Why Doesn’t Your Organization Have an Individual Giving Program?

  • August 24, 2021
  • 11 min read
  • BY Walter Castaneda, Business Development Director
Individual donors are the lifeblood of many nonprofit organizations however keeping donors engaged and giving takes a dedicated and oftentimes strategic effort.
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You wouldn’t be friends with someone who only comes around when they need something from you, so don’t let your nonprofit be that friend with its supporters. Sending an appeal out without a strategy is not an individual giving program, even if it performs well. It’s vital to be proactive and engage with your supporters regularly.

Giving USA 2021: In a year of unprecedented events and challenges, charitable giving reached a record $471.44 billion in 2020, making it the latest report of its kind, published by Giving USA, found that giving by individuals increased and drove growth in total giving. It concludes that individual giving remains the most significant source of donations, which is why your Development team must have a strategy and program in place. Read the highlights from The Annual Report on Philanthropy here.

You’re probably a small team wearing multiple hats, so let us help you. Here are four takeaways from our recent launch of New York City Pride’s Individual Giving Program. Take these learnings to get your organization’s individual giving program off the ground:

1. Test Your Creative Design to See What Works

Developing consistent design adds value to your nonprofit’s marketing efforts. Start with your creative design to communicate your organization’s brand identity. For starters, if your organization doesn’t have a style guide, be consistent with your colors, fonts, tone of voice, logos, and visuals. There isn’t a perfect formula for creativity. Try different visuals to see what resonates with your audience. Visual design is not only graphics and photos.

Typography is vital to communicate the impact your donors are having on your mission. Beautiful, consistent, and professional-looking branding will appeal to any audience. You must try a few different styles and directions, then learn and adapt to what resonates with the majority of your nonprofit’s donors. Don’t put too much on your plate. It’s better to use your human capacity and energy on a couple of variations rather than having a full plate. If something works, then double down. If not, try something new.

2. Hone in on Your Organization’s Message

Articulating a clear message is crucial. Have you ever gone to an organization’s website to learn more about their work and struggled to find their mission statement? You don’t want a new donor struggling to find your organization’s “WHY?” You should have a clear message that you can communicate to someone in less than 60 seconds. I know it will be challenging not to talk about all the amazing and life-saving programs your organization offers, but don’t overwhelm the donor. Start with the problem your organization is trying to solve, then the impact the issue has, and finish with how your organization is working to end that problem.

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3. Create Reasons to Give to Your Cause

Just as important as it is to tailor your message for your audience, it’s essential to communicate the benefits of donating to your cause. When your nonprofit personalizes your donors’ experience with your organization, it can maximize your reach and increase your donations. Motivate your supporters to make a gift by spelling out the benefit of giving to your organization. One way to do this is by communicating the impact a donation has on furthering your cause (e.g., Help register 250 new voters by donating $25!). When donors see the direct result of their contribution, they feel empowered to continue giving. Be sure to steward your existing donors and cultivate prospective donors. Stewardship is key to strengthening your relationship with your organization’s donors.

4. Share Your Program Far and Wide

Once you have your creative design, message, and reasons to give to your program, you’ll want to create a launch strategy that includes your administrative staff and board members. Your colleagues and board of directors are your biggest supporters. When you launch the individual program, not only do you want your donors to feel like they’re part of something bigger, but you also want the organization’s stakeholders to feel that they’re a part of this program. Your launch strategy should include a series of ways to get the word out, such as email blasts, social media posts, and social media ads. Include your stakeholders in the launch and create an opportunity for them to share the program with their networks. Provide your team and board of directors with the tools they need to share the message. Design a social media toolkit with sample posts, visual designs they can share, and a hashtag relevant to your brand identity. Keep in mind that not everyone has a fundraising skillset, so include fundraising tips in the toolkit.

Relationship-building is the essence of fundraising, but it takes time and investment to develop authentic relationships. Whether your supporters give once, monthly, or volunteer, it’s essential that they feel valued. Developing and integrating cultivation and stewardship strategies to your nonprofit’s individual giving program to engage your supporters is crucial to long-lasting, healthy relationships.

Antarctic is here to help. Our strategies and creative visuals will engage, delight, and grow donations for your organization. Send me a note. I’d be happy to meet you to learn how Antarctic can support your team and help your organization achieve its goals.

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