You’ve done the research. You’ve identified likely supporters, the right messages, tactics and tools to win them over. You’ve cultivated relationships. And now it’s time to ask for a donation. If you have gone through all the previous principles of fundraising, you are ready to solicit.
Here is a partial list of solicitation “dos.”
Make Fundraising Easy: Look at your solicitation from the donor’s viewpoint: is it easy, convenient and does the donor control the process? These are all reasons why donors like text donations, according to the mGive 2012 Text Giving Survey. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be factors of any appeal.
Ask. And Repeat: Consider asking for donations on a recurring basis. Sometimes a one-time donation is the right thing to do. For other donors, asking for a routine or recurring donation works. For example, according to the Text Giving Study, one out of every four respondents want to have the ability to have automatic monthly recurring text donations added to their phone bill.
Say “Thank You”: No one takes their donors for granted, right? Well, if you don’t thank donors for a gift, being unappreciated is exactly how they might feel. According to the Fall 2012 Charity Dynamics and NTEN Donor Engagement Survey, 21 percent of donors reported they had never been thanked.
Broaden Your Appeal: According to the Donor Engagement Study, supporters are willing to do a lot of different activities for their favorite charities. Thirty-six percent said they volunteer one time or more and a significant group said they participate in fundraising events at least one time per year. You can also ask existing donors to share information with and recruit friends or family. According to the Donor Engagement Study, “A significant number of respondents spent time trying to get their friends and family involved with their favorite charity. Most frequently, donors encouraged others to donate and volunteer… Donors also forwarded emails and eNewsletters from their favorite charity often.”
Solicit Strategically: Think about how to get higher levels of support from existing donors. A supporter who volunteers at an event could also be asked to participate in other ways. Tier or prioritize activities like donations or volunteering in a continuum, with low engagement on one end and higher involvement on the other. Set goals to move your donors along this continuum. Someone making a text donation should be encouraged to engage on your website and possibly make a larger donation there. Someone who attends an event or gives money can be asked to recruit friends and family, or share your message through their activities in social media.
Solicitation is not the ending point of the four principles of fundraising. You build your appeals based on the research, identification and cultivation work you do – and your solicitation results feed back into those first three steps. Fundraising is a cycle. What your donors do today fuels your research, helps you identify new sources and messages for engagement and offers new ways to cultivate stronger relationships.
Cassie Bair is the VP of Marketing at Mobile Accord. Cassie has worked with many U.S. nonprofits leading marketing, strategic partnership, mobile and cause marketing initiatives. mGive, a Mobile Accord service, educates, engages and empowers nonprofits and their stakeholders through our groundbreaking utilization of SMS (text message) technology. Contact Cassie by texting CASSIE to 50555. Message and Data rates may apply.