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Nonprofit Leaders 3min read

Nonprofit Fundraising: How to Stay Relevant

The last few years have seen a massive boom in new nonprofits in the U.S., meaning the competition for dollars and donors is more vital now than ever. Even charities that have long been household names over the past decades must learn to adjust to an ever-changing nonprofit fundraising landscape.

One non-negotiable for succeeding in the nonprofit space? Nonprofits today must become or stay relevant to this new generation and older generations of charitable givers.

Here are five ways to make that happen.

1. Know your story.

In the age of the 8-second message, nonprofits must be able to tell their story in a single sentence. Further, each member of the nonprofit team should be able to tell the story briefly.

Why? If the nonprofit struggles to communicate its story succinctly internally, it will struggle to do so externally. And today’s donor wants simplicity. Mantra: Simple message. Simple tools. Simple giving.

2. Expand your story.

Successful nonprofits today are looking for ways to expand their mission. Nonprofits crushing their goals are doing so by creating innovative ways to meet the needs of their audience.

Note: Innovation isn’t synonymous with creating something entirely new or original. Innovation is simply creating something new or original for a specific community.

Find an innovative strategy by answering this question: What unmet community needs are you trying to reach? (Not currently in your wheelhouse? Maybe it should be.)

3. Tell your story.

Simply put, advertising the right way —and advertising in the right places — is paramount. As it applies to social media, a nonprofit says as much about itself by what platforms it operates on as it does by the story it is trying to tell.

For instance, nonprofits seeking to reach a younger audience should consider the benefits of Instagram, podcasts, Snapchat, and Twitter. Nonprofits seeking an older audience should consider the strength of a good website with straightforward navigation and helpful tools.

4. Fund your story.

While money isn’t the mission, nonprofit fundraising is necessary for survival. And just as it is paramount that nonprofits maintain relevant messaging, they also need appropriate fundraising tools and techniques. Specifically, understanding generational-driven giving behaviors is critical.

Pledge cards and slow-loading websites can be the kiss of death to a nonprofit that wants to connect with younger app-driven donors. So, neglecting personal contact can be the end of reaching older donors. Better engagement with supporters of all ages will always boost a nonprofit’s effectiveness.

5. Thank your supporters.

True, this final point is the “one that doesn’t fit,” but it is fast becoming the golden ticket to nonprofit success. Donors don’t want to be communicated with only when money is needed. Who wants to be treated like an ATM? Share successes.

Host a gratitude campaign. Show supporters how vital their contribution (of time, money, prayer, etc.) is to the mission. If supporters believe they are integral to the nonprofit’s success, they’ll likely stay longer and do more to be part of its future success.

Sharing stories and communicating gratitude — without asking for a dime — can vastly benefit donor retention.

Bottom line: Relevance is a matter of survival. As such, nonprofits must continually adapt to the radically changing world. Not only is it possible, but it may also be easier than you think.

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About the Author

Allison has a passion for charitable giving and believes that small acts of kindness can make the world a better place. She uses her web content and social media expertise to guide churches and nonprofits through the mobile fundraising process.

Allison Weaver