Friday, October 26, 2012

How Engaging Are Your Fundraisers?

A Google search of fundraising ideas will present more than 11 million results. With so many options, it can often be difficult to choose the right one for your organization. At Make-My-Books, we believe there are factors you should consider when selecting the ideal program for your organization.

Harness the Power of Social Media
In an increasingly social world, harnessing the power of social media has become increasingly important in fundraising efforts. According to npEngage, social media can increase fundraising by 40% compared to peers not using available online/social media tools. With 42% of the entire American population on Facebook, and 16 million Twitter users its easy to see how you can spread your cause and message further. If the program you are exploring does not offer opportunities to tap into your donors social media network, it is behind the curve.

Engage Potential Donors Effectively
According to Todd Cohen and Ret Boney of Philanthropy Journal, the economy has “brought development offices back to one of the bedrocks of successful fundraising – donor engagement.” This includes adjusting traditional strategies. Simply asking for money, or selling the usual wares, isn’t enough. Non-profit organizations must engage across generations while providing meaningful relationships and value. Raise friends, not just money. If the program you are exploring seeks only to raise money (and not friends and future donors), it is behind the curve.

Add Lasting Value to Your Donors
While the adage “it’s better to give than to receive” will always ring true, the majority of your donors want to feel appreciated. Providing them the opportunities to not only give, but to receive, creates a circumstance of mutual value…a win-win. When evaluating your next fundraising program, ask this: “Does this program provide lasting and meaningful value to my donors?” If the answer is no, look for a program that does. Keep in mind, providing them with a lasting memory of their donation will keep your cause at the forefront of their mind. Here are some questions to ask when determining if a program creates lasting value:
1.     Does the program provide opportunities for donors to engage friends and family on social media once they’ve made their donation/purchase, expanding your potential donor base?
2.     Does the program seek to create friends or simply raise money?
3.     Will donors have something lasting that will provide a constant reminder of your cause and their donation?

How you raise funds speaks volumes about your organization. Show your donors and prospective donors that you value not only your cause, but their participation as well. How well did your past programs harness social media, engage donors and add lasting value?