As the donation landscape changes, bringing new approaches to nonprofits is essential to effective fundraising. On NXUnite’s “Upping Your Fundraising Game: New Tactics to Add to Your Roster” panel, speakers discussed innovative fundraising strategies.
Brian Lacy of NPOInfo was joined by DonorSearch Vice President Sarah TeDesco, Julia Beltran of Double the Donation, and DonationMatch CEO and co-founder Renee Zau. The panelists drew on their experiences in fundraising AI, data management, events, and software for this engaging conversation.
Here are three key insights from the panel:
The panelists began their conversation by addressing the value of taking new approaches to fundraising. NPOInfo’s Brian Lacy outlined two trends influencing the need for fundraising innovation.
First, nonprofits have been rated more poorly than corporate organizations in public opinion. This contributes to the second trend, which sees a decrease in the number of American families that report being philanthropic. Being aware of and responding to trends is essential to effective fundraising.
Responding to donor trends may mean adapting existing practices, not replacing them. For example, AI fundraising technology can modernize current efforts. Brian observed that direct mail campaigns have decreased in scale, reflecting a reduced donor interest in receiving paper mail. However, direct mail campaigns can still be strategically targeted, reaching potential planned donors and donors who regularly give with checks.
Throughout the panel, Brian Lacy stressed the importance of having good data. Donor data should be clean, organized, and accessible within an organization.
Brian shared a story about a nonprofit director who was unable to find information about past events in their system. In nonprofits with high turnover, information can be lost if it isn’t organized. This can be especially difficult for nonprofits when a major gift officer leaves, as all their donor conversations will be lost if there are no centralized records.
Good data is essential to a strong annual giving program. Brian noted that a simple data cleansing program is not expensive and can make other efforts more effective. Without data cleansing, emails may bounce back and phone-a-thon events may not reach donors.
Sarah TeDesco of DonorSearch addressed a challenge faced by many nonprofit professionals: allocating minimal resources for fundraising efforts. Stressing that there is no quick fix, Sarah noted that an organization’s first priority should be setting goals.
Key performance indicators (KPIs), are progress measures for specific objectives. To establish KPIs, Sarah suggested reaching out to other nonprofits and looking for common denominators in their fundraising efforts. This strategy allows you to identify areas where your organization can improve. Instead of trying to spread resources thinly over multiple initiatives, you can focus your efforts in your goal areas.
Major gift work is a goal area with potential for a high return on investment. Sarah noted that concentrating efforts on donor retention and securing major gifts can be an effective way to allocate limited resources.
Nonprofit organizations can adapt current practices, bring in new technology, and update their strategies in response to changing fundraising trends. Innovative fundraising practices allow your organization to continue to connect with donors and maximize your impact.