Strengthen your fall fundraising in a few steps!
By Stephanie Tippitt, Vice President, Digital Strategy
Get ready to embrace the fall frenzy, folks! The leaves may be changing, but the thrill of fundraising is just beginning! It’s time to gear up for the most significant fundraising period of the year and an abundance of opportunities to engage with your generous donors. At BDI, we specialize in working with nonprofit organizations of all scales, and we’re committed to helping our clients prepare for the upcoming fall season.
In this spirit of preparation, we’ve compiled a set of valuable fall fundraising tips specifically tailored to nonprofit organizations that you can implement now. We’re talking about the marketing magic that will deliver the perfect message to the perfect person, at the perfect time, through the perfect channel.
By proactively applying these strategies, you can maximize your fundraising potential and optimize your outreach efforts during this critical season. So, let’s get down to business and ensure your fall fundraising campaign is set up for success!
1. Prepare for digital success this fall with an audit of your website and donation page! With numerous digital channels connecting you to donors and prospects, your website and donation page will be bustling with traffic. It’s time to audit and optimize! Check off these essential items:
- Confirm your homepage quickly informs the visitor within a few seconds about who you are, who you serve, what you do and how they can get involved.
- Build a funnel on your site that helps accomplish your key goals, one of which is receiving donations. Can a user land on your site and quickly and easily find a way to give?
- Is the content on your site current, well-organized and easy to find?
- Is the site secure with SSL, and how is the load time? You can quickly check it here. Your visitors will appreciate a fast load, and search ranking includes your site load times on mobile and desktop. There are several plug-ins you can install on your site to minify code, reduce image sizes, cache the site content and improve load time.
- Do your site and donation page support campaign tracking and are they connected to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
- Check your on-page SEO and make any updates needed for your fall campaigns and messaging.
- Get new email addresses! This can be a great time to acquire email addresses with all the new traffic visiting your site – check your email sign up form to confirm it is working as expected and that it’s offered on key pages throughout the site.
- Do the website and donation pages show well on mobile and on current browsers?
- Does your donation page offer flexible giving options including credit card, ACH, Paypal, Venmo, Google Pay, Apple Pay? And bonus if it has a monthly giving nudge or exit lightbox! Often, your platform includes many of these options, but they must be turned on.
- Does your website include non-cash giving options especially during this time like DAF (Donor Advised Funds), which is becoming more popular every year? What about Crypto, stock, etc.?
- Feature and promote the monthly giving offer! We’ve experienced the largest growth in the monthly donor segment for most of our clients. Be sure to include this prompt in your preheader, main navigation and throughout the website. For more tips and a deeper explanation of the value of a monthly donor program, check out this article by Shellie Speer.
2. Check these quick email tips to get your emails opened: Email marketing is a key player in your fall fundraising program. Check out these quick tips to give your program the winning edge!
- Use personalization: address your donors by their names and segment your email lists based on their interests and previous interactions. Personalized emails are more likely to be opened and engaged with by your donors. Make sure your sender name is personalized too using your organization’s leadership.
- Create compelling subject lines: attention-grabbing subject lines entice recipients to open your emails.
3. Use emails to strengthen your relationship with donors: In addition to sending fundraising-focused emails, make sure you also include email touchpoints that help cultivate and deepen the relationship with your donors.
- Include affirmational emails mixed in with your fundraising emails. These can be thank-you emails, encouragement emails or holiday focused emails on the holidays. These non-fundraising focused emails add variety to your communication plan and can boost the response rate within your overall email program. And your donors need to receive emails from you that do not always include an ask!
- Build your welcome series – With all the new visitors coming to your site and hopefully signing up to receive your emails, be sure to get them into an automated Welcome Series. A welcome series is a great way to introduce them to the “warm fuzzies” of your organization and prepare them for the type of communication they will receive.
4. Learn GA4!
On July 1, GA4 became the only GA version tracking website engagement and revenue data. There’s been a lot of talk about the transition to the new GA4 model, and for a good reason – it differs significantly from the familiar model we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Mindy Vanderhoeven, Director of Analytics and Operations, explains many of the differences here in her recent QuickShot article. Be sure to read up so your team is ready!
5. More fun is coming with Apple. (Not really!)
iOS17 launches in September and will give users the option to select settings that will strip out all UTM’s, variables and click ID’s. It will be applied to anyone who uses Safari Private Browsing and users who select this in the settings. This means that the UTM data in GA will be incomplete. Digital marketers everywhere, including our team, are exploring other options and workarounds (such as separating iOS data) so we’ll be prepared to analyze the data coming in on our fall campaigns.
We share this so you are aware of this update when you are evaluating your fall results with GA.
6. Amplify your impact with matching gifts during fall! Partner up with businesses or individuals willing to match donations, enticing more contributors with the promise of doubling their generosity. Giving Tuesday and Year End Matching campaigns consistently outshine non-match versions, making them our most successful campaigns of the year. Don’t miss out on this winning strategy!
7. Supercharge your paid media campaigns! Paid media is a fantastic avenue to tap into a massive audience, attracting fresh prospects genuinely interested in your cause.
The digital landscape is ever-evolving, especially in paid social, programmatic and paid search channels, driven by the rise of AI technologies and growing public concern for data privacy. Unraveling the potential of new donors through digital channels demands constant performance monitoring, precise audience targeting and thorough offer/channel testing. A “test and learn” approach has never been more critical. Here at BDI, we’re all about exploring diverse ad formats, from compelling static image ads to engaging video ads and AI-powered photos and copy. Utilize digital tools to discover your prime audiences and deliver creative and offers via channels that speak directly to their hearts. This can help you take your paid media program to the next level!
8. Leverage organic social media during fall! It’s an ideal opportunity to connect and communicate with your supporters through various social platforms. Use creative content that engages with your supporters and integrates with your fundraising campaigns. Ashley Prior, BDI Senior Digital Implementation Specialist, just published a great article on this topic. In her words: “Building a strong, online community of supporters who are engaged and invested in your mission is key.” She provides 7 easy tips that you can use to quickly improve your nonprofit’s social profile. Check out her article here.
9. Why not give your fall campaigns an extra nudge with text-to-give? It’s a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your strategy and supercharge your overall results! Most donation platforms include this feature, making it easy to incorporate into your plan. Picture this: updating donors on campaign progress, sending out urgent “last chance” requests and offering follow-ups and thank-yous at the campaign’s end – all through text-to-give magic! According to M+R, over 90% of users open a text message within 3 minutes of receiving it. Talk about incredible engagement! Don’t miss out on this powerful tool to make your campaigns shine!
10. Harness the power of website lightboxes for your fall fundraising success. Placing a focused lightbox on your homepage serves as an excellent funnel to your donation page, substantially increasing campaign revenue. While lightboxes may be perceived as slightly bothersome, their impact is undeniable, with conversion rates peaking during the fall fundraising season. Moreover, creating and implementing these lightboxes on your website is a straightforward process. Consider integrating this effective tool to elevate your campaigns this fall.
Rest assured that these 10 fall fundraising tips are poised to make a significant impact on your results during the upcoming season. Should you have any questions or require assistance in implementing any of these strategies, feel free to reach out directly to me at email@example.com. The BDI Digital team is here to provide support and guidance to ensure your fundraising efforts thrive.