Kyle Gregory is CEO/Co-Founder of Give Back Nation, a nonprofit serving other nonprofits with vetted tools, knowledge, coaching, strategy, implementation, and concierge support to help maximize efficiency, increase fundraising, and expand impact across the country. In 2020, the Give Back Nation Team, its Affiliates, and Vetted Partners served, supported, and helped to give back over $302 million to over 540 nonprofits.
With busy schedules focused on impacting causes and the pandemic adding new challenges, it’s easy to get too close to the bark of the tree and miss opportunities to enhance your tools, resources, and best practices to help advance your cause. As a nonprofit serving other nonprofits, Give Back Nation is constantly in search of ways to help organizations maximize the fundraising ecosystem, which we define as everything needed, working in harmony, to efficiently and effectively raise funds to thrive, not just survive.
Many organizations jump into fundraising without having key areas of their fundraising ecosystem maximized and later wonder why campaigns and initiatives were not as successful as they had hoped. Though there are many areas in the fundraising ecosystem of an organization, including events, board alignment, planned giving, and grant writing, we focus on making sure three main pillars are taken care of first to help build the infrastructure and lay the foundation for long-term success.
Branding & Storytelling
Your brand and your impact story are what supporters get passionate about. Making things clear and easy to understand is crucial and the look and design of something can gain or lose someone’s respect and interest quickly. Everything counts and it all adds up when someone is thinking about supporting your cause.
Organization names, logos, and tag lines matter. They can help tell your story and be a good introduction to your cause or create confusion and loss of respect from the beginning. DBA’s can help correct a poor name choice made prior. Logos with the right coloring and fresh design increase respect and help your cause stand out on collateral, social media, and other marketing opportunities. Even the right tag line can quickly help inform a potential supporter and motivate them to want to learn more.
Websites are oftentimes the first place a potential supporter goes to learn more about your cause. It should be the epicenter of your brand and storytelling. It should reflect and showcase the quality of impact you are making, not look dated or unprofessional.
Within 30 seconds, a potential supporter could make a decision to either learn more or move on. Template website builders like WordPress and Squarespace can allow organizations to cost-effectively implement and manage a beautiful, new age website that is responsive and looks good on desktop and mobile devices.
Numbers and specific success stories are what potential supporters and donors want to see. Put them front and center on your website and collateral materials. Make your impact story easy to find and understand with measurable outcomes.
Removing Barriers To Giving
When someone has seen, heard, or read enough and is in the mood to support your cause, it should be easy for them to donate from anywhere at any time. Cash and checks are great, but the right online fundraising solutions can dynamically expand your reach, remove barriers to giving, and increase data gathering to help maximize opportunities, especially with the focus of going virtual during the pandemic.
Simple merchant processing solutions like PayPal and Square are adequate to take payments, but have limitations when it comes to branding, customization, and data gathering. Being able to embed donation and event registration forms to maximize branding and keep supporters on your website is important. Sending them away to PayPal or other payment windows can create questions that could delay donations. Leveraging multi-step donation forms can also increase donation completion percentages.
Text-to-donate, peer-to-peer fundraising, and online auction solutions are additional tools that remove barriers to give. Text-to-donate harnesses our mobile devices to allow supporters to easily give anywhere at any time. Peer-to-peer fundraising empowers supporters to raise funds while exposing your cause for you. Online auctions are easy to implement, allow unlimited participants, and drive more bidding to increase overall fundraising and data gathering opportunities.
Data & Engagement
The right data and donor information fuels supporter engagement, which leads to increased fundraising, long-term growth, and success. Collecting names, email addresses, and phone numbers, at a minimum, seems simple, but many organizations struggle with implementing an effective strategy. When it comes time to launch a fundraising campaign, having a healthy, organized list of contacts to engage with can make a huge impact.
Excel spreadsheets, broken down by different factors like relationship and donation sizes, are used by many organizations in the beginning, but manually collecting donor and supporter contact information and typing it in can be time consuming. Directing supporters to online donation pages saves time, may actually increase gifts, and allows you to ask for additional information using custom fields. As contact lists grow, true nonprofit CRMs like DonorPerfect can provide complete data management capabilities to maximize long-term opportunities.
When it comes to maximizing engagement fueled by your data, there are many tools and practices to keep in mind. Simple monthly email newsletters with updates and impact stories help keep your cause top-of-mind. With 98% average open rates, text message engagement is a powerful way to be sure supporters and followers receive your news and updates. Videos are also newer engagement tools that are being leveraged to dynamically connect with and thank supporters.
Fundraising for your cause can be challenging, but if you implement and align the proper tools, resources, and best practices, it increases fundraising success and minimizes time wasted. There are many areas you can look at to help maximize the fundraising ecosystem, but if you invest the time to enhance your branding and storytelling, remove barriers to giving, and maximize your data gathering and engagement, you will be on the right path to thrive, not just survive.
If you wish to learn more about ways to maximize your fundraising ecosystem, sign up for Kyle’s June 23rd webinar!