Use of the Internet to fundraise was launched in the late 1990s, and through a process of trial and error, nonprofit organizations have slowly been able to build donors' confidence in the technology and grow their online database for giving.
Today, online fundraising makes up an average of 7 to 10 percent of most nonprofits’ annual budget. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that your nonprofit organization knows the basics of a successful online-fundraising campaign and has knowledge of emerging online-fundraising trends in order to prepare for the future.
The Internet has become a transient medium in the nonprofit sector. It can become a moving target that you hit perfectly one week, then completely miss the next. Reinventing yourself is no easy task. However, keeping your eye out for fresh ways to fundraise to move your organization’s mission forward is
imperative to your continued success.
The importance of seeking new ways to market your nonprofit online giving strategy has never been more important. In this two-part series, I will share 10 ways your nonprofit can take a different look at its online fundraising efforts and see an even bigger surge in donations in the coming campaign. Here are the final five (click here to see the first five from the May issue):
6. Set Goals
Goals are critical for fundraising. If you don’t have a goal, you will not know if you are successful–and neither will your donors. We naturally want to associate with winners. Winners meet their goals and deliver results. People see that you are successful, and that success becomes a magnet for donors.
7. Thank you in Follow-Up
This is important for cultivation and can set the stage for another ask. It is okay to use the thank you email or thank you letter (I personally prefer to send handwritten notes and suggest you do as well) to tell them about another opportunity, program or event.
8. Make them Part of the Success
Let your donors know that they contributed to some measureable result that happened because of their gift. This keeps them interested and willing to give and participate in future opportunities.
9. Benefit to Donor
Give your donors something for their gift to your nonprofit and its mission. Whether it is the personalization of a hand written thank you letter, a pen in the mail, listing their name on your website, giving something to a donor is always a great idea.
10. Public Acknowledgement
One of the benefits of online fundraising is the ability to publically acknowledge and thank a donor. This gives your donor the public recognition, which most donors want and appreciate. Always honor requests for anonymity, but use social media and online presence to promote and thank those who support your mission.
Tarsha Whitaker Calloway serves as vice president of philanthropy for Tessitura Network. For almost two decades, Tarsha has helped nonprofits develop fundraising, board governance and fundraising strategies to further their mission. Tarsha has directly led efforts to raise more than $50 million for the nonprofit organizations, including the Woodruff Arts Center, Emory University and the American Cancer Society. She frequently presents locally, regionally and nationally on fundraising; organizational and board development; and diversity and philanthropy.
Outside of work, Tarsha has a monthly column in NonProfit PRO magazine and is actively involved in her community, including board of trustees for Destination Imagination, board of directors' executive committee for Leadership DeKalb, board of directors for National HBCU Hall of Fame and former board chair for Atlanta Shakespeare Theater. Tarsha holds a master's of business administration in international business from Mercer University Stetson School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and theater from Texas Southern University. She also holds certificate in current affairs fundraising from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and a certificate in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace from South Florida University.
Tarsha resides in Atlanta with her husband and son.