Fundraisers are hard work, but they don’t have to be as hard as you might think. It’s one thing to work to drive success, but that doesn’t mean that successful fundraisers require you to feel like you’re constantly swimming upstream.
The structure of your fundraisers and the processes that you use to manage them are meant to drive success. If these aren’t working as well as they could be, they add friction to your work, and make every task you do just a little bit harder, slower, and less effective.
Below, we want to outline a few of the common inefficiencies membership managers commonly struggle with when running their fundraiser. Subtle and sometimes hard to notice, these aren’t difficult to address, and can have a serious impact on your next – and all future – fundraisers.
1. Manual Payment Processing
Every second you spend managing a payment is a second taken away from your ability to cultivate more donations.
This might seem like a trivial thing, but it can have a big impact on a fundraiser’s ability to succeed – especially for grassroots campaigns relying on many small donations.
Payment processing is a lot more involved and time-consuming than you might give it credit for. Perhaps it only takes a few minutes to process a payment and log it in your accounting software, but multiply those few minutes by the number of donations you can expect from a fundraiser, and it adds up to something significant!
Automate Payment Processing, Focus On Donations
Whether you’re using membership management software, or dedicated payment-processing tools, you should insist on the ability to automate payment processing.
Donors, especially those donating online, should be able to process their full payment from beginning to end without human contact. Relieving membership managers from the need to process payments, log them, and manage receipts and related communications grants your fundraiser precious hours. These hours can either be spent gathering more donations, or taken off fundraiser expenses.
2. Inefficient Communications
For digital fundraisers especially, managing emails can take up a good portion of your time.
You send emails to notify an audience of your fundraiser. You respond to emails to answer questions from donors and potential donors. Emails are sent out to provide receipts, etc.
Of all the emails you send, a good majority can be taken care of with effective email automation. Of the emails left over, email tools designed for membership managers can provide organizational functions that eliminate much of the work required to address them.
Email campaign managers will allow you to automate initial fundraiser emails. Your payment processor might even allow you to automate receipts. For the rest, there’s Outlook. This set-up is one that membership managers are often familiar with, but one that is inefficient and time-consuming.
By bringing your email management together all under one membership management platform not only saves you from the requirement to manage emails and lists across multiple services, but keeps branding cohesive from the beginning of a donor’s experience all the way to the end. Even better, it equips you with a single picture of donor engagement, bypassing entirely the need to combine engagement data to draw useful insights from member behaviour.
3. Poor Analytics
You can’t effectively impact something that you don’t effectively measure.
When you’re using different systems to manage and track member behaviour across pages, emails, payments, etc – its nearly impossible to effectively consolidate that data into one clear picture of member behaviour.
For example, you can see how many people opened an email in your campaign, and how many clicked through to your donation page. But what did their experience look like after they got there?
Your donation page analytics will show you action on the page. Your email analytics will give you a picture of email performance. In order to get a full understanding, however, you’ve got to link these two silo’s of information. Without the ability to track behaviour across the different mediums your audience uses to interact with you, you lose the value your data is capable of providing.
For example, maybe analytics show that a particular email address opened and clicked a button on your email. But what happened to that person once they arrived at your website? Did they follow through to conversion? If they didn’t – at what point did they bounce from your fundraiser page?
All of these insights are unavailable to you if you’re not using software that can track and present the data you need across all the different mediums members and potential members use to interact with your organization. When it is available, on the other hand, it’s a trivial task to find opportunities to optimize conversions for your fundraiser.
4. Ineffective Messaging
Nothing drives conversions like good content, and it takes more than writing skills to create it.
Fortunately, the skills you need don’t require professional assistance. They simply require tools to track and analyze your writing’s ability to meet your goals.
In the case of fundraisers, we want to know how our writing contributes to the goal of our donations. We can even ask finer-grained questions, like ‘whats the impact of content on average donation size’, or ‘what’s the impact on donation frequency/volume?’.
You don’t have to be an expert content writer to track conversions on your donation pages. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make changes and track their impact. By doing so, you can refine the content on donation pages, emails, and even printed content – optimizing your content to drive the behaviour you want to see out of an audience – donations!
Consider email subject lines, for example. Its a trivial task to split your email list in half. Write your emails subject line differently for each one, and track opens/clickthroughs. Which one did better, and what does that tell you about your audience?
Perhaps you decide to go with a professional/formal message for subject line 1, and a humourous/casual message for subject line 2. If the second has a higher open rate, this suggests your audience responds better to humorous messaging. Take that insight, apply it to future content, and test it! If humourous messaging continues to out-perform professional/formal messaging, you can safely draw the conclusion that content written in a casual/funny voice helps you drive conversions!
You’re Only As Good As Your Tools
Success for your fundraisers, especially digital ones, is helped tremendously when you have tools designed for you.
Managing your fundraisers with a hodge-podge of different software, systems, and spreadsheets fundamentally undermines your ability to focus on the work that actually drives success. Managers ought to be managing people, not their payments, contact data, or emails. Automate this work with membership management software, and empower your team to do the work it does best!