Fundraising related technology and digital strategies are part of 21st century fundraising. Money in the door is important, especially during a crisis. As you engage new audiences, take a moment to make sure the ground beneath your feet is solid.
An important aspect of fundraising is “recurring gifts.” This refers to individuals who give more than once. Fund development focuses on growing one-time donors into recurring donors. To do this you need access to your fundraising and donor data; you need to use technology as a management tool that informs your fundraising strategy. In other words: you can’t skip over fundraising fundamentals as you focus on how much you are raising through various methods. Technology and digital platforms are important tools, not a cure-all.
We suggest looking at fundraising as focused on relationships, with technology being a supportive tool that assists with fund development and fundraising management. This can include reports (or a dashboard) showing number of gifts, average size of gift, recurring donors, and total raised vs. goal. These reports can inform timelines for appeals, segmenting appeals, and coordinating communication activities that reinforce fundraising. Reports can be expanded to include tracking of gift acknowledgement and recognition; they can also inform other forms of fundraising. Digital platforms and online giving facilitate fundraising and extend the reach of your message. They make it easy to give and easy for donors to encourage others to give through social media sharing.
In most cases, online giving expands awareness of an organization and encourages giving at a low-pain-point. Discussions related to larger gifts may be influenced by a strong and dynamic digital presence, but usually occur through personal conversation and relationship building. Sustainable fundraising requires an eye to both “entry level” giving and engagement of current or potential major donors.
When evaluating how and when you will begin or grow your online fundraising, take a moment to look at the “off-line” basics. You want all fundraising strategies to make a consistent case for giving across all platforms and media. They should reinforce the organization’s vision, mission and priorities and be part of a larger process that is built around donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and retention.
Here are a few more things to consider: “own” your data and know how to access it. Outsourced campaigns can yield immediate funds; be sure to negotiate ownership of the data that accompanies gifts made to those who fundraise on your behalf. Thank and follow up with all donors. Create engagement strategies, and as appropriate assign donors to “portfolios” for other methods of communication and engagement. Ask new donors for recurring monthly gifts. Document all fundraising methods, contact persons, passwords, processes, and fees; make sure multiple staff know how to access your data and produce reports.
Fundraising success requires access to technology and use of digital platforms. It also requires knowing how to use data to make fund development and fundraising related management decisions that impact the financial health of your organization. Success requires you have both.
Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
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