For the majority of nonprofits, you can’t afford to pause your fundraising efforts, even in the midst of a global pandemic. It just means you have to be more creative with your methods and strategies.
After all, donor funding is one of the most crucial elements going into any nonprofit’s annual budget. It’s how you run daily operations, pay your staff, and work to make a difference in the world. So what happens when donor budgets tighten and you start to see a lapse in much of your charitable giving?
Keeping donors engaged with your organization is an essential aspect of fundraising at all times, but especially during an uncertain economy such as now. Fully engaged donors will be more likely to continue supporting your nonprofit in any way they can, both financially and otherwise.
One little-known strategy for boosting engagement among donors is through the promotion of corporate philanthropy. Corporate philanthropy, or corporate giving, involves a business making a charitable donation to a nonprofit organization. This often occurs through matching gifts— when a corporation financially matches an employee’s gift to a nonprofit.
This way, corporate philanthropy can be seen as a win-win-win. The individual donor gets the honor of knowing their gift will make twice the impact, the nonprofit receives an increased stream of revenue, and the business builds a positive social image for themselves.
Sounds great! So how can you implement these strategies into your own fundraising and donor engagement plans and boost your nonprofit revenue? Here are 4 of our top tips:
- Focus on donor stewardship.
- Keep your online donation process simple.
- Promote matching gifts to your supporters.
- Automate the matching gifts process.
With each step, you’ll come closer to maximized donor engagement and new streams of corporate revenue— which is so important in a time like this. Ready to get started? Let’s jump in.
1. Focus on donor stewardship.
According to Bloomerang’s guide to donor retention, the average nonprofit retention rate is right around 45%. This means that the majority of donors (over 55%) do not continue to give after making an initial contribution.
Having a low donor retention rate can be damaging to a nonprofit. Not only does this mean you’re constantly having to seek new donors, which can be difficult in a time like this, but that you may lack a reliable community of support behind your organization.
The best solution to this problem is through increased donor stewardship. Donor stewardship is the process that begins after a donor makes a charitable donation to your nonprofit, and is the basis of the relationship that is formed going forward.
Here are some tips for effective donor stewardship:
- Define what stewardship means for your organization. Stewardship can mean using more effective communication practices, offering unique donor incentives, or personalizing the donor experience.
- Segment your donors using an organized database. Your CRM is a helpful tool for organizing and analyzing donor data, which is important for understanding each donor as a real person rather than a provider of funds.
- Implement specific stewardship goals. Set realistic goals that will challenge you and your team to take your donor stewardship to the next level.
By making use of each of these tips, you can form a strong stewardship plan, and as a result, strong donor relationships. And the stronger that relationship, the more willing your supporters will be to go the extra step for your organization in a time of need.
2. Keep your online donation process simple.
During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, many events and activities are being moved primarily online— including that of nonprofit fundraising. Hopefully, your organization already has a solid foundation of fundraising software in place for collecting virtual donations. However, if you have yet to implement those key online tools into your fundraising strategy, now is the perfect time to do so.
Keep these tips in mind as you go to select or build out your online fundraising platform:
- Ensure a user-friendly interface. Make sure your organization’s website is well-designed and easy to navigate by using clear menus, links, and calls-to-action. If a potential donor can’t find your donation page, they’re not likely to make a donation after all.
- Only collect necessary information. It may be tempting to request as much detailed information about your donor as possible, but a donation form that takes too long to complete is a donation form that is more than likely to be abandoned. Then you don’t get the information or your donation!
- Include an option for recurring donations. Going back to donor retention, automatically recurring donations are a nonprofit’s greatest tool for maintaining fundraising revenue throughout the year— even during the off-season.
An optimized online donation process is also important for boosting the results of your matching gift programs! After all, having a quick and easy online fundraiser to integrate with makes the matching gift request process simple as well.
Check out some of the most effective online fundraising campaigns here, for some tips and pointers when it comes to crafting your own online fundraiser.
3. Promote matching gifts to your supporters.
Did you know: 84% of donors report a higher likelihood to give if they know their gift is being matched? And 1 in 3 donors even stated an inclination to make a larger gift under the same circumstances!
Yet $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table each year, largely due to an overwhelming lack of awareness surrounding matching gift programs and their eligibility. If you want to start collecting that corporate revenue for your organization, it’s time to start educating your audience on matching gift programs and promoting them every way you can.
Donors’ own income may be limited right now, but maximizing the benefits of corporate philanthropy remains an excellent way to increase funding and keep donors engaged in any way they can.
One of the most effective ways to promote matching gifts is with a comprehensive matching gifts database. With an easily embeddable widget, you can inform your donors about the wide availability of matching gift programs and encourage them to check their own eligibility!
Consider including a company search tool in the following donor communication outlets:
- Online donation page: This is a good way to inform the donor prior to submitting a donation, and can likely lead to a larger gift. After all, users on this page have likely already committed to giving.
- Ways to give page: Users on this page are interested in getting involved, but maybe haven’t fully committed to making a donation— a gift match might be the perfect tipping point.
- Donation confirmation page: Immediately after submitting a donation, the donor should receive an automated confirmation. This is a great place to inform the donor that they can make that same gift go twice as far.
- Follow-up email: Within the next few days, send a personalized thank-you email to your donor. Let them know you appreciate their gift, and that there’s an easy way to get further involved without reaching back into their wallet.
- General email newsletter: These newsletters should go out to your entire email network, including donors, volunteers, staff, and other constituents, so you can educate your entire network of supporters at once.
- Direct mailing: In today’s digital age, a physical piece of mail might be exactly what you need to break through the media clutter. Direct readers to your organization’s website, which includes the search tool widget.
- Social media: Social media is a great way to communicate generally with a wide audience. Not only can your messaging reach your followers, but you can encourage supporters to share your posts with their networks as well.
Matching gifts can take your fundraising efforts to the next level by potentially doubling incoming donations. Don’t miss out on this free bonus funding, especially in this time of economic uncertainty! Make up for lapsed donors and maintain steady growth by leveraging corporate philanthropy.
4. Automate the matching gifts process.
Take corporate philanthropy one step further by implementing matching gift automation. With a more proactive stance and the right tools, you can conduct eligibility research for each donor automatically— further decreasing the effort on the side of the donor.
The matching gifts automation process follows these steps:
- Donor data is collected from donation forms.
- Contact information is analyzed for relevant details (employer, email domain).
- An automatic search is conducted for the donor’s employer.
- Follow-up via email is sent with eligibility details (eligible, unknown eligibility, likely ineligible).
- Suggested next steps are provided (complete an online form, reach out to matching gifts coordinator).
- A match is continuously tracked through completion.
One example of a matching gifts automation platform is 360MatchPro. By taking the majority of the manual input out of the match request process, you can significantly increase the amount of donors that submit matches, and the amount of matches that go through.
By strengthening your donor relationships, optimizing your online fundraising strategy, and promoting and streamlining the matching gift request process, you’ll start to reap the benefits of corporate philanthropy in no time. And when you leverage corporate philanthropy, you maximize the impact of all available funding sources— even when they’re limited. That’s why it’s the perfect strategy to implement in the midst of a crisis. Best of luck!
About the Author:
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs. He’s the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.