Depressed yet? Never fear. In this excellent post on Frogloop, Allyson Kapin outlines some ways nonprofits can boost donations in 2012. One tip that stood out to me:
Don’t always ask for money. Many nonprofits are so focused on raising money and meeting their budgets, they often don’t treat their donors as important stakeholders in the organization. Your donors are a critical part of your community and want to be a part of your organization fighting for social change. Show them how they can help you meet your mission through actions, volunteer opportunities, social events, etc. Give them several paths to engage with your organization and make them feel like they are a valuable part of your mission. And of course you can ask them for money along the way.
To many nonprofits, this may seem counterintuitive; but Allyson makes an excellent point that ultimately comes down to your relationships with your donors.
If you take the time to identify your key advocates and build relationships with them, the return will be worth the time investment. Offer value and make them an important part of your efforts and organization, and you will see them giving more of their time and money in return.
Here are some ways nonprofits can build relationships with donors:
- Identifying key advocates and influencers: Conduct research to compile a list of those who are your strongest advocates or can influence others to do so. Check out this handy infographic from SmallAct and BlackBaud on identifying your influencers and scoring them for fundraising efforts.
- Developing opportunities of value: Think about all the different ways these key advocates can help your nonprofit – such as, like Allyson mentioned, volunteer opportunities and social events. Other ways might be through online word-of-mouth – spreading the word through their social networks through a blog post, tweet, donation widget, etc.
- Reach out: This is where you engage your advocates without asking for money. Ask them where they want to be involved and develop those opportunities for them. Focus on those who respond to your outreach and concentrate your community-building efforts on them.
- Keep building those relationships: Keep key advocates and influencers updated with new information and opportunities, ask for their input on a continual basis, and use their feedback. Through ongoing relationship and community-building, you can develop broader fundraising programs that engage not only them, but their communities.