Want to Guarantee Fundraising Success? Dive These 5 Fundamentals
In 2016, there are five fundamental skills nonprofits must master to guarantee success in an overcrowded marketplace.
- Integrate donor-centered fundraising with a robust social content marketing strategy.
- Master online social fundraising.
- Master one-to-one major-gift fundraising.
- Master donor retention.
- Shift to an organization-wide culture of philanthropy.
Some of these skills will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive in our digitally revolutionized society. Other skills may be things you’ve thought about or dabbled in, but haven’t really committed to with serious intent and dedicated resources.
1. Integrate donor-centered fundraising with a robust social content marketing strategy.
Let’s begin with the first part of this two-part equation: "Integrate. Donor-centered. Fundraising."
Every word is intentional and impactful. "Integrate" means bring together; no more silos. Your donor only knew one organization. Stop confusing them with inconsistent, uncoordinated messaging. "Donor-centered" means focus on your constituents’ needs; not yours. Love them. Praise them. Give them useful content. “Fundraising” means something everyone does; we’re all in fundraising now (this parallels Daniel Pink’s notion that "we’re all in sales now."
Now to the second part of this equation: "Social. Content. Marketing."
In our digitally revolutionized world, you must include a robust online (email, the Internet and social media) strategy. "Social" means building lasting relationships. "Content" means what you have to offer folks that connects them to your mission. "Marketing" is how you deliver content.
Content marketing will become the primary way folks will become aware of you; it should be oriented to create and keep customers (buyers, subscribers, donors, volunteers, etc.) And also to create customers who create other customers (advocates, ambassadors and influencers). For this to happen, you must give folks something they really want or need; solve their problems. And you must make it easy for them to share your content with others.
2. Master online social fundraising.
In our digitally revolutionized world, you must find a way to truly connect with your natural constituencies. Whoever you are and whatever you do, your constituents are likely to be online. We’re all now a part of "Generation Connected" (GenC). This requires you to develop and master a robust online engagement strategy (email, the Internet and social media). And this means content marketing. And not just any content.
Mastering online social fundraising means you must commit to being useful. Give folks something they really want or need; solve their problems. Otherwise, they won’t give a fig.
To raise more money next year, you’ve got to develop an online plan that includes getting to know your current and prospective donors better. That’s why you need to get social. Interact. Ask for feedback. Learn what content your constituencies want. If you don’t know this, you can’t fulfill their wishes.
You also can’t keep your constituents connected to you if you don’t celebrate them, woo them and continue to give them what they want. There’s just too much competition for folks’ attention for you to appear boring or self-promotional. Ego-centric content won't get you where you want to go.
Commit to making your donors feel good. Your messages should be replete with highlights of what they’ve helped to accomplish. These are your donors’ victories! And balance your appeals with interactive stuff that seeks your donors’ feedback. Show you care about what they think, believe and feel.
If you like craft fairs, baseball games, art openings, vocal and guitar, and political conversation, you’ll like to hang out with Claire Axelrad. Claire, J.D., CFRE, will inspire you through her philosophy of philanthropy, not fundraising. After a 30-year development career that earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award, Claire left the trenches to begin her coaching/teaching practice, Clairification. Claire is also a featured expert and chief fundraising coach for Bloomerang, She’ll be your guide, so you can be your donor’s guide on their philanthropic journey. A member of the California State Bar and graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco.