|14 Sep 2020|
|Building Your Community|
Put simply, it’s a way to organise and boost your fundraising efforts, by creating a system that connects your database with your communications. With limited time and resources in many development teams, or advancement teams for schools based in the US and Australia, it’s no longer practical to work from spreadsheets that can become corrupted, paper records that could be lost or damaged, or inherited databases that require more time and expertise to use than the donor outreach they are supposed to facilitate!
Tracking donor interactions, accessing up-to-date contact details and engagement information, and assessing progress towards targets are basic ways in which you can be more confident you will hit your goals. This is the support that fundraising software offers development teams. By treating your fundraising efforts in the same way that sales outreach is managed, and using a 'donor pipeline', you can visualise, present and share which stage you're at in the donor engagement journey, and recognise where you will need to target efforts to ensure you can meet your fundraising deadlines on time. What's more, you should be able to tailor the product and personalise it for the requirements of your organisation and your community, preventing teams wasting time wading through features that aren't relevant.
Schools may feel that fundraising specific software is too expensive, or not necessary for the kinds of fundraising that they undertake. It can be difficult to justify the cost if budgets are already tight, but investing in software has both short term and long term benefits, and can take your fundraising to the next level by enabling you to access pools of alumni and parent potential donors that are currently untapped. In schools across the world, alumni are often dispersed internationally and by only offering in-person opportunities to connect, you can lose out on a large proportion of alumni who may still want to be in contact and ultimately give back.
When it comes to building your case for support, it’s essential to provide historical records to convince your stakeholders of your fundraising campaign; fundraising software enables you to quickly pull reports and run filters to show exactly where your campaign can be concentrated. Plus, by running and organising your events through the same platform, you ensure that your entire development/ advancement programme is captured in one place, ready to give you the insight you need to run smarter fundraising campaigns.
By saving time on admin tasks and spending the time instead on developing new or deeper relationships, you can unlock value for both your alumni and your development team and create a strong community that wants to give back.
When working with limited resources, you need to automate as much as possible to make your work efficient. Schools and colleges can often struggle with legacy data and custom fields, making it difficult to really tap into the power of your data. As part of migrating your data onto fundraising software, your data should be cleaned to ensure that you can use it with confidence going forwards. You can then confidently organise tasks from sending personalised ‘thank you’ notes to donors, to logging gift aid claims.
Your fundraising goals depend on the relationships that are built between your organisation and your supporters. Whether you are targeting parents or alumni, you can encourage donations by keeping in touch and providing content that is relevant and engaging. A combined CRM, community portal/app and database is the key to ensuring a consistent message that you can tailor for different groups. Adapting your communications will help your alumni to feel that you understand them, and you can create a greater value for them by offering them insights and opportunities that will make them grateful to be a part of your alumni network.
If you are not meeting your fundraising goals, or you want to push for an ambitious target for a new project, it can be difficult to raise funds from your existing pool of donors, particularly if you are having to ask regularly! It’s important not only to time your requests right, which you can track through the ToucanTech fundraising software, but also to be on the lookout for new donors. Using engagement metrics can be an excellent identifier for people that are in a good position to be asked to make a donation, and you can create a personalised ask based on what they have previously interacted with. For example, if they are regular readers of your emails that talk about the new school tennis centre, and have joined one event about the development of the school, you can target your communications for a greater impact.
Creating strong relationships with your alumni will pay off, particularly in difficult circumstances, and investing in the future of your alumni community is essential to drive a successful development / advancement programme. A school fundraising software will drive your campaigns to the next level and create opportunities to connect with untapped potential donors.
Our customers are creating stronger community connections and smarter fundraising campaigns all over the world. Discuss ways to make your community more engaged with an experienced ToucanTech engagement evangelist; organise a time to talk to the team here.
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