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- Guided Fundraising
Year-end is traditionally a busy time for nonprofit fundraising, but many organizations need to do year-round fundraising to make sure they have the right resources to advance their mission. As a fundraiser, you always want to take the guesswork out of giving for your donors — and that begins with understanding the questions your donors ask themselves before they give. The story you tell donors in your appeal can answer these questions.
Effective storytelling might sound complex, but we’ve broken down some of our best tips in this blog. Try answering these four key donor questions, plus working in a few other best practices, and you'll be that much closer to an effective year-round nonprofit fundraising campaign.
Want more step-by-step advice about year-round fundraising? Download our complete guide!
Your donors need to know why your cause is relevant to them and why they should care. They need to connect with you on a human level. Use conversational language, incorporate pictures, and get permission from service recipients to share anecdotes about how your organization has served them — this will help your audience relate to your organization and its mission.
Is there urgency in your appeal? Create a sense of immediacy. Explain why a donation is needed right now. Is there a matching gift? Are you up against a seasonal deadline? Will something good not happen if they don’t act right now? Striking the right tone (which, according to research from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, is one that inspires a moral but not overly emotional response) is essential to communicating why donors should support your work right now.
Describe what their gift can accomplish and the impact it will have. Share how other donors have helped individuals in need. You don't need to overwhelm donors with massive numbers or in-depth statistics — keep your description focused and brief so donors can more easily relate to your cause.
Giving USA’s research has found that fewer and fewer donors have been giving to registered nonprofits over the past several years. Many factors contribute to this trend, but one thing nonprofit fundraisers should remember is that supporters tend to trust the opinions of their friends, family, and even acquaintances. This means it’s especially important for your nonprofit to use your marketing efforts to demonstrate that others are happy to give your organization their time, energy, and financial support. Ask existing supporters to share why they give to you and what it means to them. Use these testimonials in your outreach. Also consider who signs your appeal — it may be more effective for your message to come from a volunteer, beneficiary, or a front-line staff member instead of your executive director.
If you’re not raising money for a specific project or fund — also known as restricted giving — you’ll need to make sure you’re taking a few extra steps to craft your appeals for unrestricted giving, or funds that can be used for any legitimate purpose. Organizations will need to create fundraising messages that meet donors’ emotional need to connect to another person through an individual's story. How can we tell an individual’s story and connect our donors to that individual while still raising money for a larger cause? Organizations will need to create fundraising messages that meet donors’ emotional needs. Remember these three best practices:
By now, you’ve put a lot of time, effort, and money into telling your story to potential donors. Don’t lose them in the final stretch to a confusing or inefficient donation experience!
To raise more money online, you need a donation page that is easy, quick, and intuitive for donors to use, while also offering essential tools for fundraisers, like the ability to track gifts and send thank-you messages. Remember these essentials:
Want even more tips? Download our step-by-step guide to fundraising campaigns for in-depth advice to raise mission-critical funds all year round with targeted, planned campaigns that wow donors!