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How to Make the Most of Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts

June 28, 2023 (4 min read)
Make your donor research work for you with the right prospecting tools.

You know the old saying: “Work smarter, not harder.” And sure, it’s a pithy way to summarize how you as a nonprofit fundraising professional strive to do your work. After all, if you want to find as many donors for your fundraising campaign as possible and maximize total contributions per donor, then you can’t afford to let time-consuming donor research and ineffective outreach slow you down.

The reality, however, is that working smarter not harder to hit your fundraising goals is much easier said than done. For starters, you have to comb through a vast quantity of disjointed, differently formatted data to unearth potential donor prospects. But even after you have a respectable list of potential donors to engage, you’re still faced with several unknowns:

  • Which prospects on your list are most likely to donate to your fundraiser?
  • How do you best engage with each one (e.g., email versus letter versus phone call)?
  • What are the personal and professional developments in each potential donor’s life that can impact their willingness or ability to give?
  • Are the contact details for each donor even accurate?

If you’re unable to find out the answers to these questions, then you’re left with the traditional methods of cold calls and blanket letters or emails. And what about past donors? Just because they donate to your previous campaigns doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll donate to this one. How can you rule out the least likely donors and focus more of your time and energy on those most willing and able to donate this time around?

The key to getting the answers to these questions quickly—and, ultimately, to working smarter—is all about having the right platform to manage your donor data and conduct donor research. In this blog, we explore why a good research tool can make all the difference. 

How the right research tool can unlock donor potential

There is no shortage of truisms about what makes for a successful fundraising campaign. But the ability to execute your sound and carefully thought-out fundraising strategy (or to share your story in an engaging way, or to foster deeper relationships with your existing donors, and so on) stems from having a donor data management solution that removes time-consuming tasks from your plate and clears the way for you to gain more donor insights faster.

And if that’s the case, then what exactly should this theoretical donor data management solution do from a functionality standpoint? 

Grant access to clean, accurate donor data

You shouldn’t have to restrict yourself to whatever donor information you can compile from the open web. Likewise, purchasing donor contact information from a third-party vendor is no guarantee that any of the donors on the list are interested in your nonprofit’s cause or current campaign--nor will you be able to check if they pass your donor due diligence standards. With the right donor research solution, you can:

  • Quickly search for and find donors most likely to contribute to your nonprofit
  • Conduct wealth screening to determine potential donation amounts
  • Ensure up-to-date donor contact information

Additionally, while giving your donor research the benefit of a vast amount of data, the right donor research solution also makes searching and filtering donor data intuitive and efficient. In short, you should have all the advantages of data quantity and quantity—with none of the setbacks of too much data in too many formats.

MORE: What is wealth screening? 

Screen donors prospects for a holistic look at their potential

Your donor research platform should also take the extra step of screening prospects and compiling all data surrounding a prospective donor, to deliver a comprehensive donor profile. It should be easy for you to see what forms of engagement are most effective, a history of past donations, changes in contact information, and more.

Not only that, but the more you know about a donor’s personal and professional developments, the more deeply you can engage with them. For example, you could send a past donor a congratulatory message to acknowledge a recent career change or promotion. Your donor research platform should make discovering these kinds of tidbits as simple as making a few clicks of the mouse.

MORE: The best wealth screening tools for Major Gift Officers

Engage current and prospective donors with confidence

The less you know about a potential donor, the less confident you likely feel that can convert a cold call or blanket email into a donation—let alone a donation that’s maximized based on the donor’s propensity, preferences, and financial state. 

But the right donor history will allow you to start conversations with the right donors at the right time, in the right way--and that you’re asking for the right amount. If you know a donor's interests, you can craft your communication specifically to them, providing a more personal connection and increasing the likelihood of their donation. 

MORE: How to fundraise for the arts

Make the most of your nonprofit fundraising efforts with Nexis® for Development Professionals

With Nexis for Development Professionals as your donor management and research platform, you have the data and intuitive functionality you need to efficiently find donors, engage them, and hit—or even maybe surpass—your fundraising targets. By taking care of the hard work of research and data collection, Nexis for Development Professionals clears your schedule to do more of what you love--engage your donors and fulfill your mission. Learn how it works by scheduling a free demo today