Your organization understands the significance of each of your supporters, whose contributions make your good work possible and allow you to expand your efforts to address your causes in greater depth.
When your supporters are excited about your cause and understand their impact on your mission, they’ll be excited about giving.
To share your organization’s understanding of the transformational power of giving with your supporters, you’ll need to engage them in fundraising campaigns and other efforts that place your purpose front and center. You’ll also need to personalize your approach toward individual supporters, especially those with the potential to make a significant positive impact on the success of your campaign.
Today, we’re taking a look at some of the ways in which your organization can create excitement around the giving process during your next campaign and all year round. We’ll offer our best tips to maximize your success as you:
- Plan ahead for a successful capital campaign.
- Encourage year-round giving to your annual fund.
- Tailor your approaches toward individual supporters.
- Make giving convenient for your supporters.
- Always thank your supporters for their contributions.
Let’s begin with one of the most intensive fundraising efforts your organization will embark on: your next capital campaign. With enough advance planning and strategies in place for reaching out to some of your most important supporters, your organization can demonstrate the importance of giving to help ensure the success of your next project.
1. Plan ahead to ensure a successful capital campaign.
If your organization is planning a large-scale project, you’re likely anticipating funding at least part of it through your next capital campaign. These significant fundraising efforts may seem daunting, but with realistic expectations and carefully planned strategies, you’re sure to encourage giving.
As you plan your capital campaign, develop strategic ways to share your mission with the supporters you’ll be reaching out to so that they’ll be motivated to give.
One essential element of planning a successful capital campaign is creating a case statement that explains the project for which you’re currently fundraising, how the project fits into your organization’s history of good work, and how it connects to your overall mission.
An effective case statement is one that demonstrates to your supporters—especially those capable of making major gifts—why they should be motivated to contribute to your campaign and help your organization work toward making a difference and achieving your mission. Your case statement, however, is only one of the early steps in planning a successful capital campaign. To encourage potential supporters, your organization should also:
- Set achievable goals. Draw on your past experiences, especially previous capital campaigns, to set realistic fundraising goals for your organization. You’ll need to define your overall goal for the campaign and break it down into gift ranges that supporters at different giving levels will be able to fill. When you ask your supporters for appropriately sized gifts, they’ll feel like they’re making a difference.
- Consider hiring a fundraising consultant. Capital campaigns are major undertakings and your organization doesn’t have to go through the process alone. An experienced fundraising consultant can help you create an effective case statement, plan out your campaign, identify prospective contributors, and guide your campaign to success. They’re also experts at communicating with your supporters and getting them excited about your campaign.
- Connect with supporters capable of making major gifts. Major gifts are key to your capital campaign’s success, so you’ll want to reach out to these potential contributors individually and connect their interests in your organization and causes with the goals of your current fundraising effort.
Your capital campaign presents an excellent opportunity to prioritize your organization’s most pressing fundraising goals and build support for them among supporters capable of making significant gifts. Motivated supporters can also contribute year-round via your organization’s annual fund.
2. Encourage year-round giving to your annual fund.
When your supporters are excited about giving, they’ll want to contribute to your organization even when you’re not pursuing your next big project. Encourage supporters to give to your annual fund so that your organization can continue your good work and plan for the future.
Annual funds help cover the costs of your nonprofit’s operations and benefit from consistent support. Your supporters may not initially view your annual fund appeal as being quite as exciting as that for a capital campaign or another large fundraising effort. However, they’ll be encouraged to contribute when you’re able to communicate your annual fund’s importance to the future of your organization.
With the right strategies, your organization is sure to motivate supporters and reach or exceed your goals for your annual fund. As with a more time-sensitive effort such as a capital campaign, you’ll want to plan ahead and develop strategies to encourage giving. Work with your nonprofit’s team to:
- Determine the amount you’ll need to raise. Attaching specific amounts to various costs you’ll need to cover helps your nonprofit better understand your goals and track your progress toward reaching them. These amounts can also help you identify supporters to reach out to at various giving levels.
- Identify supporters from within your CRM. When it comes to contributing to your annual fund, look to the supporters who are already highly engaged with your organization’s work and would thus be more interested in its continuation. You can use their past giving histories, other information in your CRM, and additional prospect research to determine which supporters to reach out to and what size gifts to ask them for.
- Consider asking for future support. Unlike a time-sensitive campaign, your annual fund doesn’t have an endpoint: your organization will always depend at least in part upon the generosity of your supporters to stay operating. Many supporters who are excited to give to your annual fund this year may be interested in making or pledging a multi-year gift.
To develop a strong strategy for encouraging giving to your annual fund, your organization may want to consider hiring an annual fund consultant. Much like their counterparts for capital campaign fundraising, annual fund consultants bring professional expertise and a wealth of experience with nonprofits of all types to the process.
You can use Averill Fundraising Solutions’ guide to learn more about annual fundraising consultants and the ways in which one may benefit your fundraising efforts.
Whether you’re reaching out to ask for contributions toward your capital campaign, annual fund, or another fundraising effort, you’ll have the most success when you speak to your supporters’ individual concerns and interests. You’ll be able to accomplish this when you tailor your approach with the help of prospect research data.
3. Tailor your approaches toward individual supporters.
All supporters appreciate your organization’s efforts to take interest in their personal reasons for contributing to your fundraising campaigns. This demonstrates that you value their contributions, a key step in building lasting relationships with them.
Use information gathered through prospect research to develop more personalized appeals that your supporters will appreciate.
Prospect research is the process of gathering important information on current and potential supporters related to their capacity and willingness to give. Prospect research data encompasses several categories of information, including:
- Philanthropic indicators. These include your supporters’ giving histories to your organization and others that share a similar mission. Individuals who have given to your organization before are among the most likely to give again, so make sure you reach out to this group of potential contributors.
- Wealth markers. Including such data as real estate ownership, stock holdings, business affiliations, and political giving history, wealth markers give your organization an indication of the appropriate size gifts to ask for from different supporters.
- Other indications of interest in your organization. Are some of your contributors also volunteers with your organization or with similar nonprofits? Do they demonstrate their support for your causes and your work on social media? These committed individuals are worth reaching out to.
Once you’ve identified prospective contributors, especially those who are potentially capable of making major gifts, you’ll need to cultivate stronger relationships with them to keep them motivated about giving. DonorSearch offers valuable prospect development strategies that you can use to get started building and developing these essential connections.
When your supporters understand that your organization values their personal interests in your cause, they’ll be excited to give. Make the process easy for them by providing them with convenient giving methods.
4. Make giving convenient for your supporters.
To encourage giving, it’s important for your organization to make the process as clear and easy to complete as possible for your supporters so they don’t abandon their efforts.
Make sure that each of the supporters you approach for gifts has all the information they need to make their gift.
For smaller and mid-level supporters, convenience usually refers to online giving capabilities. As philanthropy and technology grow more interconnected, your organization can anticipate that increasing numbers of supporters will expect to be able to make their gifts online.
Your organization should be able to direct them to the appropriate payment location and minimize the number of steps required to complete the gift.
Supporters who contribute major gifts—and other high-level supporters—are likely to make those contributions in-person. Because these supporters are essential to the success of your fundraising efforts, your organization should make sure that they know exactly how and where to finalize their gifts.
For supporters at all giving levels, it’s essential that your organization show your gratitude. When your supporters feel appreciated and understand the ways in which their gifts are making a positive difference, they’ll be excited to contribute again in the future.
5. Always thank your supporters for their contributions.
Supporters who are inspired by your organization’s mission and motivated to contribute toward the good work you’re currently doing will be more than happy to give again.
In addition to sharing your progress with your supporters, your organization needs to demonstrate that generous contributions are the reason for your continued success.
To cultivate an attitude of gratitude for your supporters at your organization, begin by making a habit of sending personalized thank-you letters to key contributors, especially major donors and important prospects with the potential to move up a giving level.
Provide information as to the specific purposes for which their gifts will be used whenever possible. If you know their main reasons for supporting your organization, indicate how their gift will help you achieve the goals that matter most to them.
When your thank-yous are highly personalized, sent in a timely manner, and written with a sense of sincere gratitude, your supporters will understand that your organization values their contributions and their dedication to your cause. This will encourage them to give again, helping you develop lasting relationships with supporters who are invested in helping your organization reach your goals.
Your supporters will be excited to give when your organization demonstrates that their gifts are integral to helping you further your mission and continue your good work. Whether you’re engaging them in a time-sensitive fundraising campaign or a year-round effort, place your goals front and center and show your gratitude to get them excited about giving.
This blog is an original work of the attributed author and is shared with permission via Foundant Technologies' website for informative purposes only as part of our educational content in the philanthropic sector. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect Foundant's stance on this topic. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to our team.