This three-part article series provides advice to help your nonprofit achieve fundraising gold by equipping your board and leadership teams, safeguarding compliance, and mining giving data. In Part 2, our experts, Lisa Cohen, CEO of Capital Motion, Gail Snow Moraski, Principal of Results Communication and Research, and Brock Klinger, Account Executive at Harbor Compliance, answer questions about building momentum during your campaign.
Once a campaign starts, how can we keep the momentum going?
Lisa: It helps to break the work into manageable pieces rather than asking each person to go out and ask their friends and colleagues for money all at once (which can be really scary and uncomfortable for some people). A board stymied by their individual to-do lists is absolutely going to stop the ball rolling, which is just what you don’t want.
For nonprofits with professional development staff, one thing that can be helpful is to create a structured handoff from a board member to staff people of donors identified as “hi-potential” by a board member. Why? Board members often express discomfort making an actual “ask,” but can be fantastic at identifying those willing to join the ranks of donors. So this can be super helpful and also can avoid the energy drain of board members feeling uncomfortable.
It’s also helpful to keep everyone working on fundraising fully informed with a steady stream of organizational and project updates. Tools like Frequently Asked Questions that are updated real-time, as the questions are asked and answered, can be invaluable to the team working with community members and funders. Consider also a bi-monthly or monthly all-hands-on-deck conference call or webinar where everyone involved can share the questions they’re being asked, model great answers, hear news from leadership, and feel connected and energized.
What compliance considerations must we address during the campaign?
Brock: If you’ve limited fundraising to certain states, you’ll need to monitor donations received throughout the campaign to ensure that you’re staying within the footprint you’ve established. In some states, registration requirements are triggered if you surpass a certain threshold in number or amount of donations, so it’s important to track your progress state-by-state. It’s also important to meticulously document financials for commercial co-ventures, since many states require a detailed accounting at the close of those campaigns.
In addition, nonprofits have ongoing reporting requirements, including maintaining a registered agent, submitting annual reports, and renewing charitable solicitation registrations, among other tasks. These requirements run throughout the year.
How can we help ensure that we’re hitting our goals?
Gail: One way to gauge success is to review data available in the Google Analytics account associated with your organization’s website (note that having a Google Analytics account linked to your website is a best practice and is easy and free to set up). You can use the Google Analytics tool (for the cases below, access the “Acquisitions” report via Google Analytics’ left-hand menu, and select “All Traffic,” and then “Referrals”) to specifically look at the following data:
- Number of individuals who visit your website because of clicking on a social media post
- Number of individuals who visit your website because of clicking on a link in your e-newsletter or e-mail blast
And, of course, Google Analytics will provide general information on the number of individuals who visit your campaign landing page during the campaign’s timeframe (access “Behavior” report, select “Site Content,” then select “All Pages”).
If your fundraising campaign employs Google Ads or social media advertising, these platforms provide extensive performance data such as number of ad clicks, cost-per-click, number of conversions, and cost per conversion (ad clicker completed a specific activity desired by advertiser, such as completing an online form or visiting a certain page). In addition to the easy, obvious review of the volume of clicks and conversions that ads are generating, organizations should pay close attention to the cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion metrics to see if those costs lend themselves to a good ROI equation. If it costs $12.00 for a conversion that equates, on average, to only a $5.00 or $10.00 donation, employing online advertising related to a future campaign may not make good economic sense.
By tracking activity in response to your campaign, you can double down in those areas where you’re getting the best audience response.
These strategies will help you make the most of your fundraising efforts throughout the campaign. In Part 3 in the series, our experts provide suggestions for measures to take once your campaign is concluded.
Have further questions for our experts? Feel free to reach out to them directly:
Gail Snow Moraski, Results Communication and Research, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-267-6687
Brock Klinger, Harbor Compliance, email@example.com, 1-888-995-5895