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How to optimize your fundraising campaigns

do it right

Your time and resources are limited, hey, that’s why you’re fundraising, right? You need to optimize your fundraising campaigns so you can make the most of the resources you have and put those funds to work making the world a better place. Even if you reach your goal, it might be hard to tell if you could have done even better. Best to do it right the first time through. Here are some tips to help you optimize every fundraising campaign:

Know your donor

Not all donors are created equal. You know that already, which is why you’ve segmented your email and mobile lists. One message won’t mean the same thing to everyone. Consider your lists and craft a specific message for each segment. This might take a little more time up-front, but customized messages will reward with bigger ROI.

Get to know your online donors. Online donors give during the week and tend to be mobile; they’re affected by the seasons and come in all ages. Time your campaign for when it makes sense for both your nonprofit and your donors. A little research can show you when you will be most successful for your cause.

Create a sense of urgency

Your supporters want to give, but sometimes they forget. Give them a reason to make that donation now instead of waiting until tomorrow or forgetting about it in three days. Create a sense of urgency around your campaign. Create a timeline, make it short, be specific about what you need, give up to the minute reports on progress.

Is there a limited time matching offer by a large donor? Is there a prize or incentive if they give by a certain date or time? What is the reason for your fundraising and why can’t you wait? Perhaps the end of the fiscal year makes the campaign vital or the project you’re working to put in motion is timely. Whatever it is, creating a sense of urgency will help you rally support for your cause.

Use a multi-channel approach

Reaching the largest audience possible with your message is essential to success in fundraising. The more layers of communication your campaign has, the larger audience you’ll reach. Yes your Facebook fans want to know about it, Twitter followers too. Blog about your campaign. Send out postcards; hype it on your website; incorporate it into your mobile marketing. Think of creative ways that you can share your message and get others to share it for you, perhaps through a video or an infographic supporting your cause.

Make it easy to give

If a donor wants to give you money, and the process is confusing or long, you risk losing that donor. There are a lot of causes to support out there, and donors aren’t going to work very hard to give you money. To optimize your campaign, you need to make it simple. Keep the collection process simple for everyone by offering multiple ways to donate, use mobile friendly donation forms, accepting credit cards using merchant accounts; give an address of where to send a check. If you are asking people to call in to make payments, answer your phone.

Fundraising is a necessary part of nonprofit service, and that’s why it’s important that you optimize every campaign. Don’t leave money on the table. Speak directly to the audience you know, create a reason to give NOW, get the word out and keep it simple. The only thing left to do is count the money, and, of course, track stats. Keep track of what worked and what didn’t so your next campaign will be even better.

Image credit

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building websites that make a difference in the world. He's helped build hundreds of websites that have raised millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii.

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