2018 is approaching fast. And while you’ve probably got your budget and big-picture goals figured out, have you thought about how you’ll change in the new year? The nonprofit sector is changing all the time. The nonprofits that survive and stay relevant are the ones that are able to adapt. Here are five ways your nonprofit will need to adapt to make the most of your fundraising in 2018.
Invest in fundraising in 2018
Have you seen Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk called “The way we think about charity is dead wrong”? If not, you should. In it, he makes the case for spending money on creating social change. He makes a compelling argument for shifting the nonprofit sector toward treating charity as a business. It’s a pretty simple argument, really. If your nonprofit wants to be effective, and make progress toward your mission, and tackle big issues like hunger and poverty and so on, you need to spend money. You need to hire talented staff, and pay them a living wage. You need to spend money on advertising and fundraising to spread your message and generate revenue. These are basic tenets of running a business, but we can shy away from treating charity as a business. But it is! Yet it’s common to believe that funneling money into growing your nonprofit (the dreaded “overhead”) rather than funneling it directly to your cause is bad.
Even if your nonprofit is small, you can still invest in growing your nonprofit without sacrificing your mission. In fact, over time, you’ll be able to do more to further your cause.
Upgrade your fundraising tools
Mightycause was built for small nonprofits. Since 2006, our platform has been serving small nonprofits by providing user-friendly fundraising tools you can use with zero startup costs. But so many of the nonprofits that have been using Mightycause for years are growing. And it’s amazing to see! As these nonprofits grow, they need more robust tools to manage their donors and their date. And so we’ve tried to grow along with your nonprofit. In 2017, we released Mightycause Premium.
The Mightycause you know and love still exists! But we’ve added more tools you can use to keep your nonprofit funded and accommodate your growing donor base. For an annual subscription fee, you’ll gain access to:
- Detailed donor records
- Advanced analytics
- Priority customer support
- Freedom from platform fees
- Donor data collection
- Branded receipts
Upgrading to Mightycause Advanced is a small investment that can have huge benefits. It’s one of the most cost-effective and comprehensive fundraising tools on the market. (It’s also one of the most popular!) You’ll be able to upgrade how you manage your donors, allowing you to move them through the pipeline more effectively. You’ll have new ways to collect and analyze data. Find out more about what Mightycause Advanced offers by requesting a live demo!
Let data guide your fundraising in 2018
Data analysis used to be a luxury for nonprofits. You’d either need to hire a consultant, or a pricey full-time staff member, to pore over spreadsheets. Small nonprofits just didn’t have the wiggle room to focus on data. But not anymore! In the digital age, data analysis is easy. In fact, many programs do it for you. So there’s no excuse for nonprofits to ignore data in 2018. Here’s why you should let data light the way for your nonprofit’s fundraising in 2018.
Better reporting, better funding
Donors want to know that their contributions made a difference. They want numbers, and they want charts. They want your to break your success down for them so they know exactly how effective your nonprofit is being. If you can’t provide those, well, you may just lose those major gift donors. And you may fail to recruit new ones.
Quantifying social change can be a tricky thing. But by tracking your data and measuring your impact, you can focus on areas where you are most effective. You can set goals, measure your progress and adjust course when needed. How you measure your programatic success can be much more complicated than measuring donation data, but it’s vitally important. Not only because you want to make sure your work is effective, but because being able to measure and report on your effectiveness is a key part of building sustaining support.
More effective fundraising
We talked about the importance of investing in fundraising. But because you’re a nonprofit, you need to be smart about where and how you invest. Measuring your donation data will help you fundraise smarter and know where to invest. For instance, a low donor retention rate may tell you that you’re investing too much in acquiring new donors but not investing enough in keeping them. Or, you might see that your average gift size is very low and determine that you need to work on bumping up those small gifts and cultivating bigger donors.
Mightycause Advanced tools include Advanced Analytics that help track this information for you. The information is organized into attractive, easy-to-read charts that help you understand where you are so you can move forward. You can also add Google Analytics to your page to get an even more in-depth understanding of where your traffic and donations are coming from.
Nonprofits on Mightycause have exclusive free access to Advance Analytics through the end of 2017. So, you can take this feature for a test drive, and discover how stronger data analysis can improve your fundraising in 2018!
Mightycause probably isn’t the only program you use. You accept cash donations, check donations, you have social media accounts, email marketing software with multiple lists to maintain. The average nonprofit is a complex web of different programs. And manually joining the data from these systems can be a Herculean task. But thankfully, there is technology to help you join up your data.
Mightycause now offers Data Connect, which allows your to automatically export your date from Mightycause to any of the hundreds of apps that integrate with Zapier. This includes Constant Contact, Salesforce, Mail Chimp, Google Sheets, Campaign Monitor, Google Sheets and so much more. That way, you can use your data more easily, and get sophisticated with how you utilize it.
Adapt to a smartphone-driven world
If it seems like more and more people spend their time staring at their smartphones, you’re not imagining it. It’s real. Nearly half of Americans (46%) check their smartphones first thing in the morning. And charitable giving from mobile devices has been increasing steadily for years. That means that in 2018, you’ll need cater to the needs of your supporters — who are likely going to check their social media, read their emails and browse the web from their phones.
What do you do when you want more information about a topic or business? You Google it, right? That’s what most people do, too. And that means your website is probably the first place people will go when they want more information about your nonprofit. And if they’re like most of us, they’re doing most of their Googling from their phones. Which means your website needs to look good on mobile.
And while the content on your website needs to be mobile-friendly, you’ll also need to make sure there is a mobile-friendly way to donate. Even if you update your website so it looks awesome on mobile, if your online donation form isn’t mobile-friendly, you could lose out on donations.
Mightycause is fully mobile-responsive, which means the site adjusts to the size of the screen that’s viewing it. And that means you can feel confident that your Mightycause page looks great on giant desktop monitors and iPhone screens alike. We also offer branded donation pages for Advanced subscribers that you can embed on your website to make sure visitors have a quick, convenient, mobile-friendly way to donate.
The donation experience
Once upon a time, if someone wanted to make a charitable donation, they would need to write a check. Then stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and mail it to the nonprofit. Or, they would just bring it to the nonprofit in person. But now, donating to charity is as easy as clicking a button or two. Donors demand that the donation process be simple, convenient and fast. And it needs to be all of those things on a computer, and on a phone.
But the donation experience goes beyond the user interface. Donors also need access to their receipts quickly, and they’ll need to be able to download them on-demand. Mightycause takes care of all that for your nonprofit. We send out tax receipts, we make them available to your donors year-round through their user profiles, and we send out annual giving statements each new year. So with Mightycause, your donors get the info they need on-demand, and we ease the administrative burden on your nonprofit … which frees you up to focus on the bigger picture.
Stand out from the crowd
Charity is driven by social issues, and when there is a political paradigm shift, charities are usually the first affected and the first to respond. We’re experiencing a sea change in the United States. The nonprofit sector was already feeling the shift in 2016: According to the M+R Benchmarks study, public media nonprofits saw uncharacteristic growth, most likely in response to the election. In rapidly shifting political environment with lots of causes responding to perceived threats, nonprofits will need to find a way to stand out in order to grow in 2018.
What that means in practical terms is that nonprofits will need to step up and professionalize. You’ll need to finesse your “ask,” and make it relevant to your donor base’s concerns. You’ll need to hit them with strong appeals, strong branding and you’ll need to market your cause to them. Mightycause has always provided a wealth of free training, and we will continue to provide free, hard-hitting training from our fundraising experts to help you improve your fundraising in 2018.
Focus on stewarding
Tax reform legislation passed before the end of 2017 signals another sea change for nonprofit fundraising in 2018. The standard deduction is almost doubling in 2018, which means that donors will have to give at a higher level to see tax benefits. Lots of people in the nonprofit sector are worried. The actual effects remain to be seen, but with these changes, one thing is for certain: major gift donors will be more important than ever in 2018. Nonprofits will have to up their stewarding game.
If you aren’t currently meeting your major gift donors for coffee, getting to know them and finding out what moves them to donate, you’re going to need to start doing that legwork.
Keep lower-level donors engaged
While your nonprofit may have to increase your focus on corporate sponsors and major gift donors in 2018, that doesn’t mean you should discount your lower-level donors. Those donors who give a few hundred dollars or even less each year are also important! And unlike major gift donors, tax benefits most likely aren’t what drives them to donate.
In 2018, nonprofits will need to find out why these donors give, and appeal directly to factors to keep them engaged. Whether it’s “warm glow,” altruism or publicly supporting a cause they care about, you’ll need to find out why your donors give and adjust your messaging accordingly.
Mightycause is here to support your fundraising in 2018
Changes are upon us in the nonprofit sector, but Mightycause is here to help your nonprofit grow and adapt so you can keep spreading your message. We were founded on the notion of collaborative impact, and no matter where 2018 takes your nonprofit, we’re here to help you every step of the way.
In 2017, we added new options to better serve your nonprofit include subscriptions, being able to choose your own pricing structure, and new features. In 2018, we’ll be adding even more. So, as your nonprofit grows, Mightycause will be growing with you.