Each and every nonprofit organization has a common purpose: to serve the public through outreach programs, donations or even scholarships. Although the term nonprofit states in and of itself that the people who run these organizations are not seeking to make any money for themselves, sometimes it helps to run the organization in the same manner one would run a business. Why? Because though you may not be making money for yourselves, you are still trying to raise money for others, and that takes strategy. In this article we aim to share a few small business strategies that might be helpful to your nonprofit.
#1 Know your market
When many small businesses advertise, they have to first identify who their target audience is and the best methods to reach them. For instance, if a business specializes in bridal wear, they would want to target brides during wedding season at wedding expos or find connections to brides through wedding planners and other businesses that can refer them to new clients. They could also develop partnerships with wedding planning websites and place ads on their sites/blogs. Instead of casting a wide net, they can be very strategic and target the exact type of client they want.
First and foremost, nonprofits should appeal to people who are either passionate about or have an interest in what the organization stands for. Those people not only tend to contribute more to your cause, but they will also most likely be passionate about helping spread the word about your nonprofit. You might discover these people at events related to your mission, maybe through a booth you set up, or you may connect with them online through forums, blogs, and social media groups. But aside from targeting a specific demographic, nonprofits are fortunate enough to also have mass appeal. If the message is convincing enough, you can get almost anyone on board.
Generally speaking, there are good times and bad times to make appeals, so nonprofits must be strategic here as well. Two of the best times of the year to fundraise are in the spring (just around tax season when people have excess money to give away) and at the end of the year when people are looking to give a year-end charitable donation. It is during those seasons that you really want to plug your nonprofit. There are also special events on social media like #GivingTuesday that are designed to encourage people to give to nonprofits during the holiday season. Begin planning ahead for such events and come up with creative ways to get people involved.
#2 Manage donor and sponsor data
Throughout the lifetime of a nonprofit, it will likely receive hundreds of donations from various people throughout the country or even the world. Though some donors will only give once with no intention of giving again, there are many donors that would like to maintain a relationship with your nonprofit. For this reason it’s a good idea for nonprofits to utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
By incorporating a CRM system into your nonprofit, you can create a database of donors and discover the best ways to communicate with and appeal to each of them. You can use it to learn donor preferences, compile feedback, and develop direct marketing approaches. CRM systems can also let you know which donors exhibit an interest in staying abreast of what’s happening with the nonprofit, so you can communicate with them regularly. Your supporters will appreciate knowing that you understand their expectations and aren’t just pushing them for money.
#3 Streamline administrative tasks
As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”. Even those who are very interested in the work you are doing can become distracted and forget to check in and keep up with what’s happening in your nonprofit. For that reason nonprofits need to regularly send out updates to share new information, make special requests, and get feedback. Instead of assigning someone the responsibility of getting online daily to post new statuses, send emails or create advertisements, why not automate? Use applications that offer templates for contracts, newsletters, emails, and advertisements so your staff doesn’t have to create these themselves. All that would be required of them is to fill in the blanks.
It also helps to create a workflow for projects. This will act as a checklist for what needs to be done and when it should be done by in order to ensure that no steps are skipped. Because most people working in nonprofits are volunteers, the reality is that you cannot spend so much time training them nor can you place heavy expectations on their shoulders. Their time is also pretty limited. So creating a workflow for them to follow when they check in helps maximize the time they do have to offer your organization and guarantees better results for your organization.
Your nonprofit was created to help people. We at Tuxedo Impressions are here to help you. If you need help, let us know. Our team can help you standardize operations so you can focus on what really matters.
~S. Wasike, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™