Could you use some help? Is it the right time to hire a fundraising agency?
Consider this before you insist that your organization can do it on your own:
As nonprofit professionals, we often ask ourselves, “How can we make a bigger difference?” After all, you’re not in this job just for a paycheck. You work at a nonprofit because you want to make an impact.
But your organization might be able to do a lot more for the cause with some outside help!
There are many reasons why your nonprofit might seek a partner to help build and execute a fundraising program or optimize your communication strategy. Here are some of the most common reasons the organizations we partner with decided it was time to hire a fundraising agency.
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1. You want to start thinking differently.
“If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
In other words, if you’re not willing to do something different, you will continue to get the same results.
So, where is your nonprofit heading? Has your progress plateaued? Have you decided that it’s time to start thinking differently about your fundraising approach?
If not, that’s OK! Acknowledging that it is time to make a change and do something different is a huge first step. But it may be helpful to get an outside perspective to help determine what changes will truly amplify your outreach.
READ MORE: How to Rise Above the Noise
2. You don’t have the bandwidth.
We all know that nonprofit professionals are often stretched thin. We wear many different hats and take on responsibilities as they arise.
But there are only so many hours in the day. And your staff might not have the time to take on additional responsibilities that come when you make a big change. Or, you could be trying to achieve something that is beyond the skillset of your current team.
So, what is a Development Director to do when it becomes clear that bandwidth is the issue?
Well, you could look at bringing on additional staff to meet your needs. Or, you could hire a fundraising agency with an array of different skills that can carry some of that weight for you.
3. You’re not sure how to take the next step.
Let’s say you just wrapped up an important appeal campaign. You hit your goal and raised a lot of money that will help advance your mission. Great job!
But once you start putting that money to work, you realize there is so much more you could do. So, it’s time to raise the bar. You set an ambitious goal for your next campaign and know that you will do great things if you can reach your new goal.
Now the only question is, how do you get there?
It’s usually not easy to identify areas to improve your outreach. Especially if your results have been pretty good. But hiring a fundraising agency could provide you with the insights you need.
For example, your organization might have several donors who give three or four times a year. A strategic partner could help you identify these donors, build a monthly giving program, and create a communications strategy that encourages donors who already give more than once a year to commit to a monthly gift.
READ MORE: 5 Key Data Points to Evaluate Your Appeals
4. You don’t use your data strategically.
It seems like there are an unlimited number of ways nonprofits can use data to their advantage.
We all know about the power of data-driven personalization. And how past giving history can be used to determine the perfect ask string for your next appeal. You can also use your data to analyze how your past communications performed and identify areas for improvement.
But chances are, your organization could use help in one or more of these areas. And it might be beneficial to hire a fundraising agency that’s done it before.
For example, you could be overlooking some important pieces of donor data that can be used to improve the relevancy of your outreach. Or there could be information in your email analytics that can be used to improve your approach going forward.
READ MORE: Is Your Nonprofit’s Data Hygiene a Problem?
5. You’re more reactive than proactive.
Many nonprofits don’t have a set communications schedule. And those that do often struggle to stick with it.
The result? Many organizations focus on whatever comes up, and scramble to put something together that addresses these concerns. However, if this is your approach, you probably aren’t thinking holistically.
A loose or non-existent plan makes it incredibly difficult to use multiple touch points across different channels, define the proper target audience, and follow up with communications that feel personal and relevant for each donor.
Now, of course things may come up unexpectedly. And we’re not saying you shouldn’t adapt or adjust on the fly when the situation calls for it. But if every challenge you face comes up at the last minute, there’s a problem with your planning.
It might be time to take a step back and develop a proactive and strategic strategy that will help you stay on track.
This is a big task. And it may be worth hiring a fundraising agency to help you build and execute a more proactive strategy.
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6. Your message doesn’t stick.
Fundraisers will try every trick in the book when they want to improve results. Many organizations stress over improving their online donation page or finding ways to improve the response rate of appeals. And they try every quick fix that could help them raise more money.
But what if the problem is the way you talk about your organization, it’s work, and the people who make it possible?
This is an uncomfortable conversation for many nonprofit professionals. After all, you understand and feel connected to your mission and work. But you will struggle to raise money if that message doesn’t resonate with your audience, no matter what else you try to improve.
Being mission-focused and donor-centric in your outreach is the key. Are your communications more focused on what you’re doing, than why you’re doing it? Do you talk about what you’ve accomplished, rather than what donors have made possible?
These are the big signs that it may be time to re-examine the way you talk about your work. And in some cases, it involves taking a big step back and starting from scratch.
And this is a huge undertaking. And hiring a fundraising agency can bring in a new perspective and help you amplify your message and fundraising results!