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6 Year-Round Fundraising Ideas to Drive You to Success

Background shows a group of people at a meeting, applauding as one man raises his arms in victory. The title 6 Year-Round Fundraising Ideas to Drive You to Success is superimposed on the image.

Your nonprofit’s most recent fundraising campaign may have ended, but that doesn’t mean that your efforts to motivate your donors need to slow down! Your fundraising can be successful all year long if you provide your donors with reminders of the good work you do and easy ways to support its continuation.

On all of the platforms you use to communicate with your donors, your goal is to craft an engaging and personalized message that they’ll want to read and respond to with a donation.

Ready to revitalize your strategy for successful fundraising all year long? In this post, we’ll show you how to:

  1. Provide text-to-give service to make donating convenient.

  2. Refresh your online donation page.

  3. Update your social media presence.

  4. Host a fun community event.

  5. Create merchandise your supporters will enjoy.

  6. Understand your donors better using prospect research.

Nonprofits of all types and sizes can implement these ideas at any time to build stronger relationships with donors and encourage new supporters to contribute. Worried that donations to your organization may be lagging right now? Address one of the most commonplace concerns among donors—convenience—by offering text-to-give service.

01. Provide text-to-give service to make donating convenient.

1. Provide text-to-give service to make donating convenient

Your donors already spend a significant amount of time on their mobile phones each day, and mobile giving has increased dramatically over the past few years. Meet your donors where they are with text-to-give service, one of the quickest and easiest donation methods out there!

While text-to-give ties in well with community fundraising events and certain social media platforms, you can offer this option to your donors year-round. To get started, your organization will select fundraising software that offers text-to-give service. Once you have it set up and ready for your donors to use, the simple process is as follows:

Step 1: Your text-to-give service provider assigns your organization a unique text-to-give number. You can share this number with your supporters at fundraising events, through an email update, or on your favorite social media platforms.

Social Media Tip: If your organization has an Instagram presence, share a photo of a sample text that shows your organization’s text-to-give number and illustrates the donation process. Your followers will see just how easy it is to donate this way!

Step 2: Your supporters text the amount they wish to donate to your organization’s number. They’ll receive a link that automatically drafts an email confirming their donation.

Step 3: Your supporters click the link to send the email and finalize their gift. With two-tap technology, they’ll only need to enter basic personal and payment information the first time they give to your organization. They can then choose to save their information, effectively creating an account. When they want to make their next online or mobile donation, they’ll be able to do so by simply sending an email!

For more information on this convenient donation method, check out Snowball Fundraising’s text-to-give guide. Your donors will appreciate how easy it is to support their favorite organization at any time and from anywhere!

Text-to-give service is valuable for its accessibility and simplicity—your donors won’t get bogged down in unnecessary information and abandon the process before completing their donations. On your website, however, you’ll want to provide your donors with more detailed information on the work your organization does to illustrate your need for their essential contributions.

02. Refresh your online donation page.  

2. Refresh your online donation page

Nonprofit fundraising statistics show that donors of all ages increasingly favor making their contributions online. With several online donation tools now available to make the process seamless for both you and you supporters, it’s easy to see why your website and online donation page are popular giving locations.

The ideal online donation page is designed to build trust in your organization and facilitate the giving process. Whether you’re updating your website’s donation page or creating a new one, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Your donation page should look like the rest of your website. Especially for donors who are new to your organization or unused to giving online, your online form’s trustworthiness is an important factor in determining whether they’ll complete their donations. The form should look just like a page on your website, featuring your organization’s name and logo as well as its familiar color scheme and any other characteristic branding elements.

  • Make it easy for donors to create accounts. Offer them the option of saving their credit card information for future giving so that they can complete their donations using two-tap technology. A recent study of 100,000 online donors revealed that 86,000 of them chose to save their payment information to the site on which they made their gifts. Saving information encourages future giving by making the process faster for donors.

Bonus Tip! Offer preset donation amounts to save donors time and minimize indecision and uncertainty, but don’t forget a custom amount option for those who have made up their minds already.

  • Don’t forget to thank your donors! Online donation provides the opportunity for instant thanks, which donors value. Personalize their thank-you with their preferred name and the amount they gave. If possible, let them know the specific purpose to which their donation will be applied. Since your thank-you doubles as their receipt, ensure that this function of the note is clear so that they can save it for their records.

Now that your online donation page is updated and easy to use, encourage more donors to give online by linking to the page on social media. You’ll attract new donors and engage your current supporters when you take advantage of these popular platforms.

03. Update your social media presence.

3. Update your social media presence

While social media is popularly associated with the millennial generation, almost everyone has a profile or two these days. Meet your donors where they are by updating and expanding your social media presence to illustrate the great work your organization does and encourage online donation all year round.

Diversifying your approach is a key component of a strong social media strategy. Because each of the popular platforms excels at a different form of sharing, it would be ideal for your organization to have a presence on each of the sites your donors frequent. However, this isn’t necessarily the best strategy for nonprofits that are new to social media or have a limited staff.

For a more focused social media strategy, use donor data to identify the sites your supporters use the most and those that best suit your organization’s strengths. If your organization tends to attract younger donors, for instance, consider an Instagram account. Want to reach the largest audiences? According to a recent social media study by the Pew Research Institute, the majority of Americans are Facebook users.

Social media sites are excellent places to share updates on your organization’s latest projects, introduce members of your team and volunteers to your followers, and offer personalized thanks to your supporters. Take advantage of these sites’ multimedia capabilities by sharing photos and videos in addition to text posts.

To make your social media presence a more effective component of your fundraising strategy, check out re:Charity’s list of the best online donation tools to facilitate the process for your social media supporters. All of your social media profiles should feature prominent links to your donation form, as should some of your posts. Additionally, ensure that your website contains links to your social media profiles so that donors can follow your organization to stay updated on your progress.

Ready to meet your online supporters in the real world? Connect with your community and its members by hosting an event that brings your donors closer to your organization and its mission.

04. Host a fun community event.

4. Host a fun community event

Fundraising events connect your organization’s work to the concerns and interests of your specific location and allow your team to get to know the members of your community. At your event, you’ll get to know new supporters and strengthen relationships with current donors. You’ll also be able to teach attendees more about the work your nonprofit does on a daily basis.

Attendees of your event will associate your organization’s name and brand with the fun time they had, encouraging them to continue their involvement with you and your cause. Your organization can choose from a variety of engaging event options to suit any group of donors and any season of the year.

If the weather is pleasant at the time of year you’d like to host your event, consider an outdoor favorite like a walk or run. For organizations whose support base includes many families with children, consider an organized day in the park with food provided for your donors.

Want to host an event in the winter? Consider a dressier evening event like a dinner, gala, or party. These can be excellent opportunities to interact with high-net-worth donors or convince other longtime supporters to increase their contributions.

Your attendees will likely donate to your organization as part of their registration for your event, but the giving doesn’t have to stop then! Events present the perfect opportunity for text-to-give donations. You can even combine event management and mobile giving capabilities in time for your next event. Ensure that supporters complete their donations by making it easy to save their payment information and make further contributions in just two taps.

Looking for another donation opportunity you can provide at your event? Sell merchandise that will support your cause and spread the word about your organization whenever and wherever your supporters wear or use it.

05. Create merchandise your supporters will enjoy.

5. Create merchandise your supporters will enjoy

Your donors are proud to support your organization and the work you do, so they’ll appreciate high-quality branded merchandise that they can wear or carry to express their commitment to your cause. Whether you offer it at your fundraising events or online, merchandise is a great way to spread the word about your nonprofit!

After you partner with a fundraising website that offers customizable merchandise to design your products, you can sell the items at events to augment donations made through registration or make the merchandise an extra reward for completing the initial donation.

Want to engage your online supporters? Offer limited-edition merchandise for online donations completed within a specified time limit, or use it to reward the winning volunteer fundraiser at the end of a peer-to-peer campaign. Your donors will be excited to receive these desirable items!

When your supporters wear or use your branded merchandise, they acknowledge their pride in your organization and your cause, strengthening their relationship to your nonprofit. Merchandise is also great for spreading the word about your organization, as a good design on a product is sure to make passers-by curious to learn more!

You know that your supporters are invested in the work your organization does, but what else do you know about them? Make sense of your donor database and identify key potential donors to reach out to using prospect research.

06. Understand your donors better using prospect research.

6. Understand your donors better using prospect research

Prospect research is the process of gathering information on your current and potential donors to develop stronger outreaches with the goal of initiating or increasing their donations. Prospect research allows you to tailor your approaches toward different groups of donors, increasing the success rate of your asks.

Your team can conduct prospect research on your own, use software to obtain more results and manage your data more easily, or hire a consultant to bring professional experience to the process.

However you choose to conduct prospect research, you’ll collect donor data that falls into two broad categories: wealth markers and philanthropic indicators. Wealth markers measure a potential donor’s capacity to give, while philanthropic indicators evaluate their likelihood of doing so.

Wealth markers include:

  • Real estate ownership

  • Stock holdings

  • Career and business affiliations

  • Political giving history

Philanthropic indicators include:

  • Past giving to nonprofits, including yours

  • Other involvement with nonprofits, such as volunteering

  • Activities, hobbies, and interests

Your organization can use prospect research data to reevaluate your approaches toward your current donors and identify new contributors who would likely appreciate the work your organization does. Prospect research provides insight into your donors that will positively impact your fundraising efforts at any time of the year.

Closing Thoughts

Your organization’s fundraising efforts don’t begin and end with a single campaign, no matter how successful. To continue and expand the good work that you do, you need to find new donors and increase your current contributors’ support throughout the year. With these strategies to make donating easier and more enjoyable, you’re sure to succeed.

John KilloranJohn 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.

Topics: Online fundraising Online donation pages Fundraising Events Donor Research Online Giving