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6 Time-Saving Hacks to Improve Your Fundraising Efficiency and Gain ROI

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By Jess Woloszyn

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Published August 11, 2021
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Boost your fundraising efficiency with a list of actionable time-saving opportunities to implement right away. 

More time means more focus on impactful campaigns. It also creates room for the small details to shine through your fundraising efforts. Overall, refocusing your time makes a world of difference to supporters and beneficiaries. 

We’re here with time-saving hacks that any fundraising professional can appreciate to help you reach your full strategic and creative potential. 

Take back time from monotonous tasks and refocus on fundraising activities that create sustainable revenue for your nonprofit, like establishing a recurring giving program.

If your wheels are turning, dive into our latest findings on recurring giving to motivate and retain modern recurring donors.

6 Ways to Save Time for Fundraising Efficiency

1. Automate Email Templates to Reach More Donors

Communicating about new fundraising opportunities, campaign launches, or appreciation for your donors doesn’t have to consume your entire day to be effective. Lean into email templates that make meaningful outreach possible, even when you’re short on time.

While it may take some time to craft a thoughtful email for every touchpoint in your campaign, there’s no reason you can’t use those emails again. Why not keep a folder of your most effective emails and use them as templates for the next campaign you run?

Another way to avoid starting from scratch when writing an email is to gain inspiration from your favorite consumer brands. With some language tweaking, you can create unique templates for your organization based on just about any email you’ve received and replicate what you loved about it.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite email templates to get you started:

2. Create Year-Round Fundraising Campaigns

Campaign start and end dates create limitations. Sometimes they’re necessary, but there’s a lot of benefit to releasing time constraints. Continue to generate income, diversify your fundraising portfolio, and keep supporters engaged with your mission.

Consider the time-saving benefits of a few straightforward campaigns you can run all year long:

  • A main donation website gives any visitor the option to take action, wherever and whenever they’d like, with compelling content and a simple payment process
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising helps provide loyal supporters with everything they need to fundraise on your behalf and attract new donors all year long
  • Recurring giving campaigns attract reliable donations you can count on each month and build your community in between other time-bound fundraising campaigns

Capture the interest of any website visitor. Offer a variety of ways for them to drive your mission forward on their own terms, and to be creative in the process. Whether someone is looking to donate once, spread their impact out over time, or get involved with fundraising, they never have to search long for a way to support your organization.

Check out the potential donation increase that each of these fundraising campaigns could have for your specific nonprofit. We make it easy to compare your current metrics against benchmarks set forth by 4,800 of your nonprofit peers.

Prioritize Your Time: Set aside time every week to check in on your year-round campaigns. Keep them relevant and track any trends among your donor base that can inform your fundraising. 

3. Build Playbooks Into Your Fundraising Plans

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fundraising tasks on your plate, look for the campaigns you know you’ll run more than once. The year-long campaign examples are a great start. You can also include your annual fundraising event or Giving Tuesday campaigns in this category.

Start by looking at the activities on your fundraising calendar that require the most time and attention. Consider which resources are needed, and turn them into a repeatable playbook that your team will thank you for when it comes time to execute.

Here’s what a campaign playbook might contain:

  • Your brand kit, with elements like your logo, typography, color schemes, and mission
  • Visuals, like your most impactful photography or graphics
  • Compelling content, including headings, impact block language, and a thank you
  • Campaign templates from your most successful fundraising pages to easily duplicate 
Prioritize Your Time: After a successful campaign ends, take a day to repurpose it into a playbook to save weeks’ worth of time planning for the next one. 

4. Get Smart About Reusing Key Information

From grant applications to applying for the Classy Awards, your job likely entails digging for critical insights that showcase your nonprofit in its best light. It can take a lot of time to pull in the correct information and go through editing, clean up content, and secure necessary approvals. 

Make your life easier by jumping back into the grant applications or other documentation you’ve recently dedicated a lot of time to. Get creative by repurposing bits and pieces of that information for future content-related asks.

Opportunities to leverage existing key information:

  • Future grant applications
  • Email marketing
  • Social media captions and bios
  • Campaigns
  • Award opportunities 

To take it a step further, be proactive about your organization’s goals each year and update your critical messaging accordingly. That way, you won’t risk the dreaded restart moment when content you’ve spent a long time drafting is no longer relevant.

Prioritize Your Time: Build a one-to-two-hour window of time in your schedule each month to keep key messaging fresh for your entire team to benefit from. 

5. Have Reports Ready Before You Make Decisions

There is significant value in organizing your fundraising reports. When you organize reporting, you can quickly identify areas of opportunity and flag potential challenges without a considerable time commitment. The key is to have reports in place, so you are always prepared with data on hand. 

At Classy, we’ve found some specific reports are helpful to many organizations. Learn more about our Recommended Reports and how they can benefit your organization.

Get familiar with the campaign metrics available to you in your fundraising software. From there, set up reports based on what you know stakeholders will be asking for and what can inform your decision-making about future priorities.

Here are some reports that fundraising professionals find beneficial:

  • Performance reporting on past and current campaigns
  • Supporter details, active returning donors, and inactive donors
  • Transaction history, including tracked donations and payment details
  • Recurring giving plans, supporters, and upcoming expirations
  • Fundraising page and team performance
  • Event attendees

Having a report ready allows you to pivot faster when unexpected challenges arise. Save the time it would take to retroactively determine the source of slowed campaign momentum, and avoid missing out on donations in the process.

Classy customers have the option to save reports and update them in real-time:

After switching to Classy, we were able to streamline processes to save time on reporting and have a consistent look across all our pages. It gave us the ability to double our online donations within a year.

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
Prioritize Your Time: Take a day to organize your data and set up reports to reference throughout the year to reduce your workload and guide your fundraising strategy. 

6. Get Ahead of Staff Changes

No one likes to think about their employees moving on to new opportunities, but it happens. Don’t let staff changes slow you down.

If you currently have a list of onboarding lessons, document transfers, and account logins to set up when someone new joins your team, it’s time to get strategic. Set up an onboarding folder with anything a fundraising professional at your nonprofit could need.

Avoid having a single gatekeeper in your organization by sharing information across your team. Get more staff members involved from the beginning, and give them the tools they need to support your larger goals.

Here are just a few examples of how organizing information and training multiple teammates can save you time:

  • Team members can pull reports and edit campaigns when you go on vacation or have to call out sick
  • If a team member moves onto a different opportunity or is promoted into a new role, they can easily transition responsibilities to those already trained on your tools and processes
  • You have a greater opportunity  to delegate tasks when your “big rock” campaigns hit

Everyone in your organization has a role to play in your success. Invite your team to elevate their online fundraising skillset with our interactive, on-demand courses and lessons on Classy Academy

Prioritize Your Time: Take one day each month to get your team up to speed on new trainings, and transfer files that live on personal drives to a shared folder. 

Get Strategic With Your Time for Fundraising Efficiency

Putting even one of these hacks to work can give you some time back in your day to increase the impact of your efforts and further advance your cause. Put these extra hours to good use by building connections with new donors, creating genuine relationships with loyal supporters, and retaining the revenue you rely on.

With Giving Tuesday and year-end giving right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to set yourself up for success.

Download The Year-End Fundraising Checklist to keep your operations running smoothly and maximize the impact of the giving season.

Your Year-End Fundraising Checklist

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