4 Powerful Ways to Build a Better Donor Base

It’s no secret that building a donor base is challenging for nonprofits. The foundation of donors that many organizations have relied on for years has dropped in recent years, even though it was estimated that 2018 would see a 3.2% increase in individual giving (following a 3% increase in 2017).

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy reported that donations given by individuals 51 through 60 dropped from 78 percent to 51 percent from 2000 to 2014. This drop has been seen across all ages, meaning that the people who are giving are giving larger gifts, but that doesn’t help groups who are trying to increase the number of donors that are getting behind their cause.

The problem lies in the fact that the age groups nonprofits once relied on are aging and decreasing and the wealth distribution in the U.S. is changing. It’s not enough to rely on the gifts that are mainly coming from the top of the income bracket. On top of this, it’s clear that many traditional donation campaign strategies are losing their effectiveness. There are now multiple avenues that donors can take to give, and they’re more likely to choose options that make it easier for them to donate.

How Can Nonprofits Work to Increase Their Donor Base?

With all these challenges, what can nonprofits do? The first step is to analyze how things are changing. Paying attention to trends and where your organization’s donations are coming from will help you understand a) what you can eliminate from your fundraising planning and b) what you should focus on increasing or adding.

While the challenge at hand can seem increasingly difficult to overcome, there are steps you can take to start making an impact on the size of your donor base. Consider these four steps to start attracting and retaining more donors.

1. Evaluate Your Current Efforts

Before you can take a fresh step forward, you need to understand what has and hasn’t been working. As a nonprofit, you engage donors and other constituents in multiple ways and through multiple channels. The numerous touchpoints nonprofit fundraising teams must manage can quickly become overwhelming, even for the largest and most sophisticated teams. If it’s getting more and more difficult to wrap your head (and hands) around the many areas you engage your donors, consider a new system that brings them all together for convenience and efficiency — and to give your team a 360º view of all that you’re doing.

2. Streamline Your Marketing

Getting your cause in front of people is crucial to hooking them and converting them into advocates for your mission — but to do that, you need to have strong marketing efforts in place. Doing less yet accomplishing more is the aim of the game here. Use email marketing to keep people aware of what your organization is up to and what you’ll be doing next. Use the power of social media to reach your current audience while providing them with tools to help you extend your reach beyond what you could do on your own. This doesn’t have to be a tedious, time-consuming process — automating these communications makes it easy to spread the word without taking time away from your team so they stay focused on other fundraising priorities and tasks.

And above all, consider a solution that brings all these marketing capabilities in a single platform. This allows you to drive messaging tied to specific campaigns through multiple channels, such as email and social, while gathering data and even tying it back into an existing CRM.

3. Use Your Network to Your Advantage

Once you have your core network of donors built up, don’t just forget about them! Peer-to-peer giving is a great way to both keep your donors engaged with your brand and your mission, and also allowing them to get directly involved with something they care about. Online giving platforms make it easy for anyone to set up a giving campaign and start sharing it with their networks. These types of campaigns basically let your advocates do the work of expanding the reach of your main campaign for you faster than your team could ever do alone.

With peer-to-peer giving, you’ll also be allowing donors to see a clear impact of their donations and the donations of their friends which is a crucial way to cement recurring donors into your base.

4. Check Your Data, Then Check It Again

Data itself is important, but good data is critical. There are multiple areas and sources to view and analyze your nonprofit data, but as with the many marketing channels available to you, the number of data solutions can also be exhausting. What nonprofits need now more than ever is a single source of the truth. This doesn’t mean you can’t use multiple data sources like Google Analytics, your CRM, or your donor management platform — what matters is tying them all together in one spot so you a) don’t lose your mind and b) can put all that data to use efficiently.

Armed with solid, reliable data in a single location, you can gain even stronger insights about your donors, constituents, and volunteers than ever before — allowing you to become even more targeted in your marketing efforts.

It’s Time to Get Comprehensive

With each of these recommendations, the best way you can put them into practice is with an online giving platform like Big River. Our platform provides you with an all-in-one solution to effectively manage your campaigns and keep track of what’s performing well, then leverage it for even greater success. You’ll be able to streamline all your processes and manage campaign activity, social media, and email marketing all from one central location.

As we mentioned earlier, platforms like Big River also make it simple to enable peer-to-peer giving. The easier peer-to-peer campaigns are to execute, the more people you will be able to get to share with their networks. You’ll also be able to ensure that these campaigns still reflect your brand and your mission with templates that fit your existing materials.

Big River also enables efficient analytics that provides actionable insight into your campaigns and their performance. With our reporting features, you can quickly pull data that shows how your efforts are making an impact on your organization. You don’t need to worry about your old systems being pushed to the wayside, either. Our platform can be integrated into your existing CRM so the progress you’ve made so far can work together with your new processes. Our entire platform can be customized to fit your needs to help you grow your donor base.

If you’re interested in learning more about our platform, sign up today for a free demo.

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