Launching a fundraising campaign or event is complex, busy, expensive, and demands a strong return on investment. Whether you are a researcher, fundraiser, or development director, here are some strategies you and your team can use to boost your next fundraising campaign.
If you read our recent blog series on prospect screening, this strategy will sound familiar. But too often, nonprofits make the mistake of launching ambitious fundraising campaigns without taking the time to plan ahead. A fundamental part of that planning process is screening your donor database.
Few things are worse than insulting a major gift prospect with an ill-informed gift ask. Maybe you have spent hours working on a prospect profile thinking the person will be a shoo-in, only to have your fundraiser get burned in their meeting. Looking back, you see the prospect had an affinity to your cause, and they also had a strong capacity rating. But maybe a screening would have revealed they have actually never given a single charitable gift in their lifetime.
Let’s face it: fundraising campaigns are expensive. Screening focuses your prospect research by helping you segment and pinpoint your best prospects. If your research is focused, you will spend less time and fewer resources on prospects that simply aren’t going to deliver what you need.
Check out our recent blog post on choosing the right screening solution. If you are an iWave client and wondering where to start, remember that screening credits are included in your iWave subscription. Read this post to find out how to make the most of your subscription.
Think back to a great Apra presentation you saw, or an insightful personal development book. Maybe it was an inspiring social media video. What made those experiences so memorable? How did they make you want to get up and make a positive change? If nothing else, it was the call-to-action.
Every effective fundraising campaign needs a tantalizing call-to-action (CTA). In many cases, the CTA is an answer to the biggest question of them all: Why should I donate to your nonprofit?
The answer to that question will be different depending on your cause, mission, and goals. But your donors have a right to ask that question, and they have a right to a comprehensive answer. If your CTA stirs their goodwill, you will attract loyal donors who will be more likely to contribute more and larger gifts over a longer period of time.
A call-to-action works best when it is the focal point of all your external messaging. Here are some tactics to pitch your CTA:
People don’t contribute major gifts in a vacuum. They give to make a positive difference.
The call-to-action is just the beginning. To attract lifelong donors or to increase your major gift ask, you must show the donor how their gifts of time, money, or expertise are helping your organization and furthering your cause. An informed donor is a loyal donor. One of the best ways to inform you donor is to show the results of your campaign. Answer questions like:
In many cases, fundraisers and gift officers will be responsible for stewardship and donor relations. But prospect research plays a vital role in this process. Since stewardship is an opportunity to nurture relationships with donors of all kinds and capacities, research can help keep the entire development team informed about changes in the donor’s life and financial situation. If you continually refresh your records and profiles, either through a batch prospect screen or individually, you will be better prepared to start your next fundraising campaign (and there always is the next campaign) on the right foot.
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About the author: Ryan McCarvill joined the iWave team in 2016. Ryan enjoys meeting and learning from nonprofit professionals, researching trends in the nonprofit community, and offering strategies for development teams to use iWave’s solutions to meet and exceed their fundraising goals.