Your Catholic diocese’s annual appeal offers a great chance for you to connect with your parishioners during the Easter season as you invite them to contribute to the growth of the church and the service of their fellow man.

So, when it comes time to don your fundraising hat, it’s important to remember to not get too caught up in the dollars and cents. Instead, focus on building genuine relationships with your parishioners and teaching the principles of generosity and sacrifice. This will help secure their continued engagement and support in the long run.

In this quick guide, we’ll cover four tips for connecting with your donors during annual appeal season. As you explore these tips, consider what you know about your own parishioners and how you can tailor your appeal messaging and fundraising approach to their needs. Let’s begin.

1. Craft messages that resonate with your donors.

Thoroughly prepare for your annual appeal by examining the results of past annual appeals. What worked? What could you have done differently to get better results?

One common focus area for improving Diocesan annual appeals is the messaging around your campaign. It’s important to craft appeal messages that will resonate with your church donors.

Your messaging should be strongly connected to the core pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. According to Averill Solutions, it should be clear to your parishioners that “your annual appeal is associated with the overarching principle of sacrifice and spiritual refinement that can bring your parishioners closer to God.” Messaging that reinforces these ideas will help parishioners recognize donating as an act of giving something up to benefit the greater good.

Additionally, your appeals should be highly personal. This will help each parishioner feel seen and valued as an individual instead of making them feel like a walking ATM. Use the following best practices to personalize your appeals:

  • Lean on the records you have for each parishioner to access their contact information, church attendance details, and giving history.
  • Segment your parishioners into groups based on shared characteristics (such as age or preferred communication method) and tailor your appeals to those groups.
  • Share compelling stories to demonstrate the need for participation in the appeal.
  • Use parishioners’ names in your messages instead of generic greetings.

While most of these best practices apply to written messages, don’t overlook the importance of in-person interactions. Whether you’re chatting with a parishioner after Mass or making a visit to their home, you have the opportunity to communicate that your diocese cares about them as an individual and appreciates any way they can give to the annual appeal.

2. Offer multiple ways to give.

Just as each parishioner’s Lenten sacrifices are unique, so too are their approaches to giving to your annual appeal. Anticipate your parishioners’ giving needs by offering multiple ways to contribute. For instance, you could:

  • Provide a variety of donation tools. Make the giving process simple and accommodate a variety of giving methods by providing many different donation platforms, like text-to-give tools, a donation form on your website, gift envelopes, and mail-in forms.
  • Design opportunities for young parishioners to get involved. Empower entire families to give to your annual appeal by creating child-friendly opportunities. For example, Double the Donation recommends hosting a product fundraiser like a candy bar sale, which is a fun and easy way for your youngest parishioners to give back.
  • Communicate that non-monetary contributions are valuable, too. Some parishioners may not be in a position to give a monetary donation, or they may have items, talents, or services to contribute. For instance, someone might give office supplies that your diocese can use in its elementary schools. Another might donate their time and talents to create an auction catalog for your upcoming fundraising event.

Stay open-minded about the different ways in which your parishioners can give and what a successful annual appeal looks like. When your parishioners feel like their contributions are valued no matter what they look like, they’ll feel more included in the church community and be more inclined to continue to give down the road.

3. Prioritize transparency.

Share with your parishioners what their past annual appeal donations have been used for and how you plan to use the funds you raise this year. Being transparent about how your diocese intends to use their contributions will instill more trust in your diocese and the church in general, leading to greater engagement and more contributions.

When sharing how donations will be used, be specific. This will help you appeal to different individuals’ interests and charitable priorities. For example, say you share that you’re going to use some annual appeal funds to launch a new religious education and engagement program for the children in your community. Parents, teachers, and other individuals invested in children’s spiritual development may then be inclined to give (or give more!) to your annual appeal.

4. Continue to cultivate generosity after your appeal ends.

The annual appeal season shouldn’t be the only time of year when your parishioners learn about the principles of sacrifice, generosity, and consecration. In fact, if you’re not teaching these principles (and living them) year-round, your annual appeal can ring hollow.

Here are some best practices your church can use to continually cultivate generosity among your parishioners:

  • Teach generosity. Actively seek out opportunities to share messages, scriptures, and stories related to generosity. This will help establish it as an important part of being a believer.
  • Practice what you preach. Lead by example to serve and give to your parishioners, whether you’re providing spiritual counsel or volunteering with community organizations.
  • Set up regular opportunities to serve. Make it clear to your parishioners that monetary giving isn’t the only way to give back. Set up service projects and volunteer days that encourage them to put their faith into action.

Ensuring that your parishioners are spiritually fed in this area will not only inspire them to give to your annual appeal but will also help them become more refined, selfless, and Christlike individuals.

Your annual appeal is about more than just meeting a fundraising goal—it’s also about connecting with your parishioners. To take your appeal to the next level, consider hiring a Catholic fundraising consultant. These experts understand the nuances of faith-based fundraising and can help you meet your goals and influence parishioners for good.

Whether you’re the CEO of a profitable company, the pastor of a small church, or the head of a local school’s PTA, your organization has great potential to impact its community. A strong community is key to gaining unprecedented support, which is why you should dedicate time to cultivating relationships with your community.

Charitable giving is a powerful way for you to strengthen community bonds and there are numerous ways you can tap into these philanthropic endeavors, such as through giving or volunteer programs. Let’s explore how different organizations can give back and transform their communities.

1. Launch organization-specific giving programs

Depending on the type of organization you lead, you can launch various programs and opportunities to connect with your community. Consider how charities, religious institutions, and for-profit organizations can strengthen their community bonds.

Charitable organizations

Of course, charities already serve their communities by fulfilling their missions. But to strengthen your nonprofit’s relationship with its community, try giving back in the following ways:

  • Nonprofit collaboration: Propose a partnership with another nonprofit, explaining how your missions align and what your two organizations could accomplish together. For example, you might enlist the help of another nonprofit to collect and disperse reading materials to those who can’t access them on their own. By pooling your resources and working toward a common cause, you’ll develop a stronger relationship with similarly driven organizations.
  • Cause promotion: Use your nonprofit’s credibility and reputation to advocate for local causes that impact the community. Highlight statistics, specific stories, and compelling visuals to convey the issue to the rest of the community and garner support to address the issue. For example, a community in need of afterschool programs might highlight increasing student dropout rates or literacy rates to inspire support. 

By nature, your organization will more effectively serve its community when it receives more support from donors and volunteers. As you deepen your connection to the community, you’ll ultimately strengthen relationships with donors who will support your efforts in the long term. 

Religious organizations

Outreach is a big part of many church ministries. Whether you’re evangelizing to local residents or working with other organizations to address a social issue, you can strengthen your relationship with the community by:

  • Starting a community Bible study: Don’t limit your Bible study invitations to members of your congregation—various Bible study subjects could appeal to people outside of your congregation and give you an opportunity to connect with other community members. According to Esther Press, women’s Bible studies can be topical, scriptural, or Bible-character-focused. Choose one that will help you connect with interested community members and expand your outreach.
  • Raising funds for charities: Demonstrate the need for your church’s support to your congregation, explaining exactly how their tithes and other donations are used. Provide contextual details about the nonprofits your church supports to bring awareness to the important work being done in the community and how your congregation can help.

Receiving a fundraising appeal from a nonprofit is also a great opportunity for your church to learn more about local charities and their visions for your community. You might consider partnering with the nonprofit or other churches with a similar mission to continue funding its efforts if your congregation is on board.


Giving back not only connects corporations to their local communities but also improves the internal, workplace culture by helping employees feel engaged and supported. Partner with your employees to give back through:

  • Matching gift programs: Support your employees’ philanthropic endeavors by matching their gifts to nonprofit organizations. To make the donation process especially easy, consider leveraging an autosubmission tool
  • Volunteer time off (VTO): Offer paid time off (PTO) for volunteer work in addition to employees’ other benefits. Allowing time to volunteer makes it easier for employees to give back to their communities by opening up their schedules.

By encouraging employees to give back, your company as a whole can make a significant impact on its community. Plus, you’ll develop a positive reputation as a socially responsible corporation which can help you retain and attract more employees.

2. Focus on constituent engagement

It takes a strong team to impact others through charitable giving. Don’t let your efforts to connect with your local community overshadow the importance of engaging your own constituents. Consider the ways you can engage your:

  • Donors and volunteers: Encourage donors and volunteers to continue giving and to advocate for your cause. For example, showing your gratitude for volunteers and donors will help them understand the importance of their contributions. 
  • Congregation members: Reinforce the significance of charitable giving to bring your church community together in support of a specific cause. Through this, congregants will cultivate a team-like environment in which everyone works together toward a common cause.
  • Employees and customers: Employees will be more committed to your organization when they know you care about social impact. This will engage them more in both charitable giving and their jobs, resulting in higher employee retention.

Charitable giving is more than a strategy to connect with your local community—it’s an ongoing effort to positively impact everyone who comes into contact with your organization. 

3. Create mission-centric outreach strategies

360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics show that “90% of Millennial donors are motivated to give by a compelling mission, rather than a specific organization.”

Craft your outreach strategies around community-focused objectives. For example, consider the following ways you can bring the community together through social media:

  • Share others’ posts. Connect your followers with helpful content from community-based accounts by sharing relevant content. For example, does your city have an official Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly Twitter) account? Share their posts to keep your followers engaged with what’s happening in their local area.
  • Tap into an expanded network. Your engagement with other organizations on social media can put your social media content in front of new audiences who can help to make your mission possible. For example, church leaders might connect with a local women’s shelter on social media, resulting in an opportunity to share their favorite Christian books for women.
  • Tag relevant organizations in your posts. Draw more attention to your content by tagging other organizations in your posts. For example, tag the associated nonprofit or nonprofits in a post about your employees’ volunteer hours in the past year. Not only will your employees feel appreciated for their philanthropic endeavors, but nonprofits will see your company’s efforts to encourage and celebrate charitable giving. 

Incorporate your mission and your efforts to strengthen your community into outreach of other formats, as well. Depending on the communication channels that your audience is most receptive to, you can craft messages of different mediums and structures.

If your business is operating on a limited budget and needs more funds, it’s likely time to create a fundraising plan. Fundraising is an important part of running a sustainable business, allowing your studio to bring in extra revenue to supplement your day-to-day expenses.

While you might immediately associate fundraising with nonprofits, many small businesses leverage fundraising to keep their businesses afloat and improve the quality of their offerings. From hosting peer-to-peer campaigns to leading exciting events like dance-a-thons, your dance studio has plenty of opportunities to engage your entire community in fundraising.

To get started with fundraising, you need a strong outreach strategy to get the word out about your campaigns and maximize your revenue and reach. Use these expert tips to give your fundraising plan the foundation it needs to succeed:

Putting together the perfect fundraiser is easy when you have the support of your community behind you. By using a variety of outreach and marketing strategies, you’ll be in great shape to rally dance students, parents, alumni, and more around your fundraising goals. Let’s begin.

Leverage a comprehensive app

Your dance studio parents and community members live busy lives, and often, your dance studio isn’t at the top of their minds. To reach community members directly with your fundraising communications and broadcast your upcoming campaigns and events, leverage a comprehensive app built for dance studios.

DanceStudio-Pro recommends investing in a dance studio app with the following key features:

  • Studio chat: Create group chats by class and send communications that will reach your dance studio parents directly on their phones, increasing the likelihood of them seeing and acting on your communications.
  • Tuition and payments: Empower parents and community members to submit donations and payments right from the app, saving them time and contributing to a positive user experience.
  • Weekly student schedules: Parents can stay tapped into everything that’s going on at your studio, from classes to fundraising recitals, no matter where they are—as long as they have their phone in hand.

The right app will not only make it easier for your dance families to stay connected to your studio, but it will also streamline your studio’s operations so running your fundraisers is a breeze.

For instance, if you’re planning to host a product fundraiser and sell dance costumes to your students, you’ll need an online store. Rather than setting up a store from scratch or spending thousands of dollars to pay a web developer, simply use a dance studio app that offers a point-of-sale system. Here, you can list items up for sale with product images and empower parents to click and pay right from their phones.

You should also look for a dance studio app that has a built-in online fundraising system. The right solution will empower your dance studio to create unique campaigns and then share links to these fundraisers on social media in just moments. This way, you can manage your entire fundraiser under one app, simplifying the process for you and your donors.

Harness the power of social media

Social media is one of the most powerful tools at a business’s disposal to help spread the word about their fundraising events and campaigns. Your community members are already constantly scrolling through their feeds, so why not create attention-grabbing content that will put your studio on their minds?

Use these best practices to boost your social media presence:

  • Generate engaging content: Help community members understand how the funds raised will be used with quality visuals. For example, you might share photos of your dancers in class to illustrate how donations will be used to improve their dance education. Or, Double the Donation’s guide to fundraising videos recommends creating an impactful video that tells a story about your business, explains your fundraising needs, and ends with a strong call to action to donate. Create a plan for the information you’ll include in your video and how you’ll feature it, whether through interviews with dancers and staff, voiceovers coupled with footage of dancers performing, or appeals from fellow community members themselves.
  • Use unique hashtags to expand your reach: Hashtags can help expand the reach of your posts and push your content in front of other dance enthusiasts or people in your community. Tap into your creative side and generate a hashtag that is brief yet memorable. For example, you might use a catchy hashtag like #Dollars4Dancers or #ClevelandDanceFundraiser to tap local supporters. Make sure to include this hashtag in all of your fundraising post captions.
  • Host social media contests: Add some friendly competition into the mix and tap your supporters to promote your fundraiser with a fun social media contest! For example, you might ask your older students to repost a graphic that explains your fundraiser on their social media channels and use the accompanying hashtag. Then, you could offer a prize—like discounted classes or free dance studio merchandise—to the student who gets the most engagement on their post.

If you’re posting your content to multiple social media channels, like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, remember to adapt your content as needed to fit the platform’s specifications. For example, if you want to share a video to Instagram Reels, make sure your aspect ratio is between 1.91:1 and 9:16 and you have a minimum resolution of 720 pixels.

Spotlight fundraising on your website

Your website is another great tool to amplify your fundraising efforts and prove that your studio is worthy of donors’ support. Create a landing page on your website that tells visitors everything they need to know about your fundraiser, including:

  • Your goal: Let supporters know what your fundraising goal is so they know how much to raise to push you past the fundraising finish line. You might display this with a fundraising thermometer to help gamify the fundraising process and motivate supporters to fill up the thermometer.
  • How the funds will be used: Clearly explain how the donations will be used—whether that’s by funding new ballet barres, covering the cost of travel for dance competitions, or funding the renovation of your studio. This will give community members clarity into the purpose of your fundraiser and why they should feel inclined to give.
  • A clear call to action on how to get involved: Are you asking your audience to peer-to-peer fundraise, purchase tickets for an upcoming event, or donate directly? Clearly explain the different ways your community members can support your fundraiser. Even if they can’t contribute money, you can invite them to share your landing page with friends or create a personal fundraising page on your behalf.
  • Embed donation form to give: Don’t make the donation process difficult for your community members! Embed your campaign’s donation form directly into your landing page so your audience can complete the donation process as soon as they feel inspired (without having to do any digging for your form). Ensure your donation form is short and sweet by only asking community members for the most important information, including their name, contact information, donation amount, and billing details.

Once you’ve designed your landing page, you’ll need to spread it far and wide to boost web traffic. For example, you could spotlight the landing page in your next email newsletter to dance parents, share the link in your dance app communications, or even paste the link in your social media bio.

You’ve already done the hard work in planning an exciting fundraising event or campaign. Now, you just need to get your fundraiser in front of as many people as possible so you can meet and exceed your revenue goals.

A multichannel marketing strategy will empower you to create multiple touchpoints with community members and steward strong relationships. As you roll out your outreach plan, track metrics (like reposts on your social media content and page views on your landing page) so you can make adjustments as needed to optimize your results.

As a school administrator, football coach, or member of the PTA, you might not look back at your last fundraiser with fondness. Perhaps there were countless hours spent printing and posting flyers around town, chasing down cash and checks, and poring over metrics that never seemed to add up. Not to mention the fact that despite all of your hard work, you didn’t reach your revenue goal.

Scenarios like these are understandably frustrating, but there is a better, more effective way to fundraise. All you need to do is invest in specialized fundraising software that will allow you to move your campaign online. 

To get the most out of your online fundraising, we’ll break down these four fundraising hacks:

  1. Use peer-to-peer fundraising.
  2. Gamify fundraising efforts.
  3. Tell a compelling story.
  4. Leverage metrics.

Keep in mind that because one of the key benefits of online fundraisers is their flexibility, you don’t have to sacrifice the fun of in-person events. With a little creativity, you can make them your own and add in-person elements that fuel connection among supporters. For example, you might host a hybrid gala to cap off the fundraising campaign, allowing local supporters to meet in person and those in other locations to tune in online.

To get started, we’ll cover a strategy that is perfect for both new and experienced online fundraisers: peer-to-peer fundraising.

1. Use peer-to-peer fundraising.

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is a fundraising strategy that involves individuals holding personal campaigns on behalf of a nonprofit or other organization. These individuals raise money from their friends and family to support the organization.

There are a variety of tactics under the P2P umbrella that your organization can use to effectively fundraise, such as using the pledge fundraising model. 99Pledges’ guide to kid-friendly fundraising breaks down this tactic into five steps:

  1. Create a pledge fundraising campaign for your group. Set up a group-wide fundraising page and ask participants to create their own personal fundraising pages as well.
  2. Encourage participants to share their pages online to spread the word about your campaign.
  3. Participants collect pledges from their family and friends. These pledges often correspond to some kind of unit in your fundraiser (e.g., during a read-a-thon, donors might pledge $5 for every 30 minutes spent reading). Donors can also make flat donations of any amount they wish.
  4. Track the campaign’s progress carefully to ensure you are on track to meet your goals.
  5. Once the event concludes, submit your payment information and 99Pledges will send out funds within 24 hours.

While traditional pledge-based fundraisers can be a pain due to the difficulty of tracking down post-campaign donations, specialized software makes it so much easier. Your software will accept payments for you and send them straight to your bank account—and, it can even send reminders to your donors for a more hands-off experience.

2. Gamify fundraising efforts.

Gamification is the process of adding gaming mechanics or elements to a non-game scenario.

For example, let’s say you are holding a school-wide read-a-thon fundraiser to raise money to purchase new books for the library. To incentivize students to read, teachers create leaderboards to track in their classrooms and online. Students compete to top the leaderboards with the most minutes read (hint: offering prizes for first, second, and third place can motivate students!).

If you’re considering this tactic, here are a few other ways to gamify your online fundraiser:

  • Offer virtual badges and achievements for the students who achieve certain goals, like securing ten donations or earning a pledged donation above a certain amount.
  • Celebrate fundraising milestones with fun rewards like pizza parties. Consider creating tiers with different rewards—for example, reaching the lowest goal might earn students an extra 30 minutes of recess while reaching the highest goal allows them to have an in-class movie party.
  • Plan fundraising challenges that pit different teams, classrooms, or groups against each other. This will spark some healthy competition among the kids and motivate them to try their best to out-fundraise the other teams.

You can also extend this strategy to your supporters by adding game elements to the events you hold. If your campaign culminates in a charity run or walk-a-thon, you could add a “bonus round” with extra challenges like an obstacle course. If participants complete those challenges, they could win an additional donation from one of your business sponsors.

3. Tell a compelling story.

Smoothly guiding donors from social media posts or promotional emails to your donation page is key to securing the donations you need to reach your goals. You’ll need to capture their interest, whether with a funny TikTok video or urgent email appeal, and hold their attention until the moment they click “submit” on your donation form—but what’s the best way to do that?

Digital platforms provide an excellent backdrop for storytelling. Getting Attention’s guide to digital marketing explains that social media is one of the best ways to tell your organization’s story because it’s so easy to add in engaging, multimedia elements like text, photos, videos, and audio.

To get started with this strategy, follow these steps:

  1. Define your narrative. Identify a central theme that represents your campaign. Consider the impact the funds will have, who benefits from the fundraiser, and the challenges you are hoping to overcome.
  2. Highlight personal stories. Next, start crafting stories based on the stories of past and present beneficiaries. For example, you might interview players from last year’s soccer team who got new equipment as a result of your fundraiser to show the impact the campaigns have.
  3. Use multimedia elements. A good story should be emotional and make your supporters feel inspired to support you. Using things like inspiring music, audio, and videos to tell these stories will pack a much bigger emotional punch than text alone.
  4. Engage on multiple platforms. Each platform has its own rules, trends, and formats, allowing you to deliver your story in different ways. Additionally, you’ll be able to reach more supporters more often this way.

An emotional, engaging story makes the campaign more memorable to supporters, helping you stand out from the cluttered landscape of social media marketing to attract donors and inspire their support.

4. Leverage metrics.

Let’s say your school planned a silent auction to raise money to support your athletic teams. While supporters couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved the event and your school sold all of the auction items, you still aren’t totally sure if the event was a financial success—it seems that some of your metrics got lost in the fundraising shuffle.

With online fundraising, you can easily track key fundraising metrics to measure the profitability of your campaign, how effective your marketing efforts were, and the depth of your supporters’ involvement. For example, fundraising software can help you track data like:

  • Total funds raised
  • Average donation amount
  • Campaign reach and engagement
  • Cost per donation
  • Conversion rate for different marketing channels
  • Donor sources
  • Volunteer rates and hours
  • ROI

You can also use these metrics as a part of your donor stewardship strategy. These metrics should reveal who donated the most frequently, gave the largest amount, or volunteered the most hours. Make sure to thank these donors for their specific donations or other involvement by sending them an eCard or making a phone call.

Online fundraising has a unique way of reaching and connecting with more potential supporters by leaning heavily on the internet and virtual communities. Remember that you can open up your campaigns to more people by optimizing campaign materials for assistive technology like screen readers, making participation accessible to more people. This, combined with the extended reach of the internet, allows you to connect more compassionate supporters with your campaign so they can support your students.

It’s crucial that sorority and fraternity chapters thank their alumni/ae for making their fundraising initiatives possible.

Whether you’re thanking them for supporting your national philanthropy initiatives or volunteering in the community, acknowledging the major role alumni/ae play in the chapter’s ongoing success is important. Simply saying “thank you” is the first step in a detailed appreciation cadence. Other strategies you can try include:

  1. Giving personalized “throwback” gifts
  2. Hosting exclusive alumni/ae events
  3. Creating alumni/ae awards
  4. Leveraging social media

Going the extra mile with your recognition tactics will motivate alumni/ae to continue supporting the chapter in the future.

1. Give personalized “throwback” gifts

For many of your alumni/ae, college was an exciting time when they built strong connections with their brothers or sisters. Evoke these fond memories and fortify your alumni/ae’s relationship with your organization by giving them “throwback” gifts, such as:

  • Vintage chapter T-shirts. Many chapters have archives of old chapter branding, making it simple for you to revive limited-edition vintage T-shirts from years past.
  • Varsityjacket patches and pins. Some alumni/ae still own and treasure their varsityjackets from college. Provide a patch so they can proudly represent their chapter’s brand. Consider offering branded pins so alumni/ae without a jacket can get in on the fun, too.
  • Throwback photo calendar. Put a unique twist on the classic photo calendar by adding photos from specific graduating classes.
  • Class rings. This high-end gift will delight your major alumni/ae donors and last a long time, symbolizing your endless gratitude for their support.
  • Important items to your chapter. Every chapter has different traditions, so consider offering items that align with your unique identity.

Showing your appreciation for alumni/ae with these distinctive items taps into their nostalgia for your chapter, encouraging future involvement with your philanthropic initiatives.

2. Host exclusive alumni/ae events

Events provide valuable face time with donors while showing your appreciation for their generosity. Double the Donation’s guide to donor recognition suggests throwing the following recognition events:

  • Homecoming appreciation mixer. Homecoming is the best opportunity to gather alumni/ae for a big celebration of their kindness. Invite your alumni/ae supporters to a party, complete with drinks, food, and entertainment to create a fun atmosphere.  Throughout the celebration, express your gratitude verbally and individually to thank major donors to advance relationships.
  • Lunch for alumni/ae donors. While a luncheon is more laid-back than a mixer, it provides more opportunities for one-on-one conversations with supporters, allowing you to understand their motivations for giving.
  • Exclusive keynote speaker and panel events. One of the biggest reasons students join sororities and fraternities is the networking potential. Invite alumni/ae donors to attend a private panel with a noteworthy keynote speaker. You don’t have to have connections to famous people; simply ask accomplished alumni/ae to speak on a panel. Customize the questions to their expertise. No matter their field, your alumni/ae will find value in the panel presentation.

No matter which type of event you host, ensure that the costs of hosting it don’t negate your fundraising efforts. To strike the right balance, designate an appreciation event budget and stick to it.

3. Nominate your alumni/ae for national awards

Alumni/ae appreciate it when the chapter recognizes them with a special effort. Giving alumni/ae a memento helps them connect with your chapter and level up future contributions. Consider recognizing your most influential alumni/ae with these awards:

  • Alumni/ae Hall of Fame Initiation
  • Donor of the Month/Year
  • Volunteer of the Month/Year

After you decide which awards make sense for your alumni/ae community, determine how frequently you’ll distribute them, how a winner will be chosen, what the criteria for winning are, and what prize you’ll provide to the winner. OmegaFi recommends working with your fellow chapter managers and alumni/ae board members to lay out a budget-friendly plan, accounting for nomination costs and travel stipends.

4. Leverage social media

While a classic hand-written thank-you card can seem more custom than online communications, digital outreach can be especially engaging with the right approach. Plus, current chapter members communicate often through social media and emails, and you can leverage their tech-savviness to make stellar digital appreciation messages. You can recognize your alumni online by:

  • Producing a short video. Thanking alumni/ae with personalized videos detailing the impact of their contribution can put a face to your national philanthropic partner and make your message feel more genuine.
  • Sending interactive digital cardsYour alumni/ae get hundreds of emails a week, but what if they received a colorful, custom-branded eCard thanking them for their donation? They’ll be much more likely to see (and appreciate!) the message.
  • Writing social media posts. Recognizing your alumni/ae on social media allows them to share the praise with their own networks, bringing more attention to your cause.
  • Creating an alumni/ae microsite. As the online information hub for your chapter, shouting out your alumni/ae on an “Alumni/ae Updates” microsite can inspire other alumni/ae to get involved.

When thanking alumni/ae publicly, whether in person or digitally, ensure that you have their permission to talk about them beforehand.

Alumni/ae are a crucial part of your chapter’s legacy remaining strong over time, and supporting your chapter on top of everything else in their life demonstrates a commitment and connection that is unique to fraternities and sororities. By showing your heartfelt gratitude for your alumni/ae, you can secure your financial future and help the generations to come!

According to Nonprofits Source, The Google Ad Grants program has provided $10 billion in free advertising to more than 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries since 2003. That’s a lot of numbers, so let’s break it down.

The Google Ad Grant is a completely free $10,000 monthly grant offered to eligible nonprofits in the form of Google ad credits. Besides following Google’s eligibility criteria and ongoing compliance requirements, there are no other restrictions your nonprofit must adhere to in order to receive funding.

However, because Google is so generous with its funding, the upkeep and compliance associated with the program can be hefty for nonprofits to maintain. That’s where working with a Google Grant agency comes into play. These experts can help you achieve your marketing potential, so you can focus on promoting your mission. Read on to learn more about the benefits of partnering with an agency and four key deciding factors to guide your search!

Why should you partner with a Google Ad Grants agency?

A Google Ad Grant agency is a business composed of experts who help nonprofits manage their Google Ad accounts. So, what’s the benefit of partnering with these agencies? You might be set on managing your account all on your own, but before you embark on your management journey by yourself, consider these key agency advantages:

  • Quick setup. Partnering with an agency can help you get up and running fast. They’ll walk you through key eligibility steps and create high-converting ads as soon as your account is approved.
  • Compliance. Google’s compliance requirements can be a little tricky to keep up with, but with an expert’s help, you can maintain Google’s required 5% click-through rate with ease.
  • Ongoing optimization. A Google Grant agency will have keen insight into campaign creation and maintenance. With deft tracking and reporting skills, these experts can ensure your campaign is optimized by making timely, informed improvements.
  • Additional nonprofit time. Managing a Google Ad Grant account can be time-consuming, and with volunteers to train and donors to engage, your nonprofit is likely on a tight schedule. Working with an agency can abundantly free up your time.

Often, Google Ad Grant agencies can also pinpoint blindspots your nonprofit could have missed. For example, your landing pages, such as your donation page, could be missing key elements and lowering your quality score. With an agency partner’s help, that page could be spruced up easily to generate a quicker ROI.

Having an agency by your side is incredibly beneficial. So, what should you look for in a partner? Let’s review the four defining elements of a reliable agency below.

1. Experience and expertise

Just like any other provider, you want to choose one with a proven track record and a depth of knowledge that will help your nonprofit succeed. Narrow your choice by looking into agencies that align with your nonprofit’s goals and have high-performance ratings. You can get a closer look by referencing:

  • Pricing and criteria. Choose a partner that maintains a fair pricing model and has extensive experience working with organizations similar to yours. Avoid selecting a provider with unnecessary add-ons, and consider scheduling a consultation before making a final decision.
  • Knowledge of Google’s compliance rules and upkeep objectives. Choose a provider that’s been Google-certified and well-versed in Google’s compliance requirements. That way, you can rest assured that your campaigns are in good hands once they go live.
  • Client testimonials and case studies. For a more in-depth look at an agency’s work, check out their previous clients and testimonials. You can even reach out to clients to get a better understanding of their experience working with an agency you’re interested in.

Compare an agency’s clients to your organization. Do they have similar missions, audiences, and goals? This is another key indicator that you’re on the right track to finding a partner that aligns with your marketing objectives.

2. Relevant services that drive results

Not all Google Ad Grant agencies provide services that will be relevant to your mission and marketing objectives. Reference your goals to be sure the partner you choose has the right features to get you from A to B. These could include:

  • Application. There are several steps your nonprofit needs to take to apply for the Google grant. They include ensuring eligibility, registering with TechSoup, creating an account, and more. If you’re looking to get started quickly, partner with an agency that can walk you through the application process in a timely manner.
  • Account hygiene. Duplicate, outdated, or unnecessary data can hinder your campaign’s success. Select an agency with extensive account hygiene experience to ensure your account stays clean and effective.
  • Grant reactivation. If your account has been suspended for any reason, the right agency can help you get back on your feet with ease. They’ll also generate a new strategy to safeguard against future deactivations or lapses.

A key step of applying for the Google Ad Grants program is ensuring your website is optimized for a valuable user experience. This includes optimizing site navigation, load times, and branding to maximize your conversions. An experienced agency can make the right suggestions to get your site up to par.

3. Thorough campaign strategy

Effective digital marketing of any kind requires a solid campaign strategy, and Google Ad Grant marketing is no exception. Check out each provider’s campaign capabilities to ensure their strategy is thorough and applicable to you. This involves digging into services like:

  • Customization. Each nonprofit has a unique audience and mission. Partner with an agency that knows how to target your demographic and increase engagement without taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Keyword research. The right keywords are the bridge between you and prospective supporters. However, they can require additional expertise to select high-performing ones that align with Google’s restrictions. An agency with keyword experience can help you craft a strategy that yields high returns.
  • Tracking and reporting. At any given time, you may want to know how your campaign is performing. Partner with an agency that gives you consistent updates and can teach you how to reference your performance easily using a campaign tracking tool such as Google Analytics.

According to Getting Attention’s keyword research guide, there are a few other tools you can use to refine your approach. These include Google Trends, Google Search Console, Moz Keyword Explorer, and SEMRush. You want to strike the right balance between keywords with high search volume and low competition, so be sure to choose an agency that uses extensive research tools like these to guide your campaign strategy.

4. Flexibility and scalability

Your nonprofit will grow and adapt over time whether you choose to tackle your largest capital campaign yet or fill more open volunteer positions, you’ll want to find an agency that can adapt alongside you. This means you’ll want to select an agency with services created to meet your changing needs and adapt to the evolving digital landscape.

Key features that can future-proof your nonprofit marketing include advanced analytics that show trends and patterns, reliable campaign strategies that can be shifted to target a new audience segment, and an adept Google policy understanding that can adapt to any new requirements. An agency with these practices will be able to provide valuable services that evolve with your needs.

The Google Ad Grant is a secret weapon every nonprofit should have in its marketing arsenal. An expert Google Ad Grant Agency can help you make the most of it with high-converting marketing campaigns that connect you with more supporters. Use the above recommendations to identify one that complements your nonprofit’s goals.

In our increasingly digital world, your donors are constantly bombarded with emails, notifications, and online ads. If your nonprofit needs a way to break through the noise and connect with supporters offline, look no further than tried and true direct mail campaigns.

Direct mail is the perfect solution for combatting supporters’ digital fatigue, and it remains an effective tool for fundraising, acquiring new supporters, and stewarding existing donors. To give you a better idea of why it’s so effective, we’ll discuss five impactful benefits that direct mail offers:

  1. Direct Mail is Highly Personal
  2. Supporters Get a Tangible Reminder of Your Organization
  3. Direct Mail Provides the Space to Tell Stories
  4. There’s Less Competition for Recipients’ Attention
  5. It Fits Seamlessly Into a Multichannel Strategy

Direct mail campaigns can be successful for nonprofits of all sizes and experience levels. As we explore these benefits, we’ll also give you tips on how to make your campaign resonate with your audience.

1. Direct Mail is Highly Personal

Emails tend to feel generic and bland because recipients get so many, but your supporters likely don’t receive as much physical mail. This makes direct mail feel special, and the fact that it arrives at recipients’ homes and they can hold it in their hands makes it feel even more personal. Just compare the effect of a physical, handwritten letter thanking someone for their support with a typical thank-you email that they may not even open.

Direct mail’s personalization helps you connect with existing supporters and acquire new donors by showing recipients that you care about them as individuals, not just sources of funding. Use additional personalization techniques to see better results, such as:

  • Using the donor’s name. Steer away from “Dear Donor” and address every recipient by their first name. Even though it’s simple, opening with the supporter’s name is important for starting the letter off on the right foot.
  • Referencing their past donations and involvement. If you’re writing to an existing or lapsed donor, mention how they’ve supported your organization in the past. Get specific by referencing data from your nonprofit’s CRM, such as the most recent campaign they donated to or the last event they attended.
  • Updating them on the personal impact of their donations. Go one step further by not only mentioning their last donation but also letting them know the impact it made. Give them a tangible result, such as “Your $200 donation allowed us to add 50 new diversity-focused children’s books to the public library.”

Remember that the information in your donor database must be regularly updated to ensure that the personal details you reference are correct and up-to-date. Follow best practices from resources like NPOInfo’s nonprofit data hygiene guide to maintain clean and accurate data that you can use in direct mail campaigns.

2. Supporters Get a Tangible Reminder of Your Organization

A major part of direct mail’s value for nonprofits is its tangibility. Your donors are likely to delete emails that are crowding their inboxes right away, but most people keep physical mail for a longer time.

Whether your fundraising appeal ends up sitting on their desk for a few days or they leave it by the door until they’re ready to donate, it serves as a physical reminder of your nonprofit in your recipient’s home. Direct mail can even hold sentimental value for supporters in a way that emails can’t replicate. Think of donors keeping an especially heartfelt thank-you note or putting a card with photos representing their impact on their fridge.

Tangibility is a benefit of all types of direct mail, but especially if you supplement your letters with occasional small gifts. Sending small items like branded water bottles or stickers is a nice way to recognize donors and keep your nonprofit top-of-mind.

3. Direct Mail Provides the Space to Tell Stories

Across every medium, using storytelling strategies humanizes your communications and helps you connect with readers on an emotional level. However, direct mail is uniquely suited to storytelling because it provides more space than social media or texts, it’s more likely to be fully read by recipients, and it’s easy to add compelling visuals.

Meyer Partners’ guide to direct mail fundraising recommends focusing on these three strategies to tell powerful stories with your direct mail:

  • Resonance: Stories have to resonate emotionally with your supporters to have an impact. The best way to achieve this is to use real, genuine stories of people involved with your nonprofit, such as beneficiaries, volunteers, or donors.
  • Relevance: Place the donor in the driver’s seat of the story to make sure they see where they fit in. Use donor-centric language like “you” and “we,” and emphasize how the reader can make a personal impact with their donation.
  • Respect: When using real stories, it’s important to maintain a high level of respect for everyone involved, meaning beneficiaries and donors. Only tell people’s stories with their express permission, don’t embellish the truth, and stay away from negative emotions like fear or guilt.

To see these strategies in action, take a look at this short example of a fundraising appeal for a capital campaign:

Devin says that the Augusta Boys and Girls Club raised her. She came to the Matthews Center every day after school, where she made friends, had fun safely, and felt supported throughout her childhood. But in the years since Devin graduated, the building has developed a number of problems and now needs a major renovation. You can support countless Augusta children by making a donation to help us rebuild the Matthews Center. Donate today and be the reason more kids have the same experience Devin had.

4. There’s Less Competition for Recipients’ Attention

The average office worker receives over 120 emails a day. That’s a lot of messages to wade through to find your organization’s fundraising appeal or campaign update. But while your supporters’ email inboxes are oversaturated with promotional messages, far fewer letters end up in their mailboxes.

This makes your nonprofit’s direct mail much more likely to stand out and mean more to recipients. Your message can easily get lost in a string of 100 email notifications that feel like a chore to read. But if a supporter only finds five items in their mailbox, two of which are bills, they’ll be excited to see what your organization has to say.

5. It Fits Seamlessly Into a Multichannel Strategy

Finally, direct mail helps you create a well-rounded nonprofit marketing strategy when you incorporate other channels. Use a variety of communication channels that are relevant to your audience to give your messages a broader reach. This might include your website, phone calls, email, social media, texts, and more.

A key part of developing a successful multichannel marketing strategy is connecting your channels to present a cohesive brand. To connect direct mail with your other marketing channels, you can:

  • Add QR codes. Many of your direct mail recipients may want to donate online. Instead of making them type out a link or Google your nonprofit’s website, add a QR code that leads to your donation page or event registration form when readers scan it with their phones.
  • Include your social media handles at the bottom of the letter. Remind supporters to follow your organization on social media by placing each of your handles below your message. Include your nonprofit’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other profiles you have.

By giving your donors multiple ways to connect with your nonprofit, both online and offline, you’ll increase the chances that your organization stays on their minds.

As you develop your own direct mail campaigns and explore these benefits for yourself, make sure to measure your direct mail strategy’s success and change course as needed. Monitor response rates, donations from direct mail, and other key metrics to ensure that your messages are making an impact.

Did you know that an estimated 2.5 billion people use some form of assistive technology every day? That’s about 32% of the world’s population!

Assistive technology is any device or software solution that helps people with temporary or permanent disabilities communicate, interact, and learn independently. 

As Kanopi explains in their roundup of top nonprofit websites, the best sites are adaptable based on any assistive device someone might be using. Understanding and adapting to assistive technology will make your nonprofit’s website, services, and other resources accessible to a broader audience. 

In this guide, we’ll highlight the assistive tech essentials you should know and how to implement accessibility considerations in your nonprofit’s online strategy. These insights will help improve your marketing efforts and online reach, ultimately allowing you to involve more people in your mission. 

1. Understand the different types of assistive technology.

It’s important to be familiar with the wide range of devices and tools that help individuals browse the internet more easily. This allows you to determine the ways that your website can accommodate these solutions. Here is a brief overview of common assistive tools:  

  • Screen readers: Interpret online text and read it using synthetic speech. 
  • Screen magnifiers: Allow users to increase the size of on-screen content like text and images.  
  • Voice-to-text software: Enables users to speak into a microphone and converts the speech into written text. 
  • Braille displays: Translate digital text into braille characters that are presented on a touchable surface. 
  • Subtitles and closed captioning: Generate written scripts for spoken language.  
  • Adaptive keyboards: Modified keyboards that are customized to the user’s needs. These keyboards may include ergonomic design, one-handed design, programmable keys, larger keys, or keyguards (a cover that sits over the keys, making it harder to accidentally press the wrong key). 
  • Eye tracking software: Enables users to control the mouse using just their eyes. 
  • Voice control: Allows users to operate their computers using voice commands. 
  • Switch devices: Devices (buttons, clickers, etc.) that allow users to interact with computers using movements such as taps, clicks, head movements, foot taps, and other gestures.
  • Sip and puff: A type of switch device that allows users to browse online content by initiating commands through inhaling or exhaling via a strawlike device. 

This list is not exhaustive, but these are some of the most popular assistive tools to help individuals access the internet, giving you a good starting point to expand your website’s accessibility. Being aware of these technologies will enable you to create a more inclusive online community. 

2. Adapt your website to assistive technology. 

After learning about the types of assistive technology available, start taking steps to improve your online accessibility. 

Maintaining compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will help you develop a website that’s as user-friendly as possible for all visitors. Compliance is also legally required for nonprofits in many instances. 

Use these resources as you adapt your website to assistive technology best practices. For example, you might take steps such as:

  • Structuring your site with semantic HTML. Semantic HTML means HTML elements that describe the content they contain. For instance, using a <button> element instead of <div> is an example of semantic HTML. Semantic HTML is easier for screen readers to assess, helps facilitate keyboard navigation, and makes forms more readable. 
  • Using ARIA attributes when needed. ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) is a set of attributes you can add to HTML to provide more meaning and context to web elements that would otherwise not have semantic tags. ARIA attributes are another way to make web content easier to interpret for individuals using assistive technologies. 
  • Adding alternative text for images and captions for videos. Alternative text is a written description of an image that screen readers can interpret. Alt text should be straightforward and fully describe what is shown in an image. Video captions provide a written alternative to video audio. Write captions yourself rather than relying on automated captions, which can have typos or inaccuracies. 
  • Making the site layout and font size adjustable. This is often interpreted as adding controls for increasing or decreasing font size. However, it’s preferable to style fonts with responsive measurements that respect the user’s device or browser settings instead of adding font controls. This ensures that your web content is immediately responsive to each user’s unique settings. 
  • Using sufficient color contrast. The WCAG recommend a contrast of at least 4.5:1 for small text and 3:1 for large text. Use WebAIM’s Contrast Checker to assess your website’s color contrast. 
  • Implementing keyboard-friendly navigation. Make your website accessible for keyboard-only users by using semantic HTML, including a visible keyboard focus for interactive elements, and making <div> and <span> elements accessible using tabindex. 

Incorporate these elements into all aspects of your website, including forms like your online donation page and volunteer registration form. Forms are one of the most common ways users interact with your website and get more involved with your mission, so focus on making them understandable and readable for all visitors. 

3. Be wary of accessibility overlays.

Accessibility overlays are software solutions that attempt to automatically identify and fix accessibility issues by using JavaScript to edit a website’s code and content. 

Accessibility overlays may seem like an easy fix, but they can actually introduce more issues and even legal risks if you only rely on these tools to make your website accessible. 

These overlays can:

  • Unintentionally create accessibility barriers. Overlays can actually conflict with or override any accessibility technology that a website visitor is already using, creating a frustrating user experience. 
  • Conflict with user privacy. Accessibility overlays attempt to automatically adjust to a user’s accessibility settings, and they may access those settings without any opt-in or permission from the user. This could constitute a major breach of privacy, as disability information is protected under multiple legal regulations, such as the CCPA.
  • Lead to poor website performance. Adding third-party scripts to your website slows down your page load speed, which can lead to a poor user experience and even negatively impact your SEO rankings. 

Instead of using accessibility overlays, we recommend working with a developer who is experienced in accessibility. Whether you’re working with WordPress, Drupal, or a different CMS, a web development professional can assess your website and design a customized accessibility strategy that meets your audience’s needs. 

4. Use a combination of manual and automated testing tools.

Alongside accessibility overlays, automated accessibility testing tools are gaining popularity as a quick and easy way to identify and correct issues. These tools help catch issues and speed up the testing process, but overreliance on these resources can lead to missed accessibility problems. 

We recommend using automated testing tools alongside manual tests that actually involve assistive technology. That means using tools such as a screen reader or techniques such as keyboard navigation to manually assess your site’s accessibility and identify issues. 

It’s also important to ensure you’re choosing the right accessibility testing tools that are tried and true industry resources. Kanopi highlights top web accessibility tools, such as:

  • Lighthouse: A Chrome audit tool that assesses web pages and provides an accessibility score of up to 100, along with recommendations to improve the score. 
  • Axe: Another browser extension that tends to provide more specific results than Lighthouse. 
  • Siteimprove: An accessibility tool that generates a very thorough report detailing accessibility results and assesses pages against the WCAG conformance levels. 
  • Tota11y: A tool that helps developers review web pages as if they were using assistive technology. 

A combination of automated and manual testing will ensure that you don’t let any accessibility problems slip through the cracks. 

5. Keep up with assistive technology as it evolves. 

The most essential thing to know about assistive technology is that it’s changing and advancing all the time. Every year, new advancements are made for all types of devices, including glasses, watches, switch devices, ramps, headphones, and more. 

This might sound overwhelming, but you don’t have to keep up on your own. By working with a web design professional, you can stay up to date with assistive technology innovations and best practices. These experts can assess your website against current accessibility standards and assistive technology best practices, keeping your site compliant and your nonprofit’s programs and projects more appealing to supporters. 


Every nonprofit starts the same way: a cause that inspires passion and a few people willing to pitch in to try to change something. Most nonprofits start with Excel spreadsheets because they’re a convenient, free way to list donors and members and keep track of who gave what

At some point, every nonprofit outgrows spreadsheets. It happens as your donor pool grows and your different campaigns take off—and good old Excel just can’t show you the data you need.

That’s when many nonprofits start considering technology solutions that can help them find new donors, manage and thank existing donors, and develop automation that makes it easy for a nonprofit to grow.

If you’re still a spreadsheet nonprofit, you’ll be amazed by how much the right technology – the right nonprofit CRM – can revolutionize your fundraising and donor management. In this guide, we will explain what we mean by nonprofit CRM software, share the features you’ll find invaluable, and clearly show you the value of investing in a nonprofit CRM.

Ready to dive in?

What is Nonprofit CRM Software?

The official definition of nonprofit Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software is that it’s a database in which nonprofits store and analyze donor data.

Those are some features of the software. But what are the benefits? The right nonprofit CRM can help you:

  • Manage all your donors. If you’re thinking this means it’s an address book, think again! A nonprofit CRM will, of course, show you your donors and their contact information, but it will also show you their giving history, their connections to other organizations and donors, your outreach history, and notes that will help you in future outreach. For example, if a donor says she can’t consider donating because her husband has surgery the following week, you note that in the CRM and set a reminder to call her in a week to check on her husband. This is nurturing your donors, and software can help you catch all the nuances and patterns to help you engage more.
  • Slice and dice data to help identify trends. When you can set metrics to track—such as email deliverability, donations, repeat donations, website conversions, etc.—and then request different reports using all that data, you get insights and trends you might otherwise miss. What if your fundraising emails that are sent on Saturdays get 50% more donations? Or if your donation page gets lots of traffic but few donations? This kind of data, easily pulled from a nonprofit CRM, gives you a roadmap to successful fundraising. Reporting and analytics with the right technology can change your fundraising landscape for the better.
  • Leverage AI. Artificial intelligence is becoming part of our daily lives, but some nonprofit CRMs adopted it a long time ago. What does this look like? Things like giving probability, which scans tens of thousands of data points and uses AI to tell you the day and time to contact a donor, plus what your ask should be. 
  • Automate, automate, automate! Routine tasks that take up a lot of human time can be easily automated with a CRM. Think about fundraising email sequences, event registration, and even campaign phone calls. There’s little your software can’t do, letting you and your staff focus on the things that need a human touch. 
  • Fundraise! Particularly with a CRM that has a bunch of native tools, it’s easy to branch out and try something new. Never launched a peer-to-peer campaign? It’s easy to start when the technology is built to support you. How about an auction? Event modules cover everything from ticket sales and registration to mobile bidding to seat assignments.

Ultimately, this tool will help your nonprofit plan its next steps in fundraising. For example, CharityEngine’s guide to sustained giving programs recommends using your CRM to identify sustainers in your donor base. That way, you can reach out with a compelling message about how their continual support impacts your organization.

Equipped with donor insight from your CRM, your nonprofit can appropriately craft outreach for its campaigns that will appeal to your audience.

What Features Should I Look for in CRM Software?

From marketing tools to accounting software, your nonprofit likely already invests in a variety of platforms to streamline your fundraising efforts. But once you know what your nonprofit needs from its CRM, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for from the various options available.

There are two approaches to fundraising software and features. There are a few excellent all-in-one nonprofit CRMs built with native tools, meaning everything from donor management to payment processing to direct mail, auctions, and events is possible without leaving the core software. There are many benefits to this, assuming the CRM has the features you want.

Or, if you have a list of features and an all-in-one system doesn’t cut it, you can use that as your engine and build a tech stack by integrating with third-party systems. The key is thinking about the features you want first, and then matching the nonprofit CRM to those features.

What are some features nonprofits need?

  • Donor and membership management and communications
  • Sustainer management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Email automation
  • Fundraising modules
  • Online forms, like donation forms
  • Major gifts management

Regardless of the technology you choose, a nonprofit CRM can even further help your nonprofit streamline its numerous responsibilities. For the tasks that you delegate to another software solution, be sure your CRM integrates with your other tools, like your fundraising tools and payment processors

Benefits of Investing in a CRM

If your nonprofit is growing (which is usually the goal), at some point a nonprofit CRM will make it easier and more efficient for you to manage and engage donors and run intelligent, strategic fundraising campaigns. 

Which means raising more money for your cause. 

And while many nonprofits standardize their year-end giving campaigns, using technology to carry this methodology while leveraging donor data to make your request meaningful and personal means investing in a CRM is the way to go.

Especially when you use a CRM specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, you’ll be equipped with the tools and features needed to create lasting relationships with your donors.

Additionally, it can help streamline common daily activities, such as:

  • Donor outreach
  • Email sequences to nurture donors
  • Major gift solicitation
  • Donation form creation
  • Event registration

As you can see, the right nonprofit CRM will be more than just a database that stores information—it will work for you!

Don’t Forget to Do Your Research

It’s clear that nonprofit CRM software is an important tool for engaging your supporters and improving your fundraising strategies. Take your time when researching a solution and consider which software provider will best suit your nonprofit’s needs.

Look at the capabilities and features offered by different CRMs, and ask the companies for a software demo. Come to the meeting armed with a list of the features you want, and be sure to ask about implementation (how long does it take?), data migration (who has to do it?), and support (do they answer the phone?) to really check the compatibility with your nonprofit.

The right nonprofit CRM is worth waiting for. When you find it, you’ll have a fundraising partner who is intent on your success. 

Board members play an essential role in your organization. They set your strategic goals, provide oversight, and make key decisions to improve your fundraising and donor stewardship efforts.

When you present to board members, you don’t have any time to waste. Your presentations should include all the must-have information board members need to fulfill their roles successfully, along with meaningful moments that help them feel more connected to your mission.

Carefully planning your board meeting presentations is an essential presentation skill that can make your gatherings more productive and collaborative.

Here are the five must-have elements for your board presentation plan:

1. A presentation storyboard

Be Brilliant Presentation Group recommends planning your presentation using the Be Brilliant Blueprint. Part of the Blueprint involves storyboarding your presentation.

In the storyboarding phase, you’ll outline the basics of your presentation on paper. This ensures that you don’t get distracted by building the digital elements of your presentation before you’ve nailed down the content.

As you plan your presentation, note the main topics you’d like to focus on, areas where you need input or approval from board members, and the main takeaway you’d like board members to leave the meeting with.

2. Interactive moments

You may be wondering how to write a presentation that not only keeps board members informed but also engaged in your content. The answer lies in providing several interactive moments.

As you storyboard your presentation, include interactive elements like:

  • Group brainstorming. Board members can provide useful insight if your nonprofit is facing a challenge or presented with a new opportunity. Set aside a few minutes to allow board members to discuss as a full board or meet in small groups to come up with ideas to take on these opportunities effectively.
  • A Q&A session. If you’re presenting on a more technical topic, allow board members to ask questions in an open-format Q&A. Note any questions for which you don’t have immediate answers and follow up with board members after the meeting.
  • Sharing a mission-related moment. According to NXUnite, board members are essential for helping your nonprofit market its mission to a wider audience. Consider taking 5-10 minutes in your meeting to allow board members to share a recent moment when they felt particularly connected to your mission. This exercise can help everyone think about their personal connection to your cause, giving them talking points to bring up when promoting your nonprofit to a wider audience.

Some of the best ideas arise from impromptu conversations and brainstorming sessions during board meetings. These moments will help board members feel more connected to your mission and more engaged in their roles.

3. Campaign updates

Provide board members with any updates about your organization’s current campaigns. Make sure board members are aware of the following aspect of your initiatives:

  • Where donations are coming fromWho is giving and what platforms are they using to do so?
  • Goal progress updates. How close are you to reaching your goal, and what is needed from board members to help get you there?
  • Your donation request strategies. For example, are you sending gift request letters or emails? What are your response rates for these channels?

Be fully transparent with board members about your campaign’s successes and challenges. Invite board members to brainstorm ways to reach your goals more efficiently.

4. Essential metrics

You don’t need to walk board members through all the data your nonprofit collects. Keep the focus on just the need-to-know information.

For example, if you’re recapping the results of a recent peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you might cover statistics such as:

  • Cost per dollar raised
  • Average donation amount
  • The campaign’s donor retention rate

Present this information clearly and make sure to provide context as needed. For example, if your average donation amount is lower than expected, offer your assessment of why you think that’s the case and what your organization can do next time to correct the issue.

5. Donor stewardship update

Board members play a significant role in stewarding your organization’s supporters, such as major donors or corporate sponsors. Make sure your presentation plan includes updates on your nonprofit’s latest donor stewardship strategies.

For example:

  • Are you using new donor recognition strategies, such as creating appreciation videos or handwritten letters?
  • Are you trying a new email marketing platform that makes it easier to create targeted email campaigns?
  • Are you looking for board members’ support in stewarding new major donor prospects?
  • Have you recently seen a major uptick in responses to your direct mail outreach?

Take the opportunity to spotlight board members who have made positive contributions to your donor stewardship program. Thank them for their efforts and let other board members know how they can get more involved.

Board members need to know how your nonprofit is doing at any given time and where they can step in to assist. With a well-planned presentation, you can equip them with this need-to-know information quickly and efficiently, making the best use of everyone’s time. Reducing excess meeting time gives more time for board members to actually work on your nonprofit’s initiatives and push your mission forward.