7 Ideas That Can Immediately Improve Your Fundraising
by Mike Montalto
October 3, 2019

Let’s face it. We all know there is no “magic bullet” that can immediately improve your fundraising.

Of course, it’s important to think about your long-term strategy and things like how to infuse the core of your nonprofit’s mission in all your communications.

But you don’t always have time for that. And your donors might not either.

If it’s not easy for donors to give, it won’t matter how compelling or personal your ask is!

So, if you are looking for a way to immediately improve your fundraising, focus on making it easier for donors to give.

1. Be Brief

From the needs for funds and the stories of those you serve, to details about how different initiatives further your mission, we know you have a lot to say! 

But less is more, especially when it comes to making the ask! So, stay focused in appeal letters and tell donors exactly how their gift will be used to make a difference.

And cut any clutter from your online donation page. If a donor has arrived on this page, you don’t need to convince them to give! Just make it as easy as possible for them to take the desired action.

2. Be Simple

Though similar, brevity and simplicity are not tantamount to one another.

See what we mean? That sentence was brief, but definitely not simple! Clearly, being brief and being simple are not the same thing.

Being simple means avoiding cluttered language and terms your donors are unfamiliar with. So, keep your writing at a sixth-grade reading level so it’s easy for donors to get the point and move forward to donating.  

3. Promote Recurring Gifts

Securing a second gift from a new donor is one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face. Monthly giving programs are really a long-term strategy, but you can act now to set yourself up down the road.

You don’t need to have everything figured out to launch a new recurring gift program. Start small by determining if your systems can process monthly donations. If so, include a “I’d like to make this a monthly gift” option on your checkout form.  

You can build your program, with a proper brand, automated emails and additional communications, and refined internal processes from there.

But just because you don’t have every piece in place doesn’t mean you can’t start improving your fundraising now!

4. Use a Straightforward CTA

When it comes to your asks, make sure your CTA is not only obvious, but relevant to your goal. Connect your asks in letters and reply cards to something tangible.

“A donation of $50 ensures a delicious Thanksgiving meal for a family in your community”

Applying the same principle to clickable buttons in your email appeals and website can help immediately improve your fundraising!

Remind donors what they are actually doing with their money. Even “Join the Cause” or “Do Your Part” will generate more clicks than “Donate”.

5. Optimize for Mobile Users

Make sure your web pages load quickly, or some donors will leave before they ever see your donate button!

According to Think With Google, 53 percent of mobile visitors leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Yet, the average load time for a mobile landing page is 15 seconds.

Your mobile load speed is a direct factor in your donor conversion rate

The fact that more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile devices, but desktop still has a higher conversion rate is evidence.

So, what can you do about it?

Compressing images is the most common way to speed up load speed. Beyond that, talk with your web developer and ask about things like minimizing code, leveraging browser caching, and reducing redirects.

It’s also important to take a step back and think like a donor. So, try this next exercise on your smartphone rather than a desktop!

6. Reduce Clicks

Take a walk in a donor’s shoes. Fill out your online donation form and make a small $5 gift.

How was the experience? Was it difficult to accomplish on a mobile device? How many times did you have to click to make your donation?

Chances are, your online giving process is more complicated than it needs to be. Your donation form can’t feel like more effort than it is worth!

You can improve your fundraising by pre-filling information for donors who have given online before. Typing in their name, email, and credit card information every time they donate is a waste of their time!

7. Pay Your Way

Make it easy for donors to give by accepting several payment methods. Not everyone is comfortable putting their credit card information into a website they just discovered.

You can help donors feel more secure by offering third party processing through PayPal, Apple Pay and other similar services. 

You can also look into a text-to-give service like Qgiv to raise more at your events and through peer-to-peer fundraising.

Prepare to do More

Now that we’ve shared some actionable ways to improve your fundraising, we can return an important point we only had time to mention earlier in this post.

The most successful nonprofits communicate with their donors in a way that brings them closer to the cause. They show exactly how their work is making a difference and show how each donor makes their work possible.

A donor and a nonprofit are really just two entities with the same goal in mind. They both need each other to make a difference in the world. Nonprofits who understand how to grow these relationships have more loyal donors, raise more money, and make a bigger impact.

As our friend Mary Cahalane said on her blog earlier this week, “If you really respect and care about your donors, let your communications and processes reflect that.”

The seven strategies we covered can help you convert more donors. They will certainly yield short-term fundraising results, but they aren’t focused on building relationships. They are not enough to sustain a substandard fundraising program on their own.

If you find yourself constantly looking for the next new way to raise more money or coming up with a quick fix for downward trends, you might be treating symptoms, but not finding a cure.

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