Charitable giving is on the upswing. According to numbers collected by Giving USA, Americans gave more than $373 billion to charity in 2015. That was enough for a record — the second such achievement in as many years. Americans’ laudable generosity isn’t spread evenly, of course. Even as household names like the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society rake in donations by the truckload through their fundraising campaigns, countless smaller charities struggle to stand out from the pack.
Technology can even the playing field. Use these five tech solutions to raise your organization’s profile and juice your fundraising numbers.
1. Launch An Email Newsletter
One of the best ways to ask your donors for money is by email. Really.
An email fundraising letter is also among the lowest-tech of the solutions on this list. If you’re a technophobe, that’s no doubt music to your ears.
The key to a successful fundraising email is conflict, says fundraising expert Mazarine Treyz.
“People will give to stop something bad from happening more often than they will give to start something good,” she writes. “Conflict grabs your donor’s attention [and] lets you make [them] the protagonist of the story.”
2. Use A Ready-Made Fundraising Platform
If you don’t have time to generate a fundraising newsletter or follow some of the more labor-intensive tips on this list, consider a ready-made fundraising platform.
According to the experts at ABC Fundraising®, the secret to a successful fundraising platform campaign is profitability. As long as you choose a concept with high underlying profitability, the downside is limited — and the upside truly impressive.
3. Build A Mobile Fundraising App
No matter how small your organization is, it can likely spare the resources for a lean mobile fundraising app — and, though there are no guarantees in life, the ROI on a well-designed app is likely to be dramatic.
App-based fundraising is a boon for visibility and credibility, both of which are essential to sustainable fundraising initiatives. The former is obvious; an app travels farther and wider than word of mouth. The latter should make intuitive sense as well: By commissioning an app and seeing it through to completion, your organization demonstrates better, well, organization than smaller nonprofits or social enterprises that can’t spearhead such projects.
4. Adopt Contactless Payments For Portable Collections
Trade in the plastic bucket for a contactless payment terminal and watch your intake soar. Just be sure to look for a mobile point-of-sale provider with low fees — or, better yet, no fees for qualifying nonprofits.
5. Accept SMS Donations
SMS-based fundraising burst onto the scene in the wake of the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010. The Red Cross raised millions off countless $10 donations from regular people willing to take five seconds to text a simple phrase to a five-digit short code; in the years since the Red Cross and other major charities have deployed the same strategy following other natural disasters.
Your fundraising organization needn’t wait for a tragedy to capitalize on SMS-based donations. It’s cheaper and easier to set up than you might think — and a potential game-changer for your organization’s fundraising.
Keeping Pace With The Changes
These six tech-driven fundraising solutions are essential for organizations looking to attract and retain donors. Some will no doubt remain useful for years to come, even as others eventually arise to supplement or replace them entirely. As the pace of change accelerates, it’s on fundraisers like you to keep watch against potentially disruptive developments in your niche — and to jump on opportunities that could boost your fundraising capacity.
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