Are You Tech-Ready for End of Year Fundraising?

This article was originally posted on NonProfit PRO’s Nonprofit Tech Matters blog.

As a fundraising professional, you’re probably gearing up for year-end appeals. You’re thinking about things like when you’ll get started, how many communications you’ll send and through what channels, and what will be the focus of your messages.

But here’s one thing you might have overlooked: How will you use technology to improve your end of year fundraising?

It’s understandable. Technology is not always what springs to mind when you think about year-end fundraising. Here’s something to consider, though: Your use of technology can make a big difference in the success of your fundraising campaigns.

For example, here are four effective ways to use technology to get the most out of your end of year fundraising efforts:

  1. Put your data segmentation tools to work.
    Use your email marketing tools to segment your audiences. This will allow you to customize messages in ways that are more compelling and effective for each audience.  

    And keep in mind that segmentation doesn’t have to be complex to be effective. For example, if someone just gave, then either suppress them from your end of year emails or speak to them differently than you would talk with someone who hasn’t donated recently.

  2. Use dynamic asks.
    Use your online fundraising and constituent relationship management (CRM) tools to automatically specify ask levels based on each donor’s previous donation level. For example, if a donor previously donated $20, you might start your ask levels for that donor at $20. For one that donated $50, you might start there, or even bump it up to $55 or $60. This approach encourages donors to give more.
  3. Optimize your donation form.
    Chances are pretty good that your donation form is leaving money on the table. Here are some ways to enhance your donation form to get the most out of each donation:
    • Ask the donor to cover the transaction fee. When someone donates to your organization through your online donation forms, you’re typically charged a transaction fee by your payment processor. This effectively reduces each donation by some percentage (often around 3%). But by providing an option on your online donation form for donors to cover the cost of transaction fees, you can capture those lost dollars.

TIP: Research shows that 40% of donors will include the fee if you leave it unchecked while 70% of donors will leave the box checked if it’s part of your default settings.

  • Add a monthly giving pop-up. Your end of year campaign is a great opportunity to increase the number of donors who give monthly. Present them with the option to make it a recurring gift, with the convenience of monthly payments charged automatically to their credit card.

    This approach encourages donors to remain donors and give more over time. In fact, industry research shows that monthly donors give three times more than one-time donors. Just imagine how much more your organization could raise by converting more donors to recurring, or sustaining, donors.
  • Offer a range of payment options. Giving donors the ability to give via their preferred way provides a simpler and more attractive path to completing transactions. Providing versatile payment options offers multiple benefits to donors, including ease of use, a familiar experience, and data security.These days, there are many online payment options that move beyond credit or debit cards. Consider offering other digital payment options such as:
    • ACH
    • Amazon Pay
    • Cryptocurrency
    • PayPal

TIP: Learn the basics about accepting cryptocurrency donations. Read the article, How to Get Started with Cryptocurrency Donations at Your Nonprofit.

  • Embed a matching gift tool. Adding a corporate matching tool to your donation forms makes it easier to take advantage of corporate matching programs to boost your fundraising campaign results. Companies like Double the Donation and HEPdata make it simple to embed their matching gift tool on web pages and donation forms.

TIP: Discover more about boosting year-end fundraising through matching gifts. Read the article, Matching Gifts + Year-End Fundraising: a Nonprofit Guide.

  • Use your reporting tools.
    Review what worked and what didn’t for last year’s end-of-year campaign to help inform your plan. Run reports to analyze actions taken, donations made, and unsubscribes to help identify strengths and weaknesses from last year’s campaign.

    Once you launch this year’s campaign, don’t wait until it’s over to begin analyzing it. Review campaign status reports on a regular (daily, weekly, and monthly) basis, and adjust message content and frequency in your campaign if needed to improve results.

TIP: Find out more about how to use your data and reporting to improve your fundraising. Read the guide, How to Use Data to Take Your Fundraising to New Heights.

End of year fundraising success depends on more than just the messages you send and when you send them. Put these tech approaches to work and get ready to see a boost in your year-end fundraising results!

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