Learn more about how to market the silent auction your nonprofit is hosting.

Marketing Your Nonprofit’s Silent Auction: 5 Strategies

Silent auctions are one of the most popular nonprofit fundraising events, and for good reason. They can be held in person or virtually, appeal to a wide range of supporters, and make great annual fundraisers. Although silent auctions work well on their own, they can also be paired with other events like galas or golf tournaments to increase your organization’s fundraising revenue.

As with any fundraising event, your team will need to develop a marketing plan to spread the word about your silent auction. Effective event promotions will not only get supporters in the door, but also ensure they come excited to bid on your valuable auction items.

In this guide, we’ll walk through five strategies for marketing your silent auction, including how to:

  1. Understand Your Audience
  2. Leverage Multiple Communication Channels
  3. Track and Analyze Marketing Data
  4. Feature Your Auction Items in Your Marketing Materials
  5. Acknowledge Your Event Sponsors

As you implement these strategies, try to make event registration as easy as possible. Create a streamlined online sign-up form and include links to it in all of your communications so supporters can easily register no matter how they discover your auction. Let’s get started!

1. Understand Your Audience

Before marketing your silent auction, it’s useful to know who you’re trying to reach. Understanding your audience allows you to create more targeted messages and leverage the most effective communication channels for promoting your auction.

To drive supporter engagement, try segmenting your audience based on shared characteristics, which could include their:

  • Demographics, such as age, location, education, family status, and employment.
  • Giving history, including their average donation amount, frequency and recency of giving, and lifetime value to your organization.
  • Past engagement besides monetary contributions—consider previous event attendance, volunteer hours, in-kind donations, and communication preferences.

Once you’ve identified these shared characteristics among supporters, decide which segments you want to prioritize in your event marketing and tailor your messages to those segments. For example, if your silent auction is part of a gala, you may focus on major donors and invite each of them individually. However, if you’re trying to engage younger supporters through your auction, posting regular updates on your website and social media will likely be effective.

2. Leverage Multiple Communication Channels

Although segmenting your supporters will let you know which communication methods to prioritize, it’s always most effective to leverage several channels. During your event marketing campaign, promote your silent auction using the following methods:

  • Your nonprofit’s website. Create a calendar of upcoming events at your organization, along with dedicated pages where supporters can learn more about each one.
  • Email marketing. In addition to sending out email blasts dedicated to the auction, feature it in your nonprofit’s regular newsletter if you have one.
  • Social media. Tailor your social media posts to each platform your organization uses. For example, you might first design a graphic and write a brief caption about your event for Facebook, then adapt that information into a short video for TikTok and Instagram Reels.
  • Digital ads. Google has an ad grant program that allows eligible nonprofits to receive a monthly advertising stipend, which you can use to promote your auction in Google search results.
  • Direct mail. While many nonprofits focus on digital event marketing, direct mail can still be useful for reaching certain audiences and supplementing your online efforts.

Leveraging all of these marketing methods creates more opportunities for supporters to learn about and register for your auction, boosting attendance and fundraising revenue.

3. Track and Analyze Marketing Data

Your silent auction marketing efforts will be more effective across the board if they’re data-driven. NPOInfo’s guide to nonprofit data collection suggests leveraging several types of marketing data to improve your outreach, including:

  • Website traffic, particularly the number of people who visit your event information page.
  • Email open rates, which are often affected by timing, frequency, and subject lines.
  • Social media engagement on auction-related posts, including likes, comments, and shares.
  • Click-through rates to your event registration form across all of your digital marketing channels.

Tracking and analyzing this information will allow you to identify what areas of your event marketing campaign are going well and where you could improve by adjusting your strategy. Your data can not only boost your impact in promoting your upcoming silent auction, but also help you develop a more effective marketing plan for future events.

4. Feature Your Auction Items in Your Marketing Materials

According to the auction experts at Winspire, procuring auction items that are high-value, high-quality, and of interest to participants is critical to your event’s success. To get supporters excited to attend the auction and place bids, feature photos and short descriptions of your big-ticket items in your promotional materials, such as:

  • Exclusive tickets to concerts, Broadway shows, or athletic events
  • Popular technology like new smartphones, smart watches, and TVs
  • Vacation packages—travel-related items tend to be best-sellers at auction!

Because silent auctions usually feature a wide range of items, you don’t need to design a full auction catalog as you would for a live auction that includes fewer, higher-value goods. However, you can effectively highlight a few of your most valuable silent auction items by creating a shorter PDF booklet, which you can link to on your website and in marketing emails.

5. Acknowledge Your Event Sponsors

Partnering with for-profit businesses can help your nonprofit offset costs for many fundraising events. Auctions particularly benefit from corporate sponsorships because sponsors can provide items for free or at reduced costs in addition to financial support. Your corporate partners can also help spread the word about your auction through word of mouth, and their customers may be interested in attending.

For a sponsorship to succeed, it needs to be mutually beneficial. In exchange for a business’s support, your nonprofit can provide them with free advertising. Include your sponsors’ logos in your marketing materials, on the signs at your event venue, and on the bid sheet for each auction item they contributed. Doing so not only increases brand recognition for the business but also helps you recognize and thank sponsors for making your auction possible.

The key to fundraising event promotion is to spread the word early and often, and silent auctions are no exception. Segmenting your audience and developing a data-driven, multi-channel marketing campaign are general best practices in nonprofit event marketing. Promoting an auction effectively also requires that you pay special attention to the way you feature your auction items and recognize the sponsors who provide them.

Learn more about these direct mail fundraising trends to refresh your next campaign.

3 Impactful Direct Mail Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits

As a nonprofit professional, you know that there are always new nonprofit marketing trends emerging. As the world of technology, social media apps, and influencers continues to evolve, these trends can take flight faster than ever.

While it’s easy to name the three new marketing trends you noticed on TikTok or Instagram this week, trends in more traditional marketing channels might not be at the top of your mind. But, keeping up with new trends and fresh ideas is necessary for every communication channel. By changing up pieces of your direct mail fundraising strategy, you can reduce donor fatigue and burnout.

These trends can help your nonprofit engage its existing donors and boost retention by creating a highly personal touchpoint that reflects donors’ values and preferences—like a passion for sustainability, for example. In this guide, we’ll explore three strategies you can use to put a new spin on your existing direct mail program.

1. Personalization.

One of the hallmarks of direct mail fundraising is its personal nature. Donors tend to feel more connected to your nonprofit when they are greeted by name through a tangible message that arrives in their mailbox. While social media posts and email messages could get lost in the crowded digital shuffle, direct mail gives each recipient something to hang on their fridge as a reminder to donate, volunteer, or attend fundraising events.

As technology and data analytics evolve, more nonprofits can add personalized elements to their direct mail. Here are some simple ways to make your direct mail campaigns more personal:

  • Greet donors by name. Move away from generic greetings and use an individualized approach by using the donor’s name. Because this greeting is one of the first things donors will notice about your direct mail, it sets the tone for a more personal message.
  • Highlight the donor’s impact. Pursuant’s guide to direct mail fundraising highlights the opportunity to personalize your messages by incorporating stories about your nonprofit and its beneficiaries that align with the donor’s interests. Make sure to highlight the specific ways their past and future contributions impact your cause.
  • Consider donor levels. When you segment your donors by their giving level, you can create custom campaigns for each group. Your donors have varying giving capacities, and it’s important to ensure you’re asking for the proper amount from them. This can keep you from leaving funds on the table or requesting an amount that makes donors uncomfortable.

Since pieces of direct mail tend to be direct with minimal copy, your nonprofit can personalize them further by including QR codes for digital resources the donor would be interested in.

For example, you can segment new donors and send them direct mail with codes to an online welcome packet that gives them more information about your organization, programs, and cause. This is an effective way to integrate your direct mail and digital marketing strategies to increase touchpoints with donors.

2. Analyzing data.

With the rapid progress made in the world of tech and data, innovations like artificial intelligence are paving the way for new ways to market and fundraise. Data analytics tools are more commonplace and are widely accessible to nonprofits of all sizes. More and more organizations are able to leverage data analytics to get the most out of their marketing efforts, including their direct mail fundraising campaigns.

Because you need donor data to personalize communications, you might already be familiar with using data analytics to improve your marketing efforts. But, you can also use data to track and boost your direct mail fundraising progress.

Your organization can use data analytics to benefit your campaigns by:

  • Tracking response rates to understand how relevant and engaging your direct mail is to donors.
  • Determining the best times to send direct mail based on past campaign performance.
  • Performing A/B testing to understand which appeals, trends, and strategies generate the most donor engagement.
  • Referencing donors’ past involvement (like attending a volunteer event) and philanthropic interests in messages.
  • Tailoring solicitations to donors based on factors like discretionary income, giving affinity, capacity to give, and more.
  • Prioritizing fundraising and marketing efforts by measuring donors’ predicted lifetime value (their average annual donation total multiplied by the number of years they will contribute).

Leveraging this data can help your nonprofit measure its marketing ROI more accurately. With these concrete numbers, you can better define success, set realistic yet ambitious goals, and identify ways to maximize efficiency.

3. A focus on sustainability.

Across all industries, there has been a shift toward more sustainable practices. People are discussing the importance of sustainability more often, consumers and supporters are holding organizations and businesses accountable, and sustainable practices (like recycling and net-zero energy) are being normalized.

Your nonprofit can participate in this important change in many ways. For example, you might opt to use more sustainable fundraising ideas, like the shoe drive or tree planting day listed in Double the Donation’s list of fundraising ideas. On the other hand, you can also streamline your operations to limit waste, especially for things like print marketing which can contribute to paper waste.

Here are a few ways you can follow this trend toward sustainability:

  • Use recycled materials. Recycled paper is often cheaper than non-recycled, and most people can’t tell the difference. Plus, recycled paper can help limit deforestation and conserve important resources like water and fuel.
  • Reduce waste. With a focus on data, your nonprofit can better target donors who will engage with direct mail and respond by taking action. You can save time, resources, and money on printed goods by sending them out to donors who show interest in engaging with mail.
  • Supplement efforts with digital channels. Your nonprofit doesn’t need to replace its direct mail fundraising efforts with a digital approach, but you can offer digital alternatives to supplement the strategy. Invite donors to subscribe to your digital newsletter, donate online, and view long-form content (like annual reports) on your website rather than via direct mail.

Many organizations switched to using postcard mailers. Postcards are very small and don’t require an envelope, reducing waste while saving your organization money. Making small adjustments like this, along with creative collaboration between your marketing and fundraising teams, can lead to more sustainable practices and extra wiggle room in your budget.

While direct mail fundraising has been around for decades, it’s important to remain up-to-date on trends and maintain a fresh, modern approach. By keeping up with new nonprofit marketing and advertising trends, your organization is more likely to meet donors’ needs and preferences, compete with what’s in their mailbox, and motivate them to take action in support of your cause.

In this post, we’ll cover some do’s and don’ts of planning legendary charity events.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Planning a Legendary Charity Event

Whether your nonprofit is preparing to host its annual gala or a one-off virtual game night, you likely have specific goals you want to reach, such as raising a certain amount of money, securing a particular number of new sponsors, or increasing your average attendance rate.

These goals are important, especially when you consider the investment of time, energy, and money that your nonprofit has to make for big events to happen. But what about leaving a lasting impression on your attendees, and providing them with a memorable experience that they’ll be talking about for years to come? In other words, how can you take your charity events to the next level, and make them legendary?

The answer lies in careful event planning. With the right approach to planning your nonprofit’s next event, you can ensure that you’ll meet all of your goals, and put together an occasion that your supporters won’t soon forget. To fine-tune your event planning strategy to this end, follow these do’s and don’ts:

As you review these do’s and don’ts and consider how you can take your events to new heights, remember that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. An experienced charity event planning and production company can help you manage the many moving parts of your event, and give you the time and headspace needed to focus on making your attendee experience a legendary one.

Do pick an event idea that will wow your audience.

One great way to freshen up your event planning strategy is to pick a unique event idea you’ve never done before. As you consider the many different types of events there are to choose from, consider what you know about your nonprofit’s audience and select an idea that will resonate with them.

Here are some of the top fundraising ideas from Best Fundraising Ideas for you to consider:

  • Paint and Sip: This is a relaxing fundraiser that involves getting your supporters together to enjoy drinks and an evening of painting. Consider asking a local artist or art teacher to lead a painting class, and to offer tips and techniques to participants.
  • Car Show: Invite classic car owners to assemble for a car show. Your supporters can browse the collection of cars, enter giveaways, and purchase food from food trucks. For certain demographics, this idea can prove to be incredibly successful.
  • Talent Show: Tap into your community’s talents by hosting a talent show. Set up your show in an interesting venue, and recruit some of your board members or notable community members to act as judges. Make sure to offer an exciting prize for the winning act, like a trophy or gift basket.
  • Night at the Museum: If your organization runs a museum or can partner with one, try hosting an all-night event where attendees can explore the museum exhibits after hours. Allow attendees to hear from museum experts, admire the works around them,  and enjoy good food with great company.

Of course, sometimes you’ll need to stick with event ideas you’ve been using for years. For example, you may have an annual winter ball or gala that is an established tradition in your community. To generate more interest, and to ensure your team is approaching the planning stage in a different way, you can always put a fresh twist on an already-established event.

For example, don’t overlook opportunities to transform your event into a virtual occasion. According to CharityBids’ guide to virtual charity events, these events allow for a flexible experience, help your organization save money, empower you to try new methods of raising money, and can even give you the chance to tap into exclusive experiences like celebrity appearances.

Don’t put off assembling an event planning committee.

To effectively plan and execute your event, you’ll need to create a planning committee made up of individuals who are committed to their responsibilities and to making your event the best it can be.

Here are the roles you’ll need to fill, along with their responsibilities:

  • Committee Chair: The chair will be in charge of communicating with your nonprofit’s leadership about the event, and ensuring the team is adhering to the budget. They’ll also ensure that all other individuals on the committee feel supported in completing their duties ahead of the event.
  • Event Designer: The event designer or planner, will handle all of the event details, including the venue, catering, decor, and entertainment. They’ll also be responsible for securing any necessary liquor or games of chance licenses for the big day.
  • Sponsorships Coordinator: A sponsorships coordinator is tasked with creating and maintaining relationships with event sponsors like local businesses or restaurants. One of the most important things they’ll do is ensure that your sponsors receive the benefits your organization promises them in return for sponsoring your event.
  • Communications Manager: This individual will lead the charge of marketing your event. They’ll guide the rest of your team in how to get the word out to the public and will inform the media about it if necessary.
  • Volunteer Coordinator: The volunteer coordinator will be responsible for recruiting volunteers for the event, training them in their roles, and managing the volunteer team  during the event.

If your event will involve an auction, you may also need to recruit an auction item procurement specialist. They’ll be responsible for identifying auction items, managing relationships with the donors of the items, and gathering the items ahead of the big event. This is a big job, so in some instances, you may need a whole team of procurement specialists.

Do recruit volunteers.

Most often, nonprofits are most concerned about engaging donors during their events, but volunteers are a critical part of the event equation, too. Not only can your event run more smoothly with more hands to help, but your organization can also strengthen relationships with its volunteers by offering them fulfilling opportunities to get involved with the event.

As you recruit volunteers for your event, take what you know about your existing volunteers into consideration, and try to match them with roles that will resonate with their interests and skill sets. For example, if you know one volunteer has great graphic design skills, you might ask them to help you create virtual event invitations.

For volunteers who are signing up to work for your organization for the first time, take the time before and during the event to get to know them, chat about your mission, and ensure they’re comfortable performing their duties. Their experience volunteering during the event will play a big role in whether they return for another volunteer opportunity in the future!

Don’t neglect your follow-up activities.

Once your event is over, it can be tempting to move on to planning your next campaign or project. But if you really want to make a great impression on your event attendees, you’ll ensure that you perform follow-up tasks before you do.

As you plan your event, consider how you’ll reach out to your event attendees, volunteers, and sponsors to thank them for their time and contributions after the event is over. Doing so will help you have a plan in place to get started right after your event ends! Here are some popular options:

  • Traditional thank-you letters
  • Social media shout-outs and/or messages
  • Thank-you videos
  • Small gifts (like your nonprofit’s branded merchandise)

You should also let the larger community know how your event went. For example, you might post about your event on your blog, share pictures from the event on social media, or give an event recap in the next edition of your newsletter. This will show your community how your events are tied to your larger cause, and can encourage more people to attend your next event!

When it comes to nonprofit events, there’s no need to settle for good or great. You can make your next event legendary by approaching the planning process with care. Use these do’s and don’ts to make sure your next event will be one for the books!

Nonprofit compliance is essential to effective operations and can support marketing.

How to Grow Your Nonprofit’s Credibility Through Compliance

Nonprofits are subject to numerous state and federal regulations. These requirements are necessary for the initial creation of a nonprofit organization, as well as its ongoing compliance, especially as the organization grows. But by adhering to legal regulations, a nonprofit can also communicate its integrity to its supporters.

When a nonprofit follows the rules set forth by the government, it not only stays rooted in its core cause, but also communicates to its supporters that they can trust the organization to steward contributions correctly and use those contributions to better beneficiaries’ lives.

In order to help you grow your organization’s credibility, we’ll walk through three compliance tasks that your nonprofit should prioritize:

  1. Securing tax-exempt status
  2. Defining bylaws
  3. Registering for charitable solicitations

To garner the support of donors, volunteers, and advocates, your nonprofit will first have to show why they should give their support. Consider how following these three compliance requirements can prove your nonprofit’s credibility and encourage more support from your community.

1. Securing tax-exempt status

When you first create your nonprofit, your organization will have to prove to the IRS that it has charitable intentions through Form 1023. This is one of the determining factors in being classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your organization’s first opportunity to demonstrate its credibility.

Before you can apply for tax-exempt status, you’ll need to prepare by taking these steps:

  • Establish a nonprofit corporation. File Articles of Incorporation to establish your organization as an entity separate from its founders.
  • Obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN). Apply for an FEIN online through the IRS website. You can only do this after your organization has been legally formed.

After taking these preliminary steps, your organization will be ready to file Form 1023 to apply for tax-exempt status. This form, which is 28 pages long before any attachments and materials required for filing, is like a thorough examination of your organization.

Think of this process as an audit of your organization’s previous or planned activities. The IRS uses this application to ensure your organization aims to fulfill 501(c)(3) services. In doing so, it accounts for the validity of your organization’s work.

2. Defining bylaws

Another requirement of Form 1023 is the inclusion of your nonprofit’s bylaws. This is a set of rules that define how your organization will be governed by its board of directors.

These bylaws will protect your organization against risks and eliminate the guesswork when it comes to carrying out your nonprofit’s mission. These rules will be especially helpful in solving unique situations. For example, if you think of a clever organization name five years from now, you’ll want to have made the provision to allow for changing your nonprofit’s name.

You should include the following in your organization’s bylaws:

  • Organizational purpose: Explain what your organization aims to do and how it will accomplish that mission.
  • Board member details: Determine the term lengths for board members and the process for board member succession/removal.
  • Meetings: Establish the frequency and nature of meetings, as well as any relevant requirements or rules.
  • Conflict resolution: How will the organization handle any internal conflicts?
  • Changes: Don’t forget to include the provision that bylaws can be amended in the future.

According to Foundation Group, “good governance establishes a foundation for good work.” Clear governing rules allow your organization to be held accountable for its actions, which will ultimately make it more trustworthy.

After you’ve drafted and approved your organization’s bylaws, you may consider making them public. You might publish them on your website or refer to them in blog posts. A good website design will combine stylish branding elements with your most important organizational information so that anyone can access and understand the inner workings of your nonprofit.

Although publishing your bylaws is optional, it’s a valuable step toward transparency. When supporters can see and agree with your organization’s bylaws, they may better appreciate how serious your organization is about following them.

3. Registering for charitable solicitations

According to Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit fundraising, “individual giving makes up nearly three-fourths of all charitable contributions.” When it comes to donations, your nonprofit will likely consider several methods of raising money that appeal to its supporters. From email outreach to silent auction events, your organization’s fundraising campaigns are essential to supporting your mission.

It’s important to prioritize compliance when requesting donations to show supporters that your request follows all the right protocols.

Before your nonprofit starts marketing its mission and asking for contributions, find out if you need to register for charitable solicitations. Most states require charitable solicitations registration, but there are nine that don’t:

  1. Delaware
  2. Idaho
  3. Indiana
  4. Iowa
  5. Montana
  6. Nebraska
  7. South Dakota
  8. Vermont
  9. Wyoming

If your state does require this registration, it’s important to prioritize it and renew the registration when it’s due, usually annually. You’ll also have to register in multiple states if you plan on soliciting donations throughout the country. Completing your charitable solicitations registration shows supporters that you do things the right way and aren’t just in it for the money.

With the state’s approval of your registration, supporters can see that your organization’s structure and finances were examined before it was granted permission to ask for donations. Then, when they contribute, they’ll have confidence that their donations are going to exactly what your organization promotes.

Just as you’d prioritize supporters’ preferences when it comes to marketing channels or event features, think about how they view your nonprofit’s internal operations. Your donors should be able to trust that their time, money, and advocacy are supporting a good organization with an important mission and the right intentions.

Author: Greg McRay

Greg is the founder and CEO of Foundation Group, one of the nation’s top providers of tax and compliance services to nonprofits. Greg and his team have worked with tens of thousands of nonprofits for over 25 years, assisting them with formation of new charities, plus tax, bookkeeping, and compliance services. He is credentialed as an Enrolled Agent, the highest designation of tax specialist recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Greg and company work with charities and nonprofits all across the country and worldwide.

Matching Gift Operational Stats: Insights From Top Nonprofits

Matching Gift Operational Stats: Insights From Top Nonprofits

There are millions of established nonprofit organizations, and the matching gift tactics they employ range from fully built-out strategies to lacking entirely. A recent research report by the Top Nonprofits team shares insights from the leading peer-to-peer focused fundraising groups⁠—specifically focusing on the P2P Top 30.

Matching gift operational study

Here at Getting Attention, we found these findings to be particularly helpful in shedding light on the comprehensive matching gift strategies from some of the most successful organizations overall. That said, we decided to pull a few key matching gift operational stats produced by the study that we’d like to share with you.

Let’s dive in!

100% of the P2P Top 30 organizations employ some sort of matching gift promotion.

The first statistic that we want to note is that of the 30 organizations’ whose practices were analyzed in the matching gift study, every one of them had some sort of matching gift strategy built into their overall fundraising efforts.

Again, the extent to which matching gifts were incorporated certainly varied from one nonprofit to the next, but all 30 fundraisers mentioned matching gifts in at least one component of their efforts.

There is a positive correlation between matching gift strategies and overall fundraising revenue.

Another interesting finding demonstrates that there is a positive correlation between an organization’s matching gift strategies and its total fundraising revenue (inclusive of matching gifts and other funding streams).

In fact, this graph from the study lays out the data, showing that nonprofits’ matching gift scores and their overall revenue tended to increase alongside one another.

Matching gift and overall revenue correlation chart

All in all, it can be inferred that organizations with well-thought-out matching gift promotions are more likely to see elevated nonprofit funding and that those organizations with high levels of fundraising success are more likely to invest in a comprehensive matching gift strategy.

The mean matching gift strategy score for the P2P Top 30 falls at 7/14.

For their recent study, the Top Nonprofits team designed a dedicated scorecard to analyze various elements of participating organizations’ matching gift strategies.

The study references the following criteria⁠—each statement accurately reflecting the organization’s matching gift strategy earns the nonprofit an additional point:

  1. Hosts a dedicated matching gift page on its website.
  2. Mentions matching gifts within the donation form.
  3. Uses an auto-completing company search field.
  4. Includes matching gift information within the confirmation screen.
  5. Has an embedded company information widget on the confirmation screen.
  6. Populates company information widget with employer program details automatically.
  7. Shares direct links to program guidelines + next steps on the confirmation screen.
  8. Sends matching gift emails post-transaction.
  9. Mentions matching gift opportunities in the confirmation email.
  10. Leverages separate, dedicated matching gift email(s).
  11. Triggers matching gift emails using the organization’s own domain and branding.
  12. Links to program guidelines + next steps in follow-up emails.
  13. Sends matching gift emails within 24 hours of the initial donation being made.
  14. Uses matching gift software.

Overall, the average matching gift score for the fundraisers included in the project was calculated to be 7/14⁠. This translates to a ‘B’ on the overall grading scale.

Broken down by software provider, the study also notes that the mean score for organizations utilizing Double the Donation software falls at 8.1/14. Meanwhile, Affinaquest’s HEPdata users earned an average of 4.6 points, and organizations using no software (or a still-unknown provider) averaged 3.3/14.

Only 6.7% of organizations analyzed with the Top Nonprofits scale earned a perfect score.

(And they all used the same software provider: Double the Donation)

Of the nonprofits analyzed in the study (30 total), only 6.7% (or two organizations) earned a perfect score, having met all fourteen designated criteria on the grading scale.

This means that the vast majority of fundraisers have significant opportunities for improving their matching gift efforts⁠—and can easily do so by pursuing the elements missing in their current strategies.

We did note, however, that both organizations earning full marks employed the same matching gift software⁠—Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro.

There are 4 primary locations wherein top nonprofits typically promote matching gifts.

Though there were fourteen criteria laid out in the matching gift study, most matching gift promotional efforts can boil down to four overarching opportunities.

This includes an organization’s dedicated matching gift web page, donation forms, confirmation/thank-you screens, and follow-up email communications.

93.3% of top nonprofits have a matching gift page on their website.

Nearly all nonprofits analyzed in the matching gift study currently provide a dedicated matching gift web page on their website. Even those scoring on the lower end of the scale had online matching gift hubs available on their sites.

In fact, this essential asset is one of the key foundations of a healthy overall matching gift strategy. It provides ample information for donors to learn about the opportunity and how they can get involved. Plus, most organizations link to the resource on their confirmation screen, in follow-up emails, and more.

Many of the P2P-based organizations analyzed also host separate event sites for their most prominent fundraising events. Of these groups, some chose to host their matching gift pages on the event-specific website, while others chose to present theirs on the parent organization site, and others still opted for separate match pages on each.

53.3% mention matching gifts within their donation forms.

Another key practice covered in the Top Nonprofits report indicates that mentioning matching gifts within an organization’s donation forms is essential. The explanation? It’s an excellent opportunity to collect donor employment data. When the form provides context into the why behind employment data inquiries (i.e., to uncover matching gift opportunities), donors are typically happy to oblige.

And according to the matching gift promotions analysis, more than half of the organizations in the study integrated this tip into their practices.

Like just about every other aspect of nonprofit matching gift marketing, the ways in which they did so differed. This ranged from short and sweet labels marking the optional data fields for employer matching information to summaries of matching gifts and the benefits that come with program participation.

83.3% highlight matching gifts on their confirmation screens.

Following the donation form itself is typically a gift confirmation screen. And according to the study, the majority of leading nonprofits use this chance to promote matching gifts. However, the extent of the confirmation page promotional efforts varies widely.

For example, some organizations offered single-sentence mentions that encouraged donors to pursue the opportunity on their own. The fundraiser may prompt individual donors to contact their company’s HR department to find out if their employer participates.

However, other nonprofits took a more advanced approach. These teams provided company-specific program guidelines and eligibility criteria and even direct links to online submission forms. This allows the donor to kick off the matching gift process from the initial thank-you screen with just one click!

While the former is better than lacking matching gift mentions altogether, the latter technique really works to simplify matching gifts for donors and ultimately aims to drive more matches to completion.

16.7% do not include matching gifts on their donation forms nor their confirmation screens.

Unfortunately, a number of organizations (luckily, a small number) did not include matching gift information in their donation forms or their confirmation screens. This ultimately means that the fundraisers do not have an easy way to collect employment information during the giving process, nor do they offer instant next steps after an individual submits their gift.

This could cause an organization to miss out on available matching gifts. Because remember: more than 26 million individuals work for companies that offer matching gift initiatives. Yet 78% of the match-eligible segment has no idea that they qualify for such a program.

Matching gift promotion opportunities

For nonprofits that fall into this group, incorporating matching gifts within the giving experience⁠—either directly within, immediately afterward, or, in the best of both worlds, both locations⁠—is a quick and impactful way to ramp up matching gift marketing.

86.6% enlist follow-up emails to remind donors about matching gift opportunities.

Once the donation process itself is complete, most organizations took the time (or, more likely, triggered automations) to follow up with donors regarding matching gifts. These typically fell into one of two categories: mentions of matching gifts within a more general confirmation or acknowledgment email or dedicated, separate email focused on matching gift opportunities and how to get involved. And in the best cases, some combination of both!

According to the study, however, not all follow-ups necessarily hold the same value. In fact, the report outlines tips and tricks for creating optimized matching gift messages, which include using the organization’s own email domain and branding, personalizing the contents with employer-specific information, and more. And the most strategic nonprofits utilize emails that provide direct links to the recipients’ online submission portals, empowering donors to launch the matching gift process right from the email.

10% highlight matching gifts in confirmation emails and separate follow-up messages.

Though 86.6% of organizations follow up with donors about matching gift opportunities post-transaction (using some combination of confirmation emails that highlight matching gifts and separate matching gift messaging), only 10% of participating nonprofits incorporated matching gifts in both types of email communications.

Why does this matter? Well, the more opportunities a donor has to be informed and reminded about matching gifts, the higher the chances are that they complete their end of the matching process. Another common roadblock among fundraisers that enlist only confirmation emails to mention matching gifts is that donors are more likely to skim and discard the message without the reader even getting to the part about matching gifts. That’s a missed opportunity for donors and nonprofits alike!

Of those that send matching gift emails post-transaction, 52% do so within 24 hours of donors first contributing.

Another finding we saw in the study is that when it comes to following up on match-eligible donations, timeliness matters. In fact, one of the key criteria included in the matching gift scorecard asks whether the organization sends matching gift emails in the first 24 hours after the initial donor contributes.

And of the organizations that have enlisted matching gift emails, more than half do, in fact, meet this standard. The report even highlights that many organizations’ triggered their first matching emails within minutes of the donor clicking “submit” on their gift!

Not to mention, a separate compilation of matching gift operational stats from Double the Donation indicates that match reminder emails sent within 24 hours of an initial donation result in a 53% open rate. That’s more than 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate⁠—inferring that donors are more likely to engage with the content when sent in a timely manner.

73.3% of the Top 30 organizations use Double the Donation’s tools.

Organizations analyzed within the Top Nonprofits study of the P2P Top 30 can be divided into four categories based on software usage.

At the time of the report, 73.3% employ Double the Donation’s matching gift automation solution, 360MatchPro. Meanwhile, 16.7% use HEPdata tools, and 3.3% use Amply software. The remaining 6.7% of organizations did not seem to use any dedicated matching gift tools.

The following chart from the report helps visualize the findings:

Matching gift operational stats - software usage

So what does this finding imply? More top-earning nonprofit fundraisers are trusting Double the Donation to empower their matching gift efforts than any other provider.

Not to mention, Double the Donation users scored more highly on the matching gift score chart overall compared to users of alternative software solutions.

Wrapping Up

By analyzing the matching gift operational stats of top nonprofits, we can gain insights into best practices to follow and make a note of emerging trends in matching gift fundraising. From there, organizations like yours can learn from others’ successes and identify growth opportunities—then pursue those areas more effectively.

Interested in learning more about top matching gift strategies and best practices? Check out these additional resources to dive deeper:

  • The Matching Gift Research Report [From Top Nonprofits]. Check out the full study here! We referenced some of our favorite matching gift operational stats in this guide. However, the complete research report shares in-depth analysis of thirty leading nonprofit fundraisers that you won’t want to miss.
  • 14 Important Questions to Ask About Matching Gifts. Got questions? We have answers⁠. Explore the basics of corporate matching gifts and how to leverage the opportunity for your team in this guide. The more you know, the better you can optimize your nonprofit’s efforts to drive results.
  • 19 Matching Gift Companies with Impactful Programs. Get familiar with some of the most prominent matching gift programs and see if your donors work for these companies. View guidelines and initiatives for employers like General Electric, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and more.

Make the most of the matching gift opportunity with Double the Donation. 

In this post, you’ll learn how to compile donor prospect profiles.

A Quick Guide to Compiling Donor Prospect Profiles

When it comes to finding new donors for your nonprofit, identifying prospects is just the first step. In order to transform a prospect into a dedicated, engaged donor, you have to cultivate them, getting to know them as an individual and laying the foundation for a lasting relationship.

Cultivation can be challenging, especially when you’re working with multiple prospects at different stages in the relationship-building process. How do you make every interaction as productive and personalized as possible? How do you remember everything you learn about individual prospects?

Here’s your answer: donor prospect profiles. According to DonorSearch, prospect profiles “contain all of the relevant data gathered during the prospect screening process…as well as any other details that a prospect researcher deems important for gift officers to know during the cultivation process.” Essentially, donor prospect profiles serve as your organization’s ultimate source of truth for every prospective donor you’re working with.

In this quick guide, we’ll take a closer look at the process of compiling donor prospect profiles to use for a successful cultivation process. Let’s jump in!

Why You Should Compile Donor Prospect Profiles

Donors don’t want to be viewed simply as ATMs for your nonprofit, especially if they’re just hearing about your organization and its cause for the first time. In order to make a strong connection with a prospect, you have to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework to get to know them as individuals.

On top of helping you build genuine relationships, donor prospect profiles make your cultivation work easier. For example, relying on profiles for contact information and communication preferences can help you build outreach processes that your prospects will respond well to. Likewise, using what you’ve discovered about a prospect’s philanthropic giving history, you can make more informed donation and engagement requests.

Plus, as you get in the habit of actively recording and organizing information about prospects, you’ll develop a greater understanding of your nonprofit’s community. Having a better grasp on your community’s needs, motivations, and preferences will empower you to tailor your marketing efforts and other operations to your knowledge about the people who make furthering your mission possible.

What to Include in Prospect Profiles

During the prospecting phase, you’ll gather lots of information about prospective donors. Let’s walk through what information you should include in your prospect profiles and how to organize it.

There are seven focus areas you should organize your information under:

1. Introductory Details

This section of a profile should serve as a quick view of the current status of a prospect. Think of it as the section you should look at if you don’t have time to look at anything else. It should include the prospect’s:

  • Name
  • Date of Most Recent Interaction
  • Giving Status
  • Summary of Past Interactions
  • Next Moves

This section, primarily the “Summary of Past Interactions,” “Giving Status,” and “Next Moves” categories, should be updated often to reflect your most recent work with the individual.

2. Basic Details

This part of a prospect profile focuses on contact information, like:

  • Full Name
  • Preferred Name or Nickname
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Email
  • Birthdate

Since this section contains information that will likely change over time, make sure to practice good data hygiene by keeping everything accurate and up-to-date. You may even consider having your data appended to ensure you have the most useful contact information available.

3. Personal History

The personal history section will include capacity and affinity details gathered from the prospect research process and can guide you in your relationship-building activities with prospects. Here’s what it should include:

  • Alma Mater(s)
  • Degree(s)
  • Connections to Foundations
  • Real Estate Holdings
  • Public Stock Holdings
  • Social Club Memberships
  • Community Involvement
  • Hobbies and Other Interests

This information can also be helpful as you look for additional ways to involve prospects in your work beyond just donating. For example, if you learn that one of your prospect’s hobbies is graphic design, you might ask them to help you fine-tune your nonprofit’s visual brand. Or, if you learn that they attended a school that you partner with, you might invite them to volunteer with your organization at that school.

4. Familial Information

Depending on your organization’s mission and focus, it may be useful to include a familial information section in your prospect profiles that lays out:

  • Name of Spouse
  • Spouse’s Philanthropic Ties
  • Spouse’s Professional Affiliations
  • Key Details on Children
  • Key Details on Other Relevant Relatives

Philanthropic work is often something that prospects enjoy engaging in with their loved ones. Knowing a thing or two about their families can help you spot relevant opportunities to involve them in your work, further strengthening your relationship with your prospect.

5. Professional Affiliations

This section will help you discover more about a prospect’s giving capacity and uncover valuable connections. In it, include these details:

  • Employer
  • Employer Address
  • Position
  • Work Email
  • Work Phone Number
  • Estimated Salary
  • Years with Employer
  • Relevant Employment History
  • Relevant Business Contacts

As you assemble this information, be sure to look into whether the prospect is eligible for corporate philanthropy opportunities, like matching gifts.

Re:Charity’s matching gifts guide explains that matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which employers financially match donations their employees make to nonprofits. Educate your prospect and donors about matching gift opportunities and help them use a matching gifts database to check their eligibility.

6. Organizational Connections

The organizational connections section should focus on your prospect’s history with your nonprofit. It will include the following information:

  • Date of Last Gift
  • Amount of Last Gift
  • Total Number of Donations
  • Average Gift Size
  • Current or Past Board Membership
  • Hours Volunteered
  • Relationships with Others Involved in Your Organization

If a prospect is brand new to your nonprofit, this section may be blank, and that’s okay! Be sure to fill it out as they get more involved with your work.

7. Philanthropic Ties

This final section will lay out the prospect’s involvement with other charitable organizations. Pay attention to whether the prospect has been involved with causes similar to yours—this can be a great indicator that they’ll be excited to support your organization!

Here’s what you should include in this section:

  • Charitable Giving Elsewhere
  • Volunteering Elsewhere
  • Board Membership Elsewhere

Remember, many donors are willing to support multiple nonprofits at the same time, especially if they’re passionate about a specific cause. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to donors who are currently involved with other organizations—they will likely be interested in getting involved with yours, too!

When to Compile Prospect Profiles

Clearly, prospect profiles provide a wealth of information about potential donors that you can use in a variety of ways—whether you’re meeting with them for the first time, designing a donation appeal, or figuring out how to thank them for a contribution in a meaningful way.

But what situations call for the creation of donor prospect profiles? You should create profiles when:

Compiling donor prospect profiles before launching a big project or when you want to strengthen an existing program will help you approach the process with more information to support every step you take.

Also, think of donor prospect profiles as living documents that you should update and return to often. Ensuring that all of the information you have on individual prospects is accurate and actionable will make it easier for you and your team to rely on profiles as a resource that will help you make progress with cultivating new donors.

Your priority when you discover a new potential donor should be getting to know as much about them as you can and building out a full prospect profile for them. This profile can serve as a key reference and guide every interaction you have with a prospect along the way to their first major donation. Use these tips to get started with creating donor prospect profiles today!

Want to learn how to leverage digital fundraising for nonprofit success? Learn more with this guide.

Digital Fundraising for Nonprofits: 6 Key Strategies

Optimizing your digital fundraising and marketing strategies now helps cement your future fundraising success. But, with so many nonprofits competing for visibility online, it can be difficult to stand out. By investing in the right digital tools, using social media, leveraging the Google algorithm, and organizing your data, your nonprofit can boost your online reach far beyond your existing community. 

1. Use online fundraising software                  

It’s only fitting to manage your digital fundraising campaigns online. Digital fundraising software can help your nonprofit:

  • Record and store donor-specific information
  • Launch online donation forms
  • Send automated gift acknowledgments
  • Manage online event registrations
  • Report your fundraising metrics
  • Create and send email blasts 

No matter your nonprofit’s size or focus, a well-rounded fundraising software solution can streamline all of your operations. Your nonprofit should choose fundraising software that automatically syncs any donor-specific information with your CRM so your information is always up-to-date. 

Getting started with a fundraising software solution is simple. First, research and demo the different options on the market and choose which one is the best for you. Then, work with your onboarding specialist to learn how to use the software and tailor it to your specific fundraising needs. Once you’re comfortable with the system, remember to consistently flag any additional problems you run into so you can best leverage the software.

2. Include remote options for your fundraising event

Virtual and hybrid events naturally complement your digital fundraising strategies. For instance, you can easily send the link to your online donation page in the chat of an event hosted via video call. Plus, hosting remote or hybrid events is easier than ever due to the affordability and user-friendliness of digital fundraising software solutions. Consider adding a remote component to these traditionally in-person fundraising ideas:

  • Silent auction
  • 5K walk/run
  • Gala
  • Dinner party
  • Movie watch party
  • Meet-and-greet with beneficiaries
  • Networking event
  • Webinars and panels with nonprofit experts
  • Q&A sessions with the executive director or board president
  • Giving Days

A simple way to add a remote element to your event is to gather attendees on a video call. Video conferencing software is widely available, so it’s likely that your attendees could easily make an account and participate. Also, some platforms even have nonprofit discounts, helping to save your nonprofit valuable operating costs.  

3. Try a peer-to-peer format

Another way to boost your digital fundraising event’s revenue is to use a peer-to-peer structure in which participants run their own mini-campaigns and use marketing techniques to promote your larger fundraiser. This structure complements digital fundraising because, with peer-to-peer software, you can automate the fundraising process for your nonprofit, your fundraising participants, and their mini-campaign supporters.

Peer-to-peer fundraising software allows your nonprofit to set up a digital hub for your fundraising campaign. From this landing page, your participants can sign up to host a mini-campaign. Then, they’ll receive their own landing page that they can customize with their own fundraising appeals. Once they send their personal link to their network of supporters, they can conveniently donate to the campaign directly from the website. You can also allow participants to join a fundraising team and assign roles with special privileges, such as team captain, through the software. Your peer-to-peer fundraiser will be more shareable and engaging than ever before in a digital setting!      

4. Align your fundraising website with SEO

Boost your fundraising website’s visibility by updating it according to search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. SEO is the process of changing your website’s content to complement the algorithm that orders the search engine results page (SERP). In other words, it ensures that your digital fundraiser’s website ranks highly on Google and that your campaign gets more exposure.

If you aren’t tech-savvy and don’t have much room in your planned marketing budget, don’t worry – updating your website to align with SEO best practices is free and there are many resources to help you get started. According to Google, these elements determine your SERP ranking:

  • Website security
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Speedy load times
  • Quality of on-site content 
  • On-page organization of content
  • Accessibility to visitors of all abilities 

Use your CMS or website builder to gauge your status in these areas. Once you’ve located any weaknesses on your digital fundraiser’s website, determine the scope of your desired changes. For instance, you’ll need to budget more time to completely rewrite your blog content than you’ll need to add alt text to your images. Then, train your team on how to implement the changes and delegate tasks. Note that you won’t see results right away, as it takes Google time to read and rank websites on the SERP.   

5. Apply for the Google Ad Grants program

Your nonprofit can guarantee a desirable spot on the SERP by applying for the Google Ad Grants program. This program awards nonprofits up to $10,000 of prime advertising space on the SERP for free every month. To get started, all you need to do is:

  • Sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account
  • Verify your 501(c)(3) status
  • Apply for the Google Ad Grants program

Once you’re approved, determine which pages you want to promote and which keywords to target. Your nonprofit can then use the $10,000 to bid on relevant keywords against other nonprofits, so target the keywords that are specific to your mission. 

6. Keep your data organized

Any strong digital fundraising strategy is data-driven. But, to properly leverage your data, you need to keep it organized so you can access it when needed. You can clean your CRM by:

  • Identifying and removing duplicate data points
  • Sending a survey to supporters to update contact information and preferences
  • Standardizing processes for maintaining data

With accurate and organized data, your nonprofit can pinpoint which areas of your digital fundraising strategy need further attention and which efforts were successful.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, your online fundraising success depends on how you leverage digital platforms, such as fundraising management and peer-to-peer software. To launch your new digital fundraising tactics, establish attainable, data-driven, and specific goals with your team. Then, pick the software solutions and strategies that allow you to achieve these objectives. Throughout the process, ensure you’re maintaining constant digital communication with your prospects because you can cultivate a deep relationship with them, even through a screen.

Motivate your employees to work towards a good cause with these four corporate giving events

4 Corporate Giving Events That Teams of Any Size Can Host


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the concept that corporations are responsible for addressing social and environmental concerns to make the world a better place. Corporate giving, which falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, allows businesses to contribute to organizations that promote social good (usually nonprofit organizations). Typically, companies organize events encouraging employee giving to maximize their contribution and impact.

Corporate giving directly benefits the nonprofit partner’s worthwhile causes, and these programs can also help your business. For example, after a corporate giving event, your business might enjoy positive publicity from participating in philanthropic activities. This is known as cause marketing and can improve your business’s reputation in your community.

These four corporate giving event ideas can help your business promote social good and take advantage of the benefits of CSR:

  1. Athletic Shoe Drive Fundraiser
  2. In-Kind Donation Drives
  3. Auction Fundraiser
  4. Fun Run

Giving back to your community doesn’t have to be costly or require a large team of volunteers. There are impactful corporate giving events that any team can take part in, no matter what size they are. Let’s dive in!

1. Athletic Shoe Drive Fundraiser

By participating in a Sneakers4Good program, your running store or gym collects gently worn, used and new running shoes to raise money. Encourage your employees to bring in their athletic shoes, and place collection materials in your store or gym to collect sneakers from customers as well.

These fundraisers are very simple. According to Sneakers4Funds’ guide to donating running shoes, you can breakdown the process into four steps:

  • Step 1: Collect gently worn, used and new running shoes from your customers and community.
  • Step 2: Fill shipping bags with the shoes you collect.
  • Step 3: Take the shoe bags to your nearest UPS store to ship to your fundraising coordinator.
  • Step 4: Receive a check in the mail after your shoes are processed and donate the funds to your nonprofit partner.

The Sneakers4Good program is quick and easy to put together, especially if your business works with a facilitator like Sneakers4Funds. Because these fundraisers don’t require a significant investment of time or money, smaller running stores and gyms can still raise money to donate to a worthy cause.

2. In-Kind Donation Drives

In-kind donations are non-financial contributions that businesses or individuals make to mission-driven organizations. These donations usually include supplies or goods the organization needs to further its mission. Here are a few common ways to make in-kind donations:

  • Donating school supplies to a local school
  • Contributing canned goods to a food bank
  • Giving toys to children’s nonprofits during the holiday season
  • Donating running shoes to a sneaker recycling program

Businesses often donate their own products or services to nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations. To increase your business’s impact, market the opportunity to donate items to a mission-driven organization to your customers and employees.

3. Auction Fundraiser

Auctions are a popular corporate giving event. The suspense, fast-paced action, and competition of these events make them one of the most exciting ways to drive employee giving. To make the experience even better for participants, you can add a creative twist to a traditional auction fundraiser.

For example, consider trying one of these innovative ways to host an auction:

  • Silent auction. During a silent auction, guests place bids on items by writing them down on paper or submitting them through the event’s online auction website. According to Handbid’s guide to silent auctions, using an auction website or software to facilitate bidding helps eliminate common issues with paper biddings like illegible handwriting or lost bids. You can pair the auction with another event, like a gala, to make the auction even more exciting.
  • Virtual auction. Virtual auctions take place entirely online, which makes ironing out logistical details much more manageable. You can choose to host the auction over a single night on a synchronous video call with participants or allow participants to bid on the items on your auction site over a few days or weeks.
  • Holiday auction. Take advantage of the “season of giving” during the holidays by creating a holiday-themed auction. Decorate your location with ribbons, bows, and tinsel, and create holiday-themed gift baskets for participants to bid on at the auction. You can even pair this with other holiday activities like cookie decorating or gift swaps to boost the holiday fun.

Many factors go into making an auction successful, including your bidding solution, auction items, and, most importantly, the guests who will bid on the items. Market the event to your employees and customers to drive attendance at your auction.

4. Fun Run

Fun runs are a great way to raise money for a good cause and encourage participants to be active. These events are fairly simple, and all you need is the space to host the run and willing participants. The “fun” element of these runs adds a fun, customizable twist on the traditional 5K race.

If you decide to organize a fun run, consider these tips when planning your event:

  • Stay organized. While simple, this event still has several moving parts you need to track. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks, use a platform like Google’s G Suite to organize your work and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with team members and vendors.
  • Choose an engaging theme. The best part of a fun run is that the “fun” element can be anything. For example, you might schedule the race for October and encourage runners to wear Halloween costumes. Make sure to choose a theme your staff, customers, and other attendees will enjoy.
  • Give your participants fundraising tips. Give participants tips and pointers about the best ways to fundraise for your cause, like leveraging social media to reach members of their social networks who want to give. This can help your participants generate more funds to power your corporate giving program so you can maximize your business’s impact.
  • Invite additional guests. Remind participants to invite other guests (like their friends and family members) to cheer them on as they run. Provide opportunities for these guests to contribute to your cause by adding donation collection tables so you can generate additional revenue outside of your staff and customers’ contributions.

In addition to inviting guests to watch the event, you can also connect with other groups in your community. For example, you could ask your local running club to get involved to boost participation in your event.

Corporate giving events are a great opportunity to bring your business and community together to collect donations that will go to a good cause. Whether you host a shoe drive fundraiser to collect running shoes or organize a fun run, you can make corporate giving events engaging for your staff, customers, and other supporters.

About the Author: Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Sneakers4Funds

Photo of Wayne Elsey Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Sneakers4Funds, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.

Earn more for your cause with these 5 advocacy event ideas.

Advocacy Events: 5 Fundraisers to Earn More for Your Cause

The key to creating lasting change today is advocacy—speaking up on behalf of members of your community affected by a particular issue. Running a successful advocacy campaign will likely start with mobilizing supporters and educating your community about your cause. To support these efforts, you’ll need to raise funds.

Events are a particularly effective fundraising method for advocacy groups. When you hold a fundraising event, you’ll bring supporters together, spread awareness, and earn funding at the same time. The type of event you choose to hold will depend on your organization’s needs and capabilities, in addition to your supporters’ interests.

To help your advocacy group earn more for your cause, these five fundraising event ideas are a great place to start:

  1. 5K Races
  2. A-Thon Style Events
  3. Auctions
  4. Lectures, Webinars, and Panels
  5. Rallies

With the right tools and a solid plan, any of these five events will help you engage donors as you raise the funds you need to support your advocacy campaign. Let’s dive in!

1. 5K Races

Race fundraisers work well in a variety of communities. 5Ks in particular tend to attract large audiences, as there are many ways for participants to get involved. Many 5Ks allow participants to choose whether they want to run in the timed race or walk the race course at their own pace. Supporters who decide not to race can volunteer at the event or donate while they cheer on their friends and family.

Grassroots Unwired’s guide to 5K fundraisers suggests several tips for making your event more effective, such as:

These tips can make your 5K advocacy event more successful.

  • Setting clear fundraising goals. As with any fundraiser, your organization should plan a 5K with specific, measurable goals in mind. For example, you might set goals of increasing your revenue total from last year’s race by 20% and registering 50 new supporters who you can add to your organization’s contact lists.
  • Marketing your event throughout the community. Besides sending out emails and posting on social media, distributing fundraising flyers in your community can be a great way to spread the word about your 5K to new supporters.
  • Securing sponsorships. Asking businesses in your area to sponsor your 5K will help you cover event costs and get necessary supplies (like tents, race course markers, and water bottles). In exchange, you’ll promote them on your marketing materials, helping to associate their names with a good cause. Make sure to choose sponsors whose business values align with your cause.
  • Adding a peer-to-peer component. To bring in additional funding and involve more community members, consider pairing your 5K with a peer-to-peer fundraiser. When supporters sign up to race, ask them to create a fundraising page through your organization’s peer-to-peer software and share it with their friends and family.

Besides using peer-to-peer software, digital event tools that include registration and ticketing features can help your advocacy group organize your 5K. Careful planning and efficient registration is key to a successful race fundraiser.

2. A-thon Style Events

The characteristic all a-thon style fundraising events have in common is that you’ll ask supporters to do a particular activity as much as they can to raise money for your cause. To maximize the funds you bring in, you’ll want to choose an activity that interests your supporters.

To help make this decision, you could send out a survey to supporters asking them to vote on their favorite a-thon style event idea. Some of the most common a-thon events include:

These are six ideas for a-thon style advocacy events.

  • Walk-a-thons
  • Bike-a-thons
  • Swim-a-thons
  • Dance-a-thons
  • Bowl-a-thons
  • Read-a-thons

When deciding which a-thon style event to hold, consider what activities coordinate best with your cause. For example, if you’re advocating for an education-related issue, a read-a-thon would be a great fit. Or, if your cause is related to health, you could try a bike- or swim-a-thon to encourage supporters to be physically active while fundraising.

No matter what event you choose, you’ll need volunteers to run it. Look into volunteer grant opportunities to bring in even more funds. These grants can also help expand your network and get the word out about your cause as you form new relationships with the businesses who provide volunteer grants as well as the volunteers themselves.

3. Auctions

Hosting an auction can also bring your community together while raising funds to support your cause. Auctions are an especially versatile fundraiser—you could host either a silent auction or a live event depending on your organization’s capabilities and your supporters’ interests. You can also decide whether to hold your auction in person, virtually, or in a hybrid format.

Once you’ve decided on your event’s format, you’ll need to procure items for your supporters to bid on. Auctions often attract more attention when they offer items that supporters can’t buy at major retailers, such as:

  • Experiences and services. Highly popular auction items often aren’t physical. These items can range from car wash gift certificates to spa packages to vacations.
  • Goods made by local artists. This category can include paintings, jewelry, furniture, or anything else created in your community. Locally made goods are often one-of-a-kind, making them more valuable. Plus connecting with artists in your community can help you gain even more support for your cause.
  • Prize baskets or bundles. To increase the value of individual items,Handbid’s guide to silent auctions recommends auctioning off several smaller items as one prize basket or bundle. For example, you could put together a movie theater gift certificate, popcorn, candy, and a throw blanket to create a “movie night” prize basket.

Your organization can often get these auction items via in-kind donations from corporate sponsors. Besides featuring your sponsors in your marketing materials leading up to the auction, make sure to mention them during the event and thank them afterward.

4. Lectures, Webinars, and Panels

Educating supporters about your cause is key to a successful advocacy campaign. Hosting an educational fundraising event can serve that purpose and bring in funds at the same time.

Your educational fundraisers can be in-person or virtual events. If you go the in-person route, you’ll want to find a large space where an expert on your cause can give a lecture explaining the history and impact of your target issue. To raise money, charge an admission fee and set up a donation box at the event.

To educate your supporters through a virtual event, try a webinar or panel. Your supporters can attend from the convenience of their homes, and you can bring in speakers from different locations to share their unique insights.

5. Rallies

When considering events related to community advocacy, rallies are probably one of the first that comes to mind. Besides providing an opportunity for supporters to donate, rallies help raise awareness of your cause throughout your community and prompt action.

If you organize a rally, you’ll need to get permission to use a large outdoor space. Find several speakers who can speak to your audience about the cause you’re advocating for and inspire them. Also, prepare educational materials that can be distributed during your rally featuring links or QR codes to your website so supporters can connect with your organization afterwards.

A rally can help strengthen community support for your cause and draw new advocates. It may also attract the attention of the local press, spreading the word about your cause even further. This increase in both support and interest will make contacting policymakers about your cause a natural next step—if the issue has been in the news, they’ll already be aware of it when you reach out, and you’ll have new supporters who you can encourage to call or write to them.

Wrapping Up

The ideas listed above are just five of the possible event fundraisers that your advocacy group could hold. Weigh several event options to choose the best ones based on your organization’s budget and supporter base. As you plan your fundraising events, make sure to invest in the right digital tools to help you earn more for your cause.

This article was contributed by our friends at Grassroots Unwired.

Author: Russ Oster

This article was contributed by Russ Oster of Grassroots Unwired.

Russ’ first experience in the world of grassroots organizing came when he was an infant and his mother pushed him in a stroller door to door to collect signatures for the Impeach Nixon movement. Eighteen years later he embarked on his college career in Washington, DC and during that time developed a passion for campaigns and elections that started with an internship on the campaign of the first woman ever elected to Congress from the State of Virginia. 

For the next 15 years Russ lived and breathed campaigns, running field operations in a wide range of races and for a number of coordinated campaign efforts. When it became obvious to Russ that the technology existed to make field efforts drastically more efficient and accountable but the solutions did not, he launched Grassroots Unwired and has worked every day since to keep GU on the cutting edge, pushing new features and enhancements to meet the needs of ever evolving grassroots organizing efforts.

Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas to help expand your organization's reach.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas: Promote Your Cause Effectively

Nonprofit marketing is the key to growing your organization, gaining support, and having people show up to your events. Without marketing, there’s no way for people to know about your nonprofit and all the great work you’re doing.

It can be difficult to come up with effective marketing strategies for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve been in the marketing world for a while and feel like your marketing plan could use a refresh. Perhaps you’re constrained by your organization’s small marketing budget. Or maybe you’re completely new to the nonprofit marketing space and have no idea where to start.

Whatever your position is, we’re here to offer a comprehensive list of nonprofit marketing ideas to choose from to help you successfully promote your organization’s work. Take a look at the categories we’ll go over:

Here at Getting Attention, we specialize in teaching nonprofits about the Google Ad Grant program. Google Ad Grants are one surefire nonprofit marketing idea that comes at no cost to your organization. We believe that when paired with other nonprofit marketing ideas, the Google Grants program can skyrocket your promotional efforts and build the support your mission deserves.

Schedule a free consultation with Getting Attention to learn about how Google Grants is an effective nonprofit marketing idea.

We have many nonprofit marketing ideas to cover, so let’s get started!

These are the basics of nonprofit marketing.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing is the process of strategizing and planning ideas that will help your organization spread its reach and mission, obtain donations, and recruit supporters like volunteers, board members, and event attendees.

You’ve developed an organization that stands for a good cause. However, what you can do in service of your mission is limited by how much others know about your nonprofit. You certainly can’t take on something as big as ending the climate crisis or saving endangered animals without the help of others. That’s where effective nonprofit marketing ideas come in.

While nonprofit marketing is necessary for all organizations, it’s not always easy. You must be organized and focused on the goals you have for your nonprofit. Once you figure out the nonprofit marketing tactics that work for your nonprofit, they can help your organization by:

  • Spreading awareness of your mission. At the heart of your organization is your mission or cause. Nonprofit marketing can let people know what your organization is working so hard to achieve.
  • Securing donations. The more you can share your organization and its mission with others, the more potential donations you can receive.
  • Building relationships with donors. Of course, any monetary contributions your organization can obtain are useful, but recurring donations allow for a more stable income. If you can communicate with your donors effectively, they’ll be more likely to continue supporting your organization.
  • Gaining other supporters. Donors are just one group who can help out your organization. Don’t forget about volunteers, board members, and event attendees. Effective nonprofit marketing ideas can help you reach all kinds of people who are willing to assist you in achieving your mission.
  • Showcasing your services. Your nonprofit has a mission, but how do you specifically carry it out? Knowing exactly what your organization provides will inspire people to contribute to your nonprofit, and a comprehensive marketing plan can help highlight your services.Effective nonprofit marketing ideas can help your organization achieve these objectives.

Now that you know just how useful the right nonprofit marketing ideas can be, we’ll go over some strategies for how to use them effectively. We’ve split these ideas into different categories based on the overall outcome they will have for your organization.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for developing your organization's mission.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Developing Your Organization’s Mission

Without a clear focus, it will be difficult to promote and operate your organization. That’s why developing your organization’s mission is so important. It provides the basis for your nonprofit’s values that likely govern what your organization does, how your employees approach their work, and how others see your organization.

Here’s how to get started with crafting your nonprofit’s mission:

There are many different nonprofit marketing ideas that can help you develop your nonprofit's mission.

  • Create an original nonprofit taglineIt’s important to be able to sum up your mission in a short phrase or sentence. That way, people interested in your work can quickly get a sense of what it’s all about.
  • Come up with design, personality, and attitude guidelines. Cohesiveness is key. Not only do you want your marketing materials to match your mission, but the way your employees act should as well. Be clear with how you want your employees to represent your organization so that everyone knows your standards.
  • Change up your look. If your organization has been around for a while, it might be worth thinking about changing your logo or branding. Doing so can freshen up your online presence and show people that you’re committed to modernizing your organization.
  • Provide information about your nonprofit’s goals and progress. Being transparent about what your organization is trying to achieve and the results you’ve gotten so far will help people to get a sense of where their help could fit in. It’s also just good practice for your nonprofit to be honest and forthcoming about its operations.
  • Exude confidence. If you want people to become a part of your organization, then you need to first believe in your work yourself. List your organization’s strengths so that people can see all the ways you excel as a nonprofit. In turn, people will be more willing to support your organization since it gives off a robust and self-assured image.
  • Incorporate storytelling. It’s the classic dilemma: showing people the work your organization has done is way better than just telling them the services you provide. Gather stories and quotes from those your organization helps so that people can develop a personal connection to your organization. Seeing the impact your organization has on real people will help others understand exactly what they could contribute to.
  • Develop a stable marketing plan or strategy. Staying organized for any task requires making a plan, and marketing is no different. A comprehensive nonprofit marketing plan will map out what you want to achieve in the near and distant future to give your efforts some direction.

Once you have a good understanding of your organization’s mission, it’s time to get online and spread the word.

Here are several nonprofit marketing ideas for using technology effectively.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Using Technology Effectively

In today’s media age, productive technology use is the key to marketing success. Using technology effectively can amplify your organization’s outreach even further and spread your mission to more people. Try out these tech-savvy nonprofit marketing ideas:

Text Messaging

Text messaging your supporters is the best way to reach them quickly and efficiently. With a 99% open rate and 90% read rate within just three minutes of sending, text messaging guarantees that your supporters won’t just open your messages and move on with their day, but will read and act on them.

To set up a winning text messaging campaign, you’ll need the right software and strategies. Tatango’s guide to text-to-give lays out the following best practices:

  • Leverage comprehensive text fundraising software. Look for a provider with a full suite of user-friendly tools to create your text messaging campaigns, including automation, segmentation, schedule sending, and real-time data reports. The right software will also ensure that your text messaging campaigns are compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) so you don’t have to pay any unnecessary fees.
  • Choose a relevant text-to-give keyword. Your keyword is a word or brief phrase that supporters will text to your designated short- or long-code to opt into your campaign. The best keywords are easy to spell and market, so stick to a word or phrase that’s simple and relevant to the purpose of your text messaging campaign. For example, a higher education institution could use the keyword “ALUMNI” for their alumni fundraising campaign.
  • Build your contact list. Market your text-to-give keyword and code widely across multiple marketing platforms so you can encourage different audiences to opt in. For example, you can advertise your text messaging campaign on your website’s donation page, on your social media, and in your direct mail.
  • Optimize your donation page for mobile. Your donation page should be easily accessible by mobile users so they can complete the donation experience in just a few moments. Only ask supporters for the most essential information, including their name, contact information, donation amount, and billing information so they have a positive experience giving to your organization and don’t have to spend too much of their time submitting their gift.
  • Create inspiring text messages. Incorporate storytelling into your text messages and position donors as the hero. For example, an animal welfare organization could share the story of a rescued dog that needs immediate surgery and requires donors’ support to make this possible. This form of storytelling can help motivate donors to act urgently to support your mission.
  • Determine the frequency of your messages. If your nonprofit texts supporters too infrequently or too often, you risk the possibility of donors becoming disengaged with your cause. Find a sweet spot by tracking donor engagement and correlating changes in message frequency to unsubscribe and conversion rates with the help of your texting software.
  • Collect and analyze donor data. Assess how effective your text messaging campaign is over time by collecting metrics, such as the average donation amount, how frequently donors text-to-give to your cause, and donor lapses. This will help you identify any gaps in your strategy and optimize your approach to better engage and motivate donors to give.

Text messaging is one of the best nonprofit marketing ideas.


The right text messaging software will support you in achieving a high return on your investment. Do your research to find a platform that can be customized to meet your nonprofit’s specific needs.


It’s important to have a strong nonprofit website to showcase your organization and cause. Here are some website nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Make a website. A well-designed website for your organization is the perfect place to start. It’s the most widely recognized online marketing tool that people of all ages can comfortably use on any device. Ensure that yours is easy to use and features all the up-to-date information that potential donors, volunteers, employees, supporters, and clients need to decide if they would like to be involved with your organization.
  • Create a blog. Content marketing is a great way to share what’s going on within your organization and provide relevant information about your industry. Writing lots of blog content will show that you’re a reputable source for industry and nonprofit-related topics. Also, people searching for topics you feature in your blog could stumble upon your organization’s website and become interested in supporting your cause.
  • Write engaging copy. Informing people about your cause will warrant a lot of writing. To make your copy easy to follow, break it up with graphics and try to be as concise as possible. It can also help your copywriters if you indicate what you’re envisioning for your brand’s voice and tone.
  • Work on your content’s SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is what ensures your content gets found on Google and other search engines. Do some keyword research to find what relevant terms people are searching for and incorporate them into your website and blog.Here's a checklist of nonprofit marketing ideas for your organization's website.

While these ideas are an effective way to strengthen your site, there are plenty of other nonprofit marketing strategies out there.

Social Media

Social media is the perfect way to engage with your younger supporters. Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas for social media:

  • Build out your social media accounts. Social media is always changing, but it’s important to stay on top of the trends and new platforms. As of right now, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat are the places to be. Lean into trends and adapt them to your organization for a fun yet relevant social media presence. If you have room in your budget, it might be beneficial to hire an intern to run your social media accounts so that your content stays fresh.
  • Make videos. Videos often allow you to portray and elicit emotion in a way that images can’t. If you have the resources to do so, try creating a short video related to your mission and post it on YouTube, your website, and your social media channels.
  • Establish a connected online presence. None of your online marketing tools should exist in a vacuum. Connect your website, blog, and social media accounts together to provide a cohesive user experience. For example, provide the link to your website in the bio of your social media accounts and feature your social media accounts on the homepage of your website. Making it easy to jump from platform to platform will ensure that users can find the one that best suits their preferences for interacting with your organization.Here's a checklist of nonprofit marketing ideas for your organization's social media.

After you have developed your nonprofit’s website and social media accounts, remember to follow all general digital marketing best practices.

General Online Nonprofit Marketing Ideas

Finally, take a look at these general nonprofit marketing ideas to improve your organization’s online presence:

  • Encourage peer referrals with fundraising eCards. Design online greeting eCards for every occasion, so your supporters have plenty of options to choose from throughout the year. Be sure to connect each design to your cause by infusing brand elements like your logo, fonts, and graphics related to your work. Then, you can either offer them for free or in exchange for donations, so people can share how much they love your cause with their friends and families.
  • Utilize multiple marketing channels. Marketing comes in all different forms, and it’s important to leverage as many of them as you can. Combine emails, phone calls, direct mail, social media posts, and website updates for the most comprehensive marketing strategy. You’ll want to try different avenues so you have the biggest chance to capture your audience’s attention.
  • Include calls to action. To inspire action, tell people how they can help create change. Maybe you include a button in one of your blog posts linking to your donation page. Perhaps you add an event registration link to your email newsletter. Making it easy for people to take the actions you want them to makes it more likely that they’ll respond accordingly.
  • Take advantage of virtual events. The boom of video chatting platforms in the workplace has opened up doors for virtual events. Now, you can plan an event that reaches hundreds or thousands of people all around the world. Host a panel or share some updates about your organization with your supporters for an engaging online experience.Here are some general nonprofit marketing ideas.

Smart technology use can push your mission forward and help you gain support. However, it can get expensive to create so much content across different platforms, so it’s important to know how to budget your marketing plan.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for keeping your costs down.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Keeping Costs Down

Nonprofits are typically on tight budgets, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t market their causes effectively. They just need to be smart about how they use their funds. Here are some ways you can promote your organization while keeping costs low:

  • Create a marketing budget. What better way to stay on a budget than by creating one in the first place? It’s important to allocate your resources where they will be most useful and stay aware of how much money your organization has available to spend.
  • Print strategically. These days, there’s less and less of a need to print things, so think about what truly needs to be printed. Additionally, try to print double-sided pages whenever possible and implement batch printing.
  • Unbrand direct mail. There’s no need to send branded envelopes if it’ll overwhelm your budget. Besides, all the important stuff is inside, right? Just make it clear that the letter came from someone at your organization, so recipients won’t think it’s junk mail and toss it.
  • Add a “Donate Now” button to your Facebook page. If your nonprofit qualifies, Facebook will add the button to your page for free. It’s an easy way for supporters to donate and requires no work from your team to upkeep.
  • Team up with a local business. If what’s holding your organization back is funds, seek out someone who can offset your marketing costs. Local businesses are often happy to pair up with nonprofits as a way to give back to their community. See if you can find a local business that will donate food or supplies for your event or keep a donation bucket in their store.
  • Use AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a program available through Amazon where the company will donate 0.5% of people’s eligible purchases to a nonprofit that they choose. There are over one million organizations to choose from, and making sure yours is one of them is an easy and free way to collect some extra cash. Let your supporters and employees know to select your organization on the AmazonSmile website to start earning from their purchases.Try these ideas for how to keep your nonprofit's marketing costs low.

Keeping costs down where you can will ensure that you can set aside the funds you need for bigger marketing projects and more expensive resources.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Advertising Your Nonprofit

There are so many different nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization’s services and making sure they’re put in front of the right audiences. This is great news because it means your organization can pick and choose the tactics that fit your nonprofit best. Check out some nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization:


Marketing your nonprofit online will allow you to reach a larger audience. Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for spreading the word online:

  • Use Google Ad Grants. The Google Ad Grant program provides eligible organizations with $10,000 per month in Google Ad spending at no cost. You just have to apply, create your ads, and you’re good to go! However, you must maintain your account and follow all program requirements. If you need help with your Google Ad Grants account, schedule a free consultation with us. We’ll help you apply for the program, target the right keywords, and create highly effective ads for your cause!
  • Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is when individuals raise money for a nonprofit by reaching out to friends and family. People can set up a donation page, but social media has made peer-to-peer fundraising even easier by building in fundraising options on apps like Instagram and Facebook. For birthdays, holidays, memorials, or no occasion at all, individuals who are passionate about your organization can raise money for your cause.
  • Analyze your data. These days, every action you take online can produce some valuable data points. Track and review data such as clickthrough rate and time spent on each page to see if you can find any patterns and improve your marketing efforts. This nonprofit marketing idea can be especially useful when planning your advertising budget so that you can see where money needs to be allocated.

While it’s important to advertise your nonprofit online, there are still helpful ways to expand your organization’s reach using offline methods.


Combine your online marketing efforts with these offline nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Sell branded merchandise. Turn your supporters into walking advertisements for your organization! If you get creative with your merchandise and make it something your supporters will love, then others will be interested in what they’re wearing and research your nonprofit.
  • Find brand ambassadors. Choosing a leader in your nonprofit to be the face of the organization can help with brand recognition and familiarize people with your nonprofit. Additionally, recruiting supporters or influencers to be brand ambassadors for your nonprofit is a great way to spread the word about your organization. Yes, they can post on social media, but they can also help you host in-person events and implement your other nonprofit marketing ideas.
  • Give people a personalized experience. Whether that’s sending a letter to a donor thanking them for their support or reaching out to a supporter to deepen your relationship with them, customize the experience. People respond better when they know you took the time to give them something special and meant for them only.
  • Emulate larger organizations. It never hurts to see what other more established nonprofits are doing and try to reproduce it with your own resources. Check out their blogs and scroll through their social media pages for tips and an idea of the progression of their organization.There are so many ways you can incorporate advertising into your nonprofit marketing plan, both online and offline.

Mixing up your advertising methods is a great way to reach many different people. It also allows you to learn more about your audience and which marketing efforts they respond to best.

These nonprofit marketing ideas can help you foster relationships with partners and donors.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Fostering Stakeholder Relationships

All of your supporters are important, but developing relationships with partners and donors will strengthen your organization’s network and broaden your reach. Take a look at some of our marketing ideas for nonprofits looking to recruit more partners and donors:

Developing relationships with partners and donors is not only a large part of your nonprofit marketing plan but also of your organization's reputation and credibility.

Welcoming Partners and Donors

From the very beginning, you’ll want your new supporters to feel welcome in your organization’s community. Try out these nonprofit marketing ideas for new partners and donors:

  • Send a welcome package. What better way to welcome partners and donors than with a welcome package? Include tons of information about your organization and partner or donor program. Additionally, you’ll want to give them some fun branded merchandise such as a t-shirt, pen, or mug. Doing so can get people excited about working with you and show how much you appreciate them from the very start.
  • Take them out for a meal. Having lunch or coffee with a partner or donor is a great way to develop a relationship with them. You can show them that you care about getting to know them face-to-face and can tell them a little more about your organization. This is also a great opportunity to get any feedback from your partners or donors about their work with you so far.
  • Remind them of matching gift opportunitiesIf a donor’s employer is willing to match their donation, you could receive double the funding for your organization. It’s best for donors to use software that will inform them of matching gift opportunities beforehand, but it doesn’t hurt to them let know after they have made their donation to see if their employer can help.

Once you develop relationships with your partners and donors, it’s important to keep them strong.

Maintaining the Relationship

Keeping your relationships with your supporters is an essential part of your nonprofit’s success. Take a look at these nonprofit marketing ideas to help you maintain stakeholder relationships:

  • Thank your supporters and sponsors with greeting cards. Recognize your supporters for their commitment to your cause with eCards. Send cards during key times, like after they make a major donation or attend an event. Digital cards are also perfect to send during the year-end holiday season. After all, that’s an opportune time to reach out and reflect on their support over the past year.
  • Be strategic with the timing of your messages. It’s important to build a regular email rapport with your partners and donors, whether that be by reaching out to them individually to chat or sending an email newsletter. However, make sure you look into the best time to send these messages. This may depend on the age, career, lifestyle, and time zone of your partners and donors.
  • Reach out to lapsed donors. Just because a donor hasn’t contributed in a while doesn’t mean that they’ve lost interest in your organization. Sometimes, donors are just busy or don’t have your organization on their minds. Sending them a gift or explaining how your donor program has changed can help to re-engage lapsed donors.
  • Keep up with donors. Stewardship is an important part of maintaining relationships with donors. Build trust by following up with supporters and showing them that you are using their money responsibly.
  • Respond well to partner or donor feedback. These people are contributing to your organization, so it’s important to remember that when they give you constructive feedback. Listen to their concerns and try to make things right. Your supporters will appreciate your patience and willingness to help them out.

Forming relationships with supporters is one thing, but keeping them requires effective communication. Apply these nonprofit marketing ideas to your outreach to make sure you’re doing everything you can to create lasting connections with your supporters.

Once you have their support, it's important to keep up your communication with partners, donors, and other supporters using effective nonprofit marketing ideas.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Communicating with Supporters

After you develop relationships with your supporters, you need to figure out how to keep them around. As we’ve mentioned, the best way to ensure that your supporters continue their support is by effectively communicating with them. These are some best practices for communicating with your nonprofit’s supporters:

Communication Style

The way you communicate with your supporters is inherently tied to their perception of your organization. Use these nonprofit marketing ideas to develop a good communication style with your supporters:

  • Be responsive. An easy way to keep your communication style professional is to respond quickly. Responding efficiently to people’s messages shows them you respect their time.
  • Keep a positive attitude. You want your supporters to have a positive experience with your organization, which starts with you and your staff. Approach your communications with optimism despite any challenges your nonprofit encounters.
  • Use a donor database. Keeping track of your supporters’ information and past interactions with your organization can help you make more informed decisions regarding your communication with them. For example, if you have multiple phone numbers listed for the same donor, choosing the preferred one can ensure a quicker response.
  • Implement segmentation. Dividing your supporters into appropriate categories can enable you to send more personalized messages to each group. An easy way to segment your supporters is by type of support: donors, partners, clients, brand ambassadors, board members, and so on. You could also segment supporters by how long they have been involved with your organization or by how frequently they interact with your nonprofit.Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for improving your organization's communication style.

Improving your organization’s communication style will help you keep great relationships with your stakeholders.

Getting Supporters Involved

While it’s important for your organization to keep your supporters informed, you’ll also want to hear from them about what they think of your nonprofit. Get your supporters involved with these nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Send out surveys. Receiving feedback from your supporters can help improve areas of your organization that need work. Additionally, the act of asking for feedback shows supporters that you care about their input and are committed to improving your nonprofit.
  • Encourage interactions on social media. If you’re using social media effectively, you can really get to know your supporters and encourage them to interact with your organization in unique ways. For example, you can create polls, ask questions in your captions, and interview supporters so you can feature them in a post or newsletter.
  • Ask your supporters about their experience working with your organization. The best way to promote your organization is by sharing quotes from real people who believe in your nonprofit. Asking your supporters to offer a quote about their experience allows them to reflect on what they enjoy about your organization and share that with others.Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas for getting your supporters involved.

Fine-tuning your communication with supporters can help to maintain your relationships with them and remind them of why they prioritize contributing to your cause. These ideas offer a solid start, but be sure to consistently brainstorm new ways to maintain open lines of communication with your community.

Take a look at these resources for more nonprofit marketing ideas.

Conclusion & Additional Resources

Developing and implementing a marketing strategy can be a lot for a nonprofit to take on, but these nonprofit marketing ideas will give you a solid foundation on which to build. From solidifying your organization’s mission to fostering relationships with your supporters, there are so many ways to promote your nonprofit and make it stand out to prospects.

While we were able to give you a quick glimpse into several marketing ideas for nonprofits, you might want some more information about them. Below we’ve highlighted some resources about ideas that we mentioned: