We raised ALL the money! Now what?
The 2016 presidential election results caused one of the greatest international shocks of the decade, influencing policy, commerce and trade across the globe. Arguably, fewer industries felt the effects more than nonprofits in social justice and advocacy work, particularly groups with a strong progressive mission. Some very notable successes include the ACLU, which has raised more than $24 million since the end of January; and Planned Parenthood, which raised more than 40 times their annual projected income. Even our own long-time client, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, saw an extraordinary boost in revenue levels — raising more than five times their annual online revenue goal!
But fundraising success stories can often be short-lived. Whenever current events highlight a particular social issue, it almost always creates a sudden and drastic surge in income for organizations that are dedicated to addressing these topics. However, relying on media attention rarely ever leads to sustainable funds that allow the organization to grow and better serve its mission. Instead, moments like these should be seen as an opportunity for the organization to invest back into the development program, maximize support from new donors and build a life-long relationship with a new audience of supporters.
In order to avoid a “post-donation surge” flop, here are some tips to keep cash flowing so you can keep saving the world:
Welcome your new donors
Thanking and welcoming your donors may seem simple enough, but it can go such a long way in keeping them engaged. Take some time to spruce up that acknowledgement email — or even go a step further and create an automated welcome series. These emails can include a more in-depth introduction to your organization’s work, opportunities to explore different areas of your mission and even encourage action, such as spreading the word on social media or signing on to advocacy efforts through a petition.
Convert one-time donors to give every month
People who have just recently given to your organization for the first time are the biggest contenders for sustainable giving. It’s important to reach out and make your best case for monthly giving at a time when new supporters are still engaged. Keep the momentum going by asking these donors to take their passion one step further so that you can continue your fight in the future.
Develop a segmentation plan
As your existing audience grows, it’s important to keep it organized for future communications. People on your email file may come from all different walks of life and have varying reasons for supporting your efforts. Recognize how often certain groups should be emailed and what messaging makes sense for them to receive. Once these groups are clearly defined through a set of rules and queries that don’t overlap, you can craft more specific and personalized messaging to increase your levels of engagement with supporters and maximize their giving potential!
BONUS: Invest back into your giving platform
Not sure what to do with that excess income? It’s important to prioritize your program with the most cost-efficient method of growth. Once you decide on what your long-term goal is going to be — whether it’s your programs’ net value, average lifetime gift size, etc — it’s time to find the most worthwhile channel for investment. You might start with email for example. As nifty as you may be with MailChimp or Constant Contact, their functionality can only go so far, especially with a growing email list. We would recommend shopping around for an email platform with more sophisticated marketing capabilities, like IBM Marketing Cloud.