December is the most exciting — and stressful — time of the year for fundraisers: the time we call end-of-year fundraising. It’s a terrific opportunity to raise money, and for many organizations, it’s their biggest fundraising month by far. For such an important campaign, you can’t start planning too early (summer isn’t too soon), and you don’t want to miss out on activities that could have bumped up your results. This checklist will help you plan ahead and make sure you’ve covered all the facets of a powerful, integrated campaign. Need a hand thinking through your year-end fundraising strategy, or want to take your campaign to the next level? Get in touch and let’s talk.
You probably don’t want to think about year-end fundraising right now. Here in DC, it was in the 90s this weekend, the sun is blazing, and November feels far away. But winter is coming, and now is the time to prepare. You’re no sweet summer child. You’ve seen year-end fundraising before, and you know that, however busy you are this summer, you’ll be busier come year-end. Anything you do now to set yourself up for stronger fundraising will help you succeed when it matters. And the good news is, like the farmers of Westeros socking away extra food, many of your fundraising preparations are things you should be doing anyway. They don’t even have to take away from your current work. Here are a few projects you could take on now to save yourself some pain when winter (and year-end) arrives: Tend your infrastructure Is your Google Analytics set up to track donations? Are you tracking conversions on Facebook ads? Do you have the data you’ll need in your CRM? Now is a great time (especially while your coworkers are on vacation) to make sure your systems are all talking to each other and that your data is being stored Read More
“Can we use our Google Grant for fundraising?” I get that question a lot, and my usual answer is: yes, in a way. The slightly longer version of that answer is that, yes, fundraising is allowed and many organizations use Google Grants in that way – but it won’t necessary be an effective use for every organization. Search ads are a tough space for fundraising because you get so little space – just a few words! no images! – to make a connection and build trust with potential donors. Direct fundraising asks tend to work best for organizations with a lot of brand recognition (think household-name nonprofits), or those with a mission that strongly invites donations. If you’re a relief organization, for instance, or if you’re working for a cure of a specific disease, people who come to you through search ads are probably primed to donate, because they’re looking to support that specific cause. If someone Googles “help people in Syria” and you show them an ad about supporting aid work in Syria, you’ve probably just gotten yourself a donor. But sadly, most organizations don’t have thousands of people Googling how to give money to your cause. If a Read More
Google Grants is a pretty terrific program for 501(c)3 nonprofits. If you’re not familiar with it, Google offers $10,000 per month in free search ads to qualified nonprofits. It’s easy to apply, and if used properly, it can give a nice boost to your online goals. I’ve seen organizations use Google Grants to build their email lists, for instance, with great success. But while the Grants program is quite similar to using a paid Adwords account, there are certain limitations that require a different strategy than you’d use for paid ads. That can make it tricky to figure out what will perform best for your Grants account. With a “normal” Adwords account, your success is based largely on your budget and the competition for your keywords. (It’s also based on the quality of your content – but that’s a topic for another post.) If you’re advertising on a popular topic using a very general keyword, like “donate,” you’re going to get a lot of competition from other non-profits. To beat that competition, you have two choices: Get more specific. If you can advertise instead on, say, “donate to save octopuses,” you’ll have less competition and lower costs – assuming people Read More