5 Tech Tips for Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign
We know that roughly 30% of all giving occurs in December and that about half of nonprofit organizations raise the majority of their annual donations during that time. It is the single biggest opportunity for nonprofits, and you have to be prepared to make the most of it!
As nonprofit technology grows in importance, preparing for year-end fundraising is changing to accommodate the new tools. From making sure your existing database is optimized to receive an influx of donors, to incorporating new giving methods (something that’s sure to attract your younger donors, as well as long-term supporters), tech should be a central concern in your year-end campaigns.
At DNL OmniMedia, we advise nonprofits on how to make the most of their digital toolkit. We’ve pulled together the following tips for using technology to the fullest during your year-end fundraising campaign:
- Integrate your major software systems for a complete picture.
- Optimize your website for increased engagement.
- Don’t neglect on-trend fundraising methods.
- Gather comprehensive data for future growth.
- Consider hiring a nonprofit tech consultant.
Follow along for a look at how you can use technology to prepare for and increase the success of your year-end giving campaign. And to supplement these tips, reference this guide to year-end giving for extra context around the planning process. Let’s dive in!
1. Integrate Your Major Software Systems for a Complete Picture
The year-end fundraising season means drastically increased engagement between your organization and its supporters. This engagement, from general communications to actual donations, needs to be tracked across your solutions and stored in a central location.
As you prepare for this increased engagement, it’s vital that your organization’s various digital software solutions are functioning at the highest level. Make the most of your solutions through integrations.
In this context, integration means creating connections between your software solutions for heightened insights. The most important connections to make are those between your constituent relationship management (CRM) software and your other solutions. Consider the following valuable integrations:
Integrate Your CRM With Your CMS
Integrate your CRM with your content management system (CMS), which hosts your website. WordPress and Squarespace are popular examples.
Direct donors and interested supporters to your website to learn more about the opportunities your offer to get involved. Then, include a landing page on your site where interested supporters can input their contact details to receive further information. This contact info then becomes invaluable for reaching out to those guaranteed supporters in the future.
Integrating your CRM with your CMS allows this information to flow directly from your website’s lead capture forms into your biggest donor database, your CRM.
Integrate your CRM With Your Digital Giving Software
Integrate your CRM with your digital giving software, the solution you use to collect all online donations.
Direct interested donors to this page to give via credit/debit cards and ACH/direct deposit payments. Then, with a CRM integration in place, information regarding who gave, what method they gave through and how much they gave can flow directly into your CRM. These details are important for the logistical purposes of record-keeping and providing receipts, but they’re also invaluable for developing detailed, data-driven fundraising strategies down the line, too.
Do some research into your current tools to see what sorts of pre-configured integrations are available, or consider reaching out to a tech consultant to get some quick answers.
2. Optimize Your Website for Increased Engagement
Your website is often the first point of contact that new supporters have with your organization. Whether through an ardent supporter directing their peers to it or stumbling across it on the internet, it’s important that you make this first impression a strong one.
Further, your website is often the first place current donors look when searching for information on how to get involved. As you ramp up marketing communications for the year-end fundraising season, make sure your website is prepared to handle this increased engagement.
Make sure your website has all of the following information:
- A fundraising calendar, noting all of the important events and giving days scheduled for the year-end season.
- A page dedicated to conveying your organization’s mission and how you’re fulfilling it with support from donors.
- Email signup tools where potential supporters can register to receive future communications.
- A prominently-placed link to your digital giving page for donors to give whenever they feel inspired.
You’re going to be sending donors, new and interested, to your website for information. Make sure all the necessary details and tools are easy to find and easy to use.
Check out Double the Donation’s best practices for nonprofit web design for more tips.
3. Don’t Neglect On-Trend Fundraising Methods
During a major fundraiser, it’s no secret that the biggest proportion of your total donations will come from major gifts. These opportunities are a huge resource and not to be downplayed — the more major gifts you solicit, the fewer gifts you have to solicit in total, after all.
Because of this, many nonprofits tend to strategize in a way that places major donor stewardship first and foremost. That’s fine! However, a strategy that neglects trending digital fundraising methods simply because they’re not major-donor focused is a strategy that will miss out on valuable donation opportunities.
Use a multi-layered fundraising strategy that combines tried-and-true methods, such as major gift campaigns, with other digital-based grassroots methods that can reach wider audiences.
Though these methods won’t generate major gifts, there is a power in the sheer number of donors they bring to your organization. This is especially true during the year-end fundraising season when there’s a heightened affinity toward the idea of giving overall. Reaching larger audiences and building a foundation for continued outreach all next year is the true long-term value of this fundraising season.
Consider trying out a few of the following digital methods:
- Text-to-give: Set up a text-to-give number and designated keyword in conjunction with your year-end fundraising campaign. With this, donors simply text the keyword to your number to begin the giving process. This technique can be especially effective in conjunction with live events.
- Crowdfunding: Create a crowdfunding page explaining your year-end campaign, your mission and where the two intersect. Share this page with your donors and encourage them to send it out, most likely via social media platforms, to their personal network of peers. Supporters then give directly to your organization via this crowdfunding page.
- Peer-to-peer. Set up a peer-to-peer fundraising page for your organization and enable your supporters to create their own pages as part of it. Donors share their personal giving pages with friends and family, and these peers give to that page in support of their loved one. These donations are then routed back to your main peer-to-peer campaign. This is particularly good when paired with a fun event, such as a year-end walk-a-thon, and overarching engagement strategies for keeping your fundraisers motivated.
These digital giving methods open your organization up to donations at any time and from any place. Further, the shareability exposes you to a ton of potential givers you may not have been able to reach previously, instantaneously growing your supporter base for future endeavors.
Developing a multichannel digital strategy can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with nonprofit tech. If you’re looking for more guidance regarding nonprofit tech best practices, check out DNL OmniMedia’s steps to creating a nonprofit digital strategy.
4. Gather Comprehensive Data for Future Growth
The year-end fundraising season presents the biggest opportunity for nonprofits to raise gifts. With #GivingTuesday and the holiday season, it’s a time of increased giving and nonprofit awareness.
Your organization will receive gifts from regular supporters, potentially at an increased rate. However, you should also (hopefully) receive a deluge of new supporters through the season.
It’s vital that you gather information on all of these interactions to capitalize on the growth as you go forward, at the very least contact details and other basic personal information.
The bigger idea, though, is to think ahead and determine how you’ll measure success for your year-end fundraising efforts. Think about your organization’s most important performance metrics, as in, how your organization’s year-end fundraiser performed and how it can do better in the future.
There are a ton of metrics regarding donor retention and loyalty that can help fuel your future growth. Consider the following metrics that you might prioritize:
- Donors recruited and donors lapsed during your year-end fundraiser.
- The conversion rate of donors that visited your digital giving form or received your email communications.
- Return on investment of your fundraising efforts.
- Giving methods preferred and most used by donors. Were your donors particularly responsive to digital giving, such as peer-to-peer fundraising or crowdfunding?
- Average gift size and type, such as quite a few small gifts made via credit cards.
Collect this information and use it to identify opportunities for improvement. Don’t examine this data every day, however. This is an easy way to overwhelm or accidentally micromanage your team. Instead, set a few benchmark periods ranging from before #GivingTuesday to the end of December as predetermined times to check in on your performance and make adjustments as needed.
5. Consider Hiring a Nonprofit Tech Consultant
Navigating the world of nonprofit fundraising tech can be confusing on its own, and that’s before you consider the fact that many nonprofits are operating without a full-time IT expert on staff.
Whether you’re simply updating your existing methods or creating an entirely new tech strategy from scratch heading into the year-end giving season, consider whether investing in nonprofit strategy advising would be beneficial.
These are a few signs it’s time to bring on a nonprofit technology consultant:
- You’re implementing new fundraising technology.
- You’re integrating multiple nonprofit software solutions.
- Your current software doesn’t have the functionality you need.
- Your staff isn’t maximizing the technology solutions you’re using.
- You don’t have a strategy for collecting and analyzing data.
The process of changing your tech strategy in any way, from purchasing new solutions to implementing and using those solutions, can be complicated and time-consuming. A nonprofit technology consultant can help your organization create a clear strategy for navigating these changes, helping you maximize the solutions’ potential for smarter fundraising.
Remember that not every nonprofit technology consulting firm will have expertise in every tech solution on the market right now. Make sure to do your research on prospective consultants to ensure they work with the software solutions your organization employs or is considering adopting.
With the help of a strong tech strategy, you’ll be well-prepared to capitalize on the year-end giving season.
From exposing you to new donors to providing information for supporters to get involved, technology can be a powerful tool for your campaign.
Carl Diesing co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together, DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As managing director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.