Mar 20, 2013
Nonprofit organizations must operate like a small business at times, making wise financial decisions and engaging with donors similarly to how brands attract shoppers. In today's economic landscape, consumers and donors are researching organizations online and making purchasing or giving decisions via digital donation pages and mobile-optimized sites. These online channels enhance fundraising potential and capabilities, as well as drive awareness among a larger audience of viewers.
Mix it up
While the digital revolution is changing the way organizations interact with consumers, technology is also contributing to a greater proportion of revenue generation as part of multichannel campaigns that include offline efforts as well such as events and mail-in donations. The latest research from the Nonprofit Research Collaboration revealed the most successful fundraising campaigns in the first half of 2012 were efforts launched on multiple channels, capitalizing on the convenience of online donation pages as well as the trust in traditional contribution avenues. Strong communication between organizations and donors remained a top priority for nonprofits working to sustain contribution levels despite uncertain economic conditions across the country.
"As the challenging fundraising environment persists, donor retention remains critically important as a focus area for nonprofits," said Chuck Longfield, chief scientist with an NRC partner. "In addition, we continue to see that multichannel engagement is key for nonprofits' fundraising success."
The NRC research found:
- 46 percent of charities increased fundraising from January to June 2012 compared to the first half of 2011
60 percent of these charities cited new donors, advanced reporting technology and multichannel communication efforts as sources for increased revenue
- 38 percent use social media to fundraise, 12 percent of which just started leveraging the channel in 2012
63 percent use online donation pages
Animal shelters go multichannel
One example of a successful fundraising effort that is held both on- and offline is the PetSave Homeless Animal Awareness Week in New Hampshire that brings together twelve animal shelters across the state to generate campaigns and boost awareness. The nonprofit collaboration will start with an online fundraising effort to reach $100,000 in donations through the communal donation page as well as smaller events to spread the word at each shelter location. The awareness week hopes to reach its fundraising goal both in-person and online so the money can support shelters and assist in the caring for more than 18,500 animals each year across the state. The shelter collaboration has been working together for more than a year to put together the online donation page, week of events and social media blasts to raise awareness and drive donations, Fosters reported.