Nov 21, 2014 11:38:31 AM
Getting individuals to donate to your particular organization in 2015 could be a different challenge for some nonprofits. At the end of each fiscal year, most donate due to holiday giving campaigns in addition to benefit their own interests on their upcoming taxes. Starting January, your organization will have the inevitable decline in fundraising, but you may have a few more hurdles this upcoming year to increase that support again.
When it comes to charity, it’s believed that people “give with their hearts, not their heads.” Donating is a mind and thought process ruled by the emotional part of the brain. You need to go beyond logic and strike an emotional cord. A key factor is creating a personal connection is by framing your organization’s mission and work. Fundraising has to be about understanding psychology to utilize and leverage technology, communications, and a branding and mission strategy. Only then will your donor retention improve.
Bad publicity of “scams” in the sector
While you can control the information your organization shares and its message, outside forces can also evoke feelings and conceptions about nonprofits. News coverage has exposed many unethical organizations. A reoccurring, and increasing, practice is organizations “masquerading” as well known charities, for example, by operating under a similar name. Others have leveraged certain causes or beneficiaries, most notably veterans, to elicit donations that don’t go to the proposed purpose.
While trust in nonprofits, and the acknowledgment of their need, has generally increased, any bad press is and can be detrimental to smaller, less established organizations. The “name brands” charities – large, national nonprofits – still receive the majority of total donations; people associate size and name recognition with trustworthiness.
Distrust of large nonprofit management
Transparency is an important factor in trust. Donors want a clear idea of where their dollars will actually be divested and used to accomplish. More affluent donors are more likely to be educated on current events, such as the many upheavals in management and scandals of some of the large national nonprofits. Trust stems from authority and consistency, which influences fundraising campaigns. The most publicized organizations in the sector often set the standard of perceptions of nonprofits, which funnels downs.
“Charitable planning” and the economy
The economy is recovering from the Great Recession, though it may not translate into better fundraising ability for your nonprofit. A new era of more cautious spending has emerged, and some donors are doing their due diligence.
Charitable planning is becoming a popular personal financial service. Donors view charitable giving as a financial investment in addition to a social one, and emphasis on making strategic charitable contributions is gaining traction.
It’s not easy and simple enough
Convenience is crucial. People today, particularly young donors and professionals, lead busy lives and won’t be bothered with organizations that require a lot of thought and planning. Nonprofit websites need to be found by search engines, easy and quick to navigate, and optimized for mobile with responsive web design for the best user experience. Low-involvement media, such as social, can be the easiest platform to reach and engage donors.
Publicizing good deeds and “joining the crowd”
People want to be apart of something “bigger than themselves.” They also want to fit in and be like everybody else on some level. This could explain the phenomenon and popularity that yellow silicone Livestrong bands, FEED bags, and most recently, viral videos for the Ice Bucket Challenge on social media have all experienced.
Individuals, then, get the ability to display their altruistic deeds and “brag” about their good will and caring. With the mass appeal and use of social media, people share their passions and philanthropic actions easily. They now virtually – and virally – are campaigning for organizations and causes, with their friends and family typically following suit. The institution of viral campaigning and leveraging donations through the masses can ignite fundraising overnight. In result though, your organization can get left out of the hype and also the giving.
Cannibalism of funding among charities
Viral public social campaigns have gained widespread participation. In addition, social problems have been garnering the public’s attention and organizations are collating everyday to help provide aid. These campaigns inevitably also capture donor dollars – dollars that may have otherwise gone to your fundraising efforts.
With only limited funds individuals are willing or able to give to charitable causes – consistently, donations have accounted for about 2% of GDP – the concept of “donation cannibalism” is concerning for nonprofits. Though society should still benefit as a whole, individual nonprofits and communities may take a hit from donors allotting their discretionary income to others in lieu.
Nonprofits operate in an environment in which each organization must overcome stigmas and competition when struggling to fundraise. It’s all about emotions, and the information out there often evokes feelings and hard-to-change attitudes.
Solution: Transparency & Technology
A nonprofit doesn’t necessarily need a gimmick to contend with other organizations, but it does needs transparency and technology to retain the donors they’ve already acquired. Peer-to-peer fundraising initiatives, for one, take advantage of social and digital media while using an organization’s greatest asset to endorse it: loyal supporters.
Brand and market your organization to fundraise around how donors think, feel, and behave. Focusing on encouraging emotional connotations – like empowerment rather than shame or guilt – can create positive associates with your organization and increase fundraising.