17 June 2013

Appealing to (potential) Donors

Personalizing your NPO’s Fundraising Activities


NPOs are always looking for new ways to attract as many donors as possible. An important element of their strategy to achieve this is the way they present their projects to potential donors. For a long time the emphasis was mainly on citing statistics, such as: ’last year 1 million animals were able to receive our help...’. However, more and more NPOs came to realize that in order to be more appealing to potential donors they need to ensure that engagement between the content of their projects and their donors is realized. This called for a different strategy and has often been referred to as ‘personal fundraising’. So what does this term incorporate and how should NPOs go about when applying personal fundraising techniques?


Although the usage of statistics is in itself not a bad thing, it should be used selectively in order to provide some additional information to potential donors. People cannot relate to plain statistics, so fundraising should have a more personal touch. There are various ways an NPO can make fundraising more personal. Often you will see that NPOs focus on an individual who was helped, or will be helped, by the donor’s gift. These appeals often look like: ‘meet Sara, a patient helped by someone like you…’. In addition, it has also been proven effective if an NPO provides suggested gift levels as guidance. That is to say, you make it very concrete to the donor what his or her donation will be able to accomplish. Think about: “$50 feeds a kitten for one month” for example. This type of personal fundraising is often used with the combination of photo’s or videos to achieve a high level of donor engagement. Next to these types of personal fundraising, there is another way that has proven to be very effective, namely that of friend-to-friend fundraising. When an NPO contacts potential donors, the donors are likely not familiar with the NPO and the message constitutes just one of the many communications people receive everyday. However, if an NPO asks its supporters to contact their friends and family, it suddenly becomes a lot more personal. The supporters of your NPO can therefore function as a crucial intermediary and basically lend their “brand” to the NPO’s cause when they endorse it. It is important for NPOs to realize that people often give with their heart and not with their head, so friend-to-friend fundraising should be high on the priority list. 

ikifu has focused extensively on the way the projects of the NPOs are presented on its platform. Instead of merely stating statistical facts, ikifu has used engaging storytelling for its projects in order to appeal to potential donors. In addition, the platform also makes use of indirect friend-to-friend methods. If people make a donation and share this on their social media, their friends will notice and might be encouraged to get acquainted with the content of the project. Next to this, people are also able to choose how their donation will be spent, since the platform offers different ways to contribute to a project, which simultaneously makes it very transparent. Finally, the bono-point system on the website, although still in the initial stage, might be able to encourage donations if people see how others have contributed to the social good.

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