Fundraising and marketing are both essential for nonprofit organizations to function effectively and generate support. When these two activities are approached separately, there are plenty of opportunities for nonprofits to raise a lot of money and connect with their supporters. However, there are even more opportunities to do so when these essential functions are connected.

Many aspects of your fundraising and marketing efforts likely already overlap as both teams strive to attract interested donors and lead them to a place where a donation solicitation will be successful. They differ in fundraising’s explicit focus on the donation request, whereas marketing is concerned with the steps leading up to the ask, such as informing donors, providing them with engagement opportunities, and generally holding their interest. 

By connecting your fundraising and marketing efforts, your nonprofit can create more personalized donor journeys that fluidly transition donors from their first interactions with your nonprofit to their eventual contributions. 

Connecting Fundraising and Marketing Strategies

Want to maximize the impact of your fundraising and communications? Finding ways to integrate strategies means more funding and greater brand recognition across your community.

Personalize fundraising outreach strategies

Communicating with your donors is an essential part of your marketing strategy. From campaign updates to information about your mission, every message is a promotion for your organization. However, some communications also double as fundraising strategies.

Donor solicitations naturally fall into that space between fundraising and marketing. They promote stewardship and brand awareness while also raising money for your organization. Therefore, to better integrate your fundraising and marketing strategies, begin by infusing both strategies’ best practices into your solicitations.

Personalization is a powerful messaging technique that’s been proven to amplify the effectiveness of various types of outreach. Applying it to your solicitation strategy will help hold donors’ attention, build relationships, and encourage additional giving. Here are some strategies to personalize your outreach: 

  • Address donors by name. In addition to starting the solicitation message with your supporter’s name, try starting a mid-letter paragraph with the supporter’s name as well. Repeating the recipient’s name throughout the letter will naturally stand out and help keep their attention.
  • Mention past engagement. The point of personalization is to show donors that you care. When you mention their past engagement history with your organization, you show that you both care about and appreciate their engagement. For example, you might thank a donor for attending a recent event before soliciting the donation. 
  • Segment donors. Segmentation is the key to personalization. While you can’t reach out to donors individually each and every time, you can create segments of donors who share common characteristics. For example, you might reach out to a segment of donors who are all eligible for matched gifts from their employers, informing them of the opportunity to increase their donations. Double the Donation’s matching gift statistics page estimates that when donors know they’re eligible for a matching gift, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to give and a third of them indicate they’ll give more. Integrating your marketing and fundraising efforts in this way will naturally boost results. 

In addition to personalizing the solicitation request itself, be sure you take a step back to analyze the entire donor experience. Instead of emerging out of the blue with a solicitation, lead up to it with other marketing collateral.

For example, you might come up with an outreach strategy personalized for your first-time donors to lead them to a second contribution. To do so, you would need to consider and create marketing materials for each step of the donation process.

After the initial donation, you would first thank donors and present them with invitations to get further involved with your nonprofit without donating again, such as a welcome letter or your newsletter. Then, you could present them with targeted marketing materials that provide information and impact statements about the campaign they contributed to and how it has developed since their initial gift. Finally, you would make the ask for a second gift, then repeat the process to solicit your next donation. 

By creating a personalized experience like this before you solicit a second contribution, you’ll maximize the likelihood that they’ll feel appreciated and stick around.

Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising to reach new audiences

Another natural opportunity to integrate your fundraising and marketing efforts is with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Peer-to-peer campaigns are a wildly popular marketing trend that’s gained traction with the rise of social media, primarily because they help you expand your reach. They’re a great way to connect with your supporters’ networks and encourage them to learn more about your mission. 

These campaigns are especially useful because they allow your supporters to reach their friends and family, informing them of the mission while asking them to contribute. Here’s a quick overview of how peer-to-peer fundraising works

Because supporters reach out to their own networks of family and friends during this type of campaign, you can connect with new audiences that you may have never reached otherwise. After all, people are more likely to care about and contribute to a campaign that they know someone they love also cares about. 

From there, you will need to take steps to retain those new supporters as many of them will contribute because of their connection to their friend or family member, rather than your nonprofit. In this situation, you could then send these new donors marketing materials that explain your nonprofit’s mission and encourage them to learn more. Then, after they have expressed interest and engaged with this next wave of marketing messages, you could consider sending your next fundraising request. 

When peer-to-peer campaigns are well-designed, your organization can raise additional funds while also reaching those new audiences. This helps you fundraise, spread the word about your mission, and create a new base of potential supporters at the same time! 

Sell merchandise to increase brand awareness

In addition to building relationships with your supporters, many marketing strategies are designed to build brand awareness for your mission in the community. Another way to build this awareness is by selling branded merchandise. This raises money and awareness at the same time.

A t-shirt is a perfect example of this concept. Selling branded merchandise in your community naturally raises money for your mission. Then, whenever your buyers wear the t-shirt in public, they’ll act as walking billboards for your cause. People may come up and ask what the shirt means, giving your supporters the chance to explain your incredible mission. This serves as a form of social proof.

Of course, the same concept works for coffee mugs, hats, and water bottles, but t-shirts provide the largest canvas for designs. When you design your merchandise, be sure to include: 

Including all these elements will make for a cohesive design that encompasses your mission and spreads awareness. If you’re not confident in your own creative design capabilities, you can always use a template or recruit a designer to help you with your merchandise.

Merchandise can be integrated into a number of your organization’s strategies, making it a very versatile fundraising and marketing tool. For instance, you can host an online store to sell merchandise as a standalone fundraising campaign, sell merchandise at community events, or leverage leftover merchandise as free swag for supporter appreciation gifts.

However you choose to incorporate t-shirts into your nonprofit’s efforts, just bear in mind that it offers the equal opportunity of promoting your brand and raising funds only if designed well.

Stronger Together

Fundraising and marketing are both essential processes at your nonprofit that help push your mission forward. Integrating them in strategic ways has the potential to help you raise more funds, increase brand recognition, and improve your relationships with supporters. For more ideas on how to connect these areas of nonprofit work, don’t miss our quick tips for getting out of fundraising vs. marketing silos

How does your organization combine fundraising and marketing strategies? Is there friction as your nonprofit looks to raise money and build awareness? Or have you found ways to streamline the journey for supporters as they get to know you? See you in the comments!

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