With the help of your dedicated donors, your organization reached its year-end fundraising goals, closed out a successful year, and got to work putting together your newest fundraising strategy. You’re all set for another year of encouraging giving and pursuing your mission!
However, after you’ve thanked your donors for their year-end gifts, it can be challenging to re-engage them at the beginning of the new year. You’ve acknowledged them for having done their part at the end of the year, so now it’s time to remind them that your important work is far from over and you need their support to make it happen.
Using creative fundraising ideas, social media outreach, and innovative online donation tools, you’re sure to reignite their interest in your cause. We’ll show you how you can:
- Host an event to revitalize giving.
- Get creative with your fundraising ideas.
- Revamp your website and online donation tools.
- Learn more about your donors through prospect research.
Want to kick off the new year with the perfect opportunity to get to know your donors and showcase the great work you do in your community? Host an event that will motivate your supporters to give!
1. Host an event to revitalize giving.
Meet your supporters in-person and reinforce your commitment to your community by hosting an event at the beginning of the year. You can share your goals for the new year at your event, encouraging both current and new supporters to get involved and help you reach them.
First, choose an event your donors will love. Consider your audience: will they prefer a family-friendly event or a party-like atmosphere? Your nonprofit’s focus can also help you choose the right event, as can the time of year. The chilly weather at the beginning of the year may encourage you to choose an indoor event such as an auction or fundraising dinner.
Ensure that your event runs smoothly using software that will make registration easy for your donors. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may also want your event software to be able to distribute tickets to guests or help facilitate the type of fundraiser you have selected. Check out Snowball Fundraising’s guide to nonprofit event management software for more information on the features you should look for.
Event registration provides an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about your supporters, whether they’re regular donors long connected to your organization or newer supporters interested in the work you do in your community. Encourage your guests to supply additional contact information so that you can reach out to them via their preferred methods.
A well-planned event that’s easy to register for and targeted toward your donors’ interests is the perfect way to start your fundraising year off strong, but only if attendance numbers are high! Promote your auction or other fundraising event to all of your current and potential donors to ensure that it’s a success. Your organization should:
- Share event details on social media. It’s almost certain that many of your supporters check social media regularly, so post information and reminders about your event that they’re sure to see. Encourage them to share the event with their friends over social media as well as through email and text.
- Reach out to current donors. Everyone in your donor database and on your contact lists should be aware of your event. If you’ve recorded different groups of donors’ preferred communication methods, make sure you’re using them when you reach out
- Extend personal invitations to key donors. Recurring or long-term supporters of your organization, as well as individuals who have made significant gifts in the past, deserve special invitations to your event, as they’re particularly capable of helping to ensure the event’s success.
Events are a tried-and-true means of re-engaging donors by providing them with a fun, social way to interact with your nonprofit and showcasing your work in the process. Tired of hosting the same events year after year? Shake things up this year by involving your supporters in a creative fundraising idea.
2. Get creative with your fundraising ideas.
Creative fundraising ideas can get donors excited about your nonprofit and the work it does, encouraging them to donate. They’re also a great way to share your organization’s enthusiasm about the new year with your supporters, especially when you can connect them to your most recent initiatives.
Hosting an event remains a great way to form and strengthen relationships with your donors. Especially at the beginning of the year, it’s important to appeal to as many of your donors as possible so that you can engage them in your newest fundraising goals.
Want your event to be family-friendly, but still need to stay out of the cold? Plenty of fundraising ideas for kids are easy to add on to a “grown-up” fundraiser so that the whole family can participate and have fun. If you’re hosting a silent auction, for instance, include a kids’ table or some kid-friendly items for younger family members and their parents to bid on. A themed auction or kid-friendly dinner can also motivate families to support your organization.
For organizations who feel ambitious at the beginning of the year, you can widen your appeal by combining events so that all your supporters have something fun to do. For instance, you can balance the two classic event categories of athletic outdoor fun and indoor fundraising activities by hosting an auction and a golf tournament simultaneously.
Combining two events may sound like a lot of work up front, but your organization is likely to benefit from increased involvement as more current and potential donors will be motivated to attend. To boost attendance, don’t forget to encourage your donors to spread the word about your event on social media!
You’ll renew your supporters’ interest in your organization when your event appeals to their hobbies as well as their values. Your event also illustrates your commitment to your community’s wellbeing. Before your event, take some time at the beginning of this year to make sure that your online donation tools are easy for supporters to access, navigate, and use.
3. Revamp your website and online donation tools.
As increasing numbers of donors become comfortable giving online and on their smartphones, your organization will want to make sure that you’re encouraging and facilitating these giving methods this year. A trustworthy and well-designed website and online giving page can motivate supporters to start giving or increase their donations.
Ready to update your online fundraising strategy? It’s worth taking a look at both your website as a whole as well as your giving page to determine what you’re doing well and where you can improve your supporters’ experience.
Your website serves as the first point of contact for your supporters as well as a reliable source of updated information. If you haven’t updated it in a while, the new year is a great time to make sure that it contains relevant information, features a modern design, and is easily navigable. The best nonprofit websites include such aspects as:
- Links to your social media accounts. Encourage your website visitors to stay updated on your organization’s progress by following you on social media. They should also be motivated to share your progress updates on their own accounts to reach out to even larger networks.
- A page to tell your story. To create those all-important personal connections between your organization and your supporters, ensure that your website features a page detailing your origins as well as your purpose or mission.
- Multimedia elements. Pictures are a great way to communicate the importance of the work your organization does on a daily basis to your supporters. You may also want to include videos where appropriate to showcase your hardworking team in action!
While many visitors to your website are there because they want to learn more about your organization, others are there to make their donations. Update your donation page and make sure it’s featured on your website to encourage this convenient giving method.
Online Giving Page
Most of today’s supporters expect online giving to be available and easy to complete for the nonprofits they want to support. If you haven’t given much thought to the accessibility or design of your online giving page recently, the new year presents a great opportunity to evaluate whether it is:
Easy to find. Because many of your website visitors are arriving with the purpose of making a donation in mind, the link to your online giving page should be prominently displayed on your homepage.
Easy to use. Donors want to complete their online gifts quickly. Save them time by giving them the option to save their personal and payment information for future giving without having to create and remember a username and password.
Account Creation Tip: When donors choose to save their information on your website,
they can complete all future gifts in just two taps! This method encourages more regular
giving by making the process much faster and easier for your supporters.
Trustworthy in its appearance. Customize your online giving page with your organization’s familiar color scheme, logo, and other branding elements so that it looks just like another page on your website. Donors want to be sure that they’re giving to the cause and organization that they trust and care about.
Want to improve or expand upon your organization’s current online giving capabilities? re:Charity’s list of the best online donation tools provides examples of innovative solutions to facilitate online giving, including mobile giving options so that supporters can donate on the go.
Whether your website’s visitors are largely new donors interested in learning more about your organization or your core base of supporters, it never hurts to get to know them better. Your organization can enter the new year with a better understanding of all your donors by conducting prospect research.
4. Learn more about your donors through prospect research.
Prospect research is the process of gathering relevant information on your organization’s current and potential donors so that you can reach out to them more effectively and identify key donors among them. You can conduct it yourself, with the help of specialized prospect research software, or hire a consultant to guide you through the process.
Broadly divided into the two complementary categories of wealth markers and philanthropic indicators, prospect research data tells you whether your donors are likely to support your organization as well as how capable they are of doing so. Examples of wealth markers, which measure a given donor’s capability of giving, include:
- The values of their real estate and stock holdings;
- Their career and business or corporate affiliations;
- Their history of donating to political campaigns.
Wealth markers can help you determine the appropriate size gift to ask for from different donors. This information is complemented by philanthropic indicators, which can tell your organization:
- Whether a given donor has supported your organization in the past;
- Whether the donor has a history of supporting organizations with goals similar to yours;
- Whether the donor is active as a volunteer with your organization or a similar nonprofit.
Philanthropic indicators can show your organization which donors to invite to your event or reach out to. These indicators are also relevant to additional activities important to your organization’s success, such as recruiting volunteers. The strongest prospects are both capable of giving and likely to do so.
When your organization decides to conduct prospect research, the first group of individuals to learn more about should be the current supporters already in your donor database. Want to extend your reach? A prospect generator is a software tool that can help you find new potential supporters to reach out to. You may want to invite some of these prospects to your event!
By engaging your donors in a fun activity and emphasizing their individual importance to the continuation and success of your organization, you’re sure to achieve fundraising success in the new year.
Avoid a slump in your fundraising efforts after the excitement of the end-of-year giving season has ended by creating and refreshing your strategies of interacting with your donors. When they feel valued and see the importance of your work firsthand, they’ll want to renew their support for your organization throughout the new year.
Special thanks to John Killoran from Snowball Fundraising for expert advice on how to leverage email newsletters.
John 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.