4 Steps To Building A Strong Fundraising Foundation For Your Nonprofit

Recently we heard from more than 1,200 nonprofit professionals across the country, providing us with insight on their organizations’ budgets, fundraising efforts, and goals for the year. The results inspired us, so we used them to put together an online fundraising guide that shares the best practices for website, email, and social media for nonprofits. But before you can think about optimizing your fundraising strategy, it’s important to check your fundraising foundation first.

In order to create a strong fundraising foundation, you have to understand what shapes your fundraising ecosystem. Once you know where you are, you’ll know what steps you need to take to get where you want to be.

Here are four steps you can take today to understand your fundraising foundation better and feel confident building on it.

1. Run An Audit of Your Tools

Because technology is always changing, it’s important to continually assess what’s working for you, what isn’t, and what new tools may now exist to help you reach your fundraising goals.

Once you know what tools are at your disposal, it’s time to think about integrating them.

Integrations allow your tools to interact with each other in a way that is consistent, gather your data in one place, and automatically update your donors’ profiles as information comes in.

So ask yourself: Do my tools talk to each other? What integrations are in place and which ones can I set up this year? We recommend downloading our data audit checklist to help you get started.

2. Understand the Donor Journey

If you’re not thinking about a donor’s interaction with your organization, you may be losing sight of your donor and what their experience is like.

People want to feel seen and understand, and understanding the donor journey is a way to ensure you keep that front of mind when creating your giving pathways.

3. Question Old Beliefs

One of the hardest but most important steps you can take is to question old beliefs. What patterns are you repeating because you think they’re accurate? If you’re not interrogating where you are and what information you’re operating with, you might be moving in the wrong direction without realizing it.

We recommend asking yourself and your team questions like:

  • How do we think about in-person versus digital donations?
  • How do we view the relationship between fundraising and marketing?
  • Do we consider that older donors are just as likely as younger donors to contribute online or have we been operating from the belief that the only/best way to reach older demographics is through traditional means?

Write down a list of the stories you’re telling yourself about what your donors want and how they think and see if any of these stories still hold true or if you need to reframe those narratives.

4. Determine Capacity

Another question to ask is, “Whose job is it anyway?”

A strategy is only as strong as its ability to be implemented. You should be looking for the person who is best positioned to take on certain roles. Once you find them, ask what they’ll need to accomplish the goals your organization has set.

For example, just because someone manages your finances doesn’t mean they’re the best person to communicate with donors via email. Keeping people aligned with their unique abilities, as much as possible, will serve your organization well.

As you’re thinking all of this through, determine who has the capacity to handle the responsibility of integrating, managing, and improving the different aspects of your fundraising ecosystem.

To continue building on your fundraising foundation, we recommend downloading Online Fundraising That Works, a guide to website, email, and social media for nonprofits.

Download Online Fundraising Guide