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Running a non-profit, by its very nature, is not easy in the slightest.

As an nonprofit owner or small business owner, you’re attempting to run an organization without earning revenue for your own cause. To the uninformed ear, it sounds almost counterintuitive.

So, to mitigate the many challenges faced in this scenario, you operate on a very lean model for the sake of checks and balances

Often, one of the ways you might be looking to cut costs is through avoiding spending anything on technology—namely, automated tools.

Unfortunately, this choice is entirely misguided.

In 2020, there’s no way of surviving as an organization without leveraging such tech to your advantage. The world moves at too fast a pace, and you simply can’t keep up with the lightning speed of the non-profit landscape when technologically handicapping yourself.

Furthermore, these days, affordable technology is plentiful. It’s not like we live in the days of old, where only the elite could afford a basic operating system. The world runs on technology—as though it’s a baseline expectation.

Now, of course, there are tools out there that do cost more than others. Still, there’s a delicate balance, wherein doing the research will find you equal parts affordable and effective automation tech for your non-profit.

The above notion, in and of itself, is something of a science and takes a considered strategic approach. You need to have a firm grasp on where, when, and what automation should be applied.

Therefore, you must read on to find out how the following 10 ways that automation can help your non-profit grow.


Managing Your Prospect List with Dashboards

All non-profits are largely dependant on their sizeable list of donors and volunteers. In automating your communications with those two groups, you’ll find yourself with far more time you can dedicate to other crucial tasks.

One of the primary ways these prospect lists can be managed is through the use of dashboard automation.

Task-oriented dashboards for volunteers will empower these individuals to maximize their contributions at their most optimal convenience.

Furthermore, more specialized dashboards will bolster the efforts mobilizers, event organizers, and other personnel focused on engagement. These automated tools can help them work alongside contacts according to interest levels and commitment timelines.

These kinds of dashboards are also useful when it comes to automating the documenting communication for every manner of engagement. This acts as a way to keep everybody involved in the process.


Immediate Email Responses to Contact Requests

When it comes to your prospective donors, you must strike when the iron is hot.

For instance, if someone inquires via email with your non-profit, and it takes even slightly too long for a response, that person might take their donation elsewhere. Why? Because you gave them too much to go back and forth and contemplate other organizations.

In fact, waiting as much as 30 minutes leads to a 21x higher chance of losing out on prospective donors.

As such, automation software becomes integral to your efforts. Especially since neither you nor your volunteers aren’t Superman and can’t be everywhere at once.

Automation software allows you to respond immediately to inquiries every time without the need to lift a muscle.

By merely adding a “contact us” form to your website with software that provides the requisite HTML, you won’t need to take requests via email addresses. Once someone fills in the necessary information, they’ll receive a templated email that’ll sound personalized.

Instead of feeling their inquiry might evaporate into a digital abyss, your potential donor will be happy to be acknowledged out of the gate.

Beyond that, the automation software will automatically assign a given volunteer to follow up with the prospective donor.


Staying On top of Prospective Donors

Yes, we do live in the digital age where emails, forms, texts, and the written words overall seem to have taken prominence.

However, there are still plenty of people in this world who like the personal touch of talking over the phone. They’ll ignore your contact form and call up your team of volunteers, bypassing the other parts of the process.

This occurrence is optimal as far as forging personal connections with prospective donors. Sadly, in many cases, these leads end up turning into lost opportunities because processes aren’t in place for following up.

Nowadays, it’s entirely plausible to affordably implement automation software that sets up an internal form for when people call your mainline.

The volunteer on the phone only has to enter the potential donor’s contact information and specific notes, then assign a rep to follow up. There’s generally a drop-down menu that makes this process seamless.

The relevant volunteer will be alerted to this new prospect. Plus, a personalized automated introduction email will be sent from the corresponding member of your organization to the potential donor.


Strengthening Your Networking

Networking through conferences and various other events is a way to get some serious financial backing for your non-profit.

But without adequate tools in place, your accumulative business cards will amount to nothing. It’s all about taking the next step, which isn’t easy when you’re supposed to get in touch with dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses willing to donate.

With customer relationship management tools, you can take that business card information and tag those people as conference/event contacts. Automation software can then be applied to schedule a follow-up email, be it within the next few minutes or proceeding day.

What’s more, is some tools can streamline the “nice to meet you” email. In fact, various free apps give you the ability to scan business cards with your smartphone camera. It’ll add the prospective donor’s name, contact information, address, and company to your given system.


Converting Prospects into Donors

People are quite picky when it concerns their donation. Getting people to put money into your non-profit isn’t going to be a one-step process. There are multiple steps when cultivating a prospect and turning them into a legitimate donor.

With automated technology, it’s possible to see these leads through a donation funnel.

Here’s a brief breakdown of how automation and this unique funnel interweave, harmoniously:

Getting Your Foot in the Door – Automated software assigns a sales rep to contact a prospect once they’ve been identified as a new opportunity.

Getting in Touch –When your volunteer phone rep calls the prospective donor – and the call is answered – you’ll move onto the next stage. Alternatively, if the call goes to voicemail, and an automated email will be sent to follow up.

Getting the Gist – At this point, volunteers will engage and establish a fundamental grasp of the donors’ wants, desires, and what they’re looking for from a non-profit

Getting things Going – Now, it’s been established that your non-profit and the prospect in question make a perfect match. From here, it’s time to close and acquire the donation—which necessitates some tools of its own. These will be discussed in the next section.

Being Efficient in Closing – There’s no point in pushing too hard when someone seems like they’ll remain non-committal towards putting forth a donation. Of course, you can have a strategy for these scenarios. Still, it’d make sense to hone into areas of likelier success.

Really, you don’t want your volunteers wasting time on prospects who aren’t yet prospects. Conversely, you’d prefer they spent their time on people with a genuine interest in your organization, who seemed like they need a gentle nudge to move forward.

There are automation tools and software that allows you to rank your potential donors via engagement with your various marketing efforts. Instead of pushing clients who need a bit more time to commit, you’ll hone into those on the precipice of donating due to the lead scoring tech.

There’s another clear advantage of knowing how close these prospects are to making a donation. You’ll have a firmer understanding of their mindset, which makes it easier to provide messaging that speaks to their frame of mind.


Playing the Long Game

As hinted upon in the previous section, not everybody’s going to be willy-nilly ready to donate right away.

The long game played is less aggressive and is focused on nurturing these prospects. Meaning, as opposed to trying to garner a donation conversion in each meeting, you’re more focused on the overall relationship.

In non-profits, relationships are more important than anything. You’re doing something philanthropical and generous, which largely depends on the human connection. And people want to donate to organizations that care about those relationships.

This nurturing process is significantly strengthened via automation since less of these on-the-fence leads to go by the wayside. However, again, it’ll also ensure that your team can focus its efforts more efficiently and not push these individuals too hard.

Specifically, it’s possible to send automated emails to a lead with informative collateral. Ensure they’re given an option regarding how frequently they’re receiving emails. There’s usually a “contact us” button in these emails, wherein an automated notification will alert your team to get in touch with the prospect.


Receiving Multiple Donation from the Same Donor

Loyalty is massive with non-profits. Your overall goal should be to foster enough of a relationship with donors that they feel compelled to donate to your cause continually. You don’t want them to be one-and-done. As that usually means they’ve decided to take their loyalties elsewhere.

Don’t allow your current donors to come to you to make donations. Prompts should be automated to nurture future contributions. The frequency of this messaging would primarily depend on your various donation initiatives and cycles.

For some non-profits, twice or three times yearly is enough, whereas others might be a bit higher depending on the nature of the organization.

If you provide a “make a donation” button in the email, and your donor uses online payments, you can further streamline the process. They won’t have to worry about contacting a rep or the rest of the original funnel.


Acquiring Vital Feedback

If you intend to foster a community of donors, you need to reach out and potentially find where you might be going wrong. On the other hand, it’s also vital to know what you’re doing right so that you can center your efforts around those aspects.

Finding out this information is primarily dependent on sending out donor surveys. With automated software, send a survey link – through email – to regular and recent donors.

You can find out why people have chosen your non-profit for their donation and what they liked and disliked about your recruitment efforts.

Beyond that, you can also send automated emails with survey links to lapsed donors. By targeting these individuals, these surveys can let you know if your organization has maintained its initial vision and mission over time. Because, in many cases, donors stop contributing because they feel a non-profit has lost its way.


Finding New Donors Through Referrals 

Did you know that 84% of people trust recommendations from people that they know?

And during a time where integrity is a big sticking point with charities and non-profits, those recommendations can mean the world. It’s not a hugely tricky concept to grasp. People generally trust the words of their friends and family over advertising and other marketing collateral—because they know they aren’t being actively persuaded.

Though, this word-of-mouth buzz isn’t going to manifest itself out of thin air. Your organization has to act as something of a catalyst in this process.

You can send automated emails asking for referrals. Now, one advantage that for-profit organizations have here is they can more freely offer incentives for referrals, such as coupons. However, even sending some kind of gift or another sentimental token of appreciation can go a long way in encouraging referrals.

When donors provide the contact information of their friend into a web form, automation tools will notify the relevant volunteer to reach out to that person. You must reach out via phone-call since you’d be emailing someone without their direct permission. Generally, this scenario leads to emails being categorized as spam.

These are just a few ways automation can help your nonprofit grow! Do you have more? Let us know! We would be happy to include them.