Hip-hop legend, Rakim once rapped that to him, “MC means move the crowd.” Now before you get the urge to clap to this, you may be wondering what these lyrics have to do with fundraising? Well, plenty.
Last year, I wrote several blog posts highlighting tips on how to effectively engage individual donors and ask for their support. When cultivating donors, most fundraisers will tell you that real success occurs when they move a prospective donor from cheerleader to long-term donor. But, how do you do that without having to purchase an additional (and sometimes expensive) constituent relationship management system (e.g., Raiser’s Edge, DonorPerfect)?
Here are three strategies on moving various stakeholders from fans to funders:
- Volunteers. Let’s face it: volunteers are an invaluable asset to any nonprofit. Not only do they selflessly give of their time and talent to advance a charitable goal, but they are natural “foot soldiers” capable of spreading an organization’s good works. So, what’s to stop you from asking them for financial support? Absolutely nothing. When soliciting a donation from this group, consider segmenting your requests based on their natural interests. For example, if your nonprofit offers a tutoring program to public school students, you should ask tutors to contribute to your campaign to raise money for school supplies.
- E-Newsletter Sign-Ups. Your organization has a monthly e-newsletter. You’re excited about how large your email list has grown. Yet, it’s not always clear how these folks heard about your nonprofit or why they even care about your mission. So, how do you work to translate their interest into financial gifts? For current sign-ups, consider highlighting a specific issue in your upcoming e-newsletter and following up with a direct solicitation explaining how a financial gift could help address the issue. For new sign-ups, consider making an ask when someone first signs up. I recently signed up to the email list of the NAACP and the follow up email not only thanked me for signing up, but it directed me to get involved in my local community and become a paying member.
- Facebook/Twitter. Someone likes you. Another starts to follow you. Before you begin sleeping with a knife under your pillow, contemplate how your nonprofit can turn these social media fans into bonafide donors. There’s no better way to engage these subsets than through an in-person event (aka, tweetups or meetups). After all, who doesn’t like to mix and mingle over drinks and little crostinis? While it is certainly up to your organization to decide if you want to do a special event for Facebook and Twitter followers only, my advice would be to simply share a note on both sites inviting these folks to your annual fundraising event. Whichever method you choose, make sure you pay attention to the names on each list and don’t invite someone twice to the same event ;).
What other strategies would you recommend on moving fans to donors?