Basic Nonprofit Growth Strategies

While digital marketing for nonprofits may sometimes feel overwhelming, it’s a key part of today’s nonprofit growth strategies. Here are a few ideas to consider for the types of programs you will execute to achieve fundraising goals.

Set SMART Goals and KPIs

Setting SMART goals that are concrete, specific, and measurable objectives is essential for any nonprofit organization. Not only does it help set the direction of your efforts, but it allows you to track progress and measure success. To achieve this, you should create a hierarchy of items your nonprofit wants to accomplish that starts with the big-picture mission.

Your mission should provide an overarching solution to the problem you are trying to address in your community. It can be as general or specific as necessary – if you are creating a dog rescue system, for example, the mission can be “find a loving home for every dog.”

Goals then come next in this hierarchy – these should be more detailed and actionable steps toward achieving the mission, such as “reduce euthanasia rates within our city by 50% within five years” or “establish stronger relationships between adopters and rescues.”

Finally, objectives should be created under each goal that breaks down into concrete tasks people within the organization must do to reach their goals. For example, objectives include “cultivate ten new foster homes by December 2019” or “create 50 flyers about pet ownership safety seminars by October 2020”.

Optimize Your Website

Nonprofit fundraising will go a lot further when people looking to support your organization can find you online. Organizational growth depends on connections. So while word of mouth and face-to-face recruiting remains the most effective way to reach potential donors, it’s important to let your website work for you too.

An optimized website will enable current and possible donors to contribute through online donations, share your donation links on social media, and promote events.

Learn more about optimization actions here. 

Schedule Accountability Check-Ins

While your nonprofit isn’t always viewed as a business, it must function as such. Fundraising is a team effort, and future growth depends on consistency. Schedule weekly conversations with your team to review the following information:

  • New information to share with donors
  • Upcoming events to attend
  • The number of donors contacted the previous week
  • How is the development team avoiding burnout?

Track your Nonprofit Donor Retention Rate

Every marketing strategy depends on happy customers. For nonprofits, customers are divided into a few categories. First, the clientele you serve. Second, your volunteers, and finally, your donors. 

It’s normal to have donors cycle in and out of providing support. People move on to support different opportunities. Sometimes financial situations change, and donations aren’t possible for a season or longer. 

While donors will change, overhead costs often remain the same. Because of this, it’s vital to continue adding people to your donor list. As you track your retention rate, you’ll have a better idea of how many donors are replacing lost income and how many are adding to the overall growth of your nonprofit.

Focus on Mid-Tier Donors

Your organization is unlikely to survive on gifts from major donors. While their generosity is always a blessing, it’s often inconsistent. Large annual contributions are difficult to track for budgeting. Don’t forget to acknowledge the generosity of your monthly donors. You may discover that after a few years of giving $20 a month, a mid-tier donor is happy to increase giving in correspondence with a raise at work. 

Stay Transparent

Transparency builds trust, including discussing the income needed at fundraising events. It’s absolutely fine to share your long-term strategic plan with potential donors. When they catch a vision for all the good you intend to accomplish, they are more likely to join in on the fun! 


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