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:
- General Annual Giving Best Practices and Improvement Tactics
- Tips for Better Annual Gift Solicitation
- Annual Fund Communications
- Ideas to Grow the Annual Fund Through Fundraising Events
- Strategies to Build Donor Trust
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.
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.
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.
DonorSearch’s “Annual Fund Strategies: A Nonprofit’s Guide”
In this detailed listing of annual fund strategies, DonorSearch separates the advice into four sections:
- Campaign planning
- Outreach and Stewardship
- Direct Asks
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.
That’s it for this month’s installment of the carnival!