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Better Donor Management: 5 Tips to Improve Fundraising

Guest post from Mark Kelly at Salsa Labs.

Did you know there’s incredible fundraising potential hidden deep within your donor management solution?

Think about it: the better you know your donors, supporters, and volunteers, the better you can communicate with them and help them understand the need to support your cause. Portraying your worthy passion for your cause can be hard work, but it ultimately translates to a better fundraising strategy.

You can use your current donor management software to improve your organization’s fundraising with just a few tweaks in your usual process.

Donor stewardship plays an important role in fundraising (if your donors have a positive experience with your organization, it’s more likely they’ll give again), so it’s easy to see how your donor management software can help you increase revenue.

Check out our 5 easy tips to improve your fundraising with your donor database:

  1. Craft descriptive donor profiles.
  2. Track your donors’ engagement with your nonprofit.
  3. Transition loyal donors into major gift donors.
  4. Automate fundraising appeals.
  5. Acknowledge your donors.

If you need some pointers on purchasing a constituent relationship management solution, check out Salsa’s helpful infographic.

If you’re ready to learn how to use your CRM solution to increase your fundraising revenue, let’s get started.

1. Craft descriptive donor profiles.

With your donor management solution you’ll be able to store personal and helpful information so your organization can learn more about each individual donor.

Your nonprofit can record information like the following:

  • Contact information
  • Location
  • Familial relationships
  • Philanthropic interests
  • Giving history
  • Social media profiles
  • Income level
  • Real estate and stock ownership
  • Preferred method of communication

You can even include custom fields with information that relates to different types of events, like dietary preferences, or even information that correlates directly to your cause.

Take a look at Salsa’s in-depth donor profiles to get a feel for all the powerful information your organization can be harnessing:

Targeted fundraising appeals will most likely be more successful in acquiring donations than blanket approaches.

With all this recorded donor data, you can start to segment your lists based on interests as well as preferred method of communication. Considering your donors’ preferences while crafting your fundraising strategy will prove to them you value their support.

The bottom line: Knowing each supporter on an individual basis lets you strengthen and personalize your outreach and communication.

2. Track your donors’ engagement with your nonprofit.

A donor’s contact information and income level can only get you so far. You’ll want to track any interactions your organization has with donors, too, in the notes section of your constituent profiles.

Your software will already be tracking any general engagement donors have with your nonprofit but you can add significant value to your data by recording specific and customized notes about your interactions.

Recording all of your donors’ engagements in one central location helps your organization extract helpful insights that you can use to cater your communication.

For example, if your donor previously volunteered at a 5K event and participated in your last walkathon, you’ll know they’re interested in active events. You can then be sure to invite them to any walk, run, or ride events you host in the future!

The bottom line: Tracking your donors’ engagement will help you collect more valuable data that you can use to improve your outreach and fundraising approaches while strengthening your donor relationships!

3.Transition loyal donors into major gift donors.

Will all this collected data giving your organization into your donor base, you’ll be able to determine which donors have been giving to your nonprofit consistently month after month or year after year.

You can begin transitioning these donors from just loyal donors into major gift donors with the help of your CRM software.

After you’ve conducted prospect research on your different major gift prospects, you can use your software’s donor cultivation futures, which will allow you to create workflows that will help strategize your outreach.

Keep in mind, some loyal donors will be more likely to become major donors than others, so  your prospect research will help clarify exactly your organization should be looking for. For example, someone who gives $10 a year is technically “loyal,” but they don’t necessarily have major donor potential.

Plus, you’ll even be able to organize predictive reports to estimate when your donors will contribute major gifts next.

The bottom line: Your donor database helps increase fundraising revenue by helping you identify all of major gift prospects.

4.Automate fundraising appeals

You know how busy your organization gets on a daily basis, so it’s easy to conclude that your donors are busy too! Donating might not always be in the front of their minds.

To avoid forgetting on both ends of the donation process, schedule your emails so your donors will be reminded to donate at their convenience and your organization won’t have to remember to hit send on an email blast.

You won’t want to miss out on donations simply because you forgot to remind your donors about how they can give. On top of donating to your current campaign, donors can benefit from email reminders that encourage them to:

  • Pay their membership fees
  • Attend an upcoming event
  • Follow through with their pledges
  • Volunteer at an upcoming event
  • Sign a petition

Segmenting your lists can help your organization out here, too! You can make one list full of your nonprofit members to remind them to pay their dues, for example.

You can even use the templates your software suggests so you’ll spend less time drafting and sending emails and more time focused on your cause.

Don’t forget to include an easily accessible link to your online donation form, either in your text or with a graphic, in your emails.

Bonus: check out Firefly’s First Step to Improving Your Donation Form to keep your process in tip-top shape!

The bottom line: Automating reminders to donate will help jog your donors’ memories and encourage them to donate. Plus, you won’t have to remember to hit send on every email blast you send out!

5. Acknowledge your donors

Say thanks! Everyone appreciates genuine gratitude.

Your donors are the backbone of your organization. They help fund your efforts so you can further your cause! You should always thank them after they make contributions or volunteer at fundraising events.

Your donor database can automate thank-you emails, just like they do reminder emails! You’ll be able to segment these email lists, too, so you’ll have all your bases covered and no one will ever receive an email that’s not catered to them.

For large campaigns, you can draft a more general email that your software will send out after it recognizes a donation has been made.

Just be sure to code this template so it addresses each thank-you email with the appropriate donor’s name. Personalizing emails is crucial to ensuring your donors connect with your organization and feel valued in your community.

You can even take stewardship further by giving your donors a personal phone call or mail a handwritten letter to thank them for their contribution.

Or you can try an innovative method of communication and give your donors shout-outs on social media! Be sure to select donors who are comfortable with public recognition if you choose this route. You can check the notes in your donor profiles for insight on these preferences!

Remember that leaving supporters with a good feeling will encourage them to donate to your nonprofit again in the future because they’ll really feel like you appreciate their support.

The bottom line: Proper stewardship should leave your donors with a good taste in their mouths, so they’ll be inclined to involve themselves in your nonprofit again.

Now that you know how to maximize your donor management software with these 5 easy tips, fundraising should be a piece of cake!

Your donors are essential when it comes to furthering your cause, so stewardship is a necessary element to involve in your fundraising strategy. Get to fundraising with the help of your donor management solution!



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