Fundraising is essential for the survival and success of nonprofit and charitable organizations. In fact, fundraising campaigns are often the primary focus of these organizations because without operating capital, they can’t provide the services necessary to fulfill their main goals. Before the advent of digital marketing, fundraising was primarily focused on obtaining as many donations as possible, but outreach efforts in today’s competitive environment must now focus on other equally important objectives.

Increase Brand Awareness

It’s no longer enough for nonprofit and charitable organizations to simply solicit people for donations because of increased competition and decreased attention spans. Charities must now market themselves in the same way as standard companies that are trying to reach their target audiences. That means fundraising should focus on building an organization’s ‘brand,’ which includes its mission, its culture, and the qualities that make that organization unique. Social media campaigns and valuable content on websites such as articles, videos, and even live-stream sessions can increase audience engagement through likes, tweets, and comments on social media platforms. Through these methods, charitable organizations build awareness that can convert prospective donors into actual donors.

Incentivize Lapsed Donors

Fundraising campaigns should also focus on converting donors that have only made a single contribution toward becoming recurring donors. A common axiom in business is that it’s much easier and far less expensive to maximize an existing customer than it is to obtain a new customer. Although charitable organizations have ‘donors’ instead of ‘customers,’ the axiom still applies, because the end goal is the same -- persuading people to give their money to a company. Charitable organizations can start their donor campaign by determining the number of donors that have only made one contribution. Then they must establish a goal of converting a specific percentage of those donors into recurring donors. Organizations should then target those donors with content such as personalized emails, newsletters and special event notifications that remind those donors why they should reconnect with the organization.

Raise Money for Operating Costs

Nonprofits must meet operating expenses to stay in business. These expenses include rent, utilities, liability insurance, payroll, buying office equipment and furniture, and launching campaigns for upcoming charitable events, and community outreach programs. Without the money from fundraising efforts, charitable organizations cannot meet these operating costs nor function the way they’re intended. The one risk, however, is that if too much fundraising money is allocated toward staff salaries, it could jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Fund an Endowment

Fundraising can also help a nonprofit organization establish an endowment, which is a restricted fund that only allows an organization to spend the interest that accrues from the fund. That means organizations can’t spend the principal funds in an endowment, which allows the original endowment to grow over a period of time. The benefit of an endowment is that it provides financial security for charitable organizations, helping them survive economic downturns and lower-than-expected donations from year to year.