Technology is an important part of any nonprofit’s overall strategy for engaging and retaining donors, but have you ever considered enhancing your existing fundraising strategies with technology?
There are so many things that go into your fundraising strategy: donor preferences, communication and outreach tactics, campaign and event planning, and more. And it can be hard to make sure that all the information that you collect during your fundraising campaigns gets put to good use later!
We thought long and hard about our favorite fundraising technology best practices and strategies, and have collected the best ones for you here:
Tweaking these tips to your organization’s unique community and mission will help you supercharge your fundraising campaign this season and make both giving and receiving donations easier than ever!
If you’re ready to learn more, let’s dive in.
1. Optimize your online donation strategy
The foundation of any technology-driven fundraising strategy is your online donation software. With this software, your organization will be able to collect donations from your supporters from any internet-enabled device.
Deciding on the right online donation platform to support your fundraising ideas can be difficult, though. There are so many combinations of pricing, features, integrations, and more that you have to keep in mind.
Although every nonprofit is different, some of the most important considerations are:
The functionality of the donation page. How many steps does it take donors to submit their gift? Is it intuitive? Is it mobile-responsive? Does it process payments securely?
The customizability. Can you change the colors of the donation pages, and brand them to your website to make everything appear seamless?
The gamification tools. Can you create fundraising thermometers for campaigns to show supporters your progress?
These are far from the only important features to keep in mind, but they are crucial to your online success. When your nonprofit has an attractive, intuitive, and secure donation page on your website, you can attract more donations.
However, the interface that your donors experience isn’t the only aspect of your donation page that you should consider when improving your fundraising strategy. Make sure that your software provider empowers you to better understand your donors and donor data.
When your fundraising software collects contact and campaign data in one safe location, you can use those metrics to understand and continually improve your fundraising campaign strategies.
2. Offer text-to-give options
While some online software providers include text-to-give technology as part of their platform, we think that it’s such a key feature for strengthening your online strategy that we’re giving it a whole section!
Text-to-give technology is a massive improvement for your fundraising strategy. When you use text-to-give software, you empower your supporters to give gifts to your organization wherever and whenever they want!
With text-to-give, your provider gives your nonprofit a dedicated phone number. Then, you distribute that number to your supporters. They text the number with the amount that they want to donate, and they confirm their donation by clicking a link! It’s as easy as that.
Some fun and easy ways to incorporate text-to-give software into your fundraising strategy are:
Ask supporters to make mobile donations during an event and different points during the night, and use a fundraising thermometer to encourage them to help you reach a campaign goal.
Post your fundraising number on social media and encourage your supporters to give on your own dedicated giving day. Use a fun and memorable hashtag to raise awareness!
Include your donation number in different publications, like your newsletter and different greeting cards. Making your number readily available for your supporters to find is a good way to increase mobile donations.
Text-to-give is an important strategy for strengthening your fundraising techniques with technology, because it allows you to make the most of how ubiquitous smartphones are. Many people, especially the younger generations, no longer carry cash or a checkbook with them.
Allowing them to give easily through their smartphones makes it easier for you to reach them while simultaneously making it easier for them to engage with you.
3. Revamp your events with auction tech
Fundraising events are an important part of your nonprofit organization’s campaign calendar. Events are where you get to interact with your donors and build personal relationships, as well as raise money and have fun at the same time.
These events are a great opportunity for stepping up your fundraising strategy with technology! There are so many options to choose from. There are software solutions for everything from event planning and management to volunteer organization and more.
However, one of our favorite event software options is auction technology. We love fundraising charity auctions because everyone wins: your nonprofit raises money for your cause, and your donor gets a cool item or experience for their efforts!
But it can be difficult to plan and run an auction: you have to procure items worth bidding on, market your event, find and hire an auctioneer, and stay on top of the bidding to make sure that your donations get processed and your donors get their prizes.
Auction technology can make all of this a thousand times easier! No matter what type of auction you choose, there’s a software solution that can improve your event management strategy.
Silent auctions: Silent auctions are great for events where you want to have face-to-face interactions with donors as well as offer an auction experience. Add mobile bidding software into the equation, and you’ve got all the ingredients you need for an engaging and successful silent auction.
Live auctions: These auctions are a fantastic option when you want to add a bit of friendly competition to your event. They’re louder and more boisterous than silent auctions, but allow less time for mingling. Use auction software to track registrations, complete transactions, and analyze your success post-event.
Online auctions: These auctions are a fun and exciting way to host an auction without incurring all the other costs involved in hosting an in-person event. Use online auction software to market your auction, allow online bidding, set minimum bids, send confirmations, and process payments! These events are just as fun for donors, without requiring them to get dolled up or hire a babysitter.
When you incorporate smart auction technology into your fundraising events, you can more easily accept payments, increase your donations, and streamline the process for your event attendees.
But this is true of all event software solutions! No matter what type of event your nonprofit dreams of hosting, there is a software solution that can help you plan and execute it.
4. Invest in matching gift automation
An underutilized fundraising strategy for nonprofits everywhere is corporate philanthropy, and specifically matching gifts.
Matching gift programs are policies instituted by companies where they donate a gift to a nonprofit that their employee has donated to. The process looks like this:
The employee makes a gift.
The employee submits a matching gift request to their employer.
The employer receives the request and verifies it with the nonprofit.
After the nonprofit confirms, the employer submits the matching gift to the nonprofit.
It’s as easy as pie! But unfortunately, many employees are unaware of their employer’s matching gift programs, and therefore their donations go unmatched. But your nonprofit can change this!
Strengthen your fundraising strategy by investing in a matching gift automation platform.
By automating the matching gift process, you can include the option to initiate a match right on the donation form, which directs the donor to where they can find their matching gift request forms.
Plus, the automation software can send follow-up and reminder emails to donors, as well as determine eligibility through email domain analysis. If your donor submits a matching gift, they can double or even triple the impact of their donation without having to reach further into their own pockets!
The main barrier to a successful matching gift strategy is a lack of awareness about matching gift programs. But if you invest in matching gift software, you can educate your donors about their matching gift eligibility and encourage them to submit their matching gift request!
5. Improve your accounts payable strategy
When strengthening your fundraising strategy, your nonprofit should also take a look at where your other strategies can be improved as well. After all, if your nonprofit runs more efficiently, then you free up more funds to be used to complete your projects and further your mission!
There are a thousand and one ways to do this, but saving time and money in your accounts payable strategy is one of the quickest and easiest ways to strengthen your financial strategy and allow more funds to flow to where they’re needed most.
Investing in a software that offers accounts payable automation is an easy solution to a tricky problem.
Other strategies for improving your accounting tactics include:
Investing in a CRM that acts as a subledger.
Getting advice from a tech consulting firm.
Analyzing your administrative strategy and determining where different processes can be implemented to save time and money.
When you improve your internal processes and strategies, your fundraising strategy benefits as well. And technology can help you do this!
As a nonprofit, your bread and butter is fundraising. But even the best strategy needs to be fine-tuned every once in a while, and you can do so by taking advantage of the new software solutions being developed in every field.
For more information on fundraising technology, as well as some of our favorite fundraising ideas, check out these additional resources:
John Killoran is CEO of Snowball, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.