Early reports are that last month's  #GivingTuesdayNow raised more than $500 million - just a tick lower than last December's #GivingTuesday.

That's amazing! And donors truly are amazing.

These results prove that donors are as charitable as ever. They haven't stopped giving during the coronavirus crisis.

However, many nonprofits stopped asking (and, therefore, their donations are down). But all is not lost!

Whether or not you've been raising money these past few weeks, remember this:

What you do in the weeks and months ahead will set the stage for your fundraising results for the rest of the calendar year.

So, as you're planning how you're going to raise money in the second half of 2020, here are 5 areas where you want to focus your efforts:

SEGMENT, SEGMENT, SEGMENT

All donors aren't the same. Similarly, a one-size-fits-all approach to asking (or thanking) won't work.

Major donors are different from monthly donors, for instance.

First-time donors are different from long-time, loyal donors.

Decide which donor group(s) you want to focus on for the rest of the year. Then create a plan for connecting with those donors differently - and in meaningful ways.

FOCUS ON DONOR RETENTION

One of the easiest ways to raise more money is keep the donors you already have.

Donor retention is key to fundraising success. Yet far too many nonprofits spend a lot of time and a whole lot of money trying to acquire new donors.

The simple fact is a current donor is your best prospect for a future gift.

And a LOT of donors gave to support coronavirus relief efforts. Maybe even yours.

Regardless of whether or not you had any sort of special campaign, now is the time to steward like never before. Do that, and you'll keep more donors and raise more money.

So, how now, do you steward well?

SHOW LOTS OF DONOR LOVE

Saying "thank you" to a donor doesn't end the gift cycle. It's your first step towards the next donation.

So, if you want to raise more money, start with a better thank you letter.

What should that gift acknowledgement say? Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to writing that thank you letter.

Handwritten notes. A phone call. Informal coffee dates. Invitations to special events (where there isn't an ask!). All in the name of telling her what she's making possible.

These are just a few ways that you can show donor love.

SHOW YOUR DONOR THE REAL IMPACT THAT HER DONATION CAN MAKE (OR HAS MADE)

It's easy to think it take big bucks to have a big impact. It doesn't.

Food banks do this so well. Right now, for instance, Feeding America tells you "Your Impact: $1 = 10 meals" on their donation page.

That's why, for general donors, you want to use a real and meaningful number in your appeals. That way, your donor knows from the outset exactly how her gift will make a difference.

And, when you report back to her, thank her for what SHE made possible - not what YOU were able to do because of her gift.

In your reporting, keep it donor-centric. Tell her what she made happen, as a direct result of her donation.

Focus on what she (the donor) did - not what you (the organization) did. And remember, donors are interested in outcomes, not activities.

ASK!

This one seems obvious.

But there's one simple reason why a lot nonprofits don't raise more money: they don't ask often enough.

They think an "annual" campaign means asking once a year. And that's just not true.

Kay Sprinkle Grace sums this up nicely in Fundraising Mistakes that Bedevil All Boards (and Staff, Too)

"Annual does not mean once a year, it means year-round..."

Tom Ahern goes a bit deeper in What Your Donors Want...and Why

"Let's be clear. When we talk about an annual fund, the word 'annual' has nothing to do with asking just once a year...It has only to do with what you're raising money for: your charity's annual operating expenses.

So, there you have it. If you want to raise more money, you need to ask regularly.

You want to ask directly. And you want to make an "offer" they can't refuse.

And, most importantly, don't want to wait until the end of the calendar year to make your next ask.

FINAL THOUGHTS

No doubt, raising money is hard work. Especially right now, in these post-coronavirus, pre-election days.

But following these 5 steps will make it easier:

  1. Segment, segment, segment
  2. Focus on donor retention
  3. Show lots of donor love
  4. Show your donor the real impact that her donation has made (or can make)
  5. Ask! Ask regularly and directly.

Put the process into practice, and you can raise more money in 2020.

Photo credit(s): Unsplash


Need help connecting with donors and raising more money for your nonprofit? Laura Rhodes can help.

Send a message to start the conversation and learn how Laura can help you and your organization.

You may also be interested in upcoming training events.