How a Fundraising Consultant Can Help With Your Next Fundraiser

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How do you know if you need a fundraising consultant? What services can a consultant offer?

In this article, we’ll go over some of the ways a fundraising consultant can help your nonprofit, but first, let’s define what a fundraising consultant is and what role they’ll play in your fundraising.

A consultant is a nonprofit professional with the knowledge, skill, and experience to help you reach your fundraising goals. Consultants can work with your nonprofit to come up with strategies that cater to your needs.

Additionally, they offer you services to help fill in the gaps when it comes to running a specific campaign.

Now, let’s go through seven ways a fundraising consultant can help your nonprofit: 

  1. Find fundraising software.
  2. Give you a fresh perspective.
  3. Research your supporters.
  4. Train your board of directors.
  5. Map out your fundraising strategy.
  6. Plan fundraising events.
  7. Create a donor stewardship plan.

Keep reading to learn more!

Fundraising consultants can help your nonprofit with fundraising software.

1. Find fundraising software.

Imagine that you’ve decided to host your first crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaign, and you know you’re going to need a platform to host your fundraiser. However, you’re not sure where to start. You probably have questions like:

  • What features will I need?
  • What is the best platform to use?
  • How do I create my campaign?

Your nonprofit could always spend time researching crucial features and the top crowdfunding platforms. But is that really the best use of your time? 

That’s where a fundraising consultant can step in. Consultants have experience working on different kinds of fundraisers, so they can suggest software that they’ve used (and found successful) in the past.

Not only can fundraising consultants help you with finding the right software, but they can also teach you how to use it.

Even if you’re familiar with fundraising software, a consultant can still help you with:

  • Setting up new software – There is more software out there for nonprofits than we have time to name here so I’d suggest checking out an article that explores the topic more deeply like this one.
  • Migrating your information – For simple migrations, we suggest working directly with your CRM provider if your migration is simple. For complex migrations, consultants are the best route to go with.
  • Suggesting a payment processor – We recommend either going with an aggregator or with a dedicated merchant account depending on your organization’s size and amount of donations processed. In terms of dedicated payment processors, try to find someone that specializes in nonprofits and understands the commons challenges that arise with fundraising like iATS Payments.
  • And so much more!

No matter what level of software knowledge you have, a consultant can offer solutions to your challenges.

The bottom line: Don’t spend your valuable time searching for the right software to enhance your fundraiser. Use a consultant with first-hand experience and knowledge to suggest the best options for you.

Fundraising consultants can bring a fresh perspective to your strategies.

2. Give you a fresh perspective.

Maybe your nonprofit is looking to take your fundraising in a new direction. Why not bring in a consultant that can offer you fresh ideas? Instead of hiring someone on full-time, you can hire a fundraising consultant for a single project.

Experienced consultants have worked with many different organizations and know which fundraising ideas work. In fact, some of those ideas may be unique, creative suggestions that you never would have thought of on your own.

As an outsider, consultants can look at your nonprofit through the eyes of potential donors. Not only does this help you improve the fundraising experience, but it can also help you improve your:

  • Donor engagement and stewardship.
  • Different giving channels.
  • Fundraising events.
  • And so much more!

When you have a better understanding of what a donor wants, you’ll be able to answer the questions that many donors will have when they consider supporting your cause.

You may not be comfortable with every suggestion a consultant makes, but be open to their advice. Who knows? You might discover a new and effective approach to fundraising!

The bottom line: A fresh perspective may be exactly what you need to revive your fundraising and create new and unique ways to encourage donors to support your mission.

When you need help researching your supports, a fundraising consultant can help.

3. Research your supporters.

Whether you need help with prospect research or understanding your donors’ giving behaviors, hiring a fundraising consultant is an effective way to gain valuable insights into your supporters. If you don’t have a prospect researcher on your nonprofit’s team, you can hire a fundraising consultant to help you gain knowledge on your donors. 

In fact, there are nonprofit consulting firms whose entire focus is on gathering your supporters’ data and creating donor profiles.

Additionally, one of the most common services that consultants offer is a feasibility study. The study can help your nonprofit figure out if you have the means to run a successful fundraiser. The study also includes prospect research, which helps nonprofits identify major gift donors.

In addition to learning more about your prospects, a consultant can also help you analyze data on your supporters’ giving habits. The data that you gain from your supporters will help you improve your fundraising, solicitations, and engagement. With this information, you can tailor your fundraiser to meet your donors’ preferences.

For example, if you find out that a good percentage of your donors give through their mobile devices, you can create an event that focuses on mobile giving or that encourages donors to use their phones.

The bottom line: Researching your donors is an important step in the fundraising process. With the help of a fundraising consultant, you can gather and analyze the data that can inform your approach.

Training your board of directors is a service that most nonprofits offer.

4. Train your board of directors.

Good fundraising starts with a strong leadership team to help guide your nonprofit in the right direction. With a well-trained and motivated board, your nonprofit can:

  • Solicit donations from major donors using your board members.
  • Have the right guidance and leadership to achieve your goals.
  • Be successful in your future fundraising.

The approach that a consultant will take to train and ignite your board members will be different depending on the consultant. However, you should look for training that includes three factors:

  1. A comprehensive evaluation – Even before your consultant starts training, he or she should review your board and your nonprofit to see what areas need the most work. That way, you get training that is specifically tailored to your nonprofit’s needs.
  2. A detailed board work plan – The plan will describe the changes that need to be made and how you and your board can put those improvements into effect.
  3. New practice implementation – Don’t pick a fundraising consultant who just gives you the strategies to improve your board of directors. The consultant should help you put the new practices in place so that you aren’t making these changes all on your own.

With a consultant by your side, you’ll be able to to train your board so that they can help guide your nonprofit.

The bottom line: If you want to help your board members become better leaders, then you should consider hiring a consultant to help train your leadership for success.

A fundraising consultant can help you create a fundraising strategy.

5. Map out your fundraising strategy.

One of the most important parts of fundraising is the strategy or approach you use to raise the funds. While fundraising is not new to you or your nonprofit, you may need help creating a plan that is more effective and helps you reach your goals.

Remember that your strategy isn’t just for you, but it’s also for your entire staff and volunteers, so your strategies should be easy to understand.

If you want guidance on how to create a strategy, a consultant can align your goals, budget, and available resources to create a plan that will put your nonprofit on the right track.

A fundraising consultant can help you create a strategy that: 

  • Establishes your priorities and vision.
  • Empowers your team.
  • Maps out the steps to reach your goal.

Consultants can not only help you create a plan, but they can also help you implement it. If you’re not sure where to start, they will provide you with the necessary steps.

Even if you’ve made multiple strategies in the past, consultants can still be a helpful resource. They can give you a different outlook on your fundraising and identify challenges that you never considered. Plus, they can offer you best practices to make your fundraising strategies even better!

The bottom line: To have a successful fundraiser, you need a solid strategy in place to ensure that your nonprofit goes in the right direction. A fundraising consultant can help you create a plan that will take your fundraising to the next level.

A fundraising consultant can assist you with managing your events.

6. Plan fundraising events.

If you’re handling a new type of fundraising event or one that requires a lot of work to run, you can hire a consultant to help you manage it. That way, you can focus on interacting with donors and raising funds.

A fundraising consultant can help with your event from start to finish, whether that entails creating a strategy for your campaign, helping you train your volunteers for the event, and/or creating marketing materials. Of course you can hire a consultant to complete one or two tasks or help with your entire event.

Fundraising consultants have the strategies to plan and execute an event that will help you raise funds and stay on budget.

For instance, if you want to host a charity auction, which requires a lot of planning and funds to host, your consultant can help you find businesses that offer in-kind donations and event space.

Additionally, a consultant can assist you with more than just planning for your campaign; they can also help you with the engagement that happens during and after your event.

The bottom line: Fundraising consultants can help you plan and manage your event so that you can focus on more important things like reaching your goal!

Bonus: If you need more help with planning a fundraising event, you can find it here.

Even after the fundraising is over, a fundraising consultant can help you create a donor stewardship plan.

7. Create a donor stewardship plan.

After you’ve reached your goal, you can now celebrate your success, right? Not quite. After your fundraiser is over, you have the opportunity to start cultivating relationships with your donors, and a fundraising consultant can help you even after all the funds have been raised.

That’s what makes working with a consultant so great; you can continue working with them to improve your stewardship and your next fundraising endeavors. The relationship never stops (if you don’t want it to)!

Here are few ways a consultant can help you with your donor stewardship:

  • Create a plan of action for how you’ll reach out to donors.
  • Design and write a welcome packet that you can send to first-time contributors.
  • Suggest other ways for your nonprofit to interact with supporters.
  • And so much more!

A consultant can help you create the best cultivation strategy for your nonprofit. For example, your consultant may help you draft emails that you send to donors after they’ve made a contribution.

Stewardship is an important part of the fundraising process, but it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Effective stewardship doesn’t have to be overly complicated. As Brady Josephson explains, donor stewardship boils down to two things your nonprofit can do: know and care for your supporters. Consultants can help you figure out practical ways to both learn more about your donors and show you care.

While donors may support your nonprofit once, with the proper stewardship plan, your donors will want to support your cause in the future.

The bottom line: Fundraising doesn’t stop once you’ve reached your goal. A fundraising consultant can help you take the necessary steps to start establishing relationships with donors after the fundraiser.

BonusLearn more about donor stewardship.


Hiring a capital campaign consultant can be a helpful way to amplify your fundraising and find strategies that will help you be successful.

If these seven ways got you interested in working with a consultant, you can start your search today. Not sure where to start? Look at these top fundraising consultants to start your search.

Request a free trial of Fundly CRM today!

5 Ways to Enhance Your Membership Renewal Letter

5 Ways to Enhance Your Membership Renewal Letter

For nonprofits with membership programs, retention is everything. No matter how engaging or profitable your membership program is, if you can’t convince members to come back year after year, you’ll never achieve true progress or growth.

Luckily, there’s one oft-overlooked aspect of the member stewardship game that you can leverage to maximize your retention rates and supercharge your membership program. We’re talking about the ever-so-crucial membership renewal letter.

Though you might perceive these pesky communications as necessary evils, there is a way to ensure your renewal letters are more than just a requirement. They’re a way to engage your members and remind them of the value of the membership experience (while asking for a donation in the form of a membership fee).

In fact, if you follow our tips, you might even start to enjoy the renewal process—and more importantly, so will your members!

We’ll help you take your member renewal letters from okay to amazing in just 5 simple steps:

  1. Get personal.
  2. Take your members down memory lane.
  3. Understand the urgency.
  4. Stay gracious.
  5. Don’t forget the details.

Let’s begin!

Get personal

1. Get personal.

More than likely, you’ll utilize your membership management software to help you create and send large batches of renewal letters. Because these communications are often automated (or aided by your database), it’s easy to get lost in the transaction and forget to include a human touch.

Even though it’s an easy mistake, this error is more fatal than you might think!

For nonprofit organizations, your members are your most dedicated constituents. Not only do they give on a recurring basis and participate in engagement activities, but they set themselves apart by actually identifying themselves as part of your organization.

Since your members are so deeply invested in your nonprofit, it’s important to show the same level of respect and appreciation for them. By interacting with members in a personal way, you’re showing them that they’re not just a face in a crowd—they’re valued on an individual level! 

You should make your letter as personal as possible by including:

  • An accurate, friendly greeting. You should know your members well enough not to refer to them as “Dear Member,” so call them by their (correct!) first name. Use your database to ensure accuracy, and always double check to make sure the right letter is going to the right person.
  • A personable tone. This letter is more than just a formal invoice of members’ dues, so don’t fall into the trap of taking a transactional approach. Let your members know that you’re excited to have them contribute for another year, not just to receive their money!
  • A short handwritten note. If possible, have your membership director add a brief handwritten note to the end of the renewal letter. Especially if you’re a local organization or have interacted personally with this member before, adding a personal touch can go a long way.

When you use your member renewal letter as an opportunity to remind your members how much you care about them, you’ll be much more likely to see eager renewals.

The point is: Don’t treat your members like they’re nothing more than their membership fees. Show them you value them by crafting a letter that’s personal and friendly, and you’re sure to see your retention rates soar.

Take your members down memory lane

2. Take your members down memory lane.

Before you launch into a request, take a paragraph to remind your members how far their membership fees have gone to further your organization’s cause and enrich their lives since their last renewal.

Look at it this way: your members have other expenses too, and they likely can’t afford to shell out membership fees for an organization that hasn’t given them their money’s worth. If they can’t remember what last year’s dues paid for, they definitely won’t see the point in signing up for another go-round! 

To prevent that from happening, spend some time briefly recapping the value of their membership. If member stewardship has been a priority (and we hope that it has!), you’ll have no issue coming up with a highlight reel of all your membership program has done (and all your members have done for your membership program).

You might want to remind your members of any (or all) of the following:

  • Impact on your cause or community. Did you raise a record amount for your charity’s mission? Perhaps your members’ volunteer efforts had a radical effect on your community. Whatever the case, your nonprofit probably accomplished a lot last year with the help of your devoted members, so let them know you couldn’t do it without them.
  • Member engagement activities. One of the strongest benefits to membership programs is the community they naturally foster. Your events and programs have likely worked to develop a supportive group of like-minded individuals, so make sure this benefit is at the front of your members’ minds.
  • Services and opportunities. Does your membership program offer exclusive content or services for members? Don’t let them forget! Whether you had an educational speaker at your member get-together or hosted a conference, remind your donors how much your organization has helped them learn and grow this year.

You don’t want to spend too much time celebrating the past year’s successes (that’s what your year-end newsletter is for), but you do want to make your rationale clear: your members can’t get the experience of this membership program anywhere else!

The point is: Take some time to help your members recall the value of your membership program. By briefly going over the impact of your program, you’ll have no problem recruiting them for another year.

Understand the urgency

3. Understand the urgency.

As much fun as it is to rehash old times, you can’t avoid the purpose of your letter for long. By the second or third paragraph, it’s time to ask your members to renew their membership.

At this point in the letter, we can’t stress enough the importance of being to-the-point. If membership dues have increased since the last renewal period, tell your members directly. If you want to ask them to upgrade their membership level, quickly explain why and how. If you’re too vague, your members might think you’re hiding something from them, so just be clear from the start.

While you don’t want to be curt, you do want to stress that this is a matter best handled as soon as possible. When members feel they can put off their renewal for a later date, it increases the odds that they won’t ever get around to renewing—and you can’t let that happen! 

Encourage your members to act sooner rather than later by using the following strategies:

  • Include your application form. Take away the guesswork by including a link to your membership application, or a paper copy if your renewal letters are sent by mail. For the best results, make sure your form is user-friendly and well-designed. (Take a look at this article to learn how to optimize your application form!)
  • Make renewals easy. Membership management software can streamline the renewal process for both you and your members. Depending on your provider, you might even be able to include an automated renewal option on your application form or your website’s member portal.
  • Incentivize early renewal. If you’re having a hard time securing early or even on-time renewals, it might be time to up the ante. Though not realistic for every organization, providing benefits for those who take immediate action can seriously pay off. Consider offering a discount if members renew within two weeks of receiving their first renewal letter.

Don’t let your members lapse due to forgetfulness; convince them to secure another year’s involvement as soon as they receive their letter!

For more on requesting donations through letters, check out this post!

The point is: Get to the point quickly and make the pitch your members have been waiting for. Ask for their renewal in a direct, positive way, and make sure the renewal process is easy enough for them to complete on the spot.

Stay gracious

4. Stay gracious.

Remember the bottom line here: your members make your membership program possible. Without their contributions and involvement, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, so show them your gratitude as you ask for their renewal.

Throughout your letter, write with a tone of respect and thankfulness. Don’t ever be demanding!

Moreover, you might consider the following thank-you protocol for both your letter and the follow-up:

  • Close your letter with sincerity. Gratefulness should be the last thing your members see in their member renewal letters. Don’t overdo it (and risk cheesiness), but do include a sincere line to reiterate how appreciative you are as you close your letter.
  • Keep communication open. By failing to include follow-up details for your organization, you’re assuming your members will renew without question. On the contrary, make sure they’re aware that your team is eager to answer any and all of their questions by providing relevant contact information, including a specific point person on your team.
  • Send a thank-you note. Instead of only automating an acknowledgement or receipt, you should send your member a personalized thank-you note as soon as possible. An email is fine, but a handwritten note from your membership director or a board member can reiterate your personal connection to your members.

Gratitude during the renewal period is a major step toward member retention in the long run. Start on the right foot this membership term by proving to your members how much you value them (and avoiding tricky membership engagement mistakes along the way).

The point is: You can’t thank your members enough for what they do for your organization, but you can certainly try! Be gracious throughout your letter and always follow up personally as soon as you can.

Don't forget the details

5. Don’t forget the details.

We can’t talk about effective membership renewal letters without discussing at least a few technical details!

The smallest elements can push your letter to the next level, so let’s break down a few key technical components you can’t ignore: 

  • Keep it concise. As you edit your letter with our tips in mind, you might see your letter growing and growing to include all the necessary elements. Keep in mind that your members are busy and don’t have time for long-winded letters! A page is plenty to get your message across, but definitely don’t got over a 2-page limit.
  • Be persistent. While we’ve only been referring to the membership renewal letter as a singular communication, don’t be fooled into thinking you can get away with sending only one request. Start sending renewal reminders as early as a few months before membership expiration. (Hint: your software can automate these reminders so you don’t have to keep up with them!)
  • Don’t forget lapsed members. Have some members who missed the renewal window? Don’t let them lapse without sending a final reminder. This can be a good time to provide incentives, especially for long-time members.

The point is: Don’t forget the minor details of your renewal letter, from timing to length. Be thoughtful as you review your letter, and your members will appreciate the attention to detail!


Member renewal letters don’t have to be a hassle, for you or your members. When you send a letter that’s engaging and sincere, your members will notice (and they’ll be excited to sign up for another year!).

Need a little extra help crafting your letter? Check out this guide from Neon!

And for more on membership programs, check out these additional resources:

 

Nonprofit Feasibility Studies: Understanding the Basics

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If your nonprofit is embarking on a large fundraising project or capital campaign, you may need to make use of a feasibility study. Because nonprofit feasibility studies are only conducted for large fundraising projects, many nonprofits are unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs.

If you’re on the verge of conducting your first feasibility study, or if you just need to learn more about these valuable tools, then look no further!

We’ve answered the most pressing questions from nonprofits and philanthropic leaders regarding the basics of feasibility studies:

  • What is a nonprofit feasibility study?
  • When should your organization conduct a feasibility study?
  • What information does a nonprofit feasibility study reveal?
  • Who should you interview?
  • What are the benefits of a nonprofit feasibility study?
  • Why should fundraising consultants conduct the feasibility study?

We have the answers to these questions, and more!

What is a nonprofit feasibility study?

In short, a feasibility study is a tool that will help your nonprofit determine how to proceed with a capital campaign or large project.

In a feasibility study, a third-party representative (usually a fundraising consultant)  interviews important stakeholders in your organization and community. The interviews are designed to gather intel on these stakeholders’ perceptions of your nonprofit and its reputation in the community.

Throughout the course of these interviews, your nonprofit will learn how your project will be received by your most integral supporters and donors. Not only will this help you determine whether the campaign should proceed in the first place, but it will also give you the information you need to raise as much as possible.

A feasibility study will help you craft a fundraising strategy tailored directly to your donors. And of course, it will help you determine the logistics for accomplishing each stage of your campaign.

Your study may reveal, for example, that crowdfunding campaigns are especially effective for your nonprofit and that major donors would like to be more involved with these efforts without the pressure of making an online donation (most people, after all, wouldn’t be willing to give $100,000 online). With this information, you may opt to host a soft launch of your campaign, using your major donors as leaders who will encourage others to follow suit with donations.

The point is that a feasibility study will help guide your decision-making so your campaign reflects your donors’ and supporters’ interests.

When should your organization conduct a feasibility study?

A nonprofit feasibility study should be conducted during pre-campaign planning. Conduct the study about 3-4 months before you actually start asking for donations (for more pro-tips like this one, check out Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s guide to maximizing your nonprofit’s feasibility study).

That said, your feasibility study shouldn’t be the first thing you do for your campaign.

The extent of work you’ll need to do before the feasibility study will depend on the complexity of your proposed project.

For example, if you’re conducting a capital campaign for a building project, you’ll need to determine a few possible routes for completing the project in advance. You’ll need to calculate the costs of the project, which may require consultation with construction firms or other entities who would actually do the building. These costs should structure your fundraising goal.

As such, the study will be designed to determine whether or not the goal is feasible and how the money would be raised.

In contrast, if you’re launching a fundraising project to capitalize on an anniversary for major gift fundraising, you need not come prepared with so many details. In fact, the feasibility study will help you flesh out the logistics, like your fundraising goal, so that your strategy is built around what you know you can accomplish.

Thus, it’s important to understand the scope of your project and what you hope to accomplish before you look into these studies so that you can receive the most useful and applicable information.

No matter what, you should have board support for your campaign before the study occurs. Your board, after all, will prioritize the budget to accommodate the costs of the study and the consultant who will conduct it.

What information does a nonprofit feasibility study reveal?

A common misconception about nonprofit feasibility studies is that they’re limited in use.

In reality, a feasibility study should help you determine more than your fundraising goal. It will tell you more than how you should complete your project. And ultimately, it will tell you more than what donors and leaders think about your nonprofit.

The study should elicit the strengths and weaknesses of your organization as a whole, including areas for potential growth and problems with your infrastructure.

Specifically, this study should reveal:

  • Viable candidates for leadership positions. You’ll need an adept team to complete your project, and your feasibility study can point you toward the most respected and capable leaders in your organization.
  • How effective your fundraising strategies are. You may have data on your past fundraising events and strategies, but it’s important to put this information into context. Your interviewees will likely have valuable insight into what worked and what didn’t, and more importantly, why. Though interviewees may not be able to explain their feelings toward your fundraising strategies explicitly, a good interviewer should be able to pick up on themes (even unspoken patterns!) that can be quite revealing and informative.
  • The strength of your case for support. Your case for support is the crux of your campaign and the justification for your nonprofit’s existence. Refining your case for support through direct donor feedback can help you clarify your mission and strengthen your communications for future fundraising efforts.

Apart from these specific, important details, a feasibility study can reveal underlying problems that haven’t been vocalized. Catching these issues can help you solve them, ultimately strengthening your nonprofit in the long run.

Who should you interview?

When it comes to choosing interviewees, you want to select your most dedicated supporters and donors, as well as the community leaders who can enhance your campaign.

First, let’s look at organizational figures who should be interviewed:

  • Former and current major donors
  • Planned gift donors
  • Board members
  • Volunteers in leadership positions

Additionally, you’ll want to reach out to recipients of your nonprofit’s services, depending on the type of organization you’re working for. Medical institutions, for example, could reach out to grateful patients.

All of these organizational figures and leaders will have tons of insight into your organization and direct experience working for your cause. Knowing how they feel about your project is key to securing their support, which is essential for any campaign and especially for multi-year projects.

It’s also important to consider community leaders, including business owners and vendors. These leaders should have demonstrated their support for your organization (as opposed to just offering verbal support or not following up on promises).

Businesses will offer compelling opportunities for corporate philanthropy and sponsorships. Establishing connections early can help you build a fundraising strategy based around matching gifts, challenge grants, or other corporate donations.

As such, a feasibility study will give you the opportunity to gauge a multitude of funding opportunities and heed insight from the people who know the ins-and-outs of your organization.

What are the benefits of a nonprofit feasibility study?

It should be clear now that feasibility studies allow your nonprofit to make informed, educated decisions based on direct donor and stakeholder feedback.

As such, the details of your campaign are based on what’s viable, and your nonprofit is poised to grow if you take this feedback into serious consideration.

But even more so, and perhaps most overlooked when it comes to the benefits of these studies, is the chance to cultivate stronger donor relationships. If you think about it, it makes sense.

In a nonprofit feasibility study, you’re directly speaking with your donors, asking them for their opinions and insights.

You’re actively showing them how much they matter to your organization! You’ve staked an entire campaign on what they have to say — and donors appreciate that gesture. So much so that they may be inclined to increase their engagement with your nonprofit by donating during the quiet phase of your campaign or otherwise demonstrating their support.

Plus, you can use the study to stir up excitement for your campaign. Once these leaders envision themselves as contributors to your campaign, they’ll often be eager to get started right away.

It’s important that nonprofits don’t conduct a feasibility study solely looking for results. A careful, targeted interview effort can bring it’s own rewards in the form of lasting constituent relationships.

Why should fundraising consultants conduct a feasibility study?

Since your nonprofit knows your donors and your community best, it might make sense to conduct a feasibility study on your own.

This, however is quite uncommon and generally not a best practice. Instead, most nonprofits look to a fundraising consultant to conduct the study — and for good reason.

A fundraising consultant is an objective third-party who’s likely to collect more honest opinions from interviewees than an in-house party.

Just put yourself in your donors’ shoes!

Imagine that you’re being interviewed for a feasibility study. The interviewer is someone you’ve known for years, and they’re so excited about the project that it’s impossible for them to hide.

However, as much as you want to get on board, the project just doesn’t seem feasible. You don’t see a vision that you can get behind, but you don’t want to disappoint someone who’s so clearly invested in the project.

When it comes down to it, you won’t donate. But in the interest of politeness, you beat around the bush or give diplomatic responses.

In this scenario, both you (the donor) and the interviewer aren’t in the wrong, but your existing relationship creates a conflict of interest and a bit of awkwardness, too.

It’s easy for interviewees to misrepresent their actual commitment, or for interviewers to draft misleading results. In both cases, the deception isn’t intentional, of course, but it ultimately harms the project, the nonprofit, and even the donor relationship.

A fundraising consultant is a trained expert who can ensure accurate, honest results. Which, after all, is the purpose of the feasibility study in the first place!


Now that you know the basics of conducting a feasibility study, you can get started with your own. Check out these detailed steps to conducting a fundraising feasibility study!

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Optimize your website for crowdfunding success with these 6 nonprofit web design tips.

The Top 6 Nonprofit Web Design Tips for Crowdfunding Campaigns

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The ultimate goal of any nonprofit website is to convince supporters to take the desired action, whether that be signing up for an email newsletter, registering for a volunteer opportunity, or anything in between.

No matter what your goals, your website must be carefully structured and designed if your organization expects to reach the ideal outcome.

If that outcome happens to be increasing visibility and scoring more donations to your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll give you 6 tips that will help you design your website in a way that’s conducive to crowdfunding success, including:

  1. Make sure your donation page is easy to get to.
  2. Use your crowdfunding campaign to keep your website current.
  3. Pack an emotional punch.
  4. Standardize branding.
  5. Keep mobile in mind.
  6. Provide crowdfunding donors with other ways to get involved.

Let’s jump in!

Ensuring that your donation page is easy to get to will result in more online donations to your nonprofit, since donors can readily access your form.

1. Make sure your donation page is easy to get to.

Why it’s crucial:

Considering that crowdfunding relies on a large number of donors to be successful, campaign visibility and accessibility are arguably more important with crowdfunding campaigns than they are with other fundraisers.

To maximize donations to your campaign, your organization must make the giving experience as easy as possible on your donors.

If supporters have to search your website endlessly to find your crowdfunding page, chances are that they won’t even land on the donation form, nevertheless hit the “Submit” button.

Point is, a giving experience that is frustrating in any way is much more likely to be abandoned before the gift has been made, which won’t do much to further your crowdfunding campaign!

How it’s done:

If securing more donations to your crowdfunding campaign is your organization’s main website goal, treat it as the centerpiece!

The key here is to make your crowdfunding page as visible as possible (organically, of course). You should provide supporters with multiple pathways to access your campaign donation form.

For example, you might give supporters the option to access your page by:

  • Including a call-to-action and a link to your campaign page on your homepage.
  • Adding information about your crowdfunding campaign to your “Ways to Give” page.
  • Featuring a “Donate Now” button in your top navigation that specifically links out to your crowdfunding page.

Of course, this list certainly doesn’t cover all of the options. If there’s a natural opportunity to lead website visitors to your crowdfunding campaign donation form, then by all means, guide them!

To sum up: Ensuring that your navigation structure clearly points website visitors to your crowdfunding page will result in more donations to your campaign, since supporters will know exactly where to go to embark on the donation process.

Your crowdfunding campaign will provide your organization with plenty of updates that you can repurpose on your website to keep your content fresh.

2. Use your crowdfunding campaign to keep your website current.

Why it’s crucial:

Amidst a million other important efforts and concerns, in can be all-too-easy to forget to update your website… or to simply sweep updating under the rug.

However, updating your website is crucial to its effectiveness. You need to update regularly to reassure donors that your organization is still active and interested in keeping them in the loop with what’s going on at your nonprofit.

Furthermore, an out-of-date website can make your organization appear less credible. Think about it: have you ever landed on a business’ website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999? You probably weren’t too inclined to believe that that company was up with the times and a current expert in their product or field.

Point is, regularly updating your website can be a difficult feat, but the potential ramifications of not updating can be even greater.

How it’s done:

Luckily, your crowdfunding campaign will give your organization plenty of material for updating your website!

As we’ve discussed in a previous post, it’s important to regularly give your supporters updates during your crowdfunding campaign. Doing so keeps them oriented with your progress and demonstrates the results of their contributions in a more tangible way, both of which lead to a more invested base of donors.

You can repurpose the updates from your crowdfunding campaign to generate new content for your website. For example, you could update your homepage daily to share current campaign progress or publish a series of news article to your blog about the positive work that crowdfunding donations have already made possible.

And those are only a couple of the possibilities! No matter how you choose to leverage them, crowdfunding updates give you the fodder you need to keep your website current.

To sum up: By using news from your crowdfunding campaign, updating your organization’s website on a regular basis will be much more manageable.

Adding emotionally-charged images and stories to your nonprofit's website can make it more compelling to your donors.

3. Pack an emotional punch.

Why it’s crucial:

People are often motivated to give charitably because nonprofit causes tug at their heartstrings in some way. In other words, supporting nonprofits is usually (at least in part) an emotionally-charged pursuit.

That being the case, organizations generally do better at engaging their supporters and convincing them to give when they make an emotional appeal as opposed to a logical one.

By packing an emotional punch with your content, chances are that your website will be more impactful to your donors—both when it comes to conveying your message and encouraging more donations. After all, it’s those visceral reactions that lead to impulse giving!

While designing your website around an emotional appeal won’t directly influence the success of your crowdfunding campaign, it can aid it indirectly. The more you can inspire donors with your cause and impassion them with your mission, the more likely they are to donate to your campaigns.

How it’s done:

Take a nod from your crowdfunding campaign page, and make sure to tell your story through words and photos on your website.

While you should do so throughout your site, appealing to your supporters’ emotions is especially important on your homepage. The very first impression your visitors will have of your website is the look and layout of your homepage, so it’s important to get your message across immediately.

Design your homepage around an emotionally-charged photo of your work or those you serve, and make sure to include a shortened version of your mission statement above the fold (the part of the webpage that visitors can see without scrolling).

As One Project, an organization committed to supporting secondary survivors of sexual assault, perfectly portrays their work in an emotionally compelling way on their homepage:

As One Project tugs at their website visitors' heartstrings with a photo that illustrates their cause and a mission statement that captures their work.

To sum up: Nonprofit work is emotional by nature. Increase the chances that website visitors will be swayed by your cause by using compelling stories and images to pack an emotional punch, particularly on your homepage.

Standardizing branding throughout your nonprofit website ensures that donors always feel secure when browsing your site.

4. Standardize branding.

Why it’s crucial:

As all nonprofits know, building trust is key to securing donations. This is especially true for online donations, which are more impersonal since there’s no aspect of face-to-face interaction to help donors feel secure.

If your organization wants to maximize the number of online donations received (and we’re assuming you do!), you must do everything in your power to make your website appear as trustworthy as possible to your donors.

Standardizing branding across your website is one of the most straightforward ways to do just that.

By keeping branding consistent across the board, it becomes a seal of trust. When donors see your look and logo across all pages of your website, they’ll be consistently reminded that they’re investing in a credible cause they care about.

How it’s done:

All pages of your website should have the same look and feel, derived from your logo.

Before you start designing, consider creating a style guide that outlines all design standards. Here are just a few of the many things you’ll probably want to think about:

  • Color scheme. Color schemes should be based off of your logo and include no more than 5-6 colors. There should be 2-3 main colors (brights) as well as an array of neutrals to complement them.
  • Color usage. Beyond simply having a scheme to work with, you should determine which elements will appear in which colors. For example, what colors will donation buttons and other CTAs be? Hyperlinks?
  • Font. Use one font throughout your website, and stick with it. When selecting a font, keep in mind that sans serif fonts are more legible on screens.
  • Images. What types of images will your organization use on your website? Should images be shaped, sized, or formatted in a particular way? Where will images be sourced from? Do you need to secure any permissions? These questions all need to be answered in your style guide!

If you’re working with a web design firm, they should create a style guide for you and design your website around it. If you’re opting to construct your website yourself using a website builder, you should set all defaults in the theme to be consistent with style guidelines.

Important: don’t forget to brand your crowdfunding campaign page, too! Considering that donors are submitting their sensitive information there, they’ll feel much more comfortable giving when your form clearly reflects your organization.

To sum up: Clear and consistent branding across your website builds trust, because donors can be certain that they’re supporting a credible nonprofit.

Now that most donors approach websites from their smartphones, it's of the utmost importance to create a mobile-responsive website that provides them with the best possible experience.

5. Keep mobile in mind.

Why it’s crucial:

Now that mobile phones are so advanced, more and more people are using them to browse the web on the go.

In fact, it’s been estimated that a majority of browsers are now visiting nonprofit websites from mobile devices. The problem is that many nonprofits haven’t yet caught up with the times and optimized their websites (including their donation pages) for mobile users.

It might not seem like a deal breaker at first, but a website that isn’t mobile-responsive can cause your crowdfunding donations (and online contributions in general) to take a hit. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly aren’t user-friendly, so mobile donors are much more likely to become frustrated and leave the site before submitting their donations.

Think about it: wouldn’t you be much less inclined to give if you had to zoom and pinch your screen, scroll up, down, left, and right, and fill out a bunch of tiny, illegible boxes to make a donation?

How it’s done:

How you build a mobile-responsive website will be dependent on how your nonprofit is approaching web design.

If you’re…

  • Designing your website yourself, the website builder that your organization is using should use a responsive design framework that automatically conforms your site to the device it’s being viewed on. However, just because you have this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that your site will translate well to mobile, so be sure to keep mobile in mind as you’re designing.
  • Working with a web design firm, make sure to select a firm who offers mobile-responsive design. Most firms should offer this service now that mobile is so prevalent, but it can’t hurt to double-check!

Remember: the best way to tell if your site is actually mobile-responsive is to test it out for yourself. Take out your smartphone and try donating to your crowdfunding campaign!

To sum up: Mobile-responsive websites provide mobile donors with the best possible user experience. When donating to your crowdfunding campaign is easy, donors will be much more likely to follow through!

By offering your crowdfunding donors other ways to engage with your organization throughout your website, your nonprofit will build a base of more invested donors.

6. Provide crowdfunding donors with other ways to get involved.

Why it’s crucial:

Crowdfunding campaigns can really give your donor acquisition a boost. These campaigns require widespread sharing and are low-stakes for donors, so they’re the ideal opportunity to recruit a lot of new donors to your cause.

In order to transform one-time crowdfunding donors into donors who give again and again, it’s crucial to actively continue building relationships with them. One of the best ways to do that through your website is by offering supporters other opportunities to get involved with your organization!

Not to mention, some supporters who land on your website might want to support your organization, but might not be ready to make a monetary gift. By providing a variety of engagement opportunities on your website, you can win the support of people with a variety of preferences.

How it’s done:

Post-donation engagement opportunities don’t even have to be limited to your acknowledgement page! In fact, they should be incorporated throughout your website.

The key is to match up your webpages with relevant opportunities. Some opportunities might be relevant across the board (for example, an email newsletter subscription box might remain at the bottom of the site on every page), while others would be very specific to certain pages (for example, the opportunity to volunteer for an event might only be limited to a dedicated volunteer information page).

No matter where you place them, all opportunities should be framed as calls-to-action (CTAs). Use short, clear, and actionable language to ensure that donors will understand exactly what you’re requesting.

With the right CTAs, who knows? That supporter who came only intending to give $5 to your crowdfunding campaign might be transformed into a lifelong volunteer!

To sum up: Including other engagement opportunities around your website actively continues the conversation both before and after crowdfunding campaign donors have given. With a wealth of thoughtful engagement opportunities backing you up, you should have a larger base of recurring donors to rely on for your next campaign!


Your nonprofit’s website strategy can greatly influence how much money you’re able to raise during your crowdfunding campaign. With these 6 tips, your website should be conducive to crowdfunding success.

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Swimming Pool

11 Refreshing Summer Fundraising Ideas

Let’s be honest, asking people for money is difficult.  Really, really difficult.

What’s even worse?  Asking grumpy people for money.

Donors are much more receptive to asks when they are in good moods. Whodathunkit?

So take advantage of the happiest season of the year — summer!

Summer is a great time to engage with donors. The sun is shining, the weather is good, and daylight lasts forever.

It is a season that beckons people outside, so heed the call.

Skinny-top-CTAs-for-Fundly

Use these suggestions to capitalize on the summer season and get your community outside and donating!

#1 HOST A BLOCK PARTY

A block party is a one-stop shop for summer fun.  The endless summer nights provide the perfect backdrop for a community gathering that benefits your cause!

Block Parties are what you make them so the vibe and atmosphere will be up to you.

Consider organizing some extra fundraising events to incorporate into the block party and maximize your donations.

I would suggest getting some competition brewing with a watermelon eating contest and a cook-off.

Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit, refreshing and healthy.  Donors won’t feel guilty about stuffing their faces with watermelon.

Watermelons

Messy enough to provide a visual badge of honor for those who compete, your contest will be a highlight of the block party.

For those who find the competitive eating world unappealing give them the option of competitive cooking.  A cook-off is a great complement to any block party.

Pick a summer classic, like apple pies, burgers, or chili, and get people cooking!

You can have party guests vote using a secret ballot or appoint a judging panel.  Just have fun with it!

Look into getting a local chef or cooking supply shop to donate cooking lessons or a gift card to the winner.

Keep the party going late into the night and let your cause reap the financial rewards.

#2 HOST A POOL PARTY

Is a block party not cool enough for you in those hot summer months?  Make it a pool party instead.  Problem solved!

Pool parties are pretty straight forward.  Have pool?  Will party.

Just make sure you have your safety bases covered with licensed lifeguards.

Your pool party can be as extravagant as your heart desires.  Set up carnival like games near the pool.  Have a party-wide round of Marco Polo.  Sell snacks from a concessions stand.

#3 ORGANIZE A WATER BALLOON FIGHT

Kids will join in for the fun of it and adults will join in for the nostalgia-fun of it.  Establish a designated fight-zone, register competitors, and sell water balloons.

You could even make it a tournament with teams competing for a coveted prize…glory!

#4 COORDINATE A CAR WASH

Car washes are a fundraising standby for a reason.  They’re a great way to raise money with little event cost.

They are also an excellent opportunity to expand awareness of your organization.

Make sure your car wash has plenty of signage stating what the proceeds are going towards.  You might even want to print off some flyers or brochures to give those who participate additional info on your cause.

#5 HOST A FISH FRY OR BARBEQUE

BBQ Hamburgers

For this event you’ll have a crew of volunteers and staff manning the grill or fryers.  Set up a method of ordering (online, via the phone, in person) and provide made-to-order food.

Your establishment can be take-out style or you can set up some outdoor seating.

Get kitschy if you go the eat-in route, and don’t forget the quintessential summer items like picnic tablecloths and funky plates.

#6 RUN A WALK-A-THON, BIKE-A-THON, OR SWIM-A-THON

Pick whichever of the three you think your community will be most interested and you’ll be off to the races.

Charge a small registration fee and have your participants gather sponsorships for distance walked, biked, or swam.

#7 HOST A WINE TASTING

Find an outdoor venue, get wine donated from local shops, and invite your supporters who are 21+ to pay a minor fee to participate.

People will jump at the chance to sample wine while feeling charitable.

#8 CATER A DINER OR HOST A GALA OUTDOORS

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bring your higher-end events outside.  For example, you could host a garden ball at your community’s botanical gardens.

#9 RUN A SUMMER GOLF TOURNAMENT

Golf Cart

Golf tournaments can be very lucrative.  Partner with a local golf course and solicit your corporate sponsors and donors to buy spots in the tournament.  Make a whole day of it!  Start with breakfast and finish with a dinner and silent auction.

#10 ORGANIZE AN OUTDOOR CONCERT

Outdoor concerts are summer staples.  It doesn’t matter who the main attraction is, whether its Beyoncé or your cousin Al’s neighborhood band.

A benefit concert is all about having fun and raising money.

#11 COORDINATE A SUMMER FILM SERIES

Reserve a venue, like a park space, for 4 or 5 separate nights.  Then pick out a movie for each reserved day that an entire family can enjoy.

Title your series, something like “June Movie Mondays,” and start rolling.

Make sure to advertise and let people know what the ticket sales are accomplishing.  You could even sell theater concessions to create an authentic movie-going experience.

For more great information, check out our list of summer camp fundraising ideas! 

Once you’ve executed a great summer fundraiser, make sure your organization is fully prepared to keep those hard earned donors.

Click here to learn more about donor retention.

And click here to learn more about donor segmentation.

Donors have more time and energy to get involved in their communities during their summers.  Cement your nonprofit’s community presence by making a big fundraising push this summer. Go forth and conquer the season!

Click here to download our free fundraising software checklist.