Because every NPO is unique, determining the most effective fundraising strategies can be challenging. Not all nonprofit fundraisers are created equal and what works for one nonprofit organization may not work for another. During the initial planning stages, answer the following questions:
- What strategy will support your overall nonprofit story and mission?
- Does the activity or timing compete with other strategies you have in place?
- How can you effectively reach your target audience?
- Does the campaign have clearly defined deliverables that match your defined needs?
In this blog, we’ve researched top NPO’s to analyze their campaign strengths so you can determine how to apply similar strategies to your organization.
Support Your Mission
Many NPOs employ effective fundraising strategies that fuel their mission. For instance, if a charity was focused on increasing access to literacy in Title 1 schools in the U.S., a campaign that collects book donations for affected schools will support that mission. On the other hand, a canned food drive at the holidays to help needy families in these school districts is helpful to the community but might not drive their mission. Always keep your campaigns specific to your own mission and while creating campaigns ask yourself:
- Is it “on mission”?
- Does this tactic create a direct impact?
- Can we make this campaign more on-brand for our organization?
- Can we communicate this message in a new creative way to gain more attention?
Use a Creative Hook
charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Their annual “September Campaign” asks supporters to run a marathon, grow a beard, or even swim naked in the San Francisco Bay. To disseminate its inspirational messaging, charity: water leverages targeted email and video campaigns.
To ensure their creative hook resonated with their intended audience, charity: water kicked off their campaign by sending an email to gauge interest. Embedded in the email, was a link, directing recipients to a landing page featuring a video message from the founder of charity: water. From there, each weekly email provided a short video message showing the impact of the campaign rather than simply being a donation request.
Know Your Audience
Beyond just supporting your mission, your effective fundraising strategy should appeal to your ideal audience. GrantSpace, an educational resource for non-profits, recommends asking the following questions when defining your ideal audience:
- Who is already a supporter, donor, or on your email list? Common characteristics between these audiences will help you define your ideal donor.
- What data and behavior information do you have about these people to help you create your messaging?
- What do you hope to achieve by reaching new audiences? What do you already know about them?
- Are you designing content for yourself or your audience? Remember that your passion for the cause is more indicative of your most ardent supporters, not your general donor base and audience.
Team Rubicon, a veteran-led organization focused on helping underserved communities impacted by natural disasters, uses technology to drive their fundraising goals. They research their audience’s behaviors to uncover information that helps them hyper-target their email, social media, text messaging, and earned media campaigns.
In addition to choosing the right communication methods, Team Rubicon relies on technology to monitor real-time insights and accurately target their marketing efforts. By reviewing data and segmenting by volunteers, donors, and fundraisers, Team Rubicon tailored their communications directly to each audience. The proper processes and technology enabled them to raise over $650,000 using insights from their Classy dashboard.
Rely on Social Media
Social media platforms can be an efficient and inexpensive vehicle to drive your message with your ideal donors. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter monitor data and provide the ability to hyper-target advertising to your defined audiences.
Red My Lips is an international non-profit organization designed to raise visibility and awareness about the realities and prevalence of sexual violence. They encourage supporters to share photos of themselves wearing red lipstick to generate buzz and awareness. A catchy campaign hook has the ability to go viral. People who may not normally donate can spread awareness for the cause.
Other Organizations Touching Lives Through Social Media
Some companies launch entire campaigns on social media platforms. Others use their social media presence as one aspect of their overall fundraising strategy. If your entire campaign can’t be based on social media, be sure that social media is still an avenue you use to increase your reach. For example, these organizations are experts at sharing their mission and stories on social media:
Ted Talks: 13M Facebook likes
UNICEF: 7.5M Facebook likes
NPR: 6.3M Facebook likes
PETA: 5.6M Facebook likes
Do Something: 2.4M Facebook likes
Validate Your Message
Feeding America conducts research studies to monitor hunger across America and develop strategies to fight it. They’re an excellent example of how thought leadership can position a non-profit as an industry leader while encouraging confidence in their donors. In addition to guiding Feeding America’s fundraising and advocacy methods, this research also informs policymakers, community leaders and other organizations on the key issues impacting hunger in America:
- Hunger in America
- Senior Hunger Research and Teen Hunger Research
- Hunger and Health
- Latino Hunger Research
Create an Impact Video
Impact videos provide a platform for non-profit organizations to connect with a new audience base. Younger generations typically prefer to engage with video over other forms of marketing. In fact, a web survey by Animoto, found that millennials are more likely to read an email if it contains a video, and 60% of millennials prefer to watch a video than read a newsletter. Here are a few non-profit organizations that are using video to engage with new audiences:
A Mother’s Dream For Her Child by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Power of ChangeLawyers by California ChangeLawyers
Follow the Frog by Rainforest Alliance
Effective Fundraising Strategies For Your NPO
The best non-profit fundraising campaigns use multiple strategies (social media, video, and targeting tactics) to spread their message and activate donors. And your non-profit’s story will guide your campaigns and goals on the path to success.