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An email campaign, if run correctly, can generate a good response rate from your donors, without costing your organization much if any money. You just need to keep some important rules in mind:

An email campaign, if run correctly, can generate a good response rate from your donors, without costing your organization much if any money.

  1. Inform without becoming an annoyance.  Use your email list sparingly – perhaps only two emails a month from you to your donors. This way, your donors feel informed, without feeling annoyed. Use these two opportunities to update donors on what has been happening at your organization – new plans, new equipment, new volunteers. A newsletter email is also a great idea – again, it informs the donors as to what their donations are being used for, and how they can actively help you reach your goals.
  2. Make a targeted pitch.  Use your email to specifically outline a need the organization has, so the donors know that their response will immediately lead to furthering the organization’s goals. Emphasize that it’s not the size of the gift, but the act of giving that is helping.
  3. Make it easy to donate.  Don’t just put one link to your donation page in the email – put several links throughout the body of the email, to give donors several chances to click and give. Online donations are the fastest and easiest ways for donors to give to their favorite organizations, but also providing an easily downloadable form that they can print out and mail in is important too.

Utilizing your website for donor interaction is a must in today’s online world.  It’s important to put as many possible methods of outreach on your site as possible, so that your donors feel they’re being heard, and start to see themselves as a part of your “team.”  Some ways to do this are:

  1. by starting a blog which will keep donors up to date on day to day activities at your organization, along with giving them an outlet through the blog comments to react to what’s happening;
  2. utilizing an “Ask a Volunteer” email form to get suggestions from donors (just be sure to ANSWER these emails in a timely manner);
  3. create a link to photos from organization events so that donors can see what’s going on;
  4. give donors the ability to sign up for your monthly newsletter with a web form on the site.

With the downturn in the economy, more donors are giving of their time instead of their money. Take advantage of this trend by making it as easy as possible for donors to sign up as volunteers for your organization. Using an online sign-up form, or even sending an email specifically asking for volunteers can tap in to this resource.

Just be sure to ask for all of the relevant information up front, such as days and times available. Many organizations make the mistake of just asking for a name and contact phone, without getting more important scheduling information so as to have some options available when calling the donor. By getting the dates and times that are convenient for them, you can make your follow-up call and be ready with suggestions for a schedule that will best suit their needs.

Don’t forget to check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau to see if you can get a listing on their website or in their email correspondences to advertise your organization. Most Chamber’s offer this as a free service to non-profits, and it could greatly increase the audience that gets your message.

Looking for more ideas?  Feel free to email me at niki@fundraisersoftware.com for advice and suggestions for your next marketing campaign – we want to help make your next event a success!

Niki de Soto is a former Marketing Director for FundRaiser.