5 Ways to Build a Year Round Fundraising Community
A year-round peer-to-peer fundraising program is a great option for many nonprofits. By allowing supporters to start fundraising at any time, you empower them to raise money around the events in their lives that matter to them. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other life milestones become opportunities to raise funds for your nonprofit. And by connecting events of personal significance with support for your cause, you naturally deepen the relationship you have with supporters.
While all of this sounds great, year-round fundraising programs (like most other things in life) don’t automatically succeed. Too often we see organizations pasting “Start a Fundraising Page” buttons up on their websites and then letting them languish there. This set-it-and-forget-it approach generally winds up with the organization concluding that year-round fundraising “won’t work” for them. But this is almost always the wrong conclusion.
At the end of the day, building a community of individual fundraisers requires marketing effort. If you don’t make people aware of the option, and get them excited about participating, your rolling p2p efforts will fizzle. With that in mind, here are five easy ways you can start building awareness of your year round fundraising program.
Creating a nonprofit blog is an excellent long term strategy for building traffic to your website. Each time you publish a new blog you have another opportunity for supporters to share your content across social media channel and bring in new visitors. Each article that is published also gets indexed by search engines, creating another path for searchers to land on your little piece of the web.
According to Hubspot, organizations that increase their total blog content from 11-20 articles to 21-50 articles will, on average, experience a 45% increase in traffic site-wide! If you’re not convinced of the power of blogging to generate traffic, then check out the whole article from Hubspot to peruse a lot more statistics that make the case.
By blogging you can steadily increase traffic to your site. As you do this, you should place strategic calls to action on your blog to build awareness of your year-round fundraising program and to get visitors to convert into fundraisers. Take a look at the offer at the bottom of this post. That’s a call to action. Imagine replacing the guide download offer, with a call to action to create a birthday fundraiser. It’s the same basic principle.
2. Event Cross Promotion
Have any special events coming up? Let your supporters know about your year-round fundraising program by doing some cross promoting at your real-world events. If you run a gala or silent auction, you can include pamphlets at each table. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the event is, you just want to make sure you let supporters know that they can take the initiative outside of your centrally organized events.
If you have any run/walk events scheduled, these present excellent opportunities for cross promotion. A lot of the people that get involved in charity runs participate in a number of other races throughout the year on their own. By letting them know about your rolling p2p campaign, you will empower them to raise money for you when they run any race, not just the ones you’re organizing.
This one is easy. If you send out a regular e-mail newsletter to your supporters (and you should) make sure you include a graphic ad promoting your year-round fundraising option. Including the ad will allow you to continually build awareness of your year-round fundraising program among existing supporters. Once they know about the option, they can take you up on the offer when they feel inspired to do so!
One of the nice things about including calls to action for your year-round fundraising program on your blog is that it allows you to promote your fundraising in a relatively “soft” way. Instead of reaching out to people directly to ask them to start fundraising, you can share interesting content with them and then present them with the option to start fundraising incidentally.
This approach lends itself well to social media promotion. Each time you publish a new blog article you can push your new article out across your social media channels. When people click through to visit your site, they will get the content they were expecting, and you will get another chance to build awareness of your rolling p2p option (via your call to action). It’s also a good idea to drop in the occasional direct social media promotion on top of this softer approach .
5. Welcome Series
We’ve mentioned before that an automated welcome e-mail series can help orient new donors and improve your retention efforts. A great way to sustain the engagement beyond this initial welcome series is to invite new donors to subscribe to your blog. When new donors subscribe to your blog, you are able to continuously deliver rich content to them. This helps new supporters learn more about the issues and better understand your value as an organization. If you also include calls to action to “start fundraising” on your blog, you will also be able to build vital awareness of your year round fundraising program. Just like social media sharing provides a channel for distributing blog content (and thereby serves to indirectly promote your rolling p2p fundraising program), connecting your email welcome series to your blog opens up another channel for introducing people to your year-round fundraising option.
What Works for Year-Round Fundraising Promotion?
Taking a step back and looking at the different ways of promoting a year-round fundraising effort we’ve highlighted here, there’s a common thread that seems to unite them. They all revolve around content creation and utilize a more passive opt-in approach (with perhaps the exception of cross promotions). These two characteristics (i) a focus on content, and (ii) a commitment to attracting people of their own volition, are hallmarks of the inbound-marketing method. And although inbound channels take time to really build and grow, in the long run they provide powerful avenues for building your online acquisition and fundraising programs!
The ABCs of Inbound Marketing (Hubspot)
The Opposite of Inbound Marketing (Classy)
Photo Credit: Flickr User Surface Warriors
Creating a Year-Round P2P Fundraising Machine
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