- Digital communications & marketing
- Donor Engagement
As a nonprofit organization professional, you probably know that the majority of charitable donations occur at the end of the calendar year, from GivingTuesday through December 31. However, it’s important to maintain that fundraising momentum as much as possible into the new year to ensure continuous funding for your organization’s purpose all year long.
Spring in particular is a key time to issue fundraising appeals so your nonprofit can have enough revenue on hand to thrive during the giving lull that often happens during the summer. In this guide, we’ll walk through three strategies to refresh your fundraising appeals for the spring. Let’s get started!
1. Understand your audience
Learning about your supporters’ donation habits and interests is the first step in issuing fundraising appeals they’ll be receptive to. This is especially true since your audience may have shifted between last spring and this spring, as some of your existing donors likely lapsed and new donors gave for the first time during the year-end giving season.
Leverage segmentation strategies to learn more about your supporters by grouping them according to updated giving habits and shared characteristics, such as their:
- Demographics, such as age, location, education, family status, and wealth.
- Donation history, including their average gift size, frequency and recency of giving, and lifetime value to your nonprofit.
- Past engagement with your organization in ways other than donating, such as volunteering, event attendance, and participation in advocacy campaigns.
Once you know who your donors are, you can reach out to them in more targeted ways. For example, older, wealthy recurring donors might respond well to a direct solicitation for a monetary donation. However, supporters with young children might prefer to learn about an upcoming family-friendly fundraising event. If you segment your supporters, you can ensure the correct spring fundraising appeals reach their corresponding audience.
2. Leverage multiple communication channels
Each of your supporter segments will likely have different communication preferences, and it’s important to consider not only what messages you send to each segment but also how you present those messages. Implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy allows your nonprofit to reach all of your audiences with your spring fundraising appeals through their preferred platforms.
Consider leveraging marketing channels such as:
- Your nonprofit’s website. Make it easy for website visitors to take action by prominently featuring a “Donate Now” button in your navigation bar, creating a calendar of events and volunteer opportunities, and designing online registration forms to be as streamlined as possible.
- Email marketing. In addition to sending out specific email blasts about upcoming giving campaigns and events, consider theming an issue of your nonprofit’s monthly or quarterly newsletter around springtime fundraising.
- Social media. Each social media platform is best suited to different types of content, so adapt your appeals accordingly. For example, you might post short text-based updates about your fundraising progress on Twitter, write a slightly longer post that includes photos for Facebook and Instagram, and adapt that post into a short video for TikTok.
- Direct mail. While many nonprofits focus primarily on digital marketing, direct mail still appeals to certain donor segments and can be used for highly personalized solicitations.
To determine which of these communication methods to prioritize, you might choose to survey supporters about their preferences. This way, you can balance the quantity and quality of your appeals by putting the most effort into the channels that your supporters are most likely to use.
3. Take a data-driven approach
Your supporter surveys are just one type of data you can use to make your spring fundraising appeals as effective as possible. Other actions you can take to shape your appeals around data include:
- Reviewing data from past spring fundraising campaigns to identify each initiative’s strengths and areas for improvement.
- Tracking conversion rates from each marketing method you use and adjusting your content strategy accordingly.
- Doing a “spring cleaning” of your donor database to ensure all of your information is up to date and accurate.
Data is useful at every stage of the spring fundraising appeal process, from planning your messages to evaluating your success. With the right software solutions, such as Bonterra Guided Fundraising (formerly Network for Good), you can take a data-driven approach to your spring campaigns and maximize your revenue.
Spring fundraising appeals: The bottom line
As your organization enters the second quarter of your fiscal year and gears up for spring fundraising, leverage data to determine who your audience is and what communication channels they prefer in order to make your appeals as strong as possible. Remember to follow up and thank every event attendee and donor to your spring campaigns to help retain their support year-round.