Scalable Processes for Nonprofits: Start with Giving Tuesday Featuring Auctioneer Emily Quinn
As anyone involved in the nonprofit world is no doubt aware of already, Giving Tuesday (30 November) is fast approaching. It’s a brilliant time to discuss scalability, a term generally confined to the commercial sphere that has so much value for charities too. If your goal is to fundraise as much as possible, you need to think about how to get the most out of the resources you have by implementing the right processes. For some inspiration on how to do that, we talked to master auctioneer Emily Quinn.
One common stumbling block is feeling like you have to reinvent the wheel every time you carry out a task. This simply isn’t necessary; you just need to have a solid process you know you can rely on for results. Emily talked us through how to look at nonprofit fundraising through a new lens and take things to the next level using the right processes and tools. This isn’t advice that you can afford to skip!
Tracking the donor relationship
In the business world, companies go out of their way to make sure they know who their customers are, mapping customer journeys and buyer personas and then doing everything they can to follow through with potential leads.
Yet nonprofits often don’t have the same attitude. Your donor is your customer, so you need to know your “donor journey.” Who are your customers, what are their goals, and what can you offer them?
You also need to track exactly who your customers are and stay on top of your relationship with them. This doesn’t have to be fancy — spreadsheets or CRM software will do the job just fine.
Also, try to automate your processes where possible. For instance, you might create tags you can use to differentiate between various types of customers or build an email list to send out newsletters periodically.
Many people associate automation with complex AI software, but sometimes, it can just mean building a solid routine to make things easier for you and create a system that someone else can take control of if necessary. For instance, building a template for all future email newsletters is one form of automation.
Three types of fundraising
To build a better understanding of how fundraising works and how to get the most out of it, Emily identified three different types.
Firstly, there’s episodic giving. This is usually fundraising that responds to a specific newsworthy event, such as a global crisis. Certain types of organizations are constantly ready for these types of opportunities (e.g., Red Cross), and know how to make the most of them when they arise.
The second kind is event giving. This involves a nonprofit putting effort into a day, event, or theme to raise money. At Paybee, we specialize in helping organizations run these types of events (remotely) — examples of fundraising ideas include danceathons, auctions, and galas.
Finally, we have annual giving: this is when fundraising efforts are centered around a seasonal event or a specific time of the year. You might run an annual fund, use an anniversary of your nonprofit to encourage donations, or prompt your donors by using Giving Tuesday.
Most nonprofits use more than one of the above techniques, but it’s important to remember that messaging should be consistent across everything — which is exactly why your systems and processes are so important.
Systemization and scalability
Using systemization helps you stay away from what we call the “crazy train.” Take a moment to take a step back from the day-to-day. How efficient are your systems?
We recommend looking at the steps it takes you to carry out a task — once you become conscious of what you’re doing, you already have the raw beginnings of a system. Once you note this down, you can note it down and pass it on to others — volunteers often come and go, so creating systems helps you to pass on the baton seamlessly.
The magic of messaging
Even if you only run a few fundraising events throughout the year, year-round messaging is essential. If this isn’t something you’re doing already, you need to think about how you can create a story to communicate through the year and focus on when you’re fundraising.
The right messaging can make the difference between creating a bond with your donors and leaving them struggling to remember who you even are.
Process, tools, and resources
Now, we’re onto the most important part: building the right processes.
If you only do one thing, it should be creating sharable files for your team that everyone can access. This is perfect for materials like logos and videos, and it ensures consistency.
Also, create a template for everything you will do more than once — this is a great habit that will pay dividends over time.
Here are some other tools Emily recommended:
- Loom — make recordings of how to carry out tasks to share with your team
- Canva — design, resize, and format designs for specific social media sites
- HelloWoofy — automated and AI social and blog posting, social media scheduling
- Repurpose.io — automatically adds subtitles and lets you format videos to post across platforms
- Free QR generator —QR codes are free to generate and there are lots of ways to use them, especially print or email communication
- Fiverr/Upwork — you don’t need to do everything in-house, outsource if a task is requiring too much time
This might seem like a lot, but you don’t need to get everything at once. Start from wherever you are now. Maybe you simply decide to put your social media, phone numbers, or email contacts to good use by making lists you can track and contact. But whatever you do, try to automate where possible, and ensure you have a concrete goal.
Everything we’ve mentioned here is particularly salient because Giving Tuesday is approaching, and no nonprofit can afford to let it slip their radar.
The event takes place on 30 November, and it’s a day that many donors expect to hear from nonprofits. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll annoy your audience by asking for donations too much — if you don’t act, then others will. There was 29% more giving in 2020 than 2019, so the willingness to give is clearly there.
Giving Tuesday is all about grassroots generosity and efforts, so part of that is showing that every donation matters and encouraging people to do good. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your messaging — can you show how you’ve been able to use past donations to do good over the last year?
Creating social experiences
According to Emily, the best way to get results and engage your donors is to create social experiences. Remember that your donors want to get value from you — instead of just sending out lots of emails, give them something back.
Make them feel a part of the process; for example, you could tell your social media followers that if they all donated, you’d achieve x result.
Alternatively, you could involve them by arranging some kind of fun event they can get involved in. Some ideas include:
- Gamify social sharing
- Text to give campaign
- Days of giving/gratitude campaign
- Online auction
- Movie night
- Talent show
- Trivia game
The best part? All of these ideas can be held as virtual or hybrid events.
Also, make it as easy as possible for your donors to donate — it shouldn’t take more than a couple of clicks and a few seconds.
Ready to scale?
Taking note of your processes and introducing new systems can be a painful transition at first, but it will make everything a million times easier further down the line. So, help yourself today and you’ll make next year’s Giving Tuesday a walk in the park!
And if you want a little helping hand to work on your systems, look no further than Paybee. Our nonprofit platform makes organizing a virtual fundraiser as straightforward as it can possibly be. We accept payments from all major payment processors and card networks for donations, can help you run events of all kinds (from webinars to silent auctions), and offer marketing tools to help you automate and connect with your donors. Why not sign up today and decide if it’s right for you?