Category Archives: Fundraising

multi-channel fundraising
Nonprofits can no longer rely on one or two channels to generate revenue. Your audience is in more than one place, so you need to be too! In this day and age, it’s hard to get your message in front of (and heard by) donors and supporters. We live in a constant media whirlwind, and our messages have a tendency to get lost if we don’t position them correctly. But with more media outlets than ever before, we have endless opportunities to experiment and optimize with our marketing efforts. Queue, multi-channel fundraising! 

multi-channel fundraising

What is multi-channel fundraising? 

Multi-channel fundraising is exactly how it sounds — spreading your message across multiple channels and utilizing tactics that will reach your ideal audience, at the optimal time. We live in a time where we’re fortunate to have so many avenues of communication; from direct mail, email, social media, phone, etc. 

It’s important to note that while you should utilize a variety of channels to get your message across, this doesn’t mean you should blast it. Messages should be strategic and cohesive across all channels, and tailored to each specific outlet. 

So, how do you make the most of your multi-channel fundraising efforts? The following tips will help set you up for success, and execute your multi-channel fundraising efforts efficiently. 

Step #1: Establish your fundraising goals. 

Before you get started on the leg work, make sure you have a clear goal and vision for your campaign. Set realistic expectations for your target number, and create milestones to help you get there. In addition, know how much you can realistically expect from each channel. For example, if you are experimenting with social media fundraising for the first time, it’s important to know that only 0.7% of organizations raise more than $100,000 through that channel. Be very conservative when you should, and risky when you can.

Step #2: Develop your campaign goals and messaging. 

It’s important to note that your campaign goals are different than your fundraising goals. Campaign goals are what you’re looking to accomplish through your fundraising efforts. So for example, you might ask yourself, “What will we achieve by raising $100k for my local foundation?” Putting X and Y numbers out on the table will help keep you on track to achieve your goals, just like any other campaign. 

Step #3: Define your messaging. 

Messaging should be optimized for each channel, as each channel has a different premise for how it’s used. Think about the different social media channels as an example. Instagram is used as more of a visual space, where Twitter is designed to be straightforward and concise. Think about the way messaging is different on each platform, and use that to your advantage. Regardless of the channel, make sure you’re telling a story that is captivating, and explain how their donation will benefit the organization, the program, and those sered. Donors should be able to see what tangible impact they’re making, and will be more likely to donate if it’s clear. 

Step #4: Identify where your donors are. 

Think about where you’re most likely to capture a donor’s attention. Depending on the industry and demographics/psychographics of your donors, some channels may be more beneficial than others. For example if you’re looking to capture donations from an older generation, you might benefit from email more than social media. If you’re looking to capture donations from a younger generation, social media might be a good route. 

Step #5: Create a timeline. 

A calendar is the key to project management! Creating dates for milestone completions is a great way to help keep your multi-channel fundraising efforts on track. Make sure you include time for drafting, editing, and executing your messages, and include enough flexibility for when inevitably, speed bumps will occur. 

Need help overseeing your multi-channel fundraising efforts? Project management is one of our specialties here at RBW Strategy! We’ll take the reigns and ensure your project is completed on time, within budget, and in the most stress-free way possible. Visit our services page to learn more!

virtual fundraising events
COVID-19 has forced local and national governments to restrict in-person events. But the show must go on! Organizations all over the world are trying to figure out how to host virtual fundraising events that are effective and engaging. If you’re struggling to pull together one of these events, you’re not alone. Even large companies like Salesforce have transitioned to virtual events. While virtual events pose its challenges, there are easy and practical ways to make sure it’s successful. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve gathered to help you make a confident step into virtual fundraising events.

Create a clear vision

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the internet is saturated with online events; which means it’s harder to stand out. Separating your organization from the rest all starts with the “why.” What is the purpose behind the event and why is it important? How does your event relate to your mission? How will it resonate with your audience? Ensuring your messaging is clear, concise, and consistent will give you a good head start to attract your audience (and hopefully inspire donors to partner with you financially)!

In addition to creating your event vision, you will need to map out a budget, timeline, measurable goals, and an event page for registrations and donations.

Do a test run

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a love/hate relationship with technology. How many times have you been on a Zoom meeting and the connection cuts out? Or you’re unable to see video or hear audio? Hosting a virtual fundraising event comes with its challenges, and it’s important to prepare for any technological mishaps that could occur. Make sure the conferencing platform works, run through all your content, and do everything exactly as you plan to on the day of the event. This will help you iron out any details, and also help your team get comfortable with the format. In addition, consider logistics like lighting, aesthetics, etc. to make the event more visually appealing.

Facilitate participation

One of the biggest challenges of virtual events is engaging the audience. We want to be talking with our audience, not at them! Don’t be afraid to get creative when planning your content for the event. Content like Q&A panels, surveys, quizzes, and polls are great ways to engage your audience during a virtual fundraising event.

Capture the data

One of the benefits of a virtual fundraising event is how much data you’re able to capture. You can see how many people attended, how long people stayed, and other data points. So make sure you are capturing the attendees’ contact info before the event starts so you can follow up if necessary! You can even send a short survey afterward to ask attendees for feedback. This information will help you improve future events and give you some intel into what content your audience is interested in.

Leverage the content

One of the many reasons we love online content is because there are endless opportunities to leverage it. That’s why we recommend recording your virtual fundraising events to use for future content. For example, you might create short, bite-sized videos from the conference and use them on your YouTube account or social channels. Or maybe you turn the key points from the event into a blog post or mini-podcast episode. Whatever the case, make sure you’re keeping these virtual events top of mind when it comes to creating a content strategy.

And there you have it! What tips do you have for creating a successful virtual fundraising event? Share with us in the comments!

RBW Strategy gives you the tools to take hold of the world around you. Consider how much more your organization could do with additional funds and increased capacity. Learn more on our services page!

 

Let’s be honest with ourselves. It is not easy to work in fundraising. Whether you are writing grants, cultivating relationships with major donors, managing special events or drafting marketing materials, you know that in the end, there is a bottom line. Your work has an impact on your organization(s) and that can be incredibly stressful. One slight error in a grant application and your 80+ hours of work on an application can be for naught. This is why many creative, thoughtful and intelligent individuals leave development positions after less than two years and why many new professionals move on to less stressful jobs.

I want to implore you thought that it is a fallacy though to believe that it falls all on our shoulders. Here is why that is….

  1. What is your culture of philanthropy? Fundraising involves much more than writing an application or report. It involves the investment of time and resources from your board leadership, leadership team, programmatic, financial and administrative staff to remain committed to meeting your goals. Each of these individuals play a significant part in the success of your fundraising efforts.
  2. How are you using your time? Are you investing your time in high priority fundraising efforts or providing band aid administrative support as well? Make sure you are focused on the tasks that will lead to the greatest results and create a cost-benefit analysis should you need to speak with your superior(s) on shifting workloads.
  3. You are not perfect. Yes, that’s right, you are not a superhero! While you can generate revenue for your organization(s), you can be prone to mistakes. It happens. Try not to beat yourself up and use it as an opportunity to develop a better process to avoid such errors moving forward.
  4. How are you improving? Are you investing your time in attending professional development workshops or conference that can improve your work? There are wonderful local, regional and national conferences that are geared towards public and nonprofit sector growth and sustainability. The GPA National Conference in Chicago is coming up and always a wonderful event. You can always learn a new skill, regardless of whether you are able to travel.

Fundraising can be a rewarding and satisfying profession. We just need to keep things in perspective and try to stay focused to the extent possible.

Let’s be brutally honest – fundraising is a pressure cooker. Get the funding or your organization cannot continue maintaining services (forgetting expansion). You might lose staff. You have board members who are breathing down your neck to ensure that you are meeting organizational priorities. It is no wonder that development professionals fizzle out and there is lots of transience in this profession. What can we do to stay on top of our work while also maintaining our sanity?

  1. Outline your plan – What do you need to do today? This week? This month? Start from the most important priorities and focus on these items. It is easy to get sidetracked, but you have to keep reiterating the message to others that if you can’t focus on these priorities, the organization will lose out.
  2. What are your tools? Are there technology resources, human capital, space, policies, or leadership buy-in that you can use to be successful?
  3. Share the load – The biggest misconception about fundraising is that it all falls on the shoulders of those in the Development Department, but we all know this is not the case. What can programmatic, financial, and administrative staff and volunteers do to help support you? Spell this out and delineate responsibilities to make it easier for others to understand.
  4. Separate – You have to find a way to ensure self-care or else you will be tired, stressed out, isolated and become disgruntled. Block off time in your calendar, download a meditation app or take a vacation day. Working 12 hours every day does not show your commitment to the organization but rather shows that your position is not structured effectively.

How will you try to reduce the pressure?