No matter how well an organization is doing with its online fundraising, it will eventually hit plateaus and declines.
Nevertheless, there are ways to put your earnings back on the map when the monetary tides turn against you. Turning periods of low online income into more profitable times is a skill that will keep your organization afloat during both foreseen and unforeseen dips.
Our 2011 Online Giving Report showed that January was the slowest month for online earning in all sectors, as it plummeted to only one-fourth of what it was the month before. The international sector’s online fundraising dropped by 55 percent after the 2010 Haiti earthquake brought in “unprecedented online fundraising levels.”
You don’t need to fear unavoidable online earning lulls, though, as your organization does not have to suffer as great a dip as others.
Turn One-Time Donors Into Regulars
Our report recommends implementing a solid retention strategy to turn one-time donors into repetitive donors.
“Obviously, not every episodic donor can be retained,” noted our report, but several organizations who implemented a year-long multi-channel campaign with first-time donors were able to retain roughly 15 percent of their new donors who gave money for Haiti relief.
Create a plan for your organization that will continue or renew communication with new donors, keeping them abreast of your performance and letting them know how their money helped you. Learn more about eTapestry Online fundraising tools that can you cultivate life-long donors.
This communication can be done via email, newsletter, direct mail or social media. Judging by its growth, our report found that online giving will become more popular in coming years. As that happens, “it will be critically important for all nonprofits to have an effective retention strategy in place.”
You should also consider analyzing your online ask.
If your organization is new to the scene, create a messaging campaign tailored to each prospective donor with a detailed description of your organization’s goals and projections. Send your newly-made online ask to prospective donors during months of lower online earnings, prompting them to give immediately. If your organization already has an online ask, review it, noting how it compares to your average gift.
During slow months, increase the ask slightly to give your nonprofit a boost.
Look at Other Perspectives
Compare yourself to likeminded companies, observing their strengths. Can you adopt similar techniques that can bolster your company’s best features? You can also find similar companies who are struggling, and try to understand where they went wrong. Adopting effective techniques around months of slow earnings is another way for your organization to increase revenue.
It’s also important to make sure your website meets your audience’s needs.
You might not have trouble browsing through its pages, but do new potential donors? Ask a friend outside of the sector to navigate through as a potential donor might. Listen to his or her feedback, since it might include valuable information that your organization is not yet aware of. Monitor your page views as you make changes to your site’s architecture, and make your viewers’ priorities your priorities.
While every nonprofit will suffer unforeseen monetary setbacks from time to time, these strategies can help you minimize your periods of lower online income.
2011 Online Giving Report
Download the complete 2011 Online Giving Report to learn more about the 13% YoY growth in online giving, the double-digit growth since 2009 and the reasons your nonprofit should invest in its online fundraising program.