5 Multi-Channel Fundraising Techniques for Smaller Nonprofits

February 9, 2022 | Grace Duginski
5 Multi-Channel Fundraising Techniques for Smaller Nonprofits

If you raise funds at a smaller nonprofit, you know that efficiency is the name of the game. Whether you’re carrying a long list of responsibilities as part of a team, or you’re the only person in your development department, you need to make the most of your fundraising outreach.

To aid in those efforts, we asked Kevin White, President and Chief Growth Officer at One & All, to give us his top tips for ways smaller nonprofits can successfully use multi-channel fundraising strategies to reach the most supporters without exponentially growing their workload. Here’s what he said.

Q: How can a smaller nonprofit fundraise effectively across channels?

A: I’d say to start with one thing, do it well, and expand from there.

It depends on how small your organization is, but one important tip is to avoid spreading yourself too thin across too many fundraising initiatives. Instead, think about these five techniques: investing in your website; optimizing for conversion; expanding digitally first; cultivating via email; and driving to existing channels.

1. Investing in your website

We know that a nonprofit’s website is the single most important factor in a visitor’s decision to make a first-time donation.

Make sure your website’s in good shape. Clearly explain your organization’s mission, since that’s what’s driving your work; use on-brand colors, fonts, and language; and make sure you have up-to-date, easy-to-find contact information.

Not only will your website be informative for people who are driven there digitally, but it will be important for people who are coming in from other channels. Whether they first came into contact with you at an event, as a volunteer, or via word of mouth, your website can educate visitors about your mission, encourage them to take action, and ask them to make their first gift.

2. Optimizing for conversion

Another important step for smaller nonprofits looking to fundraise across channels is to optimize your website for conversion. One mistake that’s easy to make is building your website just for informative purposes, or including a lot of information without organizing it clearly.

You can optimize your website for conversion by taking opportunities to eliminate barriers or decrease friction during the giving process, and establishing clear calls to action. For example, EveryAction has found with their FastAction network that if you can offer your donors a prefilled form instead of a blank one, the barrier to giving is lower and that donor is nine times likelier to convert.

A clear call-to-action is also really key for raising conversion rates on your site: whether you want people to donate to your organization, volunteer, attend an event, join a membership program, or something else, choose the most important one and make it very clear with a bold call-to-action button on your homepage. Simple steps like these can make a meaningful difference in your fundraising.

Keep in mind, also, that as you invest in your website, your work will keep paying off even after a supporter converts and makes their first gift. When you create your site with attention to the full supporter cycle, your website can be a useful tool for donor retention, upgrades, and more—so know that the work is worth it.

3. Expanding digitally first

Once your organization’s website is in pretty good shape, consider expanding into other digital channels that support your site. You might start by making sure you have a good paid search presence, and a good digital display or social media presence.

If you can easily track things like your supporters’ social media interactions with you, it will take less work to engage them around the topics they care about, to do it in a really supporter-centric way, and encourage them to make a second gift.

4. Cultivating via email

Once you’ve successfully converted donors through your website, thanks to the time you invested in making sure it was up-to-date, simple to navigate, and optimized for conversion, you can start cultivating folks through email. Year after year, email is a really useful piece in a multi-channel strategy. M+R found in their 2020 Benchmarks that overall open rates for email increased by 9 percent, jumping to 21 percent, while unsubscribe rates declined by 5 percent.

Nurturing your donors with email might sound complex at first, but it can actually be very straightforward. You already collected your donors’ email information when they converted online, so the next step might be to send them simple, beautiful emails and set up an automated email series to educate them on your work. This can be an efficient way for smaller organizations to cultivate supporters and create a multi-channel fundraising environment in a way that works for everybody.

5. Driving to existing channels

Once you’ve engaged donors via email and other digital channels, and you want to expand even more, you can really focus and get the most out of your efforts by adding other touchpoints that will drive supporters to your existing channels.

Although it’s an important part of a multi-channel fundraising strategy for many organizations, mail may not be the first place you should go. Instead, perhaps it’s more doable to add another digital channel, like SMS! We know that clickthrough rates for SMS tend to be high, and some organizations are already using SMS strategically on important fundraising days like GivingTuesday and the last week of the year. Smaller organizations can really fundraise efficiently by using a channel like texting to direct traffic to your website.

From there, you can decide which other channels might be useful to that same goal of guiding traffic to existing channels. You could maybe do some connected TV to drive more interest, or some radio. Ultimately, the best way to move a multi-channel strategy forward at your smaller nonprofit is to start at a single target—your website—and expand from there.

Regardless of your organization’s size, engaging your supporters and growing your donor audiences across channels shouldn’t require more work. Get in touch with One & All to discover how science, strategy, creative, and more can help you engage your audiences; and talk to us to learn more about how the right purpose-built platform can help you expand your fundraising efficiency, so you can raise even more for your mission.

About the expert: Kevin White oversees Client Strategy & Success, Creative, Media, and Giving Sciences to unleash One & All’s resources on behalf of client partners such as: Operation Smile, the Denver Rescue Mission, the Greater Boston Food Bank, The American Red Cross, Food For The Poor, The Salvation Army, the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, and Make-A-Wish America. Prior to joining One & All in 2007, Kevin worked in the commercial sector supporting iconic companies such as Warner Bros., The Hallmark Channel, Dairy Queen, and Subway Restaurants.