Ways to make nonprofit fundraising efforts more effective

There a number of ways for nonprofits to create marketing materials that encourage donors to contribute.
Date Published
08/01/2014

In addition to ensuring foundational objectives are achieved, raising money is one of the primary focuses of any charitable organization. Nonprofit fundraising is a challenge for many 501(c)(3) organizations. In addition to strengthening relationships already established with existing donors, uncovering ways to entice new individuals to not only contribute, but to do so consistently, requires a lot of effort and savvy tactics. This is where the power of marketing comes in.

Like any other organization or company, marketing and advertising is a great way to elicit support from the general public. However, it must be done creatively in order to maximize the effectiveness of a campaign. A nonprofit CEO or other high-level decision-maker who assumes to know what makes donors tick, and then makes a decision to create marketing materials around these ideas, can lead to an ineffective strategy with respect to marketing. This is primarily because every person has a different motivation, and the wrong messaging can alienate potential givers.

One of the ways this hurdle can be overcome is by gaining valuable insight into donor motivations to carefully craft advertising that will motivate them to continue giving. Network for Good offers a number of helpful tips on ways to uncover this data:

  1. Poll contributors: No two people are alike. When it comes to making financial contributions to charities, what motivates one person to give may not be the same for the next contributor. NFG suggested asking donors questions to determine what encouraged them to give can be a great starting point for developing a well-rounded marketing strategy that many people will find impactful, not just one particular group.
  2. Track inquiries: In a number of instances, before making a donation, many contributors will research additional information about a 501(c)(3) group. This may often entail contacting the organization directly. By keeping an accurate log of questions that come in by phone or electronically, such as email or social media, a nonprofit will have a deeper understanding of the information that potential donors would like to have before giving. This data can then be used in a marketing campaign.
  3. Make a decision: There is no point in collecting consumer insights if they’re not going to be acted upon. Once a nonprofit is comfortable that they have enough data into donor motivations, then advertising needs to be created around this information and released as quickly as possible to get contributions flowing in.

Technology can be a major ally
The previous examples apply primarily to traditional marketing efforts that can help increase nonprofit fundraising. However, there are others rooted in technology that can be effective as well. Kickstarter is a way to raise money for a specific project or cause simply by presenting it to potential donors over the Internet. This method has shown to be successful for many individuals and nonprofits can use it as well.

MSN recently profiled Zack Brown, a man that has already raised more than $50,000 for a project to create potato salad. Brown gave some insight into why this has been such a successful venture from a financial perspective. One of the key points made was that in order for any Kickstarter fundraising effort to be successful, those who may be enticed to give have to see the value of the project. For nonprofits, clearly outlining how the money will be used and who it will help offers the transparency that many people need before making a decision to contribute financially.

Convincing people to give money isn’t an impossible task. The most successful charities are those who aren’t afraid to be creative and understand how to effectively tap into people’s emotions and encourage them to give.

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