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Deepening Relationships to Reach your Fundraising Goals

By October 3, 2017

By: Susan Mahon, Product Manager – Nonprofit,

An ongoing and significant challenge facing most nonprofit organisations is how to raise more funds to help, fight, save or to rescue as their unique mission requires. In this digital age which offers abundant opportunities to connect to so many people, nonprofit organisations are experiencing ever increasing competition for donors and their donor’s resources, which is making donor cultivation a competitive battleground.

A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association found that marketing emails from charities are less likely to be opened than emails from any other sector with only 6 per cent of emails being read. Couple this with toughening data regulations which are on the horizon for EU nonprofits and indeed for global nonprofits also, and it becomes evident that nonprofits need to start to deepen their constituent relationships and begin to leverage those relationships to support their causes in new ways.

So what are the Pioneers doing?

An increasing number of fundraising Trailblazers we are meeting at understand that EVERYONE is a potential donor or fundraiser and they see all of their existing supporters as having potential to play different roles to drive impact in their organisations. They are leveraging existing relationships with donors, volunteers and even beneficiaries to help with fundraising efforts. After all, an organisations’ existing supporters are the perfect front line marketers for the mission and purpose of each and every nonprofit. Existing supporters have chosen their nonprofit because of their passion for the cause.
Fundraising Relationships

How can your supporters help you raise more funds?

Existing Donors choose to support your mission over others and many of those donors will be in a position to increase their donation or the frequency of that donation. Communicating with them about the impact that every €/£/$ has and showing positive outcomes for those at the centre of your cause makes an additional €/£/$10 per month or €/£/$100 per year easy to commit to. With custom reports, you can run impact reports regularly and use those to update supporters on achievements against goals and much more. Using Engagement Plans in NPSP you can map out personalised engagements with donors based on different giving levels.

Your Volunteers freely offer one of their most precious treasures – their Time, so it’s highly likely that the success of your organisation is very important to them. Why not set up a campaign calling on them to help sell tickets to an upcoming event or to organise a coffee morning or similar to raise awareness and funds for specific programs you are running. Your team of volunteers may also enjoy the call to action to convert friends, family or work colleagues to donors – how many of us have donated to a nonprofit after being introduced to them by someone in our everyday circles? Passion is persuasive. I have gotten involved in volunteer activities on more than one occasion because of friend or family members involvement with a charity. Also – your volunteers are more likely to want to donate to the cause themselves. NPSP is designed to track and record the different types of relationships you have with each constituent – from donor and volunteer to fundraiser and beneficiary – giving you a 360 degree view.

Beneficiaries must surely be the optimum evangelist for your organisation. Who better to communicate the impact of a nonprofit than those who are living proof of the value of that impact. Share the stories of your beneficiaries then and now as a means of demonstrating the difference all of your efforts make. In the past 12 months, I can count four causes that I personally donated to on account of someone I know (sometimes tenuously) benefiting from the work of each nonprofit. The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation has started using it’s clients to help spread its message. “We’re now targeting a new type of contact in the system – our ambassadors,” says Rolf Victorie, Team Leader of Philanthropy at KNGF. “These are successful clients of ours who help us raise awareness of the work we do by visiting different organisations and businesses to share our story.”

Board members are often times strongly positioned to fundraise and secure large donor support for your nonprofit. At, we have encountered many organisations who enlist members of their board with the task of soliciting a targeted amount of income per annum and leveraging their personal and commercial relationships for the good of the organisation. Make use of the soft credit functionality within our Nonprofit Success Pack to ensure each member of the board knows where they are in terms of donations pledged against their personal goal.

Resources for continued learning

Blog: 7 Pearls of Wisdom for Starting Salesforce for Fundraising
Blog: 4 Connected Fundraising Strategies that Actually Work