Dec 01 2020

Giving Tuesday: 4 Technologies to Maximize Fundraising

From stronger marketing automation to a heavier focus on video, Giving Tuesday has encouraged nonprofits to take a more tech-forward approach.

The bad news for nonprofits is that many of the tactics they have relied on to raise money are harder to pull off this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In-person fundraising galas, charity concerts and 5K runs are off the table for now.

The good news is that, over the past decade, nonprofits have cracked the code when it comes to online donations, thanks in part to Giving Tuesday, which started in 2012 with the support of the 92nd Street Y.

Since then, Giving Tuesday has become one of the most important days on the calendar for nonprofits. Near the start of the pandemic, the organizers of the event put on #GivingTuesdayNow, which raised more than half a billion dollars for nonprofits, according to The NonProfit Times. The actual Giving Tuesday this year is likely to repeat that success.

Giving Tuesday has had a halo effect on online donations, but nonprofits that hope to excel at maximizing contributions and extending them throughout the year need to consider strategies to boost their technological advantages. Here are some ideas for doing that.

1. Nonprofits Should Adopt Modern Payment Technologies

Mobile giving is a key element of Giving Tuesday’s success, and payment technologies, such as text-to-donate platforms, are a driving factor.

For nonprofits that maintain some sort of physical presence for donations, contactless payment options (which have grown in popularity in the retail space) are worth considering, both for ease of use and to reassure donors that the organization is acting safely.

2. Nonprofits Can Benefit from Marketing Automation Tools

Giving Tuesday has encouraged the sector to become savvier with digital and social media marketing. Research from the YMCA last year found that 48.5 percent of young adults ages 18 to 38 learned about causes that they support through social media, more than any other method.

The challenge, of course, is trying to scale these ambitions to reach larger and larger groups of people. One way that nonprofits can do so is through cloud automation tools, which can relieve the marketing team of remedial tasks so they have more time to think about big-picture strategy.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how nonprofits should shift their strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And given the need for customer service that can respond at the speed of social media, finding ways to cut steps in the process by using customer relationship management tools, such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365, can potentially maximize a nonprofit’s reach.

3. Nonprofits Can Still Have Live Events with Videoconferencing

The pandemic has driven the growing use of video, and for nonprofits, the right use of videoconferencing may partially offset the loss of in-person events.

A recent study from the nonprofit giving platform Classy found that in lieu of in-person events, donors are increasingly willing to take part in virtual fundraising. This presents an opportunity to invest in stronger video and audio equipment, such as tools for videoconferences, higher-end webcams and microphone systems.

Because virtual events are less costly to produce, some nonprofits may find an ongoing place for them even after the pandemic is over and live events return.

4. Nonprofits Must Make Better Use of Data Analytics

Raising money is just the beginning. Nonprofits must make the most of the cash they generate.

Fundraising by nature gives access to donor information that can prove extremely useful for improving donor interactions and email conversions — especially if it’s personalized.

Data can also help in other ways through the use of data analytics and visualization tools, which can tell an organization’s story in a new way and potentially help others with that data. For example, Vanguard Charitable, a major public charity that sponsors donor-advised funds, recently released the Nonprofit Aid Visualizer, a map-based tool that helps donors find COVID-19-focused nonprofits in need, based on the prevalence of the virus in their area.

“Part of what we’re trying to correct for is the communities that are being overlooked with charitable donations,” said Magda Guillen Swanson, a research project specialist at Vanguard Charitable, in comments to The New York Times

The secret to leveraging these kinds of strategies for your own organization is to create a discipline around them, so that when an opportunity emerges, you’ll be ready.