CharityDynamics just released the Interactive Investment Benchmark Study that looks at how organizations plan to invest in digital resources and strategy. What they found is that as the economy continues to recover and online fundraising outpaces other development efforts, nonprofits are planning to invest more in their digital footprint. In fact, almost 30% expect their interactive technology investments to grow by 11% or more this year.

The timing couldn’t be better for nonprofits ready to explore technology investments because Blackbaud has just released the white paper, Making the Pitch to Nonprofit Leadership: How to Convey and Sell the Need to Invest in Fundraising Technology(I know it’s a mouth full!). In it my colleague and I discuss the process an organization must embark upon to get leadership buy-in. Whether your organization is ready to explore a sophisticated marketing platform or you’re website needs a face-lift, these big ticket items must first be approved by the Board and executive team.

Let this white paper help.

The paper is broken out into 5 sections that outline the research and prep needed for making the pitch. I’ve summarized some of the main points below, but you can learn more by registering for next Thursday’s webinar or downloading the white paper.

Demographics & Donor Trends

All generations are becoming increasingly multichannel and the web and email are often the preferred methods of communication with charities. But don’t assume the leadership team knows about the current trends. You must make a point to educate them about the new reality and how it impacts development efforts. Organizations and Boards can no longer claim their constituents are older and prefer direct mail. If they’re not online, they’re leaving money on the table.

Challenges & Opportunities

Before the Board and executive team can make a decision, an analysis of current results, resources and technology should be conducted. It’s also important for the leadership and development teams to take a look at threats and opportunities influencing current efforts. This kind of information is a huge justification for why such a large investment is needed in new technology.

Must Haves and Must Dos

It takes thoughtful planning, an integrated strategy and the right technology to implement and run a successful online fundraising program. While some things change, certain elements never go out of style. Be prepared to discuss what you’re doing today and what opportunities you can capitalize on with the investment.

Investigate questions like:

  • Is your website engaging to your target audience?
  • Are you converting visitors into subscribers?
  • Do you send regular eCommunications? Do people read your emails?
  • Are you able to segment and target your messages based on behaviors and interests?
  • Can donors tweet or post that they made a donation?
  • Are your offline and online appeals and promotions integrated?
  • Does the team know about current best practices & trends in online fundraising?

The right tool set

When preparing your proposal, don’t just think about what functions and tools you need today, consider what will you need next year and 3 years from now to STAY successful. Addressing shortcomings now is important, but keep in mind that the Board is responsible for the long term success of the organization so capacity building is top of mind.

Preparing for the pitch

As you finalize the proposal for leadership, let this one thing guide you – create a vision for how the right tools can grow a steady and sustainable pipeline of support for the organization today and tomorrow. Investing in online fundraising tools and strategy isn’t something you do instead of major gifts or special events; it is something you do because you want to be around in 5 years. It’s about And, not Or.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danielle Johnson-Vermenton, CFRE, is a Principal Consultant at Blackbaud and is often called to present at events like Digital Leap, AFP Planet Philanthropy and BBCON.  Prior to Blackbaud, Danielle worked in the nonprofit industry in roles such as director of individual giving at Boys & Girls Clubs, leadership giving manager at the Red Cross and director of development at HUGS for Kids. Danielle’s passion is inspiring nonprofits to have a plan for today with a grand vision for tomorrow. You can follow Danielle @DJVermenton and find her blogging on npENGAGE.

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