I know indications are that giving is down slightly for nonprofits right now, but I’ll warn you up front: I’m a positive person. The current trends shouldn’t stop any organizations from looking at 2019 as a great year for growth. Many of our DonorDrive clients are having incredible success. The current Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 30, the benchmark for event fundraising revenue, is down by over $100 million. Despite this, DonorDrive clients in the top 30 programs nationwide increased their revenue by 17%. Many nonprofits will grow in these uncertain economic times. The question is: will your nonprofit will be one of them?
Here are the six points organizations need to focus on in order to win in 2019:
- Stick to your story. Yes, you’ve heard all about storytelling before, but it’s never been more important to get your mission across with a focused message. When talking to supporters and future supporters, leverage tangible impact in your content by showing what a dollar will do for those you help. Make sure you equip your fundraisers to tell their own stories too. When you make your organization's story available to them in a clear way, they’ll pass it on and make it their story. Also, it's important to have original photos and video content in your organization's storytelling. Invest in a good photographer for your next signature event!
- Make your fundraising experience-based. Today’s supporters want their fundraising journey to be a personal one. They also expect they’ll have choices of how they’ll apply their sweat-equity to fundraise for your cause in order to give their support meaning. Diversify your physical events with options, like a 5K fun run added to your marathon or a 1K kids ride added to your cycling century. Keep your participants active and they'll advocate for you all year long.
- Reduce fundraising expenses by empowering personal fundraising events. DIY campaigns require zero start-up dollars. The expenses of hosting a DIY campaign, community fundraiser, or endurance run are all covered by the supporter. Given increasing supporter interest in alternative fundraising and the fact that a DIY campaigner on average raises five times more than an signature event participant, this is a logical area for future revenue growth.
- Curate your loyal constituents. These supporters are crucial to your organization's success in good times and tough economic times. It’s easy to think you ask too much of them, but many are wondering why you’re not asking them to do more. In addition to donations, ask longtime supporters to fundraise and advocate. Many may just be waiting for the right invitation to raise money from their networks on your behalf.
- Depend on your data. There’s so much data available today in your fundraising software, CRM, and social channels. Use it to segment your supporters so you can deliver each group the messaging that’s most relevant to them. What’s your retention rate and how will you steward long-time supporters? What supporters have lapsed and how will you get them back? Who’s new and needs to be welcomed into your mission? Your data can help guide you in making the smart decisions that will grow your base.
- Encourage “one more” donation. Give your most ardent supporters a good reason why and they’ll almost always give a little more to help you do a little more good.
There’s much work to be done this year. Nonprofits will find 2019 to be challenging, but that’s not to say yours won’t come out ahead of the curve by December 31st, 2019.