Fundraising strategies have undergone drastic changes and nonprofits everywhere are turning to innovative ways to continue reaching for their goals.
For some, this means increasing their traditional and digital marketing, for others it means stepping into the new world of live virtual events. Whichever method your organization chooses to use to reach potential donors, the need for funding for many nonprofits is more important because the need is much greater. But, take heart, because the spirit of giving is alive and well during the age of social distancing.
What we’ve learned about fundraising during difficult times
Raising funds during a challenging economic period provides a surprising advantage for nonprofits. When times get tough, people respond with even greater dedication and generosity than is typical, providing nonprofits with a cushion that helps keep them recession-proof. In fact, during the five “official” recessions from 1980 to the present, nonprofits have generally reported year over year growth in funding dollars.
What your nonprofit’s activity tells your community
Reaching your annual fundraising goals achieves much more than just monetary success. Of course, raising funds is the driver, but projecting the image that your nonprofit is stable and actively working toward those goals will provide you with the image of resilience and reinvention that is needed when situations demand change. This will, in turn, deepen your relationships with the event industry, your community, and the sponsors you rely on throughout the year.
7 Tips to stay visible
Keeping your nonprofit visible is more important than ever now that we are unable to host live events. However, virtual marketing strategies are facing stiff competition for their donors’ attention as nonprofits move to online fundraising. Marketing experts say it takes between five and seven points of exposure to make an impression, so plan on a multi-layered approach to make sure your nonprofit will stay visible in the cyberworld. Here are seven ways you can achieve that marketing goal.
- Virtual events have been the alternative many nonprofits have turned to when hosting a live event became impossible. Scaling down the typical event program to its key message, an entertaining moment, and an easy donation process is what’s recommended to hold your viewers’ attention and motivate them to act.
- Sending out a message on social media and in newsletters on days dedicated to a topic related to your mission brings awareness to the need in general. For example, a nonprofit that supports access to education in developing countries could create an add that leverages the UN Foundation’s World Day for Cultural Diversity and Development on May 21st.
- Online peer-to-peer fundraising has proven to be a great fundraising tool. Create challenges that your donors can share through their social networks and encourage them to spread your message with their friends and family. When sending it through an email drop provide the branding and a prepared message that you’d like them to share, then encourage them to add a greeting that explains why your mission is important to them.
- Just like a cement base is your foundation in a brick and mortar office, your website is the foundation of your nonprofit in the virtual world, but only if it is up to date. Make sure the messages are clear, your keywords are effective, and the donation process is prominently displayed and functioning correctly.
- Using clear, carefully worded communication in emails, newsletters, on your blog, and in social media posts is the key to bringing people to your donation page. Include information your donors will find valuable, be authentic, and provide timely updates from your organization. Find topics that will prove to your community that your nonprofit and the work it performs is going strong despite the challenges.
- Increase your search engine optimization (SEO) by inserting targeted keywords into all the content you’re publishing. Track engagement rates to find out which phrases are most successful, then create messages that include similar phrasing.
- Paid advertising on social media and search engine platforms can broadcast your message to people that are far outside your typical audience. These ads are typically low-cost and provide a great advantage to getting your message across to more potential donors.
Nonprofits have been forced to turn to new methods to reach their 2020 fundraising goals. Whether planned or made suddenly address the necessity of the moment, it is a step into a new world that will be with us going forward. Fortunately, there are many advantages for nonprofits during this time, and creating a solid marketing plan for a virtual world is the first step to keep, and even exceed your fundraising goals in 2020 despite all the odds.