What’s Hot, What’s Not: 2009 EditionJuly 2009 By Sarah Hoddinott
The fundraising landscape is always changing and forcing nonprofits to work even harder to keep up with what’s hot in the market. Keeping track of new trends can be a full-time job in its own right, and knowing how to change development plans can be a daunting task. Achieving success in this ever-changing landscape can seem impossible, but it’s not.
Despite the Internet bursting onto the scene more than 15 years ago, organizations still are learning how to use Web strategies to meet their overall goals, especially for improving donor retention and loyalty. The following hot, new concepts have begun to enter fundraisers’ repertoires over the past few years.
Nonprofits always have included events in their development strategies. They’re a great way to bring the most loyal donors together and make giving a fun, community function. The introduction of the Internet and peer-to-peer event-management tools has made it easier to host larger, broader-based events, such as countrywide walk-a-thons. Technology not only has made it easier to host these events, but it also allows nonprofits to be more effective with outreach efforts. By taking your major event online, you can achieve greater reach and ultimately raise more money and awareness for your organization.
To be successful with a major event, make sure you plan in advance. Coordinate different locations and host multiple events on a single day, while promoting these efforts under a single brand. Build your online registration and peer-to-peer fundraising tool early, and put it in the hands of your most loyal donors. Offer incentives for fundraising in lieu of charging a registration fee. And don’t forget the value of strong Web site content and the power of the Internet; build a microsite for your event, and promote it on social-networking sites like Facebook.
Your most loyal donors and the people you serve are your best ambassadors. Peer-to-peer fundraising makes it easy for people to reach out to their friends and family members, especially when the time is right for them. But it requires your guidance to ensure success.
Nonprofits can start to build a culture for peer-to-peer fundraising by integrating simple features into their Web sites. Remember that your organization’s core messages need to be included with every personal appeal sent to donors. Also, build your brand when you introduce peer-to-peer tools; you then can begin to build a new donor pool.