It’s year-end fundraising time. You may have already started your campaign or are planning to soon.
Nonprofit organizations rely on year-end for a good chunk of their revenue. Maybe you haven’t raised as much money as you planned this year and need to make up for that. Maybe your fundraising appeals never seem to perform as well as you would like.
Fundraising is hard and you can’t just send a bunch of generic appeals and hope the money comes in. If you want to raise more money, you need to put in some extra effort.
One way to raise more money is to segment your donors and send targeted appeals. You also need to have a good CRM/database and follow the ask, thank, update, repeat formula.
Here are a few ways you can use these tactics to raise more money.
Ask for an upgrade
Many nonprofits don’t ask their donors to upgrade their gifts and they’re missing an opportunity to raise more money. You may be reluctant to ask donors to give more right now because of the uncertain economy, but that’s why you should ask.
Your clients/community may be struggling and your need is growing. If you can relay this to your donors, some of them will give more. Many donors step up during tough times.
Of course, some of them won’t be able to give more now, but it’s unlikely any of them will upgrade if you don’t ask. They’ll also be more receptive to upgrading their gift if you’ve done a good job of thanking them and sharing updates throughout the year.
Target your upgrade asks based on past giving. Be reasonable. A donor who gave $50 is unlikely to give $500. Here’s an example.
We really appreciate your past gift of $50. Could you help us out a little more this time with a gift of $75? We’re seeing more people at our food pantry right now because of rising food prices. Your generosity will help our community during this difficult time.
If your donors upgrade their gifts, do something special for them such as sending a handwritten thank you note or creating a personalized thank you video.
Promote monthly giving
Monthly donors are the backbone of nonprofit organizations. The retention rate is an impressive 90%.
The more monthly donors you have, the better. Promoting monthly giving is always a good way to raise additional revenue. You can also send targeted appeals to donors encouraging them to convert to monthly giving.
Your best bet is single gift donors who have supported you for at least two years. They’ve already shown some commitment to your organization. Now it’s time to take that to the next level.
You could do this at year-end, as well as other times of the year. You want to ask for gifts more than once a year, so this can be another opportunity to request an upgrade.
You could also reach out to your new donors in a few months to encourage them to join your family of monthly donors.
Here’s a sample ask. We really appreciate your past gift of $50. Could you make your generous support count even more by becoming a monthly donor? Five or 10 a month will help us serve more families at our food pantry.
Once your donors start giving monthly, they should always be acknowledged as monthly donors. Be sure to give them a special thank you (see above).
Get in touch with your lapsed donors
In January or whenever you finish a campaign, get in touch with your lapsed donors. Not all lapsed donors are the same. A donor who gave last year is more likely to give than the mother of a staff member who left your organization five years ago.
Donors who gave a year ago but not this year may have been too busy to give at year-end. Focus your efforts on more recent donors. If you have donors who haven’t given for several years, you may want to move them to an inactive file. It’s costing you money to mail appeals to donors who are unlikely to give.
You can create appeals based on how long a donor has lapsed. If that’s too complicated, try an ask like this.
We really appreciate the $50 gift you made in 2021. This helped us serve more families at our food pantry. We’re still seeing a growing number of people coming in because of rising food prices. Could you help us out again with another gift of $50 or more?
Some donors won’t give again. Maybe they can’t afford to. More likely it’s because of poor communication. Remember – ask, thank, update, repeat.
If your lapsed donors give again, be sure to give them an extra special thank you, so they’ll continue to support you without interruption.
I know there’s a lot of economic uncertainty, but it’s important to be savvy. Spend some time segmenting your donors and sending targeted appeals. Don’t forget about showing appreciation and sharing updates, too. All of this can help you can raise more money