2019 Fundraising Planning: Building a Strategy Using What You’ve Learned

Fundraising in 2018 was driven by online giving both through online giving platforms and social media. Instagram is growing as one of the top social platforms — they hit one billion users in 2018 and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Currently, around 30 percent of nonprofits are using this platform as a space to garner donations. As for Facebook, users donated $125 million for Giving Tuesday through the platform, nearly one-third of the $380 million that was given online for the annual event.

One of the biggest social shifts we saw in 2018 was an increased affinity toward workplace giving from employees and organizations alike. Employees are seeking out companies who will donate to the charity of their choice, which goes hand-in-hand with the trend of donors wanting the impact of their gifts to be more visible. This shift has caused workplace giving as a whole to expand and grow to include more than just donations, and it’s something many will be watching in 2019.

With everything we’ve learned about charitable giving in 2018, here’s how you can use that information to structure your fundraising planning in the new year.

How to Use Data to Determine Your Fundraising Strategy

First, what are you using to view and analyze data? Data exists in numerous areas across your organization. If you’re using a CRM, every individual fundraising effort you present to your audience should have a campaign (a centralized name/location for all activities conducted for a common goal) tied to it. This allows you to determine what marketing activities, contacts, and other information are driving success — and what’s not.

A great example of this would be the annual Giving Tuesday fundraising event. If you already have data from this national event, pull a report and consider what your data is telling you. Who were the primary donors this year versus years prior? What were their demographics? What aspects of Giving Tuesday were they most interested in with regard to your nonprofit’s goals? Did they give more to specific drives or funds, or were they happy with a donation that supports your operational needs?

Keep in mind, however, that your CRM is not the only tool you should be using. Donor management is great, but remember that you have goals to achieve. If your nonprofit isn’t making use of a platform specific to fundraising, you’re missing out. Many platforms, like Big River, integrate with your existing CRM — allowing you to leverage the donor data you’ve already built and conduct advanced fundraising activities around that data.

And let’s not forget about your website — it’s a data-generating machine. Google Analytics and other website analytics platforms can provide you with in-depth insights into the performance of different pages. Using Google Analytics, you can track your most effective and visited pages on your site, determine your strongest traffic sources, and assess how visitors move throughout your site. Understanding this information will help you prioritize higher-performing content and make changes to pages that aren’t performing as well. Google Analytics also allows you to set goals for specific actions and pages, such as form completions, which helps you assess their performance.

While your nonprofit is already likely making use of social media, its strategic importance cannot be overstated. Facebook and Instagram are two powerful platforms that you can use further expand the reach of your message. And with less than half of nonprofits using Instagram, it’s a great way to get your message out in front — visually. This ties neatly in with the absolutely critical need to show your donors the impact of their gifts. It’s not about the act of making the gift, it’s about the result of it. For example, showing a young child receiving a Christmas present as a result of a holiday giving campaign is what makes the connection and drives action — not images of donors thinking about making a donation.

Strengthen Your Fundraising Plan With Online Solutions

Once you pull together your data from 2018, a few key things to consider are the campaigns, time periods, and donors that contributed to the highest percentage of donations within your overall fundraising total. You may have had several successes throughout the year, but by focusing on the campaigns that had the highest yield and capitalizing on them, you’ll be able to have stronger campaigns that hit at the right time.

However, it can be hard to glean all this data from spreadsheets and even your existing CRM or donor management system. Some of the information might even be difficult to find, no less analyze, if stored in multiple areas. If this process is painful now, don’t let it continue to be throughout 2019. If you take away anything from the trends of 2018, it should be how the impact of an online giving platform can change the way that you think about and execute fundraising campaigns.

With platforms like Big River, you can not only easily set up campaigns, email marketing, and social media, but you can also track analytics and data for each of your campaigns and see how they’re performing in real time. It becomes an extension of and enhancement to your current CRM, donor management system, and other fundraising tools.

Big River’s reporting helps you visualize your performance with context-sensitive dashboards, reports, and analytics that are embedded in the campaigns that you build within the system. All you have to do is set up your campaign and let it run to start tracking. You can even customize your dashboards to view the specific datasets you’re looking to track and integrate with Google Analytics to get a more in-depth look into how your campaign is running.

It’s clear that social media and online giving are going to continue to change the way donors interact with giving campaigns and nonprofits. As you gear up for new fundraising planning, don’t forget to put yourself a step ahead with Big River’s online giving platform so every campaign you create stand out and leave a lasting impact.

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