How to Target Businesses for Donations

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Fundraising can be tricky. While you may be supporting a fantastic and beneficial cause that could change lives, it can be difficult to get people to part from their hard-earned money to help it out. When looking for charitable benefactors, there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about courting donations. If you’re unsure how to even start looking for donators, check out these few tips on targeting specific businesses for donations.

  • Determine which business to target.

If you’re running a nonprofit in your local area, chances are that the businesses within the same area will be the best ones to target. If you need help knowing where to even start, visit your local Chamber of Commerce (and join if you haven’t already) where they’ll be able to provide you with lists of businesses and information surrounding them. From there, narrow down your list. Identify companies with whom you do business, and capitalize upon your already existing relationship. Determine which businesses have a history of donating or have higher ups on the boards of other nonprofits. Businesses who have a history of benevolence will be more likely to lend aid to your cause.

  • Do your research.

Just like in a job interview, finding out as much as you can about the business before you meet with them can make a literal world of difference. Having background knowledge of the business and gathering information on the people with whom you’ll be meeting can help you tailor your speech or presentation to target them individually. Also, it can be helpful to find out if the business has a history of donating to nonprofits and if any board members or executives do charity work or are involved with other organizations. Meeting with people who are already involved in the world of philanthropy and nonprofits can be a huge foot in the door and make it easier for you

  • Go in person.

The best way to get someone to donate their time or money for a cause is by humanizing your cause, and what better way to humanize something than by putting a face to it. By greeting your potential donors face to face, you allow yourself to become a spokesperson for the organization and can represent it in a personal way that an email, gift basket, or pledge drive never could. Putting a face to the cause can help you stand out in the sea of nonprofits and can make your cause more relatable.

Saying Thank You to Donors

PhotoAs a fundraiser, you are only as good as your relationships with your donors. Maintaining a strong relationship requires a great deal of communication and personal attention. This could entail anything from holding donor events to sending personalized emails. However, many fundraisers run into the problem of how to keep fundraising personal when the donor list continues to grow. Keeping donors engaged is key and, as it turns out, videos are a great, engaging way to say thank you for donating.  

Videos have the potential to not only communicate a message, but also get people to feel emotional about your cause. The music, imagery, and theme can make people invested in the same thing in which you are invested, and therefore make them want to be long term donors. Do not be mistaken, however, these videos require a lot of forethought and work. Below are some tips to get you started on making your very own thank you video for donors.

Decide on a Theme

The theme of your video should line up with your cause, and can affect how the video is made. For example, fundraising for more personal causes may require just a phone camera while raising money for a larger cause requires higher tech gear. Once you decide on a theme, you can get to work on forming your video.

Sketch Out your Scenes

It may be tempting to grab a camera, shoot a bunch of film, and go through the footage to decide what fits best where afterwards. However, this will end up being a huge waste of time. Instead, write out a script or a storyboard, detailing what you will say and do in each scene of the video. This will allow you to see if you’re missing any vital information before filming gets started.

Tell Viewers What Happened

Thank you videos cannot just be videos saying thank you. They must detail how the contributions were used and why they were necessary. Donors are more likely to give recurring donations if they are confident their contributions are making a real difference.

For more tips on making a thank you video, check out this article from Razoo.

How to Improve your Crowdfunding Campaign

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Crowdfunding has become a widely popular tool for nonprofits and startups to utilize in raising capital for their organizations. Through online marketing, many of these individuals are able to leverage social media platforms in order to build a strong and collective support through family members, friends, businesses, and other people willing to help you reach your financial goals. Unlike traditional approaches where you would need to pitch an overall business plan and strategies to a limited yet wealthy pool of investors and institutions, crowdfunding sites allows organizations to meet their financial goals in an easy and timely manner.  

As great as these sites are, it is important that you are able to create a strong and marketable platform for your users. Just creating a site and writing a few sentences is not enough to gain traction, let alone for a nonprofit organization. Think about the brand of your organization. Ask yourself what you want them to take away when they see your organization’s profile page. These overarching questions will allow you frame your crowdfunding site in a more engaging way. Just because you are not meeting with these people does not mean you cannot engage with them on an emotional level.

To help you with this, I have tailored four vital tips in improving your crowdfunding campaigns. Be sure to optimize these areas.

Image Friendly and Interface Layout

When it comes to the landing page of your crowdfunding site, you want to make sure you have a combination of strong and attractive images and background color that brands the mission and identity of your nonprofit organization. Make sure your images are high quality and representative of what you want to showcase. In addition, be cautious of using extreme colors. You want to make sure the overall interface with your crowdfunding profile is easy on the eye. This will keep potential donors more on your page.

Featured Media

To establish a stronger emotional appeal, try creating a multimedia video presentation. Stay between the two-to-five minute marker. This will allow your viewers to understand your nonprofits goals and what they can do to help. In addition, try and play to the emotional side of your organization. People tend to donate mostly because of sentiment and connection than to the overall program itself.

The Balance of Information

On your page, you want to make sure you meet a balance of the amount of content you are putting on your page. First and foremost, you are still selling a pitch. Make sure your language is tailored in having your visitors ‘donate.’ Also provide a strong background of your organization and its mission. Lastly, make sure they understand where the money is going. Many donors have a sense of pride knowing they are giving to an organization that can help benefit the lives of other people. Showcase what you plan to do and how their efforts will help impact an individual. This type of emotional appeal can make a huge difference later on in reaching your fundraising goals.

Social Media Marketing

Remember, these campaigns require a strong amount of marketing effort on your end. Make sure you feature your crowdfunding campaign throughout a variety of social media platforms. Understand that some will allow for better viewing and traffic. Try and leverage Facebook and Twitter since both have a high concentration of engagement for these particular campaigns. Lastly, make sure you schedule this multiple times with a new message. The more organic and sincere you are, the better.

Leveraging Social Media to Increase Donations for Nonprofits

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Living in the digital age, we cannot help but notice how far social media has grown. Not only do we use these platforms for our personal lives to connect and engage with family members and friends, but also we utilize these properties within our professional lives as well. But even with its daily use, many nonprofit organizations are not leveraging the power of social media and taking advantage of its untapped possibilities for future donors and donations.

While most nonprofit organizations usually tailoring their efforts to a more personable approach such as direct mail, flyers, cold calls, one-on-one sit downs, and other offline marketing tools, online marketing tools, especially those dealing with social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or a company page blog, should be optimized in the best possible way. Why? As such, social media properties allow your organization to double, triple, and even quadruple its exposure. As much as personal approaches and built-in relationships can gain you stronger retention donors, you have to understand that increased awareness and online marketing can also produce strong and effective results.  

The key here is engagement. Like any fundraising relationship, you want to make sure you are targeting the wants and needs of your donor. With off-marketing tools, you are only limiting your organization and your efforts to a specific physical area. To branch out beyond your own personal proximity, I would advise your marketing team to take advantage of social media. For many people, they want to donate. In fact, they look to support various causes they care about. But they cannot do this if you do not give them the option to.

To help with this, I have outlined four easy-to-do practices in utilizing social media to increase donations.

1. Blogging

With the world of journalism becoming more and more reliant on the Internet, it is imperative that you optimize your nonprofit organization’s website by writing and creating rich, organic, and informative blogs. For these blogs, you want to make sure you are discussing the overall niche of your organization and highlighting the mission and goals of your nonprofit. Many donors want to make sure the organization they are donating to is the right one. Be sure to discuss various accomplishments and direct them where they can make that transformative change through monthly or annual donations.

2. Expand your Exposure

We all know the popular social media platforms out there like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To of course optimize these in the best possible way, make sure you are providing daily, if not weekly, updates about your organization. This can be a great platform to showcase your blogs and also share more current event news and press releases about your nonprofit. Make sure you are also connecting with those online. Find various organizations and thought-leaders that are similar to your field. This could eventually lead to a potential partnership in the future.

3. Paid Campaigns

Like anything dealing with business, you may want to consider possible paid promotional campaigns. Much of social media relies on engagement. To help build up your brand and highlight your organization’s mission, paid promotional campaigns for either followers or engagement through Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon could be excellent avenues in spreading your message. Some days, a small investment could push you ten steps forward in the right direction.

4. Photos and Videos

For many social media properties as well as the social media market, photos and videos play an integral role in increasing engagement. Just think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Through small promotional engagement videos, you are able to market your organization, while increasing your donor pool in other areas of the world. Make sure these image and multi-video campaigns highlight your mission and various efforts in which people can help.

Fundraising 101: How to Write a Fundraising Email

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Raising money online can be an incredible deal breaker for your fundraising campaign. Most charities use their websites, emails, or some social networking properties to both ‘reach out to’ and ‘stay in touch’ with their donors. But one of the biggest overarching problems with these campaigns is that they are not raising any significant revenue that they would like to with these online platforms. To go even further, many organizations feel that they are investing a large amount of time, money, and effort for only a small financial return.

To prevent this from happening, I have listed FIVE huge tips to help aid your online fundraising efforts through email. While it many not be easy, it will give you the opportunity to optimize your chances in developing that impact that you would like to have as if you were talking to them face to face.

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1. Create an Impactful Story

In your email, the first thing you need to address is your story. Whether it is through a short five-minute video, a small slideshow presentation, or a quick and detailed paragraph, your story will be the cornerstone and foundation for launching an efficient and effective fundraiser email. In your story, you want to make sure you are highlighting the problems and your potential solution. Remember, the most impactful stories are those that pull at the heartstrings of their readers/viewers. Try sympathizing your story enough to get them to listen. Once you have them listening, you will be that much closer in reaching your fundraising goal.

2. Talk About Them

Once you have discussed the overarching story, start making the email about them. Use the second-person narrative of ‘you’ such as ‘you can’ or ‘you will make,’ as the sayings of your email. This will allow them to understand how much of an impact they can have with just a simple donation. For this to be effective, continue to pull on the heartstrings about how transformative of a change they can have by donating to your cause.

3. Talk about the Logistics

When it comes down to it, many people appreciate a quick and easy service. This should be duly noted in your email. Here, be sure to iron out the overall logistics. Whether it is the amount you are looking for or how they can donate, all of this information should be noted for people to follow. If there is at any point in the email where you think people can get lost in the detail, continue to simplify it. Remember, you do not want to make it hard on them. Do whatever it takes to make it a pleasant experience as possible.

4. Discuss What the Money will be used for

When it comes down to it, you want to note what a donor’s donation will be used for. Whether it is for production or for research, make sure you note that! Many people want to know that their money is going to something impactful and life changing. By discussing what each donation will do, you will be able to reassure them that their decision to donate is the right one.

5. Ask Throughout the Email

As a marketing aspect, you want to make sure you the concept of ‘donating’ is in their minds. To do this effectively, make sure you ask three times in your fundraising email. Do not do this by just repeating the same phrase over and over again. Instead, give them options such as visiting your site to donate or learn more about donating. In addition, spread it out throughout the email where the person can see ‘donate’ at least once in the beginning of the email, middle of the email, and end of the email.