SF1 for Nonprofits: Highlight on Fundraising and Recurring Donations

Salesforce1 for Fundraising
Next up in our series highlighting the four pillars of the Salesforce1 for Nonprofits strategy is the biggie: fundraising. Fundraising is so integral to most nonprofit’s process that it is the most critical piece for your CRM to nail. Happily, in the past six months or so, great strides have been made in this area, most notably with the development of roundCause. This post will get into some of the sea changes we have seen and how your organization can pivot to meet new donor expectations.

Today’s Donor

Donor’s behaviors and expectations are not what were 15 years ago, and they want a different type of a relationship then in the past. They want an ongoing relationship as a sustainer – they want to be engaged.

A well-thought out marketing and communications strategy is key to retaining those awesome monthly donors. Smart segmentation, using your CRM as a 360-view of constituents, and considering a recurring donation strategy will all help you measure effectiveness at every stage of your fundraising campaign. Here are three questions you should ask your fundraising team to inform your strategy within this new technical landscape.

#1: What is your recurring donation strategy?

As recent research by StayClassy shows, recurring donations are key to maximizing the long-term impact of your fundraising strategy. Recurring donations have 70% donor retention: almost double that of first-time donors. Consider advocating for regular monthly donations whenever possible. One great example of an organization that both StayClassy and Idealist Consulting work with is Team Rubicon, who has an “Eleven11” campaign to encourage people to donate $11 per month and join the “Support Squad,” which has become a reliable source of revenue from engaged donors.

Not so long ago, people saved for Christmas and major purchases. Fundraising strategy capitalized on this by pushing everyone to donate through an annual year-end campaign. But today, consumers have adopted a subscription-based buying model in many parts of their lives from Netfix to CSA produce boxes. They expect it to be possible to make smaller regular payments to causes they care about as well.

Through smart CRM-integration, you can easily schedule regular reminders. Like Netflix, once your donor base gets used to smaller recurring donations, it will become an unconscious part of their budget.

#2: What is your segmentation approach?

You probably already have some element of segmentation in your communications even if you don’t realize it. If you send location-specific invites when you host a local event, or target donors who have a specific type of giving history in your annual campaign, that is segmentation. However, there is much further you can take this, and you can now leverage CRM integrated systems to segment prospects in real time for more agile fundraising appeals.

Here are some examples of how organizations are using their CRMs to take segmentation further:

  • Keep reports in real-time about every aspect of each donor’s history, from amount to geographic area to type of appeal they respond best to.
  • Then use mass email marketing to deliver custom messages to different segments.
  • A/B testing is great for this sort of appeal – try using two different messages on the same segment and see what type of messaging gets the best response.

#3: What can you change in order to get a more complete view of your constituents?

Part of the difficulty we find in taking our nonprofit clients into the next age of CRM integration is that many nonprofits still operate on a “back office” model with manual data entry and after-the-fact monthly or quarterly reports to meet board demands. On the flip side, CRMs today operate on a “front office” model where every aspect of your organization lives in the system in real-time: from online donations to phone call notes.

Every time you interact with your donor you should make sure it’s reflected in your CRM, and you can build these identities quickly through demographic surveys if you’re starting from scratch. Companies like StayClassy and roundCause have thought long and hard about the best workflow for this process, so if you sign on with them (with the support of a consulting firm) you will be in good hands. Many nonprofits have made the transition from spreadsheets or non-integrated systems to Salesforce and any consulting firm worth their salt can help you through this process.

All in all, every stage of your fundraising process can benefit from applying some of the strategy and thinking behind Salesforce1 for Nonprofits.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg – for those of you who have been working with these solutions, what other tips do you have?

About Kirsten Kippen

Kirsten joined Idealist Consulting after 8 years of intercultural communications experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. She enjoys helping organizations advance their missions through tech solutions and her specialties include training, content marketing, and event management. A lifelong Northwesterner based in Portland, Kirsten enjoys exploring the nearby mountains and local food scene in her spare time.

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