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3 Ways Responsive Fundraising Helps Your Nonprofit Do More Good 

McKenna Bailey

Guest post by McKenna Baily – marketing strategist at Virtuous CRM

At the core of all nonprofits is the desire to do as much good as possible. Similarly, almost every person feels an innate desire to help as much as they can. Despite both truths, however, there is a growing disconnect between the work nonprofits do and the progress donors see. The result is fewer recurring gifts, disengaged advocates and team burnout. 

To improve all three, leading nonprofits are evolving their fundraising strategies to responsive fundraising. The three-step framework not only creates authentic relationships with donors, at scale, but it also gives your nonprofit team members clarity for what they should focus on and what is making the biggest difference. 

Here are a few ways that responsive fundraising can help your nonprofit do more good.

#1 – Prioritize the Donor Experience 

Effective fundraising speaks directly to the donor’s motivations and values. Your appeals should speak directly to the donor’s motivations, values, and ability to give. Major donor reps are already taking all these details into consideration when they approach a major gift donor. But the practices often don’t extend to individual donors. Fundraisers aren’t sure of how to scale.

Luckily, we’re living in an era of infinite data that makes it all possible. Actions that your donors take, both on your website and off, can be tracked, organized and analyzed to create better donor experiences. Everything from their favorite content, to program preferences, to the time of year they are most likely to volunteer is accessible to your team. 

When your team prioritizes the donor’s experience, you start to connect in relevant, personalized ways that drive generosity. Each engagement pulls the donor close to the work your organization does and reaffirms their commitment to your goals. The result is recurring donations that you can count on for growth in the future. 

#2 – Streamline Fundraising Processes 

Another important way responsive fundraising helps improve your nonprofit is by keeping your focus on the tactics that work. The truth is, all channels can result in generosity. Everything from events to direct mail and social media fundraisers will earn revenue for your nonprofit. You don’t have to abandon any particular channel in order to be more efficient. 

You simply have to know which donors will respond to which channel. Use the behavior data you have in your nonprofit CRM to understand which donors want digital appeals, which respond best to offline appeals, and who require a hybrid approach. The goal of segmenting your donors this way is to improve your conversion rates, which makes your team more successful without requiring more hours. 

Start by auditing your current fundraising processes and look for trends, especially in the engagements and appeals that failed. Responsive nonprofits do not shy away from failure, they use it to learn, optimize and increase their returns in the future. Once you’ve identified a few fundraising processes that can be optimized, start testing a few new ideas. Keep track of all the variables you’ve tried, which worked and which didn’t resonate. The key to responsive fundraising is to constantly iterate on your last campaign. Each time you engage with donors, you learn how to improve your next engagement so that you not only reach your fundraising goals, but surpass them. 

#3 – Foster Collaboration Across Internal Teams

One final way that responsive fundraising can help your organization be more effective is through internal collaboration. Siloed work affects organizations across sectors, but it is particularly detrimental to nonprofit organizations. Donors experience the work you do, and their interactions with your nonprofit, as a comprehensive team. 

To them, the person who sends an appeal to their mailbox, the one who comments on their social media post about your most recent campaign, and the one they saw at a local event are all the same. In order to make sure the story they hear and the messages they receive are all relevant and personalized, your internal teams must work together. 

A nonprofit CRM that can quickly lay out all the important information about a donor, including their last engagements, gifts and network of relational connections to other donors, makes it easy for your team to stay organized and personal. As you’re creating new campaigns or welcoming new donors to your organization, keep the lines of communications open across teams so that everyone knows the best way to be effective for donor relationships at scale. 

Keep notes, share information and create organized, strategic workflows that keep everyone up-to-date on which donors are in which part of the journey and who can reach out in order to bring them closer to your cause. 

Learn More with The Responsive Fundraising Blueprint 

If you want to learn more about responsive fundraising and how to implement it in your organization, download The Responsive Fundraising Blueprint. It will outline The Responsive Framework, and give you tips for fostering more generous and personal donor relationships. 

Find the right CRM for your organization

Download the Firefly Partners 2020 Digital Marketing Tool Guide to get a breakdown of CRM and fundraising platforms on the market and how they can help your nonprofit organization.

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