Charitable giving is on an upward trend, with an estimated $410 billion donated to charitable causes in 2017, according to CharityNavigator.org. This means people probably want to participate in your fundraising campaigns, but you have to meet them where they are and consider all the ways supporters can donate to your efforts.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with fundraising, use these ideas to inject some new life into your efforts. There are many ways to reach potential donors in our modern world, and when you use all the resources available to you, you may find that you’re able to raise more than ever before.
1. Phone > Social Media Conversations
With robocalls still on the rise, your potential donors may not be answering the phone for anyone. As Alexis C. Madrigal explains in The Atlantic, the most important reason for this is that there are more outlets for communication than ever before — from texting to video calls and social media.
Turning your phone conversation efforts toward social media allows you to both connect with potential donors, and drive donations —while also increasing brand impressions. People are more likely to check out your social media pages after engaging with you via comments or direct messages. If they like what they see, they’ll follow you, ensuring that your posts will reach them again and again.
To strike up conversations with potential donors, you have to get active. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Respond to comments on your posts.
- Search for hashtags related to your organization and efforts and jump into conversations that are already happening.
- Share your expertise and answer questions where possible.
- Invite people to share their thoughts via comments on your posts.
Avoid directly asking people to donate in every comment you make or every conversation you have. This fundraising method is a long-term campaign that allows you to connect with followers, rather than directly asking for money.
2. Direct Mail > Dynamic Direct Mail
Despite our move to the digital space, direct mail is still an effective means for targeting donors. In fact, The Donor Mindset Study found that for donors of all ages,direct mail is the best platform for communication — even above email—for one simple reason: 38 percent of donors feel that direct mail does a better job at relating a touching story to the recipient.
However, instead of going the “old school” direct mail route—you can use online data to better target potential donors, while personalizing each mailer for the recipient.
Dynamic direct mail allows you to do exactly that. With dynamic direct mail software, you can personalize your mailers based on location and even insert the recipient’s name into the content. As consumers’ demand for personalized experiences increases, this type of technology is more and more important if you want to be successful with fundraising.
You can also use direct mail to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. Not only can you retarget potential donors online, but you can also build engaging digital experiences right into your design.
Jason Frueh, founder, co-owner, and lead developer of MyCreativeShop suggests:
- Include a shortened URL that takes the recipient to a webpage that uses dynamic elements to personalize the experience based on their location.
- Add a QR code that takes them to a unique landing page that encourages donations.
- Use data, like birthdays, to send timely mailers which also offer the recipient something as a birthday gift. Think A $5 donation in their name.
3. Galas > Local Block Parties
Galas were traditionally a way to attract well-off donors to your fundraising events, but in our modern world, adults are looking for more ways to donate to their favorite charities.
While 40 percent of donors give money, 35 percent like to contribute clothes, food, and other goods, and 19 percent prefer to volunteer their time, according to Bankrate.
This is why a block party, centered around giving in all forms, maybe a better format for driving fundraising donations.
With so many people looking to volunteer their time, it may be easier to find help than you think. Plus, this type of fundraising event lends itself to donations in the form of clothes, food, and other needed goods, rather than just money.
To make the most of the event, capture the emails of everyone in attendance so you can thank them for their support and ask for a post-event donation. You can then encourage them to follow you on social media and add them to your supporter list so they’ll know about all upcoming events and donation opportunities.
4. In-Person Events > Hashtag Campaigns
While in-person events are still important for fundraising, many donors are now spending most of their time online. This is why campaigns like the ALS #IceBucketChallenge have become viral sensations that are also effective at driving donations. The Ice Bucket Challenge brought in $220 million from global contributions, for example.
Not only are you able to reach more of your potential donors, but people love to share.
This is called social currency: “Sharing a funny joke makes us look funnier, knowing what is happening in the city makes us look cool or talking about new scientific discoveries makes us look more intelligent,” explains Prakash Sutradhar, co-founder of JC Maxwell Science Institute.
You can leverage this desire to share by starting a hashtag campaign that fuels your fundraising efforts. Use these tips to make your campaign successful:
- Start with a story. You need something for social media users to connect with, which will drive their desire to share the hashtag and donate. Share your story on your social media platforms via video or powerful imagery to kick off the campaign and fuel more sharing.
- Create a simple, short, and relevant hashtag. Think of the #StacheforCharity campaign by Guinness. It’s simple, clear, and easy to remember.
- Don’t be afraid to overpromote. Promote your hashtag using the many features available to you on social media, including live videos, Twitter chats, and Instagram story polls.
- Reshare when people post. When people tag you or post using the hashtag on Instagram, re-share your stories. Retweet posts on Twitter and share to your feed on Facebook.
- Keep a donation link in your profile. Make it easily accessible so those who want to donate to the cause can quickly and easily find it.
When you put your all into your hashtag campaign, more potential donors will see it, and you can drive awareness that lasts far beyond the campaign.
5. Celebrity Endorsements > Social Media Influencers
Celebrity endorsements are expensive. Social media influencers, on the other hand, can be more affordable and more effective at sharing your message with your audience.
What’s more, choosing the right influencers allows you to leverage authenticity, which 86 percent of consumers say they want from brands right now, according to the Consumer Content Report.
The same study found that 60 percent of respondents say user-generated content is most authentic. The key is working with influencers who are authentic on social media and also share a passion for the work you’re doing. This ensures that the promotion of your brand is natural.
When choosing influencers, start with people who already support your cause. Current donors can be great social media influencers if they also have an engaged following. You can also use a tool like Social Bond to find influencers in categories related to your cause. Finally, you can search for related hashtags on various platforms to see who’s posting about those topics and is a good fit for your brand.
Conclusion: Get Modern With Your Fundraising
While some traditional methods are still effective, you can appeal to a broader audience by taking a modern approach to your fundraising. Use these fundraising ideas to leverage social media sharing and desire to contribute by non-financial means. Be where your donors are, have conversations, and invite supporters to contribute in whatever way is most authentic to them. If you can do that, you may find your fundraising gets easier and more effective.