One of the best ways for organizations to keep pace with changes in the social sector and giving trends is to invest in software that is designed for the modern donor and continues to adapt to their expectations. It can be cost-heavy to either purchase replacement systems and learn how to use new tools, or to stick with a platform that does not meet evolving donor expectations and paints your brand as outdated.
The better option is to invest in a fundraising platform that accounts for new trends, continually works to stay ahead of them, and grows with you. Below, we explore some of the bigger trends in online giving and the fundraising software questions your organization needs to ask itself to assess your current technology.
The State of Online Giving
“If [nonprofits] don’t dramatically change the way they do business they’re not going to be able to survive and thrive. Nonprofits have to make some significant changes if they want to survive in this new reality.”
What engaged and activated audiences 10 years ago might not work today. The way you do business these days needs to account for online giving.
If we follow this line of thinking, there are two ways to fulfill the charge from Edgington. First, create a fundraising strategy that incorporates what’s new and trending in the world of online fundraising and donor behavior. Second, use a fundraising platform that’s been built with the ever-changing nature of the industry in mind.
Every year, Nonprofit Pro creates a list of different trends to pay attention to in the nonprofit industry. We were inspired by a few of these and called them out here, and we added our own thoughts and ideas on how you can apply them.
The Amazon Experience: As online fundraising technology grows, supporters increasingly expect that their journey from first click to completed donation should feel modern. Think about Amazon’s checkout process here: simple, seamless, and quick.
This is something we’ve already seen nonprofits like First Book take into account and build into their fundraising strategy with their software platform:
“I come from the belief that donors, like consumers, expect a certain level of intelligence from organizations they interact with. That’s based on the incredible CRM movement and increasing levels of personalization with online interfaces like ecommerce, websites, and social media.”
Celebration Fundraising: Supporters want to engage with your organization when and how they want, which has led to the popularity of DIY fundraising. This is when supporters can fundraise on your organization’s behalf throughout the year, such as around personal events like birthdays and weddings.
Social Branding: You never know where your next power fundraiser or major donor is going to come from. To that end, you need to be present across different social channels—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few—at the same time. The challenge here is to maintain consistent branding and messaging across all of your social efforts.
The right fundraising software will help mitigate a lot of this oversight by helping you put your brand, logos, and colors front and center on all of your campaign pages. That way, when you post them to social networks, people see your branding and know who they’re supporting immediately.
The Importance of Email: Email is one of the strongest tools you have at your disposal to engage supporters, drive traffic to campaigns, and communicate with your constituents. It can be difficult to write and send emails the larger your donor database and contact lists grow. However, if you have a powerful fundraising platform, email doesn’t need to be so overwhelming.
In fact, you can begin to really push the boundaries of what’s possible with your communications through automation features. With Classy, for instance, you can trigger motivational milestone emails that automatically get sent to your fundraisers when they hit 50 percent of their goal, or celebratory ones when they hit 100 percent.
It’s difficult enough to keep a pulse on all these trends yourself. Trying to incorporate all of them into your fundraising strategy is just as difficult, which is why many people turn to robust fundraising software for help.
You have to start asking yourself and your team questions to assess if you’re in the right place with online fundraising efforts, or if you need to upgrade to something new. We met with our product, operations, and sales enablement teams to curate a list of guiding fundraising software questions that can help you with this process:
- When was the last time your organization discussed the state of your software?
- Is your current technology prepared to evolve alongside the industry?
- If you stay the course, how will you scale and keep up with the demands of a rapidly evolving industry?
- Do you feel empowered to try new fundraising initiatives with your current toolset?
- When there are new product features on your platform, are you made aware of them ASAP?
- Are the products and integrations in your technology ecosystem connected to each other, or disconnected?
- Do different product features integrate with one another? What about with third-party vendors?
- Do your products require long training processes to learn how to use them?
- Are products and pricing a la carte from your vendor, or are things bundled into one platform at one price?
- Are you restricted to your own proprietary donor management or CRM platform?
- What does your process look like for creating new campaigns right now? How easy or hard is it?
- What branding and customization options are available to you currently?
- Do you feel that the experience you provide donors lives up to your band standards?
- How does the public react to newly created and launched campaigns?
- Is your software cost-prohibitive to the point where it doesn’t provide the ROI you want or need?
These fundraising software questions address a variety of common points of friction we’ve seen across the nonprofit world when it comes to purchasing fundraising software. If you run through this list and don’t feel satisfied with your answers, you need to ask yourself one final question:
Is it time to look for something newer, better, stronger, faster, or more effective?
If you’re considering changing things up, feel free to a fundraising expert below about improving your strategy. Otherwise, make sure to read some of our other content around switching software and modernizing your efforts.
- Is Your Fundraising Software Ready for the Biggest Giving Day Yet?
- Why You Need to Modernize Your Recurring Giving Program
- Classy Achieves PCI Level 1 Compliance
- When Was the Last Time You Updated Your Nonprofit Cybersecurity?
- How Heifer International Modernized Their Fundraising With Peer-to-Peer
- $1.25 Million in 24 Hours: Kesem’s Path to Giving Tuesday Success