Fundraising in 2021: Five lessons to maximize results

January 20, 2021

Nearly every aspect of life and business changed in 2020 and mission-based organizations were faced with two choices: cling to “the way it’s always been done” or evolve their fundraising strategies for a new era. While the former may keep nonprofits afloat in the short run, the latter is the key to unprecedented growth in donations over time. While every nonprofit is different, we’ve noticed five keys to successful fundraising in 2021.

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Nearly every aspect of life and business changed in 2020 and mission-based organizations were faced with two choices: cling to “the way it’s always been done” or evolve their fundraising strategies for a new era. While the former may keep nonprofits afloat in the short run, the latter is the key to unprecedented growth in donations over time. While every nonprofit is different, we’ve noticed five keys to successful fundraising in 2021. 

1) List augmentation 

If your fundraising data is limited to a name, email address, and giving history within your organization, you may be underutilizing your donors. Consider list appends for wealth, prior giving to other nonprofits, and mobile numbers to find out which small or one-time donors have the capacity to become major donors. 


Example data appends:

  • Wealth score
  • Affinity group interests / prior giving based on affinity groups
  • Giving frequency and cadence

2) List segmentation

Donor messaging isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Utilize list segmentation to target existing or lapsed donors with a high propensity for substantial giving. Tweak messaging of campaigns and coordinate personal touches to cultivate donor relationships. 


Example list segmentation:

  • HAS NOT donated in last 6 months; or
  • HAS attended an event in the last 12 months; and
  • HAS NOT opened a fundraising email; and
  • HAS a wealth score of +4

3) Call to action

Don’t leave potential donors wondering how to help with a generic “thank you for supporting us” message. Include a specific and easy-to-execute call to action with every message you send.


Example CTA:

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday! Will you help us reach our goal to (specific goal) by raising $500,000? A generous donor has offered to match the first $50,000 given tomorrow, so your gift will go even further to help people like (include a story here). Donate here (add link) to aid us in (mission)

4) Reporting and results

You use an accountant to track and report financial data, right? Understanding your business’s past financial data helps you make decisions for the future. In the same way, capturing analytics for your fundraising strategies will help you understand how to allocate funds for future campaigns. You have to spend money to make money, but make sure you’re spending it on the right strategies. 

5) Channels

Before 2020, many nonprofits relied on events for some portion of their donations. While we will likely see a resurgence of events in the coming years, now is the time to diversify your fundraising channels. 

A recent study by MailChimp shows that emails get an average open rate of 21.33% and a click rate of 2.62%. If you’re relying only on email to reach your donor base, you’re missing nearly 80% of your potential donors every time you send a campaign. 

A 2019 report by Asurion shows that the average American checks their phone 96 times a day and texting is now the most-used form of conversation across all age groups-- even Baby Boomers. In recent years, nonprofits have utilized text-based messaging to great success. Texts have a 98% open rate, and 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of delivery. 

There is certainly a place for email campaigns but leveraging multiple channels to engage potential supporters and donors makes sure you’re not leaving money or support on the table.

Are your fundraising strategies stuck in 2019? Let Prompt.io help you augment your traditional fundraising methods and increase donations. Text FUNDRAISE to 855-950-3777 to talk to a Prompt.io fundraising specialist.

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