7 Common Sense Tips to Maximize Income

Here are 7 common sense tips to help you maximize your fundraising income.  There aren’t any silver bullets.  No shiny new objects.  Nothing groundbreaking.  Just some common sense, best practice ideas that are sometimes forgotten as we all strive to grow our revenue. 

I’ve included links to relevant articles and resources on each topic to provide you with additional insights.

Monthly Giving
If you don’t have a monthly giving program, start one.  One of the key indicators of future planned giving likelihood is frequency of giving.  Not only will a monthly giving program provide consistent, predictable income for your organization in the current year – it will set you up for greater long-term success by providing an early indicator of planned gift prospects.

Mastering Monthly Giving
Online Monthly Giving: A Review of Nonprofit Programs
Fundraising 101: 10 Things You Need to Know About Creating a Monthly Giving Program

Donor Retention
Acquisition is costly (and necessary).  You will spend a lot of time and money to bring in new donors.  So do everything you can to keep them!  Start new relationships off right by instituting a new donor welcome strategy that includes timely receipting, strong reinforcements of why the donor made her first gift, and a series of additional touch points to further engage and secure the second gift.  But don’t stop there.  For existing donors, identify key times when they lapse off your file, and institute a pre-lapsing strategy that helps you keep more of them active prior to that point.

The Art of Donor Retention
Fundraising 101: 10 Things You Need to Know About Reactivating Lapsed Donors
Inspiring Donor Loyalty
Why Are Charities Losing So Many Donors?

Online
Your website is one of the most important places where donors and potential donors can interact with your organization.  If it’s difficult to navigate, uninteresting or not engaging, you risk losing donations – online and offline.  So make sure it is easy for people to access the critical information on your site that will help them decide you’re worth supporting.  Can they trust you?  Do you do good work?  How will you use their contributions?  What can they do to help or get involved?  In addition to being able to take donations online, make sure your website provides informative content that clearly addresses the questions listed above to ensure you maximize your online and offline income.

10 Keys to Effective Non-Profit Organization Websites
What Makes a Good Nonprofit Website
5 Mistakes Nonprofit Websites Make
Your Nonprofit’s Website
Improve Your Online Fundraising

Say Thank You
It’s important to be timely (a few days, not a few weeks) with receipts.  Use compelling stories to tell donors how you used their gift (and it better match what you told them you’d do with it when you asked for it), and how important their continued partnership is to your mission.  Be sincere.  Be relevant.  Be relational.

Are Your Receipts a Positive Experience?
Writing Better Nonprofit Donor Thank You Letters
How to Write a Donation Thank-you Letter
A Donation Thank You Letter Impresses Claire

Wealth Screening
You should wealth screen your donor file at least once every few years (more frequently if you’re aggressively acquiring new donors).  This will help you prioritize your major and planned giving efforts, and better target those prospects most likely to increase their support of your organization.  The front-end cost of wealth screening can be significant.  So make sure you have a detailed plan to use the new information in a timely manner.  If you don’t, you’ll do a lot of work and spend a lot of money, but not get anything out of the process.

Finding the Most Effective Prospect Research Solution to Maximize Giving Potential
Routine Wealth Screening – Why It Works
Fortifying Your Major Gifts Pipeline to Buffer Against a Weak Economy
Analytics in Prospect Development

Focus On The Right Audience
Review all of your communication (mail, online, print, catalog, brochures, radio spots, etc.) to ensure that your messaging talks about the impact that donors are making (and can make) for your cause.  The more you talk about your donor, how her gifts have changed lives for the better, and how she can continue to change the world through her support of your organization, the more money you’ll raise.

Building Donor Loyalty
Customize Communications to Increase Donor Loyalty
A Donor-Centered Organization, Your Donors & Relationship Building

Test
Test.  Everything.  Just because something works for one charity doesn’t mean it will work well for every charity.  Don’t let a “gut feel,” the “next new thing,” or a well intentioned board member or volunteer pressure you into launching an unproven strategy.  Test first.  Then roll out only if it adds net to your bottom line.

How to Increase Your Charity’s Fundraising Profit
Drilling for Truth: The Power of Testing in Fundraising
What Should You Test?
What to Test in Fundraising

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