Being an executive director can be a rewarding job, but it can also be incredibly stressful and demanding. As the leader of a nonprofit organization, an executive director is responsible for everything from fundraising and program development to staff management and board relations. With so many responsibilities and a constant need to balance competing priorities, it's no wonder that executive director burnout is a common problem.
Online fundraising is a popular method for earning donations used by individual fundraisers and nonprofits alike. These campaigns leverage well-designed websites, livestreaming platforms, social media, and other digital tools to raise money for their causes in a fast and effective way.
But if you’ve yet to make the move to virtual strategies, you might be asking yourself why online fundraising matters for organizations like yours. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve made do with traditional fundraising strategies for this long, so there’s no reason to shake things up now. However, these modern fundraising ideas and resources have the power to bring your campaigns to the next level.
Let’s say you’ve launched a capital campaign to renovate your nonprofit’s facility. At the beginning of the project, you secure a handful of major donors who will support the larger financial costs of the investments. Months later, with lots of hard work, you’ve raised the rest of the funds from mid-level and smaller donors and, after a year of construction, the project is finally completed.
However, as you’re about to cut the ribbon to unveil the renovation, you look around and notice that some of the major givers who you connected with early on in the project have not made an appearance. In fact, you realize, you haven’t had many conversations with them in months.
In the virtual age, it’s not just Millennials and Gen Z who are using technology to stay connected. Virtual interactions are a fact of life for all demographics. So much of daily life, from work to socializing to shopping, now takes place online, and that includes many aspects of nonprofit management.
As a volunteer coordinator, that means you must adjust your volunteer engagement strategy to continue connecting with supporters in a digital-first environment. This has become especially important both during the height and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic since you more than likely reduced your in-person activities to keep volunteers and staff members safe.
How many times have you been told a fact, only to forget it by the next day? For example, we could tell you something like “squirrels are behind the most power outages in the U.S.” (it’s true!), which you might remember, only because it’s odd. However, you’re way more likely to remember that fact if we told you a story about a squirrel named Larry who wreaked havoc on the American power grid, which led to the realization that squirrels do indeed cause a shockingly high number of power outages nationwide.
You get the point: stories are more memorable. And it’s proven! According to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, stories are 22 times more memorable than just stating a fact.
So how is this research relevant to your nonprofit? Well, it means that you can build stronger and more meaningful relationships with your website visitors by harnessing the power of storytelling.
Fundraising for your nonprofit is about more than money — it’s also about inspiring donors to make a difference with their contributions. Your donors don’t want to feel like an ATM. They want to know that their funds are impacting real people.
Through storytelling, you can convey this impact and more, especially if you bring stories to your website. However, you’ve got to do it right, so we’ve put together some tips to help. When using your website to share meaningful stories about your work, you should:
- Identify your characters
- Integrate stories throughout your website
- Use lots of images
- Remember that your story doesn’t have to be finished
Picture this: You decide to donate to a nonprofit that’s piqued your interest and sit down, phone in hand, to complete your transaction. However, when you navigate to the nonprofit’s donation page, you have to click through to a third-party donation form that’s hard to read on your phone. You start to fill it out and realize it’s asking for a lot of your personal information and is going to take you a lot longer than you thought. Instead of donating to this nonprofit, you decide to abandon your donation and look for another organization to give to. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting a nonprofit or you’ve been running your organization for years—you know that your success relies on effective fundraising. And a huge part of fundraising today is not only driving donors to your online donation page but keeping them there. This is where the design and functionality of your donation page can be a huge asset to facilitate as many donations as possible. To help you optimize your own nonprofit donation page, we’ve organized the following essential strategies:
- Pay attention to design.
- Embed your donation form.
- Use a reliable payment processor.
- Provide other engagement opportunities.
Eager to learn more about how you can make the most of your online giving form to maximize donations and engagement? Let’s dive in.