6 types of fundraising letters for nonprofits

6 Types of Fundraising Letters: Write Amazing Appeals!

Sending out fundraising letters might seem like an old-fashioned way to ask for donations, but they can be extremely effective when written correctly!

If you’ve been looking for fundraising letters, look no further! We’ve got six of the most common fundraising letters that nonprofits should be sending out to their donors.

Here’s what we’ll be going over:

  1. Donation Request Letters
  2. Church Fundraising Letters
  3. Individual Fundraising Letters
  4. Matching Gift Fundraising Letters
  5. Sponsorship Letters
  6. Donor Thank-You Letters

Let’s jump right in!

1. Donation Request Letters

Fundraising Letters - donation request letters

What are donation request letters?

Donation request letters are nonprofit fundraising letters that charitable organizations send out to individual donors and/or prospects.

They can be sent on their own or included in a welcome packet that contains pamphlets, booklets, and additional information.

When should you use them?

Your nonprofit can use donation request letters at any time of the year! However, they are particularly effective toward the end of the calendar year when donors are determining their pre-tax season finances. People also tend to be more charitable in November and December, which means that your donation request letter has a better chance of encouraging a donation.

You can send out donation request letters to any of your donors, but these types of communications are better received by older generations. While millennials respond to digital donation appeals, the baby boomer generation overwhelmingly prefers direct mail.

Example letter


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Name],

[Begin with an emotional appeal. A success story or a narrative that tugs on your donors’ heartstrings hooks your readers. Keep it short, though!]

Our community/nation/world is facing [problem(s) your organization is trying to fix]. While we are actively [insert current solutions your organization is attempting], we need your help to make our efforts go even further!

You can help us [solve the problem you’re trying to fix]. Your support is crucial to our efforts to [solve the problem].
If you’re able, we’d love it if you could make a donation of [amount] to help us achieve our mission and [solve problem].

Thank you in advance for your contribution. Your donation will go toward [insert effort, accomplishment, or project].

Here are the ways you can make a donation:

— Make a donation online at [URL to donation page or crowdfunding campaign page]
— Call us at [phone number]
— Send a check in the pre-stamped envelope we’ve included (no cash, please!)
— Text [keyword] to [text-to-give phone number]

Thank you again!
Sincerely,

[Signature of an organizational leader]
[Typed name of organizational leader]

P.S. [End with an update about an upcoming event, volunteer opportunity, or other information]

 



2. Church Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Letters - church fundraising letters

What are church fundraising letters?

Church fundraising letters can take many forms. They can be used to ask for general church-related contributions, but they can also be used for specific fundraising efforts such as:

  • Charity auction item requests.
  • Fundraising event donations.
  • Sponsorship requests.
  • Mission trip funding.
  • Church building funds.
  • Missionary support.

It’s common for churches to send out fundraising letters to notify congregants when church events or other fundraising initiatives are occurring. These types of fundraising letters can be used to share the details—date, time, location, etc.—of the event as well as encourage those who can’t attend to give in advance.

For our purposes, we’ll be talking about a generic church fundraising letter that you can use to ask for general contributions.

You can send church fundraising letters to members of your congregation or to community members, depending on your fundraising need.

When should you use them?

You can send out church letters whenever you have a fundraising need! Churches rely on the generosity of their congregants to keep the doors open and the lights on.

Of course, you shouldn’t send out too many church fundraising letters. Limit your letters to a few per year and rely on in-person appeals during a church service for the majority of your fundraising efforts.

Sample letter


Date

Your Name
Your Church’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Church Member’s Preferred Name],

Greetings! We hope this letter finds you well and that you’ve had a relaxing, blessed holiday season. Because you’re an important part of our church family, we thought you’d want to know about our big plans for this new year.

As you may know, our congregation is growing. Just like any family, the more members you have, the more room you need. We’re pleased to invite you to be an important part of this exciting process!

This Sunday afternoon, [your church’s name] is hosting a special event to raise money for the brand new sanctuary and bell tower. How blessed are we to have so many members like yourself that we need to build an entirely new structure?

It’s our greatest hope that you’ll be able to join us at [date and time] for a family fun carnival! Snacks and drinks will be provided for a small price. The only thing you need to bring is your sense of fun and adventure!

Admission is free, but of course, willing contributions of any size are always accepted.

If you have any questions about the event or the new sanctuary or bell tower, please feel free to reach out to our special projects coordinator, [name] at [phone number] or email her at [email address].

As always, have a blessed day. We hope to see you Sunday!

His Clay,

[Pastor’s Signature]

[Pastor’s Name]



3. Individual Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Letters - individual fundraising letters

What are individual fundraising letters?

Nonprofits aren’t the only ones who have fundraising needs! Sometimes individuals need to raise money for a cause, project, or life event.

If that’s the case, you can use individual fundraising letters to send out donation requests to members of your community and local businesses.

Whatever you’re raising money for, an individual fundraising letter can help you generate funds for your cause, project, or event!

When should you use them?

You can use an individual fundraising letter whenever you need to raise money for a cause or project that means a lot to you. Of course, you shouldn’t just rely on fundraising letters to raise money.

You can set up a crowdfunding campaign to supplement your fundraising efforts. You can also use your fundraising letter to direct people to your crowdfunding page to give them an easy way to make a donation.

Letter template


Date

Your Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Name],

My name is [your name] and I am [describe your position/situation/background]. I am looking to raise [amount of money] to help me pay for [project/expense/cause/etc.].

[Include information about why the cause or project is important to you and how it could potentially impact the reader or those you serve].

I’m writing to ask you to support me and my [cause/project/etc.]. Just a small donation of [amount] can help me [accomplish task/reach a goal/etc.]

Your donation will go toward [describe exactly what the contribution will be used for].

[When possible, add a personal connection to tie the donor to the cause. For example, if you’re raising money to help build a school in a developing country and you’re writing to a teacher, emphasize the fact that everyone deserves a quality education].

Thank you in advance for your contribution. You have no idea how much it means to me to have your support.

Here are the ways you can make a donation:

— Make a donation online at [URL of your crowdfunding campaign]
— Send a check in the pre-stamped envelope I’ve included (no cash, please!)
— Come to my fundraising event on [date] at [location] [when applicable]

Thank you again!
Sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your typed name]



4. Matching Gift Fundraising Emails or Letters

Fundraising Letters - matching gift fundraising letters

What are matching gift fundraising letters?

Matching gift fundraising letters are tangible letters (or emails) that nonprofits send out to donors to remind them to submit matching gift requests.

For those who don’t know, matching gifts are a type of corporate giving program. After an employee has made a charitable donation to an eligible nonprofit, they can submit paperwork to their company’s HR department. If the donation and the nonprofit meet the company’s requirements, the business will make a contribution to the nonprofit for the same amount.

However, many donors simply don’t know that their employer offers a matching gift program.

That’s where a matching gift fundraising letter comes in!

Your nonprofit should send out communications to remind donors that their contributions might be eligible to be doubled (and sometimes, even tripled!).

When should you use them?

The best time to promote matching gifts (besides during the donation process itself) is directly after a donation has been made.

Your nonprofit is still fresh in donors’ minds, and they’ll be more likely to submit a matching gift request.

As soon as a donor has made a contribution (regardless of how the donation was made), your nonprofit should send out an automatic email that:

  1. Thanks them for their donation, and
  2. Encourages them to submit a matching gift request.

You can also follow up a few days later with a matching gift fundraising letter if the donor hasn’t already submitted a matching gift request.

Example letter


Here is an example of a matching gift fundraising email:

Matching gift fundraising letters

This is an excellent example of a direct mail letter/postcard that promotes matching gifts:

Matching gift fundraising letters

Use these letters and emails in conjunction with one another to maximize your nonprofit’s matching gift potential!



5. Sponsorship Letters

Fundraising Letters - sponsorship letters

What are sponsorship letters?

Sponsorship letters are used by nonprofits that are looking to receive corporate sponsorship donations for a specific project or event.

Sponsorship letter packages include:

  • A sponsorship proposal cover letter.
  • A sponsorship levels document.
  • A sponsorship acknowledgement letter.

The proposal letter is the formal request for a sponsorship donation. It explains the nonprofit’s fundraising need and details how the funds will be used.

The sponsorship levels document is how companies decide how much they would like to give. This document lists out a few different sponsorship levels and the perks that come with each level. The higher the donation, the more perks the company receives.

The sponsorship acknowledgement letter is a thank-you to the company after they have made a donation. Your nonprofit can send out an acknowledgement immediately after a donation has been made and after the event has ended.

When should you use them?

Sponsorship letters should be sent out well in advance of your event or project. You want to give the company enough time to consider and respond to your donation request.

Sample letter


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [CEO/CSR Manager/Business Owner/etc.],

[Open with a description of your organization. Give some brief background including your mission, vision, and how you serve your community.]

We are hosting our [event name] on [date] at [location]. Last year’s event was such a huge success that we decided to host the event again!

In the past, this event has raised [amount] and has [list out specific accomplishments using statistics and figures].

This year we’re hoping to raise even more! Our goal is [amount], and we were hoping that you could help us reach that goal.

By becoming one of our corporate sponsors, you’ll be able to [list out projects that corporate donations could help accomplish].
We’ve also listed out some of the incentives and perks that your company can enjoy should you decide to become one of our corporate sponsors (see attached Sponsorship Levels Document). Regardless of the amount you choose to give, your company name will be included in our event program and you’ll be included in the press release that we’ll publish on our website.

We’re accepting cash donations as well as in-kind donations of goods or services. Feel free to make a contribution that you’re comfortable with.

See the attached Sponsorship Levels Document to find the giving level that’s right for your company. If you’re ready to make a donation, please tear off the perforated section of the following document and send it back to us in the self-addressed envelope we’ve enclosed.

I’d like to thank you in advance for your generosity. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at [phone number] or [email] if you have any questions.

Sincerely/All the best/etc.,

[Your printed name]
[Your title]

[Your signature]



6. Donor Thank-You Letters

Fundraising Letters - donor thank you letters

What are donor thank-you letters?

Donor thank-you letter are pretty self-explanatory.

These letters (or emails!) are meant to be used after a donor has made a contribution of any kind, including:

  • Monetary contributions.
  • In-kind donations.
  • Volunteer time.
  • A matching gift from an employer.
  • And more!

When should you use them?

Your donor thank-you letters should be sent out as soon as you receive a contribution. Donors should receive an acknowledgement within two days of making a donation.

Feel free to send out an acknowledgement email as well as a direct mail letter. You can never be too appreciative of your donors!

Letter template


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Preferred Name],

I can’t tell you how much all of us at [nonprofit name] appreciate your contribution to our cause. Thanks to your donation of [amount], we’ll be able to [list out specific goals, objectives, etc.].

I also wanted to let you know that we’ll be [hosting volunteer event, opening up our nonprofit’s doors for tours, holding a fundraising event, etc.]. We’d love to extend an invitation to you to participate in this opportunity! Our current donors have all enjoyed developing a stronger partnership with our organization, and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.

Thank you again!

[Your printed name]
[Your title]

[Your signature]


We hope that these six fundraising letter templates have given you some insight into how to write an amazing fundraising appeal. Which ones have you used in the past? Which letters have you had the most success with?

If you want to learn more valuable fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

  1. Must-Know Nonprofit Software: Every nonprofit needs fundraising software if they want to raise money online. Learn about the top vendors providing nonprofits with top-notch tools to help you raise more donations.
  2. Online Fundraising Guide: Looking for more ways you can raise money online. You’re in luck! This extensive guide will lead you through everything you need to know about raising money online.
  3. 113+ Fundraising Ideas: Put your new fundraising letters to use by hosting a fundraiser. With our list of over one hundred ways to raise money, you’re bound to find an idea that will work perfectly for your nonprofit.

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Atlanta Matching Gifts

7 Major Atlanta Companies with Matching Gift Programs

While Double the Donation works with nonprofit clients across the country, the fact that we’re headquartered in Atlanta means we have a special place in our hearts for Atlanta organizations.

We’re fortunate to work with many of the leading nonprofits in Atlanta to help them raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. For instance, the Georgia Aquarium, Georgia Conservancy, High Museum of Art, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta Jewish Federation,  and many others all utilize Double the Donation’s service to raise more money from employee giving programs.

Statistics on Atlanta Matching Gift Companies

From a nonprofit’s standpoint, being located in a city like Atlanta is ideal for raising money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The city is home to many of the largest employers in the world, some of whom offer employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Here are a few statistics on Atlanta based companies and their employee giving programs which may interest you:

  • Atlanta ranks fourth, just behind New York City, Houston, and Dallas in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries.
  • Six Fortune 100 companies call Atlanta home. This includes Coca-Cola, Home Depot, United Parcel Service (UPS), Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, and Newell Rubbermaid.
  • 75% of Fortune 1000 companies have employees in the Atlanta market.
  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies match donations made by their employees.
  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grants for employees

Click here for more statistics on employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Companies in Atlanta, GA with Matching Gift Programs

With over 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies, many of whom match employee donations, having a presence in Atlanta, there’s probably room for your nonprofit to increase fundraising from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. A great place to start is by looking at the largest companies based in Atlanta.

Let’s take a look at a few of the employee giving programs at some of Atlanta’s leading employers.

Coca-Cola Matching Gift LogoCoca-Cola

Coca-Cola offers a very generous employee giving program. The company offers a 2:1 match which means all employee donations are effectively tripled. Coke applies few restrictions on their matching gift program and is willing to match donations to nearly all nonprofits.

Another aspect of Coca-Cola’s program worth mentioning is that the company does a great job of promoting the programs to Coke employees. You can read more about this in one of our previous articles which covers employee matching gift participation rates at various companies across the nation.

Click here for additional details on Coke’s matching gift program.

Home Depot Matching Gift ProgramHome Depot

As one of the iconic companies based in Atlanta, Home Depot is also a generous supporter of nonprofits in the city. Similar to Coke, the company applies few restrictions on their employee matching gift program and matches donations dollar for dollar.

The company has an easy to use electronic matching gift submission process which means your donors can submit matching gift requests in a matter of minutes. If you’re interested in learning more about the typical process a donor goes through to submit a matching gift request electronically, click here to view screenshots of Home Depot’s electronic submission process.

Click here for additional details on Home Depot’s matching gift program.

IBM Matching Gift and Volunteer Grant ProgramIBM

IBM matches donations made by both employees and retirees as well as provides grants for volunteering. The matching gift ratio varies depending upon whether it’s an employee or retiree making the donation, as well as whether the nonprofits chooses to receive cash or equipment. For instance:

  • If an IBM employee makes a donation, the nonprofit can choose to receive a 1:1 cash match or a 2:1 equipment match.
  • If an IBM retiree makes a donation, the nonprofit can choose to receive either a .5:1 cash match or a 1:1 equipment match.

The company also offers a significant grant for employees and retirees who volunteer with an organization. The specific amount varies from $1,000 – $3,500 depending upon whether the organization elects to receive a cash or technology grant. Additionally, IBM offers even greater team volunteer grants when groups of IBMers volunteer together.

Click here for additional details on IBM’s matching gift program.

Delta Matching GiftsDelta Air Lines

Delta matches donations made by employees, retirees, and Board of Directors to a wide range of educational institutions including:

  • Pre-K schools
  • K-12 public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Post-graduate programs

Delta matches up to $5,000 annually per an eligible individual at a dollar for dollar rate. This is up from a 50% match on up to $2,000 annually just a few years ago.

Click here for additional details on Delta Air Lines’ matching gift program.

ATT Matching Gift LogoAT&T

AT&T is the largest provider of mobile and fixed telephone systems in the United States. As of 2016, it is the seventh largest company in the U.S. by total revenue.

While AT&T doesn’t offer a “matching gift program” the company supports the organizations which employees are passionate about through its Cause Cards program.

Cause Cards are grants from the AT&T Foundation given to eligible charities recommended by employees. All employees that participate in the annual Employee Giving Campaign will be eligible to receive a Cause Card.

Eligible nonprofits include:

  • Educational institutions (K-12 and higher education)
  • Arts & cultural organizations
  • Environmental organizations
  • Civic and community organizations
  • Health and human service organizations
  • And many other 501(c)3 organizations

Employee pledges will be eligible for a Cause Card on a sliding scale based on a percentage of total giving. These Cause Cards are expected to range from $25 – $250. Employees will be notified of the value of the Cause Card and the deadline by which they need to redeem it by making a recommendation for an AT&T Foundation grant to an eligible 501(c)(3) charity of their choice.

Click here for additional details on AT&T’s matching gift program.

United Parcel Service (UPS)UPS Matching Gift Program

We get more questions from our nonprofit clients asking us about UPS’s matching gift program than any other company. Unfortunately this confusion arises from the fact that UPS is still listed on the majority of the random lists of matching gift companies found on various websites.

We can assure you that as of 11/17/12, UPS does not offer an employee matching gift program. Our team recently reached out to the UPS Foundation for confirmation and received the following response:

The UPS Foundation formerly offered a gift matching program for educational and cultural organizations.  However, on February 20, 2009, UPS’s Board of Trustees approved the action to suspend the Gift Matching Program due to the economic climate.   At this time, there are no current plans to restart the program.

Equifax Matching Gift Programs

Equifax

Equifax matches employee donations up to $5,000 per year to nearly all 501(c)(3) organizations. While the company provided us with a copy of the paper form which employees use to submit the matching gift request, we always encourage employees to check the company intranet to ensure it’s the most up-to-date version.

Click here for additional details on Equifax’s matching gift program.

Additional Atlanta Matching Gift Companies

Hundreds of other major employers in the Atlanta area match employee donations. At the very least, we encourage your organization to share the above seven companies with everyone in your fundraising, development, and membership teams. Making sure they’re at least familiar with these large companies which will double donations made by employees can help your organization raise more money from matching gift programs.

Want to learn more? Take a tour of Double the Donation’s matching gift service.

 

Next steps:
Your organization should consider taking it a step further by providing donors and volunteers with detailed information on their company / their spouse’s employer. If you raise awareness and make it more convenient for them to submit matching gift and volunteer grant requests, you’ll see an increase in fundraising from these sources.

Take a tour of Double the Donation’s matching gift service to see if we can help your organization raise more money from these programs.

Bottom line on Matching Gift Companies in Atlanta:

Atlanta is home to many of the nation’s leading companies which will match employee donations. Make sure everyone in your organization at least has a basic familiarity with major employers in your area which double donations.

Check out our 13 tips to avoid mistakes when choosing a donor database.

Choosing a Donor Database: 13 Tips to Avoid Mistakes

With so many platforms and vendors out there, choosing the right donor database for your nonprofit is no easy feat.

But when you consider how crucial your donor database is to the success of your operations, it couldn’t be more important to choose the right one.

With the right platform on your side, you’ll be able to get a comprehensive picture of your donors and more efficiently manage your efforts to see better fundraising results.

Unfortunately, many nonprofits go into the buying process unprepared. Without having done their research and knowing the right questions to ask, these organizations fall into many mistakes that can hurt their operations and limit their success.

Luckily, these mistakes are completely avoidable if you know what to expect when shopping for a new nonprofit CRM.

To prevent you from falling into the same traps, we’ll take you through the top 13 tips to keep you from making mistakes when choosing a donor database:

  1. Don’t shop for the wrong type of software.
  2. Put thought into your reasons for buying.
  3. Select a platform that supports all of the users you need.
  4. Find a platform that has room to accommodate all of your constituents.
  5. Give your organization room to grow.
  6. Choose a platform that supports all of the necessary functionalities.
  7. Make sure the database can be integrated with the necessary third-party platforms.
  8. Explicitly ask about price.
  9. Make sure your platform doesn’t require difficult data migration.
  10. Your platform must be secure.
  11. The platform should come with enough training.
  12. Make sure your organization will receive sufficient support.
  13. Consult a second opinion.

By the time we’re done, you’ll be prepared to pick the perfect donor database. Let’s get started!

Need a refresher on buying software? Check out Salsa’s infographic before diving in.
Don't shop for the wrong type of donor database for your organization.

Donor Database Tip #1: Don’t shop for the wrong type of software.

Fortunately for nonprofits everywhere, there are tons of different fundraising software solutions to help organizations optimize the fundraising process.

Unfortunately, this multiplicity only complicates the buying process.

When shopping for a new nonprofit donor database, you’ll first want to make sure that a donor database is actually the type of software you need.

To refresh, nonprofits use donor databases to house all of the important information they receive about their donors throughout the span of the donor’s’ relationship with the organization.

You can track virtually anything, like:

  • Biographical information and demographics
  • Contact information
  • Households and relationships
  • Donation and volunteer history
  • Interests and affinities
  • And much more!

Donor databases allow organizations to track all donor data centrally, so all data sources can communicate with each other to give nonprofits a 360° view of their donors.

Creating a centralized system for storing all of the information your nonprofit collects from donors and other supporters is one of the first steps to developing more targeted fundraising and engagement strategies. Learn more about what goes into effective data management by reading this post from DNL OmniMedia.

The takeaway: There are many different types of fundraising software out there. If you’re shopping for a donor database, make sure it’s the best solution to fit your needs.

Put though into your organization's reasons for buying a donor database.

Donor Database Tip #2: Put thought into your reasons for buying.

If you’re considering a new donor database, it’s probably because your organization needs a change.

Maybe you’re limited by the incomplete insights you’ve been receiving from housing your donor data in multiple platforms.

Maybe you’re tired of wasting so many man hours cleaning up your data.

Maybe you’re already using a platform that’s too expensive, and you just want something a little more affordable.

Point is, there are many reasons why nonprofits shop for a new (or their first!) donor database.

While we couldn’t possibly list out all of the reasons organizations shop for new software, here are a few of the most common:

  • To gain a more complete understanding of their donors.
  • To achieve more efficient or seamless operations.
  • To free up staff time.
  • To better organize their data.
  • To better oversee staff and volunteer efforts.
  • To switch to a platform that’s easier to use.
  • To upgrade to a platform that’s larger or more scalable.
  • To switch to a platform with a more comprehensive feature set.
  • To find a platform with better support or training.
  • To change to a platform that’s more cost-effective.

While all platforms will provide similar benefits, some platforms will be better at providing certain functionalities than others.

That’s why it’s important to determine exactly why you’re shopping for a new nonprofit CRM. That way, you can make sure that the platform you end up buying actually aligns with your reasons for shopping.

The takeaway: Going into the buying process aware of why you’re shopping will ensure that your organization finds a solution that can address the areas you’d most like to improve.

Select a donor database platform that supports all the users you need.

Donor Database Tip #3: Select a platform that supports all of the users you need.

To accommodate nonprofits of all sizes, donor database vendors usually price their software partially based off of how many people can use it.

Unfortunately, many organizations go into the buying process unaware of this fact and end up buying a solution that can’t support all of the users they need.

That means at least one important staff member won’t have access to all of the tools and information required to help them do their job as well as possible, limiting the greater success of the organization.

Luckily, this mistake is super easy to avoid. All you need to do is determine how many staff members will be using the software before you buy. This way, you can select an interface that gives you the right number of users for your organization, like DonorPerfect:

Make sure your platform can handle all of the necessary users.

While some organizations with small staffs only need access for one or two users, large organizations might need a platform that supports dozens. It all depends on the needs and makeup of your organization.

The takeaway: Don’t buy a solution only to find out that all of the necessary staff members don’t have access to it. Think about how many users you’ll need from the beginning to find a donor database that’s the perfect size for your organization.

Find a donor database platform that has the room to accommodate all of your constituents.

Donor Database Tip #4: Find a platform that has room to accommodate all of your constituents.

The price of donor databases is also usually influenced by the number of constituent profiles that it allows.

And it makes sense! Nonprofit donor databases are donor-centric, so it’s only natural that their price would be determined by the number of donors they can accommodate.

As such, you’ll want to check (and double check!) that the nonprofit CRM you’re considering can hold the entirety of your donor base.

If not, you won’t be able to track all of your donors’ important information, leaving you with little to no insight into a portion of your base.

Check out DonorPerfect’s donor database software to see what a comprehensive product looks like for your constituent profiles. Below you’ll see a list of donor profiles:

Make sure you can accommodate all of the constituents your organization has in your donor database.

Considering that one of the main benefits of using a donor database is to give your organization the most complete picture of your donors available, buying a platform that’s too small would totally defeat the purpose of buying new software.

The takeaway: Find a platform that’s the right size for you so that all of your donors will be housed comfortably in your new donor database.

Give your organization room to grow within your donor database.

Donor Database Tip #5: Give your organization room to grow.

On that note, when determining how many supporter profiles your new nonprofit CRM should hold, you’ll also want to look towards the future.

Chances are, your nonprofit is growing and changing quickly. And with the help of your new donor database, your growth should skyrocket!

Your donor database shouldn’t just support the number of donor profiles you have right now; it should also give you room to grow.

Buying a scalable solution ensures that you can continue accommodating all of the new donor information you receive as your base expands. If you buy a solution that’s too limited, you’ll only be buying a new donor database sooner.

However, be wary. While you want to dream big, you also don’t want to buy a solution that’s too large, or else you’ll be wasting money on something you don’t need.

The takeaway: When determining how many donor profiles your new database should support, consider the foreseeable future. You’ll want to strike the perfect balance by finding a solution that can grow with you but that still fits your current needs.

Choose a donor database platform that supports all of the necessary functionalities.

Donor Database Tip #6: Choose a platform that supports all of the necessary functionalities.

While most donor databases will have a similar set of basic functionalities, some are more comprehensive or specialized than others.

Because features vary from platform to platform, you’ll need to determine whether or not the provider you’re considering has all of the functionalities you need to execute your efforts.

For example, if you’re buying software with the main goal of making your operations more efficient, you’ll want to find a donor database with as many automated features as possible, such as generating donation receipts after supporters submit their donations online.

In addition to automation features, to get the most out of your CRM, you should look for the following capabilities:

  • Detailed constituent profiles. Not only is it important for you to track a donor’s basic information and past giving history. To get a complete picture of each donor, you should be able to add custom fields to your profiles to track a donor’s interests and past interactions with your nonprofit.
  • Gift management and custom webforms. When you have a CRM that can process donations and build forms, you don’t have to worry about transferring your donor data; it will already be integrated with your donor database.
  • Email Communications. Collecting donor data can be used to improve your communications and provide donors with the most relevant information. With that said, having the ability to send out mass and automated emails through your CRM can make the process seamless. For instance, your segmented list of donors can easily be linked to your automated communications so that you can send targeted emails.
  • Reporting and analyticsAnother piece of your CRM should be focused on analyzing the data from your donor profiles and donation forms to provide you with reports on giving habits, as well as preferred donation methods. This information can help you improve your online fundraising efforts. Check out Salsa’s reports:

Check out Salsa's reports.

If the base platform you’re considering doesn’t have all of the functionalities you need, these gaps can often be addressed by compounding your donor database with expansions.

Expansions simply refer to other software solutions that have been developed by the same vendor and, as such, are easily integrated with your donor database.

For example, because Salsa specializes in CRMs, they provide excellent donor management software that can be integrated with your CRM to provide a more comprehensive set of features.

Whether you’re supplementing your donor database with expansions or just need the base software, make sure that your platform of choice will support all of the features you need.

If not, it’s time to look at a different solution!

The takeaway: Buy a donor database that has all of the required features so you can most effectively manage your fundraising efforts.

Make sure the donor database can be integrated with the necessary third-party platforms.

Donor Database Tip #7: Make sure the platform can be integrated with the necessary third party platform.

If the platform you’re looking at doesn’t have all of the features you need, you might still be able to supply those features with integrations.

Integrations are similar to expansions in that they can be added onto your donor database to provide additional functionality.

The only difference is that these platforms that have been developed by a third-party vendor, so incorporating them into your donor database might prove a little more difficult.

Some common donor database integrations include:

  • Matching gift services
  • Accounting
  • Email marketing
  • Social media management
  • Wealth screening and prospect research services

Make sure that your donor database can support any integrations you need to fill in the features you’re missing.

If you’re already using a third-party platform to supply these missing functionalities, this will be as simple as asking your vendor if the software can integrate with your current platform.

Check out Salsa Labs’ donor database integrations with both Double the Donation’s matching gift tools below:

Check out Salsa's integration with Double the Donation's tools.

Salsa integrates with DonorSearch’s prospect research tools, too:

Check out Salsa's integration with DonorSearch.

It will be much more difficult (and potentially detrimental to your operations) if it turns out that the third-party platform you’re using isn’t integratable with your new donor database.

Switching to a new platform will require more data transfer and time, since you’ll have to learn a new interface. In other words, it will only detract from your fundraising efforts.

The takeaway: Your new donor database should support all of the integrations you need to provide all of the features that will set you up for success!

Explicitly ask about the price of your donor database.

Donor Database Tip #8: Explicitly ask about price.

Considering that price is one of the biggest anxieties that nonprofits have when shopping for new software, you’d be surprised by how many organizations don’t ask about price.

It’s an all-too-easy mistake to make. The organization goes onto the vendor’s website, sees the list price, and automatically assumes that’s what they’ll be paying.

While we would all like to hope that any donor database vendor would be transparent and spell out the costs, unfortunately that won’t always be the case.

That’s why it could not be more important for your organization to ask about the costs outright.

Donor databases are highly customizable tools. Thus, even the same platform can vary drastically in price.

The list price (that displayed on the pricing page of the vendor’s website) usually only accounts for the number of users, the number of donor profiles, and the basic feature set.

However, there are many other factors that can influence the price of your nonprofit CRM, such as:

  • Expansions and integrations.
  • Costs associated with training and IT support.
  • Payment processing fees.
  • Data transfer and clean-up.
  • Updates to your software as technology advances.

Make sure your donor database actually fits into your budget by asking about costs at the beginning of the buying process.

The takeaway: The price of donor databases can be impacted by many different factors. Ask your vendor explicitly about costs to make sure your purchase won’t strain your organization fiscally.

Make sure your donor database platform doesn't require difficult data migration.

Donor Database Tip #9: Make sure your platform doesn’t require difficult data migration.

In order to get up and running with your new donor database, you’ll need to transfer over all of the donor data you already have.

Unfortunately, data migration will always come with difficulties. It’s a long process that requires:

  • Cleaning up your existing data (as to only transfer what’s relevant).
  • Exporting it from the old platform.
  • Importing it into the new platform.
  • Going back over your data to ensure that it was correctly transferred.

Just how difficult this process is will depend on how compatible your current systems are with your new donor database and how much support the vendor provides.

With some platforms, data transfer will be much more involved. While this might not seem like a big deal, choosing software that requires an especially difficult data migration process is a big mistake.

Not only will this be a headache for your organization, but it can also put a dent in your operations.

Think about it: the longer it takes you to transfer your data over, the longer it will be before you can start using your new software to improve your fundraising.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump right in and do it yourself. Data migration is a complex process, and each platform is different. The best vendors will assess your data and provide you with assistance, if necessary.

Remember that your constituent data is the most valuable data your organization has — importing it right the first time will ensure your organization can raise more and be more efficient in the long run.

The takeaway: Data migration is a huge part of getting your donor database set up. Find a vendor who will provide you with the support you need so that it won’t be hassle.

Your donor database platform must be secure.

Donor Database Tip #10: Your platform must be secure.

Your donor database will be home to all of your donor data, including your donor’s sensitive information.

That being the case, you’ll want to be absolutely sure that the donor database you’re considering has the proper security measures in place to protect this information.

One of the main features your donor database should include is advanced control over permissions. This feature will allow you to give only certain staff members access to information, so that only the people who absolutely need access to confidential information will have it.

Additionally, if your donor database comes with online fundraising tools (or you’re otherwise accepting donors’ payment information), you should make sure that the database is PCI-compliant. Being PCI-compliant simply means that the platform’s payment processing tools are in keeping with the security standards set out by the Payment Card Industry.

Failing to ask about security could mean that you’re putting your supporters’ confidential information in jeopardy.

If that information were to fall into the wrong hands, not only would you be damaging the trust you’ve so carefully built up with your donors, but you might also face legal repercussions.

Secure your peace of mind by asking your vendor about security!

The takeaway: Handling sensitive information requires the right precautions. Asking your vendor about security is the only way to ensure that your donor database can properly protect your donors.

Your donor database platform should come with enough training.

Donor Database Tip #11: The platform should come with enough training.

Let’s be honest—many of us aren’t as savvy with technology as we’d like to think.

While we hope that your donor database will be relatively intuitive for your staff to use, learning how to use any new platform will naturally require some training.

Without the proper training, you and your staff might be able to use your donor database, but you definitely won’t be able to utilize it as effectively as possible.

Get the most out of your new software by making sure it comes with the level of training you need.

Most vendors offer a couple of different options for training to accommodate for a range of budgets.

The most basic option is usually a free, pre-recorded training video you can watch on the computer. While this will give your staff a general idea of the platform’s interface and functionality, training won’t be adjusted to fit the unique needs of your organization.

If you’re willing to splurge a little bit, you can pay to receive custom training. With this option, someone will walk your staff through the platform with a specific focus on the modules you’ll be using most. Training can either be done online or on-site, and staff will have the opportunity to ask any questions that might come up.

Whether or not customized training is worth it to you will depend on the needs and resources of your organization. But if you need it, make sure it’s a viable option.

The takeaway: The proper level of training will allow your staff to make the most out of the new donor database to see the best fundraising results.

Make sure your organization will receive sufficient support from your donor database provider.

Donor Database Tip #12: Make sure your organization will receive sufficient support.

Your working relationship with your vendor won’t just end the minute they’ve set up your donor database and taught you how to use it.

You’ll be using your platform for years to come (at least, we hope so!). Chances are, at some point during these many years, you’ll run into some technical difficulties.

If your vendor provides excellent support, this will be no big deal. They’ll quickly field your problem and get you back on track before you’ve strayed too far.

Now imagine the other scenario: your donor database suddenly crashes, and you can’t get a consultant on the phone. You try to contact them by email, but still no luck. Days go by before—finally—you hear something back.

After days of waiting, it looks like your problem is going to be resolved. But once you have that consultant on the phone, they’re inattentive and unhelpful, and it still takes them a week to fix the issue.

Meanwhile, your organization has been missing out on a countless number of fundraising opportunities. Who knows how many dollars you’ve lost or how many new donors you’ve missed out on.

Point being, it could not be more important to make sure that your platform comes with sufficient support. Your vendor should be readily available to help you with any issues that come up and should be able to address these issues with little turnaround time.

When it comes to your fundraising, it could make all the difference!

The takeaway: Buying a donor database with insufficient support can be detrimental to your fundraising. Make sure your software is always running at top speed by choosing a donor database with support that’s attentive, efficient, and available.

Consult a second opinion before you purchase donor database software.

Donor Database Tip #13: Consult a second opinion.

Say you’re making a big purchase like a car or a mattress.

You’re shelling out your hard-earned dollars, so you wouldn’t just go into the purchase blind. We’re willing to bet that you’d probably go online or flip through Consumer Reports first to see if you could find any reviews that would help you make your decision. You might even ask one of your friends for their advice on which product they like best.

So, why wouldn’t you do the same when shopping for your donor database?

Second opinions not only attest firsthand to the value of the product you’re considering, but they can also give you that extra boost of confidence you might need before going through with the purchase.

In other words, consulting a second opinion will help you decide if the platform you’re considering is really the right one for you.

For the best advice, turn to current users.

While you can likely find reviews online, you should also ask your vendor if they can refer you to any of their other clients whose organizations are similar to your own.

The advice of current users will be invaluable. They use the platform every day, likely to assist with efforts similar to your own.

Nobody better understands the day-to-day difficulties that nonprofits face, so they’ll be able to give you a well-rounded view of the platform’s strengths and weaknesses.

It never hurts to ask, so don’t be shy about requesting references from your vendor. If they have happy customers and a truly great product, they’ll want to put you in touch!

The takeaway: A second opinion will give you the assurance and insight you need to decide if the new donor database you’ve been considering is the perfect fit for your organization.


There are a lot of considerations that go into choosing the right donor database for your organization. With so much to think about from fundraising to constituent profiles, it’s no wonder that nonprofits can run into so many obstacles.

However, if you go into the buying process prepared, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to avoid these mistakes.

Now, start the search for your perfect donor database!

For more information on donor databases, take a look at these additional resources:

  1. Nonprofit CRM Software. Check out our guide on CRM software for all the tips and helpful pointers your organization needs.
  2. Donor Database Software: Top 10 Nonprofit Platforms. Take a look at out top 10 donor database platforms for nonprofits to get your search started.
  3. Salsa’s 7 Tips to Convince Your Board to Invest in Fundraising Software. If you need help convincing your board to invest in fundraising software, check out Salsa’s tips to win them over.

Fundraising Strategies and Nonprofit Technology Blog Carnival

Annual Fund Development: 21+ Expert Fundraising Strategies

As we were putting together our very own guide to annual giving, we realized something — annual fund development would be the perfect topic for the launch of the Fundraising Strategies and Nonprofit Tech Carnival.

Why? Annual giving is something every nonprofit has to tackle, and true annual giving success only occurs when a nonprofit can master a huge variety of fundraising skills and tactics.

And now, with all the technology that’s available, there’s more to gain but also more to master.

With that in mind, we decided to reach out to all of you, our readers and friends within the nonprofit community, to see what helpful tips and advice you have.

We received all sorts of great advice and have divided it into the following categories:

You can click on any of the categories above to be directed right to that section or keep scrolling to read about all the various resources we were sent!

General Annual Giving Best Practices and Improvement Tactics

Ronald Pruitt’s “Growing Your Annual Fund: 7 Top Strategies”

What better place to start a carnival all about annual fund development than with a blog post about just that? In this article on 4aGoodCause’s blog, Pruitt details 7 actionable strategies that nonprofits can implement to optimize their annual giving campaign.

For instance, he offers this online donation form advice for recurring giving:

The key to turning one time donors into recurring givers is to make recurring giving as clear and convenient as possible.

Click here for more of Ronald’s advice.

NeonCRM’s “Annual Giving: The Definitive Guide”

If you want a comprehensive look at annual giving, this is a great resource.

One section that’s particularly helpful for this carnival comes toward the end of the guide, when the resource covers how fundraising software can help.

As the resource details:

Your annual campaign is all about stewarding donors and getting to know them! Donor databases make forming deeper relationships with your donors so much easier.

Click here to learn much more from NeonCRM’s guide.

Tina Jepson’s “How Crowdfunding Can Help You Raise More Money for your Annual Fund”

This post on CauseVox’s blog is all about how you can use crowdfunding to help raise money for your annual giving campaigns.

In the article, Tina shares examples of how crowdfunding can help you engage your supporters in a new way, expand your campaign’s reach, and raise more money.

The article is designed to help your nonprofit decide if crowdfunding is right for your next annual giving campaign.

Click here to read the full article on CauseVox’s blog.

DonorSearch’s “Annual Fund Strategies: A Nonprofit’s Guide”

In this detailed listing of annual fund strategies, DonorSearch separates the advice into four sections:

  1. Campaign planning
  2. Outreach and Stewardship
  3. Direct Asks
  4. Events

For instance, within the section on campaign planning, they suggest that nonprofits should conduct prospect research.

The guide explains:

Major gifts will make up a large portion of the funds you’ll raise during your annual campaign. Prospect research will help your organization focus in on those who have the financial resources and philanthropic drive to be major gift donors.

Click here to read all of DonorSearch’s Annual Fund Strategies.

David Blyer’s “Monthly: The New Preferred Giving Cycle”

In his article on monthly giving’s impact on yearly fundraising, David Blyer of DonorCommunity places an emphasis on the fundraising potential awaiting nonprofits who push for monthly giving, specifically through online channels.

He explains that, “The opportunity for incremental, steady income from a monthly giving program is a fantastic way to grow your annual funds.”

Click here for more of the monthly giving versus annual campaign discussion.

Salsa’s “Amazing Guide to Advocacy”

After thorough research on annual giving, it’s likely that you’ve encountered plenty of advice about offering other engagement opportunities to your supporters.

This diversity of engagement experiences gives donors the chance to see more sides of your organization and build a deeper connection to the cause and the work you do.

As far as diversifying engagement goes, advocacy activities should be at the top of the list.

Click here to view the guide and learn more about advocacy.

Qgiv’s “How to Retain More Donors During Your Annual Campaign”

What better way to end the best practices section than with a resource that talks all about annual campaign donor retention?

The resource gets to the core of how crucial retention is and how powerful a force the annual campaign can be in that effort, explaining:

Since an annual fund is all about raising money and developing relationships with donors, there are ample opportunities for your nonprofit to engage with supporters in a more personal way.

Click here to learn more about retention and annual campaigns.

Tips for Better Annual Gift Solicitation

Claire Axelrad’s “3-Word Formula Guaranteed to Raise More Money”

This article comes to us from Claire Axelrad, the fundraising expert behind Clairification. In the article, she covers three words that can make all the difference in the world during your next annual giving campaign.

What are those three words? You. Because. Thanks.

Sounds simple, but the beauty is in the simplicity. Head over to the original article to learn how Claire turns those three words into fundraising magic.

Click here to get the full rundown from Claire herself.

Little Green Light’s “6 Steps to a Successful Fundraising Appeal”

You can’t develop your annual fund without a proper appeal strategy in place. Little Green Light has put together an eBook all about that appeal process.

The free resource leads readers through the six steps of the appeal process, from identification to post-appeal analysis.

Click here to visit the download page for the free eBook.

Stefanie Pous’ “Throughout the Generations: Trends in Annual Giving”

For this very carnival, Stefanie Pous of Elevation Web put together an analysis of annual giving trends based on donor age group.

In the analysis, she builds her advice based on the evidence at hand. For instance, she found that Baby Boomers, “are the most generous of all generations — donating $47 billion annually between check writing and online giving.”

Taking that check writing and online giving into account, Pous explains that you should focus your solicitation efforts on voice calls and email but not count out text messaging and social media.

Click here to get her statistic-backed advice for all donor generations.

Greta Daniels’ “Segment and Test: A Scientific Method for Annual Giving Donor Analysis”

In her article on EverTrue’s blog, Greta Daniels addresses a critical element of effective fundraising appeals: personalization.

The post discusses the importance of donor personalization when soliciting support for the annual fund, and offers advice on how to create personalized donor segments and test them using a scientific approach.

Click here for the full set of instructions for the annual giving scientific method.

Annual Fund Communications

@Pay’s “Nonprofit Email Newsletters: 28+ Actionable Tips”

Email newsletters have steadily risen in popularity, and they’re here to stay. Whether you’re looking to share details about your annual giving campaign or call attention to some of your most generous annual fund donors, an email newsletter is likely going to be part of the picture.

Luckily, @Pay has compiled more than 28 tips for perfecting your email newsletters. Find the advice you need to take your annual fund email newsletters to the next level.

Click here for the complete list.

Julia Campbell’s “5 Ways to Tackle Your Nonprofit’s Fear of Social Media”

On her #501Social blog, Campbell opens her article by saying the following, “Starting on social media can be a scary proposition for many nonprofits.”

But then she goes on to explain, “While this fear is understandable, unfortunately it is also counterproductive. The benefits of using social media to interact with donors and to tell stories vastly outweigh the potential negatives.”

And she’s right. Bottom line: in our current culture, leaving social media out of your annual fund strategy is unacceptable.

If you’re struggling to get organization-wide support of social media activities, use the advice from Julia’s article.

Click to learn Julia’s 5 strategies.

iATS Payments’ “How Nonprofits Can Benefit from New Facebook Fundraising Feature”

If you really want to take your annual fund growth to the next level, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge of fundraising technology developments.

And recently, Facebook added a feature that lets users create fundraising pages for the nonprofits of their choosing. Handled correctly, this is an excellent avenue for supporters to help your organization grow its communications network.

Click here to get advice right from the source.

Ideas to Grow the Annual Fund Through Fundraising Events

 

Wild Apricot’s “How to Take Charge of Your Fundraising Event”

Have you ever calculated the return on your investment for your fundraisers? If you factor in all the costs, you might discover what many nonprofits discover — your events lose money. But does that mean you should stop running them? Not so fast.

You just have to apply the right strategy and follow a few best practices, which is what you’ll learn in the guest post by Claire Axelrad on Wild Apricot’s blog.

Click here to read more about taking charge.

Susan Diener’s “How Nonprofits Can Use Fundraisers to Build an Annual Fund”

In her post, Fundraiser Insight’s Susan Diener addresses fundraising events and annual funds head on.

She explains:

One surefire way to see new donations come in, while giving you plenty of time with current or potential donors, is through fundraising events. Events are an excellent way to gather people who are passionate about your cause and create some momentum for your annual fund.”

Click here for all 6 tips.

OneCause’s “How to Run a Charity Auction”

These days, many fundraising events feature auctions. They are the perfect opportunity to bring new supporters into the giving fold, so it’s crucial that you host the best charity auction possible.

OneCause offers an entire resource dedicated to just that.

Click here for OneCause’s how-to guide.

Learn more about charity auction fundraising tools.

Strategies to Build Donor Trust

WholeWhale’s “Ultimate Guide for the Nonprofit RFP Process, with Examples & Templates”

As more and more annual fundraising moves online, it has become much more of a priority for nonprofit websites to be the best of the best.

Simply put, people are less likely to give if they feel they can’t trust the website they’re on. An underperforming website is going to have a huge impact on the success of your annual fund.

So if you’re in the position where you need a new website, look no further than this resource from WholeWhale to make a nonprofit RFP (Request for Proposal).

Click here for a walk through of the entire Nonprofit RFP process.

Aespire’s “Safe and Secure: Creating a Trusted Web Experience”

This post is all about designing a website that fosters trust with your donors. That way, your annual fund donors can feel safe and secure throughout the online giving process.

As the article explains:

While it may sound complicated and/or scary, website security is relatively simple to implement and has the benefit of reassuring your donors that their trust in your organization is well placed.

From there, the article delves into just how to create a trusted web experience.

Click here for Aespire’s advice.

James Gilmer’s “Top 20 Reasons Nonprofits Register for Charitable Solicitation”

Charitable solicitation requirements apply when you are asking for donations to grow your annual giving base and when donors make substantial or repeated donations.

While the IRS and registering for charitable solicitation is a complex and intimidating topic to tackle, it is paramount to any nonprofit’s success in all areas of fundraising, especially long-term fundraising for recurring donations to the annual fund.

That’s where James Gilmer’s post on the Harbor Compliance blog comes in.

Click here to read James’ list.


That’s it for this month’s installment of the carnival!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter for updates! And be sure to email any questions or ideas to Taylor Gibbs.

Learn more about the 5 types of matching gift letters that every nonprofit should be sending!

5 Types of Matching Gift Letters Every Nonprofit Should Be Sending

One of the easiest, most effective ways to raise awareness for matching gifts is through letters. Both online and offline, letters can provide detailed information about matching gifts that helps donors understand how easy and how important it is to submit matching gift requests.

Acknowledgement emails

Letter #1 – Acknowledgement emails

When life gives you generous donors, make them thank you notes.

Email is a fast, efficient way to demonstrate your gratefulness directly after a donation is made. Acknowledgement emails can be templates in which you insert a donor’s name and perhaps a few other bits of information in order to deliver a personal touch.

The key is to show your appreciation. Matching gift donors could be former prospects, volunteers, or fundraisers, and they all deserve a good pat on the back. Once goodwill has been built, you can make an appeal for matching gifts.

The letter should focus on the thank you, and the matching gift appeal should be kept to a minimum. However, adding matching gift appeals to thank you notes can serve as the reminder that donors need to take the time to make their donations go twice as far.

Here is a sample acknowledgement email from Piedmont Healthcare:

piedmont foundation matching gift confirmation email

A matching gift appeal in an acknowledgement letter could be as simple as:

  • Are you eligible for a matching gift? Ask your employer today if you can double your donation to [insert your nonprofit’s name here].
  • Does your employer offer a matching gift program? Find out now if your donation can go twice as far: [insert link to a dedicated matching gift page].
  • You might be eligible for a matching gift. Ask your HR department today if your employer will make your gift have twice the impact.

Thanking donors is one of the keys to donor retention. When you thank them, you’re also extending them a courtesy by giving them the chance to give more without giving any more of their own money. They want to help your cause as much as possible, and you don’t want to leave easy money on the table.

When to send: After a donation.
Who to send to: Recent donors.
Why to send: Thank you for a donation and to make a matching gift appeal.

View additional sample matching gift acknowledgement letters.

Thank you letters and postcards

Letter #2 – Thank you letters and postcards

You might call direct mail snail mail, but what snail mail lacks in speed it more than makes up for in emotional impact.

People know when you’re sending them an automated message. Direct mailings could be automated messages, too, but there are ways to prove to donors that your direct mailings have been touched by real people that can’t be accomplished through email.

While you won’t have the time to hand write every thank you letter or postcard, merely signing your name at the bottom can do wonders to let donors know that you took personal time out of your day to attend to thanking them for their generous gifts. Caring doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to come across.

Direct mail is more expensive than email, due to the price of stamps, so you may not want to mail to everyone. Prospect research can help to reveal which donors are eligible for matching gifts, so you aren’t sending special letters to people who won’t be able to send a matching gift.

Other people worth mailing to are donors who you know prefer direct mail to email. Many older donors still prefer direct mail, and will be more receptive to matching gift appeals made through this medium. Another thing that not many people know is that online donors prefer to move offline as quickly as possible. Even online donors like offline contact.

When to send: After a donation.
Who to send to: Matching gift eligible donors who prefer direct mail to email.
Why to send: Some donors prefer tangible materials to electronic communications.

View additional sample matching gift acknowledgement letters.

Paper inserts with other communications

Letter #3 – Paper inserts with other communications

Incorporating matching gift appeals into emails and direct mailings entails editing your current marketing materials. The alternative is to create entirely new materials that can accompany your established donor letters.

Here’s a sample matching gift insert from the National Kidney Foundation:

Insert - National Kidney Foundation

Paper inserts can be mailed along with almost any direct mail communication. You might send donors magazines, acknowledgment letters, or volunteer information, and with each communication you can include a paper insert to remind them of the possibility of matching gifts.

Even for people who don’t donate, including a paper insert in a direct mailing can help to encourage them to give. Including matching gifts in fundraising appeals increases response rates by 71%, and those donations are 51% higher in average amount.

Reminding donors about matching gifts can help boost your fundraising, but reaching out to people who have yet to give can do a world of good for your nonprofit, too.

When to send: Any time you send a communication through direct mail.
Who to send to: Prospects and donors.
Why to send: Raise awareness for matching gifts to boost fundraising.

View additional sample matching gift direct mail pieces.

Newsletters

Letter #4 – Newsletters

Many nonprofits use formal newsletters to keep donors up to date on all the happenings about the organization. Matching gifts are worth a dedicated email just to announce the opportunity.

The best strategy is to dedicate one or two newsletters a year, depending on how many you send, entirely to matching gifts. Check out this example from CMTA.

CMTA Matching Gift Email

Think of this equation. One email, one goal.

When newsletters have a singular focus, donors are less likely to be distracted by news of your recent fundraiser or listings of upcoming volunteer opportunities. By focusing on matching gifts, donors have one call to action to pay attention to, and thus one action to take on their minds.

That said, split newsletters can work, and certainly help to save newsletter real estate. Splitting might mean that matching gifts share a newsletter with one or many other topics. You might even choose to include a matching gift appeal as a sort of banner ad along the side of the newsletter.

Just like with thank you letters, split up email and direct mailing of newsletters to those donors who best respond to the respective mediums.

It’s best to send matching gift newsletters during the times of year when the most donations come in, as you’ll reach more people at times when they’re in the giving mindset.

When to send: Once or twice throughout the year. Why not pick a slow time, like August, or May
Who to send to: Donors and volunteers.
Why to send: Keep donors up to date about your nonprofit’s matching gift policies and need for additional funds.

View additional sample matching gift newsletters and emails.

Year-end and new year appeals

Letter #5 – Year end and new year appeals

Timing matters. Depending on how your nonprofit times its letters, your organization stands to either build more meaningful relationships or miss out on opportunities to do this.

Many donors prefer to give at the end of the year. This is when people tend to be most aware of their finances in terms of how much money they’ve spent over the prior twelve months and how much they have left to give. A lot of businesses and nonprofits also make their big pushes for donations during the last months of the year.

Year end appeals can mix calls for donations with matching gift appeals. These letters aim to encourage people to give while reminding them that matching gifts will help to deliver the biggest impacts possible. Year end appeals can be tailored for the time of year, in terms of embracing any seasonal holidays or other special occasions in regards to the language used and the layout of the communication.

For more information on year-end fundraising strategies, check out Double the Donation’s comprehensive guide.

New year appeals are similar to year end appeals, but they tend to focus on reminding donors to seek matching gifts more so than doing that in tandem with encouraging donations.

Many people have already given for the year, and the start of the new year is an ideal time to reach out to everyone who has donated in order to remind them that they can still do a little bit more to help your cause.

When to send: End of the year and start of the new year.
Who to send to: High quality prospects and current donors.
Why to send: Encourage donations and remind donors about the possibility of a matching gift.

View additional year-end and new-year matching gift appeals.

Takeaway: There are many ways to acquire more matching gifts, but none may be able to attain as personal of a touch as letters.


There you have it: 5 different types of letters for your all of your fundraising needs. Hopefully, these letters can help you raise more money for your cause and promote matching gifts at the same time.

Double the Donation and Qgiv Integration Guide

If you’re already using Double the Donation, you can embed their widget directly into the Top or Bottom Content areas of your online receipt page, if desired.

We’ll use the simple embed option that comes with the Tier 2 plan as an example. This plan doesn’t grant access to Double the Donation’s API, so if you want to dig in and customize anything, you may want to look at signing up for the Tier 3 plan, which does give API access.

Once you’ve logged in to your Double the Donation account, select Embed Our Plugin from the menu along the left side of the screen.

Embed Double the Donation's plugin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, click the Let’s Begin button.

Double the Donation and Qgiv Integration

 

 

 

You’ll land on a secondary contact screen. The secondary contact will be used by Double the Donation as a point of contact if they can’t reach you or if you leave your organization. Go ahead and enter one if you haven’t done so already, and then click Continue.

You should now see the Standard Javascript Embedding option. The code in the box is what you’ll be copying and pasting to embed the widget.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

Please note: We’ve only included a portion of the code in this guide for proprietary reasons.
From your Qgiv control panel for the form on which you’d like to embed the widget, click the Form Builder button, located next to View Form.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

Use the toggle in the upper-left corner of the screen to navigate to the online receipt editor. We’ll embed it in the Top Content area for this example.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

Click the Edit Top Content button.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

Click the Source button in the toolbar.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

Copy the code from the Double the Donation site and paste it in the editor in the Top Content area.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Save Top Content and be sure to click the green Save Page button at the bottom of the screen.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

You’re done! The widget should now display properly.

What you’ll see in Form Builder:

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

What donors will see on the online receipt:

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back on Double the Donation’s site, you can click It Worked! Complete Setup to finish up. That’s all you need to do! Donors can now use the service whenever they make a donation.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

It’s also a great idea to have a dedicated matching gift page on your organization’s website. On the ASPCA’s website, you can see they’ve given donors all the information they need about matching gifts, along with embedding the widget.

ASPCA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email Receipts

Another way to promote matching gifts is by directing donors to your dedicated matching gift page in your email receipts.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can easily copy the example shown above by editing your standard donation receipt in the Receipts area of your control panel. You’ll need to repeat the process for each receipt in which you’d like to include a link.

Once you’re in the editor, you can upload an image by clicking Insert Media.

In the resulting pop-up, click Upload File, and then select the image file from your computer.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A preview of your image will appear in the media editor. When you hover over it, a button that says Insert will appear — click it to place the image in your email receipt.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you’ll want to add a hyperlink to the images so donors can click it and be taken to your dedicated matching gift page. To do so, right-click the image in the receipt body and select Image Properties.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the resulting window, click the Link tab.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll see a URL field. Enter the exact URL of your dedicated matching gift page here, and then click OK.

Double the Donation and Qgiv integration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure you save the changes to your receipt before navigating away. Now, when a donor receives your email receipt, they can click the icon to be taken to your dedicated matching gift page!

Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Tracking Usage: Determine How Many of Your Donors are Searching for their Employer

One of  question we receive semi-regularly is how a nonprofit can track the number of people who are using our matching gift tool. Specifically nonprofits often ask if there is a way for the organization to see how many people visit their matching gift page.

While Double the Donation hasn’t built fully automated in-house analytics (it’s on our to-do list) nearly every organization already has the tools in place to measure visitors to their matching gift page.

If you’re already familiar with the different integration options then continue reading this article but if you’re unsure of the difference between embedding our widget and hosting match pages on our servers then we recommend reading this article first.

Tracking Visitors for Organizations Embedding Our Widget:

Did you know that almost all websites already include analytics software? The most common analytics software is Google Analytics and there’s a very high probability that your organization is using it. In fact that’s the same analytics software that Double the Donation uses.

If your organization embeds our matching gift widget on your own site then your own analytics should automatically measure the number of people visiting each page.

For instance if you build a matching gift page and embed our matching gift widget at https://yourwebsite.org/match then through Google Analytics (or other tools) you can see the number of people who go to that page.

Search for Your Organization’s Match Page on Google Analytics

Google Analytics Tracking Matching Gift Hits

In addition to tracking the number of people who arrive at your match page you can see where they’re coming from. Let’s say you added a link to your match page on your ways-to-give page, donation page, and confirmation screen then you can see where your visitors are arriving from.

One thing worth noting is that each time someone searches for a company it does not reload the page. We designed our tool to be as streamlined as possible and thus search results load dynamically without refreshing the entire page.

Tracking Visitors for Organizations Hosting Their Match Pages on our Servers:

If your organization has chosen to host a match page on our servers then you can employ many of the same tracking strategies as those organizations that embedded our widget on their own sites. The difference is that you need to direct people to a page on your own site then automatically redirect visitors to the match page on our site.

For instance if you direct your organization’s donors to a URL on our servers such as https://doublethedonation.com/your-org then the best option is to set up a 301 redirect from a page on your site to the page on our site.

Here’s the standard process:

  1. Create an account on Double the Donation’s website.
  2. Choose your URL on Double the Donation’s site (ex. https://doublethedonation.com/your-org).
  3. Create a page on your website (ex. https://yourwebsite.org/matching).
  4. Set up a 301 redirect (a permanent redirect) from https://yourwebsite.org/matching to https://doublethedonation.com/your-org.
  5. Direct your donors and volunteers to https://yourwebsite.org/matching which will instantly redirect to https://doublethedonation.com/your-org.

By directing your donors to a page on your site most of the visitors will appear within your own analytics. The only time your analytics won’t pick up visitors will be if individuals who arrive at https://doublethedonation.com/your-org then share that URL with their peers or across social media.

What Information Does Double the Donation Collect / Have Available?

Double the Donation’s service is set up to only collect certain pieces of information.

We designed the service to intentionally only require a user to type in a company name to access company specific matching gift and volunteer grant information. At one point we tested our matching gift plugin with the following three different designs:

  1. One plugin with just a company search field
  2. One plugin with a company search field as well as an email address field
  3. One plugin with a company search field as well as a field for an individual’s name

When testing the second and third designs we noticed a drop in the percentage of people that arrived on the matching gift page and then ultimately used the plugin to search for their employer. Given that the matching gift process must be initiated by donors we felt it was important to maximize the number of individuals who are able to access their employers’ matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions. We also heard a few privacy concerns from nonprofits who wondered how Double the Donation’s team would use the information.

For these reasons our plugin doesn’t have a field for an individual’s name or email address so there is no way to tie usage back to an individual.

One question we occasionally receive is whether Double the Donation’s team can pull specific data on the companies which an organization’s donors are searching for. While Double the Donation’s team is able to see usage and the number of queries for different employers across all of our customers’ accounts, unfortunately at the present moment we aren’t able to break that out by individual organization.

We hope the above tracking suggestions help and let us know if you have any additional questions.

Conduct your most informative fundraising feasibility study yet with our favorite tips and strategies.

Conduct a Fundraising Feasibility Study: 7 Steps to Success

text-to-give

4 Ways to Incorporate Matching Gifts into Text-to-Give Campaigns

It’s 4 o’clock. You run to the vending machine with a dollar and some change in your hand. All you’re hoping for is that little afternoon pick-me-up: a shiny, red bag of Skittles.

But when you press A7, the gears turn a little too far, and (gasp) you’ve got two bags of Skittles. You only paid for one. It’s your lucky day!

This is exactly how matching gifts work. Your nonprofit gets twice as much instantaneously.

You’re asking yourself: “How do I use text-to-give to get twice as many donations?”

Below are four easy ways to incorporate matching gifts into your text-to-give campaign.

In this article, we’ll explore the following strategies for making matching gifts a part of your nonprofit’s mobile fundraising campaign:

  1. Start with the Heart
  2. Appeal to the On-the-Go Donor
  3. Choose Your Words Wisely
  4. Make it Simple

1. Start with the Heart

Above all else, your nonprofit should keep in mind the basic principles of asking for donations of any kind. Chief among those is remembering that people give most often with their hearts.

matching gifts and text to give campaigns

When incorporating matching gifts into your text-to-give campaign, it’s important to remind your donors of the compassionate reasons they’re giving in the first place.

How you do this is entirely up to you, but it’s good to note that most people enjoy genuine, from-the-heart approaches.

A personalized letter works better than a generic email.

A personalized email works better than a standardized template.

When you’re asking people to take the time to fill out the necessary paperwork to get their employers to double their donations, you want to make sure you’re being as intentional as possible.

Not only should you tap into your donors’ sense of compassion, you should also make your plans clear.

Churches are extremely successful with the way they use text-to-give. This has, in part, to do with the fact that churches make their intentions known.

If you take a cue from the pew, your nonprofit can let donors know about your text-to-give campaign and matching gifts component by:

  • Spreading the word at live events, like concerts or 5K races.
  • Putting up flyers.
  • Sending out an email blast.
  • Making an announcement over social media.
  • Personally calling major donors.
  • And more!

Kings House Facebook intro

Takeaway: If you make your plans known, keep your approaches focused on individuals, and keep in mind that people give with their hearts over their heads, you’re well on your way to raising twice as much in no time.

Check out more church fundraising ideas.

2. Appeal to the On-the-Go Donor

When you launch a mobile giving or text-to-give campaign, you’re hoping to reach:

  • The on-the-go business wizard.
  • The constantly connected teen.
  • The multi-tasking university student.
  • The avid Instagrammer.
  • The prolific tweeter.
  • The Facebook junkie.

With that in mind, the way you spread the word about your text-to-give campaign with regards to matching gifts needs to translate well across all mobile platforms.

What does that mean?

Basically, it means:

  • You have to be able to explain matching gifts in 140 characters or less.
  • A picture on Instagram needs to remind your donors about the possibility of matching gifts.
  • A Facebook post about matching gifts needs to be infinitely shareable.

All on a tiny screen.

This is all a part of an effective strategy for asking for donations.

It may seem intimidating, but it’s really quite simple if you have the right mobile fundraising platform.

For an example of what a succinct Facebook mobile donation plea looks like, check out this post:

Facebook text zoom

As you can see, they’ve used a picture that appeals to donors’ hearts; they haven’t used too many words, and they give the donor all of the important information they need to donate.

Takeaway: Making your mobile asks short and sweet is the most effective way to reach more donors on the move.

3. Choose Your Words Wisely

On top of keeping track of how frequently you’re reminding your donors of your fundraising campaign, you also need to be aware of the words you’re using.

Action words incite action.

Some price examples of action words:

  • Change someone’s life.
  • Make a real impact.
  • Build a house with your contributions.
  • Provide surgery for a child in need.

The more specific and actionable your words are, the more likely your donors are to donate to your text-to-give campaign and seek out matching gifts.

In addition to picking the right words for your campaign, it’s also useful and important to choose the perfect picture to accompany those words.

Pictures really are worth 1,000 words, and best of all, they spark an emotional response like nothing else.

When you’re marketing matching gifts during your text-to-give campaign, be sure to take advantage of the fact that donors are far more likely to take action if there’s a compelling picture attached to the message.

Takeaway: Action words and compelling pictures propel your efforts beyond belief. So choose each one carefully.

4. Make it Simple

The fewer clicks, the better.

The best way to help people learn more about matching gifts through your text-to-give campaign is to make it as easy as possible.

There are about a hundred accessible ways to explain matching gifts in a very mobile-friendly way. Feel free to use the vending machine example!

If that metaphor doesn’t work for your organization, there’s also:

  • A buy-one-get-one sale. You buy one pair of shoes, and you get the second for free.
  • A double scoop of ice cream. You ask for one, but instead you get two.
  • Two apples for the price of one. You pick on apple, and one more falls down with it.

As long as your donors have a good visual comparison for what’s being marketed to them, they’re going to be more willing to listen.

Text-to-give is already so simple. Matching gifts can be, too!

All you have to do is provide only the most pertinent information about matching gifts with your mobile giving information.

Takeaway: Making the concept of matching gifts super simple makes it far more likely that your donors will look into your mobile matching gift program.

Now that you have all of these tips in mind, you’re ready to hit the ground running and get twice as far in no time at all!


Wauker MatthewsWauker Matthews is Director of Sales at @pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to give in just a few clicks from text, email, web and social media. Wauker has been in brand & business development for over 8 years, helping organizations grow in both size and reach.

Donation form optimization hacks

10 Donation Form Optimization Hacks to Raise More Funds!

If your nonprofit has started asking for donations online or via mobile devices, then congratulations! Your organization is part of a growing movement to shift fundraising to more efficient and accessible methods.

With all of the new technology that seems to be changing every minute, it can be difficult to pinpoint what makes an online donation form so amazing.

Is it the image at the top of the form?

Is it the ease of giving?

Perhaps it’s the consistent branding?

Hint: It’s all of these (plus a few extra!).

This article will serve as your one-stop shop for donation form optimizations. Whether you’re building one from the ground up or you’re looking to enhance the donation form you already have, these tricks and tips can help guide you toward an amazing donation form that will encourage donors to keep giving.

  1. Get the Word Out
  2. Simplify Your Donation Form
  3. Offer Different Giving Levels
  4. Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities
  5. Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving
  6. Keep Your Branding Consistent
  7. Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media
  8. Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels
  9. Go Mobile
  10. Plan for What Happens Afterwards

Let’s dive right into these 10 donation form optimization hacks your organization should implement.

And for ten more tips, check out Qgiv’s list of 20 donation form best practices.

get the word out

1. Get The Word Out

No one will know about your donation form if you don’t tell them about it.

You’re likely already asking your supporters for their donations of time and money. Use those donation appeals to drive traffic to your online donation page.

Include info about your donation form:

Whenever  you’re communicating with donors, you should be spreading the word about your online donation page.

Takeaway: Getting the word out about your donation form is crucial for seeing those spikes in traffic and, eventually, that boost in your donor conversion rate.

simplify your donation form

2. Simplify Your Donation Form

Does your donation page have five images, three blocks of text, and links to other pages on your site?

If yes, it might be time to rethink the formatting of your donation form.

The fewer distractions donors have once they land on your donation page, the better. You want to keep them focused on the task at hand: donating.

Take this nonprofit’s donation form, for example:

Her Song Donation FormNotice how clean and streamlined this donation form looks. The nonprofit’s logo is featured at the top, and the only other text on the form is for the “Freedom Campaign.”

Incorporating cluttering links and extraneous navigation only distracts donors from the giving process.

Takeaway: Maximize your donor conversion rate by keeping supporters focused on donating.

offer different giving levels

3. Offer Different Giving Levels

Sometimes, donors need a little nudge in the right direction.

Your donation form can give them a that nudge with the end result being larger donations!

How?

Let me explain:

If a donor arrives on your donation page with the intention of giving $45, sees an empty field labeled, “Donation Amount,” she’s likely to type in “45” and complete the donation.

But, if that same donor sees options for $10, $25, $30, $50, and so on, she’s far more likely to choose the $50 option.

Why?

It’s simple psychology, really. Donors want to appear more generous. The extra five dollars doesn’t seem like an extra expense, and it’s easier for them to simply select an option than plug in their own donation amount.

Check out this example donation form:

styles 4 girlz donation form

You should, of course, still offer a blank field for donors who want to choose their own amount. Donors are the ones in control of their finances, and they know what’s best for their wallets.

Note how this example also describes what each donation level provides for, in this case, girls in need. This way, donors know the impact of their donation.

Takeaway: Offer donors different giving levels to increase donation amounts and keep donors informed of what their donations go toward.

encourage donors to look into other giving opportunities

4. Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities

In addition to the aforementioned tips and tricks, you should also dedicate a section of your donation form to matching gifts, volunteering opportunities, and other giving avenues.

Donors who find themselves on your donation form might be first time supporters or lifetime donors.

Give both demographics a chance to continue giving to your organization by offering other giving options on your donation page.

Check out this example nonprofit:

Boys and Girls Club Donation Form

This donation form only touches on planned giving and matching gifts, but you can include information about:

Just remember that the more options you offer on your donation page, the lower your donor conversion rate will be. If you want to find out about what other types of giving opportunities your donors might be interested in, you can also ask them directly or send out a survey via email.

Takeaway: Use your donation form to capture interest in other giving avenues, but be careful about including too many options.

remind donors of why they're giving

5. Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving

Donors give to your organization because they feel deeply connected to your cause. They want to help you accomplish your mission and demonstrate their support with donations.

Your donation form should help remind donors of why they’re contributing to your organization in the first place. 

Let me explain with an example:

bbbs northern nj donation form

This donation form accomplishes a few things at once:

  1. It provides context for what donations will go toward.
  2. It shows, with a single image, the people who will benefit from donations.
  3. It gives an email address and a phone number for more information or questions.

Notice that the top of this donation form is still simple and doesn’t overwhelm the user. It does, however, provide an emotional appeal for donors who arrive on the page. The image is heart-warming, and the text gives donors the context they may need to finish the donation process.

Takeaway: Remind donors of why they’re giving by including images and brief text to help put their donation in context.

keep your branding consistent

6. Keep your Branding Consistent

Imagine this: one of your newest supporters finds himself on your website, looking at your Ways to Give page.

Your entire website is consistent: you use the same colors, logos, and fonts on all of your pages and blog posts.

But when he clicks on your “Donate Now” button, he is taken to a donation form that is devoid of those same colors, logos, and fonts.

In fact, the donation form could be for anything, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it belongs on your nonprofit’s website.

You can remedy this issue by keeping your brand consistent throughout your website and your donation form.

Let’s look at a quick example:

Her Song Donation Form

Notice how the logo is still present at the top while “Home” is highlighted in red. The fonts are all consistent, creating a seamless giving experience for donors.

Takeaway: Maintain uniform branding across your website and your donation form to give supporters a great donating experience.

Bonus: Looking for a website design firm to help you maintain a cohesive brand on your nonprofit’s website and donation forms? Check out this helpful list of website builders.

give donors the opportunity to share their donation on social media

7. Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media

If you want to expand your donor base and give your existing supporters the chance to brag about themselves a little bit, include social media sharing buttons somewhere on your donation form.

Of course, the post that gets shared shouldn’t include any of their personal or financial information. It can be something as simple as a link to your donation form!

Take a look at this example:

Arizona Literacy and Learning Center Donation Form

Note how this particular donation form includes social sharing information at the top of the form. Donors can recommend or share on Facebook or tweet a link to the donation form via Twitter.

Takeaway: Your donation form should be just as shareable as the rest of the content on your website. Include social sharing buttons to encourage donors to brag about themselves to their social networks.

create a seamless giving experience across all giving channels

8. Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels

Some of your donors aren’t going to want to give online. They might prefer giving over the phone, by mail, or via other traditional donating methods.

How do these donors fit into your online fundraising strategy, though?

The key is to make sure that all donors have a great giving experience, regardless of their method of donating.

This means that you should:

  • Maintain consistent branding in all communications.
  • Segment your appeals.
  • Be genuine during all of your asks.
  • Acknowledge consistently.

Creating a seamless giving experience across all of your giving channels will help donors who move from giving via check to giving online feel more confident in their switch.

Takeaway: Make sure that your organization is consistent when making donation appeals with several different methods and strategies.

go mobile

9. Go Mobile

Did you know that 91% of American adults own a smartphone?

It’s extremely likely that many of those smartphone users are learning about your nonprofit on their mobile devices.

Is your donation form optimized for their mobile giving experience? 

If not, you might be missing out on a serious chunk of your online donations.

Let’s take a look at what a mobile donation form should look like:

her song mobile donation form

See how this donation form sticks to the first 8 tips we’ve covered? The branding is consistent, it’s simple, and there are social sharing buttons at the top of the page.

Takeaway: Make your donation page mobile to raise money from donors who like to give on the go!

plan for what happens afterwards

10. Plan for What Happens Afterwards

Just because a donor isn’t giving in person or over the phone doesn’t mean that the donation process should be impersonal or distant.

On the contrary, since online giving leans toward a more anonymous experience, your donor acknowledgements should be more tailored to donors.

This means that you can’t just have an acknowledgement screen after the donation has gone through that says, “Thanks!” and hope that that covers it.

You’ll also need to send a follow up email or letter that contains a donation receipt and a genuine acknowledgement of the contribution.

Furthermore, you should reference past donations in future appeals. Donors will be grateful for your appreciation of their previous gifts. It might even encourage them to give more in the future!

Takeaway: Make sure that you have a solid acknowledgement plan in place for your online supporters.

 

If you follow these ten tips, you should be on your way to donation form success. Don’t miss out on substantial donations by having a lackluster donation form.


Abby Jarvis QgivAbby 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.