As the holidays approach, the biggest nonprofit giving season of the whole year draws near. Beginning in full force with #GivingTuesday in November and continuing through the end of December, the season during which most nonprofits will receive the majority of their annual donations reigns supreme.
As a nonprofit professional, you want to make the most of this season with your fundraising events and strategies. As nonprofit tech experts, we here at TeamDNL have seen firsthand how important it is for nonprofits to be prepared to take advantage of any and all opportunities, especially the year-end rush.
There is a direct connection between donor experience and giving, in that when a donor has a good experience engaging with your nonprofit, they’ll donate more. There are a few strategies you can take to ensure donors have a quality, memorable experience at your year-end events:
- Start planning early.
- Call on your volunteers.
- Have easily accessible methods for digital giving.
By focusing on the donor experience at your events, you’ll likely find plenty of new opportunities to increase donations at your next event. Follow along for a breakdown of each strategy.
1. Start planning early.
Year-end giving is the single biggest opportunity for nonprofits to fundraise for their cause and, as such, you need to plan any initiatives held in that period well in advance. A well-planned event is a much more enjoyable event for everyone involved!
During your planning, you need to make sure you’ve accounted for a few important details:
- The event’s timeline
- Your organization’s goals
- Your fundraising team
- Your outreach strategy
You should begin a few months, or at the very least several weeks, in advance to make sure you have plenty of time to prepare. In order to hold an event that both satisfies donors and brings in contributions for your cause, you need to prepare sufficiently!
2. Call on your volunteers.
One strategy to increase donations at your next event is to simply ask for donations from a segment that’s already demonstrated that they’re dedicated to your cause– your volunteers. However, this must be handled carefully.
The worst thing you could do when asking your volunteers to make a financial donation is to alienate them through the process. There are a few best practices to make sure your volunteers feel both recognized for their efforts and motivated to give further:
- Personalize your ask.
Volunteers are already deeply invested in the work of your organization and have proven this by giving their time in service. You want to make sure to honor this investment with a personalized ask, both thanking volunteers (including specifics such as the amount of time they’ve spent with your organization) and asking them to consider a financial contribution.
- Thank them, and then thank them again.
Once again, it’s important to remember that volunteers have already given to your organization, even if it wasn’t done through financial means. Because they’re already committed supporters, you need to make sure you’re thanking them even before they’ve made these financial donations.
- Consider your volunteers’ connections.
Even if a volunteer isn’t in a place to give financially, they’re clearly dedicated to your cause enough to give their time. Maybe they’re also invested enough to spread the word about your cause to their personal connections, exposing you to new potential donors?
Consider giving volunteers an easy way to spread the word while also letting them brag on their accomplishments. If you have a very active volunteer program, a well-planned peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can be a smart move heading into the year-end season.
The most important part to remember in soliciting donations from your volunteers is that they’re already donors— just of their time. Embracing this population with a mindset of gratitude will help you increase donations at your next event.
3. Have easily accessible methods for digital giving.
Traditionally, you’d receive donations at a fundraising event exclusively through physical means. However, you want to make sure donors can give through any method they prefer and at any moment they please!
Make giving to your organization as easy as possible, and optimizing your mobile giving options is one way to do so. This is one of the most foundational ways to improve the donor experience.
At your event, donors should be able to give using cash, check, and card methods. There are a few types of digital giving you should provide to donors at your next event:
- Via your organization’s giving page: Most often integrated with your website, donors should be able to access your nonprofit’s digital giving platform while at the event. This allows them to give with ease at any point. Make sure your donation form is fully optimized to perform on smartphones and tablets.
- Via text-to-give processes: This involves your organization acquiring a text-to-give number and designating a specific phrase to be associated with the event. Donors will be able to text the phrase to your organization’s number at any point during the event to be directed to your giving page to complete the donation process.
- Via in-person card readers: Equipping your volunteers with card readers, either stationed at dedicated booths or attached to tablets to be carried around, is essential to accommodate donors giving through card means.
As a more general best practice for the entire year-end giving season, you’ll need to make sure your website is up to par. Your site and main donation page will anchor any online fundraising campaigns you conduct, so they need to be ready to perform. Check out our list of top nonprofit websites if you’re looking for more inspiration.
The busiest giving season is rapidly approaching, and you want to make the most of it! By using these three strategies, you’ll increase donor satisfaction and with that, donations at your next event.
Carl Diesing, Guest Author
Carl Diesing, Managing Director – Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.