6 Ways to Supercharge your Solicitation Process
Let’s face it — we all get stuck in a rut sometimes. Whether it’s falling into a routine with our food choices, our workout regimen, or the types of books we read, no one is immune to a case of the same old same olds.
Your nonprofit’s donor solicitation process is no exception! Whether you’ve become too heavily reliant on direct mail or you’re sending out too many donation appeal emails, your donation asking strategy could probably use some sprucing up.
Check out the top six ways to give your donation appeal strategy a boost!
1. Start using a multichannel approach.
Your donors give to your nonprofit in different ways. Some may like to mail a check every month while others may prefer digital methods like text giving or online donation forms. Using several different channels to communicate with your donors (and using several different ways to collect donations) will help make sure you’re not missing out on any prospects.
Is your organization reaching out to your donors in different ways?
While a donor’s giving method isn’t always indicative of their preferred communication channel, you can begin by making the assumption that those who mail in checks like direct mail while those who make donations online prefer digital communications.
Additionally, you can ask donors how they would like to be contacted.
For instance, you could:
- Include a section on your online donation form that allows donors to check a box indicating their communication preferences.
- Have a table at your fundraising event where donors can give their contact information and let your nonprofit know how they’d like to stay in touch.
- Include a section on your direct mail appeals for donors to demonstrate how they would like to be contacted.
2. Give your donation page a makeover.
How does your nonprofit’s donation page look? Is your donation form user friendly, or are you driving your donors away with a lackluster page?
Give your donation form (and website!) the updates they need!
Donors, particularly tech-savvy ones, will be instantly turned off if your website looks like it’s from 2002. They’ll be even more turned off if they can’t figure out how to get from your home page to your donation form.
Once you get donors to your donation form, you want to keep them there long enough for them to make a gift. Your donation page should be streamlined and free of extraneous links that might lead them away before they hit the “Donate” button.
It should also be optimized for mobile and tablet devices to make giving on the go easy and uncomplicated.
For helpful info, check out these e-solicitation resources!
3. Train your fundraisers.
Nonprofit fundraising is not a one man show. It takes a dedicated team to bring in donations, whether they’re small, one-time donations or major gifts.
But your team won’t be able to make those stellar donation appeals if they aren’t properly trained!
Depending on the size and scope of your nonprofit, training can either take place in house or at a retreat or conference.
However you train your fundraisers, make sure that they are well-versed in all forms of gift solicitation. If you’re trying to bring in more major gifts, train your team in face-to-face donation appeals. If you have a phonathon coming up, make sure everyone is on the same page as far as phone donation asks are scripted.
4. Transform your biggest advocates and volunteers into donors.
Does your nonprofit have a large pool of volunteers and advocates that regularly support your cause with their time? Have you recently acquired a large list of names thanks to an online petition or rally? Why not ask those supporters for donations?
You already know that these individuals are committed to helping you achieve your mission with their time. Some of them might be willing to help you with their dollars as well! People who volunteer with nonprofits are much more likely to make donations to that organization than people who don’t volunteer.
You just have to make sure you ask them.
An easy way to do this is to include a call to action after a supporter signs an online petition. By giving them the option to donate, you put the metaphorical ball in their court. They are not required to make a contribution, but by adding the call to action at the end of an online petition, you encourage your biggest supporters to donate.
It’s also helpful to provide information on ways to give to your volunteers. It’s important not to pressure them too hard to make donations — you don’t want to alienate the people who are already donating their time and energy to you — but giving them the option and asking them to consider supporting you financially is a valuable tactic.
5. Start hosting stellar fundraising events.
If you’ve ever hosted a fundraising event in the past, you know that they can be great ways to interact with your donors and raise more money for your organization.
You also know that they are no walks in the park.
If you want to supercharge your donor solicitation process, you have to learn how to throw a really amazing fundraising event that:
- Doesn’t break the bank
- Brings in donations to cover the cost (and then some!)
In order to do this, you’ll have to look to your past and look at examples of other fundraisers hosted by similar nonprofits.
Did you host a gala that didn’t go as well as you had hoped? Did your walkathon bring in a ton of donations?
Your past fundraising endeavours are often the best indicators of what will work in the future.
Additionally, you can always look to similar nonprofits to determine what works best for them. While no two nonprofits are the same, you can still get some great ideas and learn how to upgrade your fundraising events and ramp up your solicitation process.
6. Remind donors why they’re giving.
There’s a well-known phrase that says, “People don’t give to organizations. They give to people.”
It’s true! No one wants to throw money at an organization and then have nothing else to do with that organization. They don’t give to you because they think your organization is neat; they give to you because they believe in what you’re trying to accomplish. People like to know where their donations are going and how they’re helping make a difference.
Part of your solicitation process needs to involve reminding donors of why they’re giving and connecting them to your mission. With the constant influx of information that people receive on a daily basis through their computers, phones, and other devices, a human connection is what will make your nonprofit stand out.
When asking for donations on any platform, mobile or desktop, include a success story or an update on a project to let donors what their money will be going toward.
Your nonprofit isn’t going to get very far if you say, “Donate now!” and don’t provide supporters with any context.
Remind them of why they should be donating to your nonprofit and focus on deepening their connection to your organization.
Supercharging your solicitation process doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful! Just follow these six tips to improve your donation appeal strategy, acquire more donors, and bring in more donations.
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.