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8 nonprofit success tips from the 2018 NTEN and IFC fundraising conferences

on April 26, 2018

8 nonprofit success tips from NTEN and IFC 2018

Last week we headed to New Orleans to eat some beignets and attend two of the biggest nonprofit fundraising conferences of the year: The 2018 International Fundraising Conference and the Nonprofit Technology Conference. Whether you were in the Big Easy with us, or only there in spirit, here’s everything we learned to help nonprofits find success.

Put a donor-shaped hole in everything you do

If you want to turn the emotional story of your nonprofit into an appeal that will inspire your donors, you need to put them right at the heart of it.

In both your story and your ask, present real situations — a problem that’s unsolved, a person that needs help, a story that’s not complete — and give your supporters a powerful role to play.

Think of tools as investments, not overhead

There’s a lot of tension around nonprofit overhead. How can organizations justify spending money on software or tools that will catapult their mission goals, when they can barely fit things like staffing or office space into their overhead costs?

It’s all about putting your overhead cost into the view of “Return on Mission” (ROM):

Return on Mission: Ensuring your investments have the maximum impact on not just bottom line, but on the mission itself.1

Show supporters the value behind the tools you’re using. For example, how using a social fundraising platform like Crowdrise by GoFundMe can lead to an average donation of $15 per campaign share.2 This shows a smart investment and clear return on your mission.

Court your donors

Retention is hard. At the rate most nonprofits are going, 96% of their current donors will be gone in 10 years.3

If you want your donors to fall (and stay) in love with you, you need to have emotional conversations with them. It’s a courtship, or a romance. Not a once-a-year fling where you only contact them when you’re asking them to donate, or need them to volunteer for an upcoming event.

Court your donors with year-long intimate conversations, where you cycle between asks, thank yous, reports, and random messages of surprise and delight.

Know where your most valuable donors live and thrive

Did you know that there’s a 211% increase in revenue between a multichannel donor and an offline-only donor? Or that there’s a 90% increase in revenue when offline donors have an email address on file?3 Here’s how your most valuable donors stack up:

Engage millennials to take action

Millennials may not be your highest donor group. (They only gave $580 to charity in the past year, compared to $799 for Gen Xers, and $1,365 for Baby Boomers.)4 But that doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable supporters.

In the last year, 72% of millennial survey respondents said that they volunteered, and they averaged 40 volunteer hours in the past year, compared to 24 hours for Gen Xers, and 41 hours for Baby Boomers.

Millennials are also more likely than other generations to use and be influenced by technology, with 51% saying that they have given a gift through a charity’s website, and 36% having been motivated to give by something they have seen on a charity’s website.

Optimize for mobile

People live on their phones, and we need to be talking to them on their phones. In fact, 51% of people visit a nonprofit’s website from a mobile device, and 1 in 4 people use a mobile device to discover nonprofits that they were previously unaware of.5

Also, in the charity space, there has been a 205% increase in mobile donations in the last year. And, maybe most staggering, nonprofits have seen the average donation increase 126% when they incorporate a mobile-responsive design into their campaigns. If that’s not a call to optimize for mobile, we don’t know what is.

Be authentic and have fun

To engage supporters and get them to automatically act, you need to make them like you. This means showing your human side, and establishing common grounds and interest. (Flattery never hurts either.)

But when having fun in nonprofit storytelling, be sure to follow these simple rules: stay on brand, keep it simple, and don’t make light of the problem you’re trying to solve or the people you serve.

Don’t think that someone who can’t donate can’t help

Not everyone can make a donation to your campaign. And that’s okay. If they are taking action, they can still help your cause.

In our data session with GuideStar at The International Fundraising Conference, we chatted through CrowdRise by GoFundMe’s Social fundraising data report for nonprofits and revealed that even a visitor who shares a campaign on social and doesn’t actually donate is still generating on average $13 in donations. That number rises to $15 per share when a donor shares a campaign.2
Click here to download the full Social fundraising data report for nonprofits, a first-of-its-kind report that uses the vast amount of GoFundMe’s data tracked through campaigns, donations, and social sharing to gain actionable insights into the power of social fundraising for nonprofits.


1: Andrew Urban, author of The Nonprofit Buyer
2: CrowdRise by GoFundMe, Live session at AFPFC: Social fundraising for nonprofits data report
3: Jeff Giddens, live session at AFPFC: Cracking the Code of Facebook Fundraising
4:, Article: Survey of Millennial Donors Indicates They Will Likely Give More as They Mature
5: Raja Chakravorti (PayPal), live session at 18NTC: The evolution and continued rise of mobile donations

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Rilee Chastain

Rilee Chastain is the Content Marketing Specialist at CrowdRise. She is passionate about content optimization and all things social, and cares way too much about her Instagram aesthetic. She also has a life goal to eat mac and cheese at least 3 times a week.