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How to Increase Donations for your Non-profit

Last year saw a 1.7% decline in individual charitable giving – the first drop since the recession over a decade earlier.

Depending on the season, economic climate and a variety of other factors, general trends in donations differ each year.
Depending on the season, economic climate and a variety of other factors, general trends in donations differ each year.

Securing donations is a vital part of any charitable organization. Depending on the season, economic climate and a variety of other factors, general trends in donations differ each year. Last year saw a 1.7% decline in individual charitable giving – the first drop since the recession over a decade earlier. Though amounts vary by organization a general downward trend is unfortunate for the industry, especially since some experts attribute the falloff to revised U.S. tax deductibility rules which means their effects will continue. It is increasingly important that NGOs of all sizes adjust their strategies and ensure they are capturing and utilizing donations effectively.

Maximizing Donations for NGOs

  • Make it easy

Think about the rise of online shopping. People embrace the practice in increasing numbers at least in part because of its ease. Using a few clicks of a mouse or smartphone, an individual can make a useful purchase. NGOs should embrace a similarly simple process for accepting donations. Consider that while paying online for retail, nearly 30% of transactions were left uncompleted because of a long process, technical issues or a lack of payment options. Once a donor decides to give money to a cause, NGOs should try to ensure their experience is seamless so they can easily complete their contribution.

  • Be transparent with spending

Unfortunately, negative news stories of mismanaged funds at an NGO can have adverse effects for all charities, even if they are completely unrelated. As a result, some potential donors may have apprehensions about making an initial gift. Yet organizations who are open and transparent with their reporting receive an average of 53% more in funding.

  • Allow repeat gifts

Today many individuals and organizations set up automatic payments which allow a regular donation at set intervals. For some supporters, it’s an easier way to provide steady cash. For charities, it allows for a better projection of incoming funds per month and makes budgeting significantly simpler. The practice also leads to higher rates of contribution. Those who set up recurring payments give over 40% more than one-time donors. Having a dynamic overview of spending and cash flow can be challenging, especially when a charity works with overseas partners or recipients. Switching to digital payments platform can make it easier to trace funds and provide clear reporting.

  • Social media

Social media platforms can be a powerful tool for any not-for-profit. It’s an effective and low-cost way to connect directly with the public on a personal level. While many organizations rely on mail or phone campaigns, digital projects can yield an even better result. The quick nature of social media allows charities to update the public about events or news in real-time and directly interact with these users. Pictures, videos and other content can show rather than tell donors the value of their donations.

  • Be mindful of FX

Regardless of the cause, foreign purchases are a regular part of many organizations. This can be especially difficult for NGOs, who often send money worldwide to support humanitarian efforts. Currency can fluctuate on a daily basis, so the value of a donation may also shift daily. In order to protect these funds from any loss, charities may want to consider FX risk management strategies. Working with a currency specialist can help a group understand their foreign exposure and determine the best strategy for their goals.