One of the most effective, but underused, fundraising strategies for non-profits is the Monthly Giving Program. A Monthly Giving Program is a smart strategy for all nonprofits, but particularly for small shops. Your fundraising dollar goes further with each acquisition of a monthly donor, because those donors will likely continue to increase their giving over a longer period of time. Monthly Giving Programs can make it easier for donors to give more annually and build a stronger relationship with your organization. According to Network for Good, the average recurring donor gives 42% more in one year than donors who give one-time gifts, and retention rates are over 80% for Monthly Giving Program, especially for donors who reach the one-year mark.
Direct Mail is a type of Direct Response Marketing. For non-profits, it is not only a key fundraising technique, it is also essential to raise awareness about your organzation. When Development Directors consider non-profit fundraising ideas to grow their database and organization, they must consider direct mail.
I have been in the Direct Response business for over 40 years and have reviewed many clients thank you direct mail programs. More than I can recall I have discovered that either they did not have a “Thank You” program at all (especially for small gifts) or they had a very generic, impersonal Thank You. These “thank you’s” either failed to mention the program that the donor was supporting or even forgot to mention the donor’s name. Sending a prompt and personal “Thank You” letter for every donation is essential in non-profit direct mail fundraising and donor conversion.
With the ease and widespread acceptance of online fundraising many people speculate that direct mail is a dying fundraising channel. However, “direct mail is over seven times more effective than all digital channels combined, according to the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.”
In Non-Profit Direct Response, copywriting is king. This is not the case for typical, mainstream advertising, where design is premium. Beautiful, full-color, high-gloss, very expensive ads are the bread and butter of the mainstream advertising agency. Anyone who reads the New York Times notices the huge number of pages, content and ads, that are full color, with beautiful images, and type so small it's nearly impossible to read. Clearly, in that environment, design rules over copy. And copy is relegated to the bottom right-hand corner with grey type against a black background that no one pays attention to.
At some point, all non-profit organizations ask how to get donations to continue funding their important work. Despite its long running proven track record, Direct Mail programs incite a sense of fear for many non-profits. (Yes, direct mail is still king.)
They think receiving a fundraising letter is something their donors will find annoying and will ultimately result in the donor distancing themselves from the organization. But this is not the case..Direct Mail is the best, most efficient way for non-profits to raise funds for their organization and keep their donors up-to-date on their important work.
In today’s challenging economy, many people are strapped for cash. The tight purses don’t just apply to individuals, though. Many non-profits are strapped financially, especially when they first start up. As The Atlantic said recently “There’s no doubt that non-profits today face serious financial difficulties and constraints...” There's usually a very small group of people - three or four - who do everything that the organization needs to do. They all work 15 hours a day and they're exhausted after their first year on the job.
When newer non-profits finally get to the point where their organization can effectively be championed and supported through direct mail, many people must decide whether it is better to handle the direct mail in house or hire someone to manage their direct mail program. Chances are they are going to be better off finding a direct response company to create and/or stabilize their fundraising efforts.
What percentage of total fundraising is coming from online donations?
I recently came across an excellent article from Upleaf. Published in June of this year, it has some very valuable information, and will be of service to all your fundraising efforts. (Read the full article here: ONLINE FUNDRAISING TRENDS).
Imagine being a donor in the process of giving to a non-profit. A potential donor sees an ad for your organization, be that tv, radio, internet banners, Facebook ads, something momentary, then they receive a direct mail package from you, and they are intrigued. But they haven’t heard much about your organization, and are therefore wary of giving their personal info to an organization they know almost nothing about. How do you, as a non-profit organization, get a new donor to trust you?
More and more non-profits are moving their fundraising efforts online, especially Christian non-profit organizations. Online fundraising seems like a perfect fit: many Christian non-profit organizations are trying to do more with less. Online fundraising seems to be the easiest Direct Marketing solution for cash-strapped non-profits to implement - it seems inexpensive, anyone with a computer can do it, and every organization believes in the generosity of their online donors. But will your next Online Fundraising Campaign translate into net income for your non-profit Christian organization? More importantly, can Online Fundraising lead to sustained donations for your important programs and projects?