As more and more older donors start giving online and the millennial generation’s giving power grows, it has never been more important for nonprofits to have a flexible, versatile online fundraising solution.
But many nonprofit organizations are notoriously risk-averse and slow to change. While this often comes from a well-intended place—the desire not to waste time, energy, or funds—it’s also a huge inhibitor to growth, particularly in fundraising. As such, convincing your nonprofit’s leadership to invest in new fundraising technology can be a formidable challenge. But with a little preparation, you can show your team the need to modernize and improve your online giving experience. The truth is that the future of giving is online, and smart nonprofits must take action now to sustain their work.
There are three important steps to convincing your boss, team, or board to invest in fundraising software. Read on to find out how you can present the need for change, offer a solution, and spark action.
1. Show the Need
Nonprofits don’t take risks just for the fun of it. Some organizations only make changes when the risk of doing nothing is too great. That’s why you have to show your leadership the financial and programmatic opportunity that makes this change necessary.
When it comes to online giving, the opportunity has steadily grown for years. These days, online transactions are a part of everyday life. So when your nonprofit’s online giving experience is clunky (or nonexistent) today’s donor won’t have much patience. Especially not when there are other organizations that have made online giving so simple.
The good news is you can use these nonprofit peers to show your boss or team the potential of online fundraising. Identify a few organizations to point to when you make the appeal for an investment. For example, if your boss is a big fan of Pencils of Promise, you could show how their online giving experience builds such a powerful community.
Organizations that are similar to yours in size, cause sector, or audience are also great examples to point out. This shows decision-makers the proven power of an online giving experience. Ultimately, an extraordinary online giving experience makes your supporters more likely to give again. The biggest benefit of modern fundraising software is, of course, the ability to reach more people and raise more money. Even one moderately successful campaign can quickly cover the cost of your investment.
Don’t forget to mention the long-term benefits of the right fundraising software. A modern platform simplifies recurring giving, enables better events, and empowers supporters to create personal campaigns. As such, you can build on your successes and expand to new sources of revenue.
2. Present the Solution
It’s not enough to show your leadership the need for change. You need to illustrate the way forward. Do some research on your options before you ask your nonprofit to invest in software. There are lots of online payment options that can be used for donations, but only a few are truly designed for nonprofit fundraising.
Consider your current major campaigns as you review your fundraising software options. If your organization depends on one or two major campaigns, how a platform works for them might be a major factor. If your organization is larger and has a wider fundraising base, it might be worth experimenting with a new platform on one campaign. After testing the waters, you can migrate other donation pages and campaigns there.
Whatever your nonprofit’s fundraising needs, when you approach your leadership about investing, be prepared to explain your top choice and why it is a good fit for your nonprofit. One tactic is to examine how this new software will improve one of your existing campaigns. Branded donation pages have a higher conversion rate, for example, so a platform that allows your organization to apply your own look and feel will lead to more donors completing their transactions.
3. Map Out Next Steps
Once you’ve illustrated why your organization needs to invest in a fundraising platform and presented a good fit, you need to clearly outline how to move forward. Even when your boss sees the need, the day to day operations of your organization can make it easy for important transitions to be deprioritized and delayed. That’s why it’s so important to ask for a commitment to a timeline.
For example, if your biggest campaign starts in early November and you know the right software will make it more successful, that can be your anchor. To have your campaign up and running on all cylinders at the start of November means you will probably want to get started with your new platform in September or October. To formally make the transition by then, you might ask decision-makers to attend a demo of the product in July or August. That will give them plenty of time to review the product and pricing.
Keep in mind that your nonprofit’s annual and departmental budgets will probably be an important factor. The timing of a software investment may be delayed or expedited based on when your budget is set.
Even if your team isn’t willing to commit to transition for a certain campaign, push for a follow-up meeting to learn more about what obstacles you face. This includes learning whether you need board approval or buy-in from other stakeholders, such as your IT or engineering team.
A Smart Investment
Online fundraising is an increasingly important part of a sustainable, effective nonprofit organization. Organizations who don’t act now will miss out on donors and spend the years to come playing catch-up.
To get your nonprofit moving toward the right fundraising software, you must illustrate the opportunity, present a well-reasoned solution, and make the next steps clear. If you want to show your organization what Classy can do for your fundraising, check out the pdf below.
A Nonprofit's Guide to Recurring Giving
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