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Conventional avenues for asking for donations and gifts are convention for a reason: they work. Newsletters, flyers, email campaigns, etc. are all great ways to engage donors and improve donations to your school. But there are other ways now that don’t require nearly the effort as previous methods and can point you and your donors in new directions.
Frankly, you’ll lose most people with basic informative websites when you’re asking for donations and gifts. Sometimes, it’s worth being a little unorthodox. It catches peoples’ attention and shows creativity.
A good example is a campaign like the one created for North Kingdom, a nonprofit seeking to eradicate poverty from Africa. While most fundraising sites state the mission of the campaign, many don’t focus on the expected or previous results from donations. Taking this into account, North Kingdom’s site included a novel site that allowed potential donors to put virtual coins into a coin slot and follow the donation’s effect. At the end of the interaction, they were encouraged to donate real money and follow their donations the same way they did the virtual money. Of course their budget was likely more substantial than the average school’s, but the campaign showed what’s possible in a field that’s typically conservative.
Between Indiegogo, donorschoose, and kickstarter, there are plenty of resources available to help you create a crowdfunded campaign to request donations. Rather than simply adding to your general fund, these campaigns are most effective when you set a specific target for the money being raised. Donorschoose is best used by teachers seeking to create field trips, get class supplies and technology, and other resources; and Indiegogo and Kickstarter can be used for school-wide fundraising activities.
What happens when you create a tool or find a solution that your entire school can use to raise funds for projects? Mobile and social apps provides potential donors yet another platform when you’re asking for donations and gifts. More importantly, they’re platforms that nearly every person is connected to in some capacity now.
While it’s a massive organization, the Salvation Army’s application rollout was so successful that they increased their goals by 150% ($2 million to $3 million) the following year. Sure, your school isn’t the Salvation Army, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a similar service.
Although all your campaigns should include a social media aspect, there are some campaigns and activities that can be produced directly through the communication tools.
Instagram can be used to show progress. As you receive donations towards a project, you can show what items the school will then be able to provide students, construction updates that were made possible by donors, or simply highlight things that inspire people to give.
Twitter interactions are also a great way to create awareness. With a little planning and notice, your community can join in on the conversation, hear from your educators, and explain where community contributions will go. In general, Twitter is a great way to spread news, and even find sponsors for your auctions as well. And remember, almost 50% of your current students and recent graduates use Twitter!
Facebook is particularly good when it comes to sharing visual elements. If you have a video or series of images that highlight what you are raising money for, it’s easy for your community to share it with others and become engaged. You can also run a content to give away student art or other sponsored items, based on donations in a given period.
Relatively new to the scene are Snapchat and Vine. Snapchat is a great way to send out pictures and albums to followers, and Vine allows you to share short videos. Both can be used similarly to Instagram, sending. As a side note, neither will likely be popular with your donor base, but both are becoming ubiquitous among students. Donors are more likely to give when they know students are positively affected, so when looking to involve students in a campaign, be sure to look at Snapchat and Vine.
Overall social media is fantastic for spreading the word about and increase awareness.
Although one time donations are certainly common, recurring donations are becoming popular. If you have the right tools in place, especially for online giving, your school could be receiving regular donations from your community. To learn more about how you can start with recurring donations, speak with one of our team members today!