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5 Awesome Ideas To Jump Start Your Year-End Fundraising Campaigns

For non-profit directors, the end of the year is already here…

It’s just the way we think. And, with the approach of the new year, it’s not the time to slow your roll regarding donations and fundraising. In fact, we can say that for us, the work in terms of year-end giving is just starting. Now more than ever is the perfect time to kick our non-profit fundraising strategies up a notch.
For non-profits, year-end giving is crucial and essential to closing the year strongly—that and the donor retention numbers for the non-profit. In fact, about 50% of all donations non-profits receive come between October and December. Hence, there’s a need to make sure our year-end appeals hit home with the target audience. To help you do that, we will discuss 5 awesome ideas to boost year-end giving campaigns. But first, what is a year-end appeal?

What Are Year-End Appeals?

Year-end appeals are donation requests non-profits send out annually to stimulate contributions from new and old donors. Typically, we can choose to send out year-end appeals in different ways.
They may be sent out through postcards, emails, and direct-mail letters. We can even choose to send out year-end appeals through online media (as is the case nowadays). The point is, it’s usually the last major fundraising campaign of each year.

Why Do We Need Year-End Appeals?

There’s a straightforward answer — to ensure year-end giving. Sure, most people like to do their giving at the end of the year. However, it doesn’t mean they’ll do this without an extra push. With certain non-profit fundraising strategies, you can ask your audience to give.

Basically, it puts our non-profits high in the minds of donors. This way, they will remember to give. Furthermore, they’ll be more likely to retain faith in the non-profit. This can also affect the non-profit donor retention numbers positively. We simply must ensure our year-end fundraising campaigns are effective.

5 Non-profit Fundraising Strategies for the End of the Year

Wondering how to increase your year-end giving numbers? Here’s what your non-profit needs to do:

Build anticipation with a story

Top of the list of effective non-profit donor raising strategies is to build a narrative. The only way to do this is by making sure the messages you send out tell a story. These stories are the best way to connect with an audience that is mostly made up of prospective donors. A thrilling, heartfelt narrative has a way of warming up and inspiring supporters. When they believe in our story, they will definitely give.

So, before we launch our year-end campaigns, we must select a story that all forms of communications will revolve around. It will be the central point of all campaigns, making messages across all media align in cohesion. With this, we can increase anticipation for year-end giving and even interest a new audience.

Make contact with donors

Year-end campaigns will not automatically find their way to the intended audience. It is the job of our non-profit to make sure the campaign finds its way to the intended recipient. You have to let your prospective donors know that there is indeed a campaign happening.

It all starts with the announcement of the year-end giving campaign. When doing this, make it loud and ensure it reaches all available channels. Also, make it specific. We need to let our prospective donors know what the dollar goal is. Furthermore, announcements should include why we need specific amounts and the projected impact of achieving such projects.

Combining all of the above details with a narrative will be a big boost to our year-end giving campaigns. In fact, it can even boost the non-profit donor retention rate. Thankfully, there are many ways we can make contact with our audience:

Email:

Sending out an announcement mail to carefully curated subscribers and donors. Direct Mail: Even an old school postcard can do the trick of spreading the word Social Media: Everybody uses social media nowadays. We have to make sure we post our campaigns across all social media platforms.

Take a look at the donation web page

Non-profit fundraising strategies should not be limited to offsite measures. Sometimes, it may be that our donation pages are putting prospective donors off. To really ramp up year-end giving, it is crucial to provide a smooth experience online.

To improve non-profit donor retention, we can do the following for our websites:

Make sure the donations landing page is optimized for both web and mobile use Verify a non-profit reputation. Adding ratings from Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Give.org. This lets our donors know we are for real.
Ensure the page is fully secure Include testimonials from past donors or influencers. Pictures, videos, or written text will do the trick here.

Get up close and personal

Every non-profit has a select group of people that give consistently. For people who belong to this category, sometimes the best way to spur their year-end giving is to get up close and personal. There is nothing wrong with directors and CEOs of non-profits reaching out to consistent givers.
We can start by looking through our past donation campaigns and noting the most consistent names. We can specifically lookout for those who haven’t participated in the year-end giving yet. Then, we will reach out to them via mail or a phone call, if possible.

With personal contact, don’t be pushy. Instead, remind them of how impactful the non-profit projects are. Try to engage them in a lively conversation while also showing gratitude for past donations. After this kind of personal contact, they’ll get the impetus to give. This is one of the most effective non-profit fundraising strategies to try out.
Community-driven fundraising campaigns

The end of the year often comes with holidays. Most people are often looking for events to engage with. With a unique storyline and personal contact, creating a community-based outreach can do wonders for year-end giving numbers.

There are many advantages to looking into our immediate community for donors. One, we engage with older contributors, thereby increasing non-profit donor retention rates. Also, the intrigue of an event can attract a lot of new donors.

There are many types of community-based fundraising campaigns we can try out. We can try asking our current audience to involve friends and family(and give incentives for doing so). There’s the option of organizing a 5k community-run, mixers, and other special events. Finally, we can even recruit people for door-to-door campaigns.

Try it out now!
With the non-profit fundraising strategies above, we can even receive more than our intended target numbers. Now isn’t the time to slack on fundraising campaigns. Let’s get to work!

 

References
www.causevox.com/blog/fundraising-strategies-year-end/
doublethedonation.com/tips/end-of-year-appeal-strategies/
www.nonprofitpro.com/post/6-strategies-to-wake-up-your-year-end-fundraising-campaign/

How Tech Can Help Nonprofits

3 Way Technology Can Help Your Nonprofit

How Tech Can Aid Nonprofit Growth

 

Non-profit organizations usually don’t have the luxury of operating with endless budgets, meaning they often skimp on technology in favor of allocating cash flow to the most fundamental aspects of their operation. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Netchange, only 11 percent of nonprofits considered technology a vital component to improve their operations.

But in reality, technology could exponentially change the efficiency levels at any non-profit organization. Here we’ll show you how. 

Data Management 

Every non-profit organization has a vast amount of data to sift through. Most importantly, being able to track its own data allows an organization to accurately interpret the results of advocacy campaigns. Data science is key to analyzing datasets, allowing organizations to properly interpret campaign results and areas in need of improvement. 

And this isn’t the only benefit nonprofits could derive from data management tools. For example, telling donors a certain community lacks access to water or educational opportunities is not enough. Being able to back up that claim with numbers is vital. Nonprofits cannot underestimate the power of numbers. 

A nonprofit’s call to action would be more potent if it revealed statistics to back up its claims of the need for aid in a particular community.

Amanda Stevenson, founder of the Omaha Children’s Choir, confirmed the importance of statistics during charitable campaigns when speaking with Idealware.

“Instead of stating generally that not enough children have access to choral music, we have started to collect numbers that back that statement, increasing the validity of our grant narratives,” she said.

IT Infrastructure

Adequate IT infrastructure improves the productivity of a nonprofit. This may sound like a minor detail, but consider this: Having sufficient bandwidth can save an organization a lot of money. 

For example, with the proper IT infrastructure installed, the time it takes employees to complete simple tasks like sharing a document will be reduced, improving efficiency and therefore saving money. And with the time saved, employees can turn their attention to more important matters like interpreting the effectiveness of recent campaigns.

Efficient Communications

Nonprofits that fail to embrace tech tools for their Digital Marketing efforts spend too much time managing their social media presence. Tasks like posting content or sending emails could take hours doing it manually.

However, these tasks could be completed automatically and within minutes by using the proper tech tools. For example, scheduling posts for automatic publication and creating synchronized email campaigns will drastically improve efficiency.

Conclusion

Nonprofits can benefit from the use of tech tools to improve operations. They must first identify which technology they need to meet their goals, that way they can allocate the proper budget to improve the overall operation of the organization. With most nonprofits running on tight budgets, it is imperative they only invest in tech which will boost performance and ensure targets are met.

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Trust

Is Your Nonprofit Building Trust?

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Trust

Cultivating a relationship with your donors is the key to successful fundraising. At their core, these relationships are built on a foundation of trust. Donors will only contribute to causes that they identify with, deem worthy, or believe in. As nonprofits, there are a few intentional ways to build trust within those relationships.

These five best practices for building trust all center around ways to keep your objective clear, successfully communicate your mission, actively maintain donor relationships, practice transparency, and demonstrate accountability and appreciation.

Trust is built by consistent performance. Each of these five ways of cementing donor relationships with your nonprofit build upon each other. Although implementing one or two of these suggestions may help, you’d ideally employ of all of them. Each of these practices is necessary to achieve long-term success and build your organization’s reputation within the community.

1.Deliver a clear and consistent message

Prioritize communicating a focused mission to your donors. A clear mission statement will allow donors to see that your organization is focused and determined to complete the goals and projects that are directly aligned with your vision. Having this definition from the start will help donors anticipate what to expect and allow them to plainly see what is in it for them as they contribute to your cause.

Once you’ve established a clear mission, be earnest and consistent in adhering to those objectives. That may occasionally mean saying no to projects that do not clearly support your goals. This consistency is what will determine future and continued support. The ability to reliably deliver on your mission will keep established donors contributing and provide new donors with the comfort to donate in the future.

Finally, you must effectively communicate these messages to your donors. The best way to do that is by developing a communication plan to remain consistent throughout each of your donor touchpoints. Keep the language, fonts, logos, colors, and messaging on-brand for each e-mail, newsletter, or social media post that you share.

2. Facilitate personal, authentic connections with donors

Connect with donors on a personal level by telling them authentic stories regarding your work. Better still, invite them to see first-hand what you’re doing. Share the issues that affect your organization and encourage people to become part of the solution.

When you focus on building personal relationships with your donors, prioritize phone calls and in-person meetings. Keep written communication transparent and straightforward. When it comes to building trust, these personal relationships are critical.

These days, it’s also important to connect with your community online. It shows that you’re engaged and in touch, and you’re open to interacting with those who are invested in your success.

3. Practice Transparency

Ultimately, you gain trust by being truthful and transparent. By delivering quantifiable results, your organization can follow through on goals and projects that build trust. To do this, be upfront with your donors.

Financial transparency includes being forthcoming with financial information. Use nonprofit guides like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to publish up-to-date information about your organization and make it easy for donors to research your financial status. Make your Form 990 (Charitable Solicitation Compliance) accessible.

Additionally, have your facts straight and tell your donors exactly how their donations have been or will be used. Many donors appreciate it when they can see the direct impact of their contributions. These concrete results build trust and encourage continued generosity.

To take transparency a step further, invite donors to take a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and how your organization is run. Even if they decline the invitation, your willingness to be transparent will resonate with them.

4. Emphasize Accountability

There’s no substitute for performance, especially when it comes to fundraising. Regularly compiling an annual report is an essential tool for nonprofits, and it’s a great way to prove accountability. These documents should include immediate and long-term success and future outcomes to build trust with your donors.

Establish clear metrics for success within your organization and use your annual report to showcase these results. This is the place to present statistics on your work, like the number of individuals served, volunteers mobilized, or items delivered. To keep the report authentic, share information about high and low points from the past year and highlight the people who played vital roles in bringing about positive changes.

5. Show Appreciation

Take the time to thank the people who have contributed to your organization. Not only is it polite, but it’s good business. Expressing appreciation is a crucial component to developing personal relationships and is a large part of what nonprofits must do to maintain their donor base.

Make sure that your thank-you notes are genuine and heartfelt. This is a significant opportunity to reinforce your connection to your donor. Personalize the note and handwrite it if feasible.

As your relationships with your donors progress, learn about what they value and what motivates them to give. It’s appropriate to offer a simple congratulatory note if you hear good news about one of your donors. Recognizing milestones is especially important if you live in a tight-knit community or are connected on social media.

Conclusion

Building trust with donors requires a consistent, systematic approach. As you get to know them and build relationships with them, offer them plenty of opportunities for your donors to get to know you.

Present a clear mission and be able to show how you reliably deliver on those goals and projects. By being able to showcase your steady, constant progress in an annual report, you remain transparent. You show that your organization is willing to be held accountable to its community.

Invite your donors to connect with you and deliver authentic, on-brand communication whenever you connect with them. Show them that you appreciate their donations with a handwritten thank you note and continue to engage with them on the things that they value within your organization. Paying attention to the little things shows that your organization can be trusted with the bigger, more important things, too.

Kansas City Zoo Open and Ready For Business: How They Stay Safe

We’ve all made adjustments during this COIV-19 pandemic to take care of those we love, making sure our loved ones are safe and cared for.

Now imagine having more than 1,700 mouths to feed?

That’s one of the things that has been top of mind for Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff. During his appearance on the Episode 384 KC Cares podcast, Wisthoff said the Zoo staff has been incredibly busy make sure all of the animals are fed and well cared for – and that includes continuing to fly in fresh fish for the penguins, otters and sea lions. Donning protective gear of masks and gloves limiting potential the spread of COVID-19 from humans to animals, staff has been out and about the 202-acre zoological park connecting with their population!

Wisthoff, who has been in the Zoo” business” 40-plus years, said this has been the most challenging time in his career. It’s been tough on everyone at the Zoo-humans and animals – during the two-month shutdown due to COVID-19. Zoo staffers have taken incredible precautions to protect the animals and themselves from this deadly virus 

  • Splitting care staff into separate teams to avoid getting sick
  • Rotating its 3-person vet crew to make sure the animals get medical attention needed without possible COVID exposure to each other or animals
  • Conducting enrichment activities for the animals to keep their minds alert

Wisthoff said some animals have noticed the absence of human visitors—particularly the sea lions and otters, who are quite social. At the same time, the Zoo’s social media team has put out lots of posts for the public to engage including the 24-hour penguin cam. 

The penguins even took a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins for an exclusive tour!

Following eight weeks of public closure, The Kansas City Zoo is opening back up, albeit with some limitations on just how “up close and personal” we humans can get to our animal fiends.

  • Guests have to reserve an entry time through the Zoo’s web site
  • A limited number of tickets are available
  • Indoor exhibits will use one-way traffic patterns to keep safe distance
  • No animal shows and Zookeeper chats for now. Virtual tours are available with a QR Code

Listen to Episode 384 KC Cares podcast and learn more about the workings of the Zoo during this crazy time!

So welcome back Kansas City Zoo as one of the places Kansas City cares about!

Full details are available on the web site: https://www.kansascityzoo.org/visitor-info/tickets-pricing/

Virtual Fundraising for Nonprofits: Connecting with Donors Online

Virtual Fundraising for Nonprofits: Connecting with Donors Online

The game has changed…so must you. Here are a few ways for nonprofits to fundraise in a digital world!

 

With COVID-19 impacting every corner of the globe, many fundraising activities that involve local galas, auctions, and volunteer activities will have to shift online. Now more than ever, non profits will also need to mobilize and raise funds to help with the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left people homeless, unemployed, and in dire conditions.

Whether you’re a non profit seeking ways to continue fundraising online, or a volunteer hoping to contribute. Here are some online fundraising ideas:

1.   Flash fundraiser

Flash fundraising events can be done online and involve a one-off online event that leads viewers to a fundraising web page where they can contribute funds to a cause. This page can be a web page or even a fundraising event that is launched using tools on Facebook or other online fundraising tools. The important aspects to follow when doing a flash fundraiser is to promote the fundraising event across email and social media. Include a fundraising goal and total contributions thus far that is continually updated throughout the day.

2.   Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves a collection of fundraising pages that can be set up online by participants. Each of these participants can then promote their own personal fundraising page to their network and try to raise funds. All these personal fundraising pages can be aligned to a broader donation cause. Many tools are available to help build and coordinate such peer-to-peer fundraising events.

3.   Virtual games fundraiser

Hosting games that raise funds for a cause is challenging when everyone is social distancing. However, virtual games can be hosted where donations can be pledged to participate. Even simple fundraising ideas involving online virtual games such as Jackbox TV can be used.

4.   Virtual gala

Hosting a gala is a time-tested way for raising funds but with social distancing this can be a challenge. However, hosting a virtual gala using video conferencing tools can be the next best step and something everyone will take part in given the lack of community and social interaction these days. Set up an event sign up page and host a livestream where anyone can join in. Use the participant list to send out a link to a donation page where they can contribute during or at the end of the event.

5.   Crowdfund

Crowdfunding using platforms such as GoFundMe is an effective way to fundraise during this time. All these platforms have a huge audience and set of tools to help set up a fundraising page and spread the word out. The best part of Crowdfunding is the immense reach to interested parties and network effects you can tap into to raise funds online.

6.   Open mic night

One of the more fun ways to raise funds while social distancing for your non profit is to host entertaining events for audiences such as an Open Mic Night. These are easy to set up and involve using platforms such as Zoom to have participants join. In advance of this, you can set up a participant list using simple tools such as Typeform so anyone can register and perform at the open night. Typeform will even allow you to collect a donation during registration.

7.   Social media takeovers

With everyone at home, daily social media usage is growing and it’s one of the best ways to piggyback and spread the word on a fundraising opportunity. Reach out to popular accounts with large followings and ask if you can take over their account for a period to spread the word about your fundraising initiative.

8.   Online auctions

Online auctions can be hosted to help raise funds where any winnings are either shipped off or even auction items can be a Skype date with a celebrity or an online cooking class. All of these can be hosted online using platforms such as eflea and a big benefit to an online auction is the larger participation rate it allows. Anyone can place a bid from anywhere and everything can be tracked digitally and automatically.

9.   Donation matching

Donation matching can be effective in rallying a crowd to donate knowing that a corporate sponsor or individual will match final donations by a specific multiple. If you’re able to get a corporation on board, these matching donation drives can be introduced mid-way through as an extra push to your charity campaign and drive up donations before the timeframe ends.

10. Recurring donation pledge

Recurring donations are an effective way to develop long-lasting streams of funds and they’re easy to execute online. If paired with a marketing campaign you can get many participants through social media and email to pledge a monthly or quarterly donation to a cause. You can also tie specific gifts to certain recurring amounts they pledge.

With all these virtual fundraising ideas there are a few key components that ensure its success. Leverage online platforms that already exist in helping set up various donation or fundraising pages instead of building one from scratch. Always pair any fundraising initiative with a marketing campaign that can drive awareness through email and social media. Finally, the more engaging and unique a fundraising initiative is, the more effective in gathering donations and loyalty towards future causes so try to be creative and host more challenging but fun fundraising ideas such a virtual gala or open mic night. Ultimately, remember that regardless of how you get your fundraising initiative in front of an audience, always ensure you’re communicating the cause and impact clearly. Include clear instructions on how to donate and have call to actions throughout to encourage donations.

Fundraising is needed now more than ever with many communities struggling during this pandemic. We hope the above tips will help you with online fundraising for nonprofits.

5 Nonprofit Laws You Should Know

5 Laws Anyone Working in the Nonprofit Industry Should Know

Nonprofit board governance is incredibly rewarding for leaders overseeing a 501 (c) 3 organization. It allows you to grow as a professional while contributing meaningfully to a cause that is near and dear to your heart.

However, with great benefit, there comes great responsibility. State-specific and federal laws for nonprofits apply at every critical point of operation.

In this post, KC cares shows you the top 5 nonprofit laws that everyone working in or with a nonprofit should know. We address issues related to charitable tax laws, employment, accessibility, governance, and intellectual property.

While the laws presented below are general, we highly recommend reviewing the rules that are specific to your state or by speaking with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area.

1. 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Tax Laws Carry Implications and Trade-Offs

Nonprofit organizations appreciate the benefits of receiving tax-exempt status. Not only does it allow you to access tax-savings benefits, but it also helps you create more value for the public you serve.

However, there are tradeoffs of which you must be aware. Meetings, programs, initiatives, and fundraising efforts are all part and parcel of filing as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Without engaging in these activities, nonprofit leaders put the tax-exempt status at risk. Paying attention to tax laws and their compliance requirements strengthen public policy and demonstrate the credibility of nonprofit organizations as a whole.

2. Employment Laws Apply to Nonprofits Using Contractors

Human capital is easily the most expensive aspect of running a nonprofit organization. It is for this reason that most of us utilize volunteers and contractors strategically.

However, you must be careful with how you use your staff members by not stepping over the lines of worker classification laws. If you are hiring contractors, you must treat them as such. In general, you cannot micromanage them or direct their activities outside of their contractual obligation.

Managing contractors like workers to save money violates most employment laws and can open you up to legal exposure. You either hire someone that you can direct, or you put a contractor in place that you trust. There are no exceptions.

3. There Is a Fiduciary Duty Among Leaders

Board members, officers, and directors have a financial responsibility toward the nonprofit organizations they lead. This concept means that everyone must act in good faith and fair dealing when it comes to fulfilling a duty of care.

By receiving public funds and donations, you have to exercise vigilance with how you use the money, pay taxes, and create new initiatives.

In short, bringing value to every decision requires leaders to live up to their responsibility. Otherwise, serious consequences are on the horizon for individuals and organizations who fail to recognize them.

4. ADA-Compliance Is Not an Option

Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accompanying laws applies to nonprofits. As an organization that provides public services, you must ensure that they are accessible to everyone, including disabled Americans.

Therefore, it is unlawful to take actions that may exclude these populations. Your communications, facilities, and policies must accommodate all people.

Forgoing this element is wrought with liability and can result in rescinded funding or losing your 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status. Nonprofit leaders should make it a regular practice to review their ADA-compliance measures and make changes as necessary.

5. Intellectual Property Laws Apply to Nonprofit Organizations

As nonprofits, we are used to private parties, government organizations, and other stakeholders, giving us every tool we need to succeed. However, that notion may bleed over into relevant intellectual property laws.

For example, a less-aware employee may decide that borrowing images or recycling web content is a great way to save time and maximize value. However, that is not always the case.

Nonprofits must supply their original works internally or obtain permission from the author or designer to use protected material lawfully. It is a great way to protect those who are interested in advancing your organization’s mission while ensuring that other’s works receive credit where credit is deservingly due.

Final Thoughts and Considerations

As you can see, nonprofit organizations have a lot to consider from a legal standpoint. Failing to meet these requirements means that you can lose your tax-exempt status and subsequent future funding.

Consider discussing your needs with a nonprofit lawyer in your state or bringing a legal professional to your board of directors. He or she can guide and execute the necessary compliance measures that keep you and your team on the right track.

For more information, check out KC Cares online.