lab, which resulted in X new clinical trials set to launch in Q1 2024.”

3. Fine-Tune Your Website

Make sure it’s easy for people (donors, event attendees, peer-to-peer event participants, etc.) to find the information they’re seeking on your campaign site. Start by pretending you know nothing about your campaign and go to your website’s homepage. Step through the online process. Ask yourself these questions, take notes as you go and work with your website manager to make improvements. How easy is it to:

  • To find information about the campaign or event?
  • To find how to donate or register?
  • To find who to contact with questions?
  • To complete the donation or registration process? To make it easier on people, be sure that you’re asking only the questions you really need.
  • For participants of peer-to-peer fundraising events or campaigns to get started fundraising? Once they’re registered, will they know what to do next?

4. Optimize Your Donation Form

When a potential donor reaches your donation form, they’re ready to support your organization. Optimizing the form can help you get the most out of that donation. Here are some tips:

Use Dynamic Ask Levels

Use your CRM or fundraising software to automatically specify ask levels based on each donor’s previous donation level. This approach encourages donors to give more. For example, if a donor previously donated $25, you might start your ask levels for that donor at $25, or even bump it up to $30.

For new donors, make sure that the default ask levels on your donation form make the most sense. For example, if your average gift is higher than the first two or three options on your form, consider increasing the levels to encourage larger donations.

Ask the Donor to Cover the Transaction Fee

Provide an option on your donation form for donors to cover the cost of any transaction fees charged by your payment processor.

Add a Monthly Giving Pop-Up

Present donors with the option to make their donation a recurring gift, with the convenience of monthly payments charged automatically to their credit card. This approach encourages donors to remain donors and give more over time.

Since monthly donors don’t always remember when their credit cards are expiring, this leads to declined transactions. Then you’re left to follow up with donors to update their information — possibly missing out on months of donations in the process. Be sure to proactively review sustaining gift credit card expirations so you don’t miss out on those donations.

Embed a Matching Gift Tool

Add a corporate matching tool to your donation forms to make it easier to take advantage of corporate matching programs, ultimately boosting your fundraising results.

Improving fundraising results is about more than just running more campaigns and hosting more events. Put these approaches to work and start getting more out of your fundraising efforts!

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