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8 ways to prepare your non-profit for 2021

2020 has taught us all to be more resourceful, innovative and open to change. Now is the time to apply what we've learned in 2020 to develop strategies that can put you on track for a more successful 2021.

Coffee cup on a wooden table. The coffee cup has the word "begin" on it.

1. Creatively pivot from in-person

Non-profit organizations have had to rethink their key events, finding new ways to make them safe, engaging and attractive to donors and volunteers. Brainstorm how you can turn your upcoming 2021 events into compelling virtual experiences and use a cross-channel digital marketing strategy to get the word out. Wrap your arms around your donors, but stay connected with your volunteers, too. Promote new ways everyone can support your cause by working remotely.

2. Promote recurring giving

Recurring giving programs are an excellent way to sustain financial support and quality donor relationships over time. Donors appreciate being able to make an even bigger impact with minimal hassle. In 2020, 57% of Canadian and U.S. donors were enrolled in a recurring giving program, up from 46% in 2018. Of these recurring donors, 94% give monthly. (2020 Global Trends in Giving Report) Recurring donors typically give significantly more than one-time donors over the course of their relationship with you. Check out our article for more ideas on encouraging recurring gifts and longer-term ways to contribute.

3. Discover new audiences

Americans are still giving despite the economic downturn. Although the ways and amounts different groups contribute is changing, it’s clear that many donors actually give more during times of crisis. Experts predict that Generation Z (those born in 1997 and later) may be the most socially conscious and charitable generation yet. To capitalize on that, customize your messaging and use marketing channels that will help you connect with younger demographics. Additionally, a recent study showed that men and married couples have increased their contributions during the pandemic, while donations from seniors have dropped. Use audience segmentation to send customized texts and emails to specific groups for better results.

4. Explore new channels.

Speaking of those new, younger donors – do you know where to find them? They’re more likely to be on Instagram and TikTok than Facebook. Cast a wider net with your digital marketing efforts by experimenting with new or different channels. Be sure to track your analytics so you know which channels are driving engagement and which aren’t.

5. Make the most of your data

Your organization probably has a vast quantity of donor data, but do you know what to do with it? As we move into 2021, start by ensuring that your database is as clean and accurate as possible. This means eliminating outdated contact info and duplicate records, filling in missing information, etc. Once you have a clean and reliable dataset, you can use audience segmentation and personalization techniques to send targeted messages to specific contacts or groups. Check your website analytics, too. Which topics are users most interested in? Which emails are clicked on the most? Where are your donors coming from? We’re happy to help with an analytics audit—just ask!

6. Create quality content

Content marketing is vital for non-profits. Whether you use them on your website, emails, social posts and beyond, you need a consistent supply of fresh, powerful stories that connect with your audience from different angles and inspire them to support your cause. (Need help with this? We provide custom story-writing services.) Video has also proven to be especially valuable for non-profits who inspire supporters with longer-form videos on their websites and shorter clips for social media use.

7. Optimize your donation process

Donors expect a quick and painless giving process. Social media fundraisers let you donate to a cause without leaving the platform, one-click technologies leverage Apple Pay, Pay Pal or other services, and some organizations allow you to give via text. If your non-profit’s donation process is more complicated and time-consuming, you could be losing potential donors when you need them most. Review the user experience of your donation processes and test your donation forms with different browsers and devices. Make sure donors have several easy options to give.

8. Re-engage and retain donors

During the pandemic, you likely lost some donors who were struggling with their own health or financial uncertainty. Now is the time to create a plan to win them back. Identify and segment lapsed donors in your database and craft a persuasive message (or series of messages). Make it easy for those people to donate by using form fields pre-populated with their information. Last but definitely not least, be sure to put together a retention strategy for new donors and those who’ve have stuck with you. Think about your welcome email series, ongoing updates and more. These folks need to be nurtured, engaged and appreciated so they remain loyal and committed over time.

We’re here to help!

If you need a partner to plan your communications strategy for the coming year, let’s talk. Helping non-profits like yours grow and thrive is what we do best.