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Grant Cobb 16 min read

4 Fundraising Strategies to Make Your Organization Stand Out

As a nonprofit professional, you have an intimate understanding of the importance of fundraising for your organization’s overall success.

However, you also know the challenges associated with fundraising— your supporters’ attention is constantly being pulled in different directions, and it can be difficult to effectively communicate with your audience. How can your organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts stand out above the noise?

Here at GivingMail, we help nonprofits perfect their fundraising strategies by equipping organizations with the ability to speak directly with their chosen audience. We’ve seen how effective fundraising strategies can change the game for growing organizations and launch them to new levels of success. 

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top fundraising tactics to make your organization rise above the crowd. To truly stand out with your efforts, you should: 

  1. Reach out to existing and lapsed donors
  2. Emphasize monthly giving programs
  3. Collect and analyze existing fundraising data
  4. Invest in the right fundraising software

These marketing and fundraising strategies combine the power of constituent relationship management (CRM) software with tried-and-true marketing techniques to maximize the results of your fundraising endeavors. Let’s jump in!

1. Reach out to existing and lapsed donors

Thinking about your lapsed donors can conjure comparisons to how you might feel after an awkward date. You may think to yourself, in a slight panic, Do they still like me? When it comes to your donors, chances are the answer is yes! They probably just haven’t heard from you in a while. 

Reconnecting with lapsed donors is critical for your organization because securing repeat donations is more cost-effective than constantly spending time and money on marketing efforts to solicit one-time gifts. Further, according to Bloomerang’s donor retention guide, if you can earn a second donation from a supporter, your retention rate will improve significantly because repeat donor retention is much higher than first-time donor retention. 

Focus your donor stewardship efforts on cultivating relationships with existing donors and extending plenty of opportunities for engagement to lapsed donors. Here are a few ideas for strengthening these relationships:

Send thank-you letters. 

Be sure to thank current donors each time they make a gift, and express gratitude to lapsed donors for gifts they made in the past. Check out this resource for donor thank-you letter templates to help construct your messages. Make these gratitude letters personal to each donor by using their name and the information in your nonprofit CRM to reference their giving history. 

Share the impact of donations. 

In your communications with donors, explain exactly how donations helped your organization complete certain projects. For example, if you recently ran a campaign to fund the creation of a new after-school gardening program for kids, tell donors how their contributions helped local children have access to fresh produce and knowledge on how to start their own gardens. These stories inspire your supporters to continue to give when they know specifically how they’ve helped make a difference. 

Offer multiple ways to get involved. 

Supporters appreciate being valued for more than just their monetary donations, so provide other opportunities for supporter engagement with your cause. If you’re hosting any virtual volunteer opportunities, informational Q&As, or virtual networking events, share invitations with your donors to strengthen their connection with your organization.

Your donor stewardship efforts are just as important as soliciting new donations, so focus on strengthening these relationships to give your overall fundraising strategy a boost. 

2. Emphasize monthly giving programs

In a recent review, Care2 found that monthly giving ROI is actually up, showing that supporters are willing to continuously contribute even during a pandemic. 

A solid base of monthly supporters can help even out any low-giving periods to give your organization access to more consistent funding. Plus, monthly giving programs automatically boost your retention rate and lower your donor acquisition costs since monthly givers are already on board with your cause. 

Enhance your monthly giving programs by giving monthly donors special perks such as free merchandise or exclusive information. For instance, if your nonprofit is food-focused, you can send monthly donors unique recipes from a prominent chef each month. 

Be sure to apply your donor stewardship strategies to your monthly donors as well by sharing impact stories, perhaps focusing on a different story each month from one person your organization has helped. Further, make it easy for new supporters to sign up for your monthly giving program by providing a well-designed donation form with clear instructions on your website. 

Your monthly giving program is a great opportunity for your organization to distinguish itself from other nonprofits, so be sure to invest some time in optimizing it to engage and excite your audience. 

3. Collect and analyze existing fundraising data

Donor data metrics play a critical role in assessing the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts by allowing you to determine what strategies are working well for your nonprofit and which ones have room for improvement. The data you collect in your nonprofit CRM also provides a better understanding of your donors and their preferences. Specifically, Care2 recommends you analyze these donor metrics:

  • Donation amounts: Seeing how much certain supporters have donated in the past can help you identify the right amount to request from donors in follow-up communications. You can also use this information to identify your major donors and make a plan to cultivate relationships with them. 
  • Communication frequency: Your CRM can keep track of how often you’ve reached out to each supporter to make sure you’re not turning them off by overloading their inbox with donation requests. 
  • Preferred donation channels: Note the method that each donor prefers to use and leverage this information to decide the best communication channel for each of your donors. For example, some may prefer online donations while others like to send their contributions through the mail.
  • Virtual event attendance numbers: Assess supporter engagement by noting virtual event attendance. If you find attendance for certain events is less than others, you can change up your marketing strategy surrounding those events and see if that boosts attendance. 
  • Digital marketing engagement: Track social media metrics such as follower count, post reach, and click-through rate to judge the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns. 

Using data to inform your fundraising strategy will set your organization up for effective results because you can assess previous successes or failures to discover the best strategies to use going forward. 

4. Invest in the right fundraising software

Many fundraising strategies rely on having access to a centralized database of supporter information, and that’s where fundraising software comes into play. Make sure you have the right tools that let you organize your efforts and raise money quickly and effectively. These are the fundraising software platforms you’ll want to add to your toolbox:

Nonprofit database

Your nonprofit database software acts as the home base for your most important supporter information. From demographics to donation and communication history, your nonprofit database houses the information you can use to amplify your fundraising efforts. 

Quality nonprofit CRM software lets you segment your donors based on shared characteristics to send specified communications to each group. It will be one of your greatest assets for enacting all the strategies we’ve mentioned in this guide. Be sure to invest in an option that provides all the functionality your organization desires but doesn’t exceed your budget. Take time to research each CRM option available before settling on one to use for your nonprofit. 

Online donation software 

Online donation software provides the infrastructure to handle all your incoming donations. Having a high-quality donation platform assures supporters that their donations will be secure and that they’re going to the right place. Find an online platform that also allows you to create customized donation pages to embed on your organization’s website for supporters to quickly and easily send in their donations.

Marketing software

Marketing software will be the bridge that allows you to put your supporter CRM data into action. Search for marketing platforms that integrate with your CRM to effortlessly sync your supporter information to use in your marketing materials. Invest in a marketing platform that allows you to craft and send messages to supporters and track the effectiveness of your marketing, too. 

Direct mail marketing

Although it may seem like everything is focused on digital marketing these days, direct mail marketing proves time and again to be an effective marketing tool that can raise a lot of funds for your organization. Direct mail marketing is generally targeted toward older demographics, which is a population that’s more likely to give to nonprofits in general. Having a direct mail platform at your disposal will simplify your direct fundraising efforts and open a lucrative fundraising stream for your organization. 

Each of these fundraising software options covers a different aspect of your fundraising strategy, allowing you to take a well-rounded approach to managing donations. 

When revamping your fundraising strategies this year, you’ll want to perfect your donor stewardship approach, make use of your fundraising data, and ensure you have access to powerful software tools that will streamline your fundraising. Check out this list of exceptional fundraising and marketing campaigns for inspiration as you plan. Good luck and happy planning!


Grant Cobb

Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.