7 Ways to Improve Your Fundraising Today
by Mike Montalto
March 11, 2021

Let’s face it. We all know there is no “magic bullet” to completely overhaul and improve your fundraising strategy.

Of course, it’s important to think about your long-term strategy and things like how to be more mission-focused and donor-centric in all your nonprofit’s communications.

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

It’s time for a hard truth: 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!

Here are seven strategies to improve your fundraising capacity you can start today:

Get to the point. Be brief!

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 other solicitations. And put emphasis on explaining exactly how a donor’s gift will be used to make a difference.

And be sure to 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.

LEARN MORE: Securing Support Through Your Online Donation Page

2. Be simple.

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

Do you see what we mean? That sentence was brief, but not simple! Being brief and being simple are not the same.

Being simple means avoiding cluttered language and terms your donors are unfamiliar with.

Did you need to Google “tantamount?” Then you get what we’re saying. 

Keep your writing at a sixth-grade reading level so it’s easy for donors to get the point and move forward to donating.

READ MORE: Keep Donors Engaged by Repurposing Your Nonprofit’s Content

What's better than securing a first-time gift

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 up as you go, with a proper brand, automated emails, additional communications, and refined internal processes.

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

READ MORE: Donor Acquisition: Six Strategies for Securing a Second Gift

4. Use a straightforward CTA.

When it comes to your asks, make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is not only obvious, but relevant to your goal. Connect your asks in letters and reply cards to something tangible, so donors understand how their donation makes an impact.

“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 improve your fundraising results!

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

READ MORE: Why Your Nonprofit’s Call-to-Action Doesn’t Inspire Donors

Repurposing content CTA

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 online 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!

READ MORE: How to Approach Mobile Optimization for Nonprofits

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?

Your online giving process might be 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!

And if this exercise was difficult for you, you’ve gained a better understanding of why the first two points in this article are so important!

FREE eBOOK: The Building Blocks of Engaging Fundraising Communications 

Offer multiple payment options so donors can give the way that is most comfortable for them

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.

It’s also worth exploring collecting donations through Facebook’s fundraising tools. But keep in mind that you won’t collect important data about these donors. So you will have to find another way to work them into your communications cycle.

READ MORE: 3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Facebook to Their Advantage

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 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.

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. And they are not enough to sustain a substandard fundraising program on their own!

Everything we talked about in this blog post can help. But you might be treating symptoms and not finding a cure if you find you’re constantly looking for a quick way to fix downward trends or that elusive “magic bullet.”

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