publication date: Nov 27, 2012
author/source: Tara Irwin
It's no secret that technology has changed the way we
communicate. For charities, that means that donors and prospects of all ages
are interacting with many types of media as they write cheques, read email and
tweet. It's important to reach your donors through all available channels.
With that in mind, an integrated fundraising strategy begins
with a donor-centric approach. You'll want to find out more about your donors -
the best ways to communicate with them, their propensity to give, and how they
would find it easy to support your organization.
You've heard it before, but breaking down organizational
silos is the best way to get ahead with integrated planning. Fostering a
donor-centric culture by offering a variety of ways to give, consistent
personalized communication, and engagement that's not financial will lead you
It's easy to integrate. You may think that online is only
good for one-time donations or as a way to facilitate monthly gifts. But
something as simple as an online survey can help charities identify middle
donors, major donors and even bequests.
Integration can help engage your donors
across all channels, and grow your donor pyramid from prospects and one-time gift
donors to major gift and bequest donors.
Tactics in a nutshell
giving tangible, emotional and interesting. Symbolic giving is one way to
do this. It provides donors with a tangible description of what their gift can
do. Pair it with the phone and email for stewardship and upgrading of your online
symbolic gift donors.
multiple giving options into all communications. This can be as simple as
adding a Web address and phone number to direct mail pieces or including a soft
ask in your e-newsletter with a link to a donation form. Providing many ways to
give makes it easy for donors to support your cause.
- Use your
website as an acquisition tool. Your website is one of the first places
that a prospect learns more about your work. Use your homepage to gain
supporters for your cause. A simple email sign-up or an advocacy pledge will
help grow your file of prospects.
- Find ways
to engage donors that do not involve giving, including social media. Create
a social media calendar with engaging content. Encourage followers to share
your content with their own networks. Ask for opinions with a Facebook poll or
run a Twitter contest and offer a prize.
your evangelists. Online personal
fundraising pages are a great way to engage champions of your cause. These
folks will ask their friends and family to support your organization. Find
opportunities to welcome and engage these peer-to peer-donors.
- Have an
integrated welcome series that attempts to take donors to the next engagement
level. Beyond the online thank-you and tax receipt, how can you welcome
donors to your organization and engage them with your cause? Consider an
offline welcome letter for online donors or a handwritten thank-you card for
your monthly program. Map your activities in a simple chart to ensure all
constituents are being thanked appropriately.
integration all the time. Sometimes life gives you lemons, but it's a great
excuse to find a way to use integration. Even when something as simple as event
registration slows down, think about a unique ways to engage folks to register
using a variety of channels including email, social media and your website.
- Be open to
multistep acquisition. This is not as complicated as it sounds. Finding
constituents through Facebook, e-newsletter sign-up or Google Ads can give you
champions for your cause. With a bit of planning, you can lead these folks towards
giving through email, direct mail or a phone call.
An integrated strategy requires some planning, buy-in across
your organization, and a little bit of creative thinking. Plan it out within
your organization's capacity and use a variety of multichannel tools to drive
fundraising, engagement and stewardship. Use some or all of these tactics to
help your organization raise more money today!
summarizes Tara's session at Congress 2012, presented in November by the
Greater Toronto Chapter, Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Tara Irwin is a
Fundraising Innovation Consultant at hjc.
An experienced nonprofit professional with online fundraising and individual
giving expertise, she uses technology to identify and engage prospects and
convert them into donors. She has developed successful integrated fundraising
campaigns, online pledge events and cross-channel donor stewardship for
organizations across North America.
Tara has a
post-graduate certificate in Fundraising and Volunteer Management from Humber
College. A member and volunteer with the Association of Fundraising
Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter, Tara is pursuing her CFRE designation.