No matter the challenges a year may bring, one thing remains the same: Year-end giving can provide the extra boost needed to meet the funding goals we’ve set.
Virtual Fundraising Success
As a result of the unique circumstances nonprofits have faced during the Coronavirus pandemic, the world has become much more comfortable with online giving. Nonprofits have made it easy for people to give through crowdfunding sites, social media, and through their own website’s donation buttons. They’ve created virtual fundraising events and found ways to excite their community and reach out to new donors through new media events, with programs that recreate the experience of being at a live event. And, all of this was created on the spur of the moment last spring. Well, done, fundraisers!
Now it’s time to look at options for the important year-end fundraising push.
New fundraising tactics
Innovation is the name of the game in the modern fundraising era. New technologies, funding options, and relationships can lead you to innovative ways to fundraise and could prove to be so effective that you may want to incorporate them into your post COVID plan, as well.
1. Virtual events
Auctions, game nights, live streaming, and more can all be reimagined as virtual events. There are many ideas and tips to help you adapt your typical in-person event into a virtual-friendly one. Keep your mind and heart open, as many adjustments will need to be made in order to accommodate a virtual audience.
2. Integrated marketing
Multi-layered, integrated marketing plans have proven to be extremely successful in getting the word out to new audiences. Involving several media channels—traditional and digital—can provide different insights into one cohesive storyline. Interesting graphics on your website, printed ads, and video clips shared across all your social media networks will reach several different audiences with a consistent storyline that can engage donors in different, meaningful ways.
3. Social media takeovers
Step in and take over an already captured audience through a social media takeover. Turn to your established business or organizational relationships and ask if you can secure a day to step in as the social media maven on their social networks. Post fun and enlightening graphics, videos, and copy and be sure to promote their business on your nonprofit’s timeline, as well.
4. Virtual challenges
Virtual challenges have been a huge success over the last few years. Everything from water dumps to virtual reading challenges can be turned into a fundraising campaign. Start by recording a video of your team doing the challenge, then share it across every social network available to you.
5. Special COVID-19 funding options
There are more funding resources available through special programs set up to support nonprofits during the pandemic. The Cares Act is a government program that is specifically designed to financially help organizations with government grants. However, it is only available until December 31, 2020, so don’t delay. Other grants and sponsorships dedicated to helping nonprofits are also available, so if you miss the deadline you still have options.
Valuable traditional fundraising tactics
Even as fundraisers embraced new ideas, they continue to find value in the traditional methods and tactics that drive donations. Lean on these tactics as a mainstay of your fundraising.
1. Reevaluate your needs
Trimming excess costs is always the best start to raising funds. Take a microscopic look at your budget as old programs age out or changes to current programs occur. You may find there is extra money that can be added to your funding chest.
2. Boost donor engagement
Reach out to your current donor with an appeal they can’t refuse. Choose wording that will motivate them to act, with examples, stats, and personal accounts to reinforce your pitch. And, always keep in mind the challenges your donors may be facing during this tumultuous period when you send a thank you.
3. Enlist board members
Send out a request to your board members to show their support with activities they can perform from their own homes. That could be getting more active on social media to help spread the word or making a few calls to their acquaintances who have the ability to give.
4. Highlight special dates to bring awareness and make an appeal
Correlate your funding campaigns with special recognized holidays or events that relate to your mission. #GivingTuesday is set to occur on December 1st this year and it’s a great place to start, but you should also research specific anniversary dates or officially recognized dates, like National Philanthropy Day on November 15th.
5. Explore special funding options
There are many grants and sponsorships awarded to nonprofits every year, and they are still there to be had before year-end. However, there may be more competition for funding. Take time to perfect the pitch for funding and research new sources to submit your request.
Fundraising through internet crowdfunding platforms is safe and easy, and donors are more comfortable with the concept than ever before. Look at well-known platforms, like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, as well as ones designed specifically for nonprofits, like Causes.
7. Partner with supporters
School affiliations, churches, corporations, and philanthropic organizations are great assets to a nonprofit. Reach out to donors who are members of those groups with a special appeal for extra funding.
The value of a volunteer is evident at live events, but they are also valuable in this virtual world we’re currently living in. Each person brings with them new contacts, new ideas, and new enthusiasm for the mission. Send out a request with a pre-written appeal they can post online in their social networks or in an email they can send out to their friends, colleagues, and family.
9. Continue to solicit funding
The most important thing you can do in your year-end fundraising push is to never give up. Turn to the tried and true virtual methods of acquiring funding that has always proven valuable, such as subscription giving, legacy programs, and corporate sponsorships, and promote them regularly.
Charities that have been nurturing relationships with donors, communicating transparently, and making the most of technology have laid a strong foundation to weather a crisis like the pandemic. Switching strategies would be great to cope with it.
Absolutely. These are some dynamic, trying times. Thank you for your comment!