Donors Are Giving: Strategic Tips On Securing Those Funds For Your Mission


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The good news in the first quarter of 2021 is that donors, at every level, are giving more. In fact, according to the Lily School of Philanthropy, total giving is anticipated to rise 4.1 percent in 2021 and 5.7 percent in 2022.

As the country rapidly reopens and the public is eager to gather together again, nonprofits can be well-positioned to attract and re-engage their supporters and find new donors as well. If your organization pared down your fundraising campaigns over the last year, you are not alone. Now is the time to reinvigorate your strategy and be aspirational in your donor targets.

If you were one of the many nonprofits who chose to take a “wait and see” approach to proactive, large-scale fundraising, don’t worry. You have 2021 to revitalize your fundraising initiatives. But how can that process start? What can you do today to increase support and get your donors, and their dollars, back to your mission? We know these questions are ones that most nonprofits are asking and the answer to most of these questions is to start now. Seize the opportunities that are available to you now.

Here are key ways to proactively ensure your donors are connected to your mission by donating, activating and celebrating their participation, making a difference in their communities through their support.

Technology At The Ready

Is your technology working on behalf of your mission? Many nonprofits use software that might be inexpensive, but long-term, the costs of missing out on donors and sustained donor engagement will be too high.

Are you leveraging fundraising management technology, so you are not missing out on critical dollars? Most nonprofits take online donations in a basic way, but research has shown that donors want the ability to give more easily and on their terms. The right technology is more than just a donation button on a third-party site. It should be optimized for the donor experience, with multiple avenues to donate as well as an efficient and clear giving process. Your technology also should enable you to easily thank the donor and stay in touch with them afterwards.

Over the past year, nonprofits saw growth in peer-to-peer fundraising – and not always with typical campaigns such as walks or endurance events. More than ever before, nonprofits that had the capability, added peer-to-peer elements to galas, golf outings and even #GivingTuesday campaigns. This continued peer-to-peer growth not only fills critical funding gaps for nonprofits, but demonstrates that organizations that act critically and creatively are set up for sustained success.

Organizations have to make it easy to give. Ridiculously easy. This is because consumers across all generations have largely adapted to making purchases on their phone. Look for a fundraising platform that is optimized for that experience. From alternate payments to autofill and personalized text communication, efficiency in the ecommerce space continues to improve to give consumers what they want. Make sure your fundraising platform innovates with your donors in mind to support and nurture your giving strategy.

Stewarding Your Donors

Every seasoned fundraiser knows the path to exponential fundraising growth starts with deliberate, thoughtful donor engagement. If you can segment your donors and volunteers to better personalize their experience, your fundraising team will see better returns. So how do you start?

When segmenting, organizations have to look beyond one-time transactions. Too often, donor data is disjointed between the CRM and payment processor as well as is internally siloed, making accurate segmentation an unnecessarily time-consuming task, fraught for error. Investing in this critical step – and the right tools with integrations to get you there – adds stability to your funding streams and strengthens support for your mission.

What strategy does your organization deploy for the person who pays $500 for a foursome at your board’s golf outing, bids four times on an auction item at your gala, and donates $50 to several peer-to-peer fundraisers throughout the year? This had a lot of engagement, but because they spread out their giving, it might have been overlooked. Your organization may be missing out on future major donors or high-level volunteers. Having both robust reporting and CRM integrations, allows you to level-up your donor engagement and not miss out on critical funding.

When it comes to communicating with donor segments, your team should be personalizing everything from emails to social media recognition and beyond. For example, donors who give frequently would benefit from regular mission updates from your major gift officer as opposed to your general marketing team. Someone who gives to a specific fund should be getting updates on how those dollars were used in the community. Or, if an individual’s giving dipped and they were only a part of one of your fundraising campaigns, consider sending a personal invitation to a different event to try and re-engage that person. Their motivation likely didn’t change; the relationship just may need to be reenergized.

Donor segmentation and personalized communication can be manageable, no matter the size of your team, provided you have the right tools to support your efforts. In this, your mission can thrive if you take action with your donors today.

Steve Greanias
As General Manager, Steve is responsible for the financial and operational performance of GiveSmart by Community Brands. Steve manages the Customer Success, Professional Services and support teams, while also overseeing product, sales and marketing budgets and strategic initiatives for GiveSmart. Prior to joining GiveSmart in 2014, he led the account management and major programs team at GoHealth Insurance.


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