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How Universities & Nonprofits Can Revitalize Donations Through Fundraising Automation

Holly Condon September 6, 2022

Hand opening empty wallet
Fundraising Automation
You likely never imagined receiving gifts and donations would take so much work. In many ways, fundraising strategy is actually more complicated and delicate than consumer-driven markets. Extensive records need to be stored securely and curated then shared at specific times, and exhausting your donor base with too many requests and over-communication is always a risk.

Technology and online fundraising are enhancing administrative functionality and changing the landscape for how colleges and non-profits manage their campaigns while maneuvering around common pitfalls. With financial accounting and management tools, campaign administrators can automate manual tasks and begin to worry about 20,000-foot problems again, and stop being bogged down in micromanaging donations. They are allowing organizations to focus more on their mission and donor relations while they automate all other tasks.

Traditionally, automation has been a dirty word in fundraising and donor relations. Altruism will quickly dry up when donors feel they’re being treated impersonally, and rightfully so. However, current technology has grown robust enough that these problems are quickly becoming moot. Automation now means that your organization has more ability to leverage personalization and build stronger relationships.

This is your complete guide to fundraising optimization through automated financial tools.

Streamline Fundraising For You & Your Donors

As the manager or overseer of a nonprofit fundraising campaign, your main job is to make sure people releasing their financial resources to you is the smoothest and most frictionless process possible. As is their nature, donors love to share their resources with missions that matter to them. And protecting that energy is your greatest asset. The quickest way to fatigue your base is to make giving hard for them: requesting that they fill out financial information every time they contribute, being unorganized and untimely in tax contribution disclosures, and being inefficient in communication practices.

Especially in light of the recent pandemic, it is vital for universities and nonprofit organizations to re-ignite cold connections by taking advantage of these streamlined information and communication tools that can be integrated directly into an existing ERP.

Slash Overhead Costs Through Automation

Too many universities and non-profits are wasting valuable time and donor money manually executing their fundraising campaigns. Offloading these by-hand responsibilities through an online donation system can reduce the number of funds being lost to overhead. Traditional fundraising has required a huge burden of volunteer time, exorbitant costs for labor resources, and high compensation rates for executives, especially for campaigns with expansive alumni and donor bases. All this means that a smaller percentage of contributions actually go to meeting end goals and initiatives.

Your volunteers can spend less time cold emailing, fruitless social media evangelism, and cold calling. Instead, they can begin making connections based on data-based insights. With the right fundraising tools and information through a proper management system, volunteers can know exactly who to contact and when the best timeframe for when to make that connection.

Showing your stakeholders decreased expenses in operational costs, such as management costs and volunteer time per donation, can build trust with your donors and reinforce their faith in your organization’s ability to deliver on its goals. You should make a point to explain to donors how this has been possible and how automated tools have helped make it happen.

Automate Time-Consuming Tasks

While automating your fundraising efforts may seem daunting. It’s never been more worth it, especially considering the reduction in time costs.

Organizations should expect a heavy one-time planning and investment upfront to launch an initial online fundraiser. The energy required will be comparable to the current investment you’re making in preparing for a single campaign manually. Still, the returns will continue to turn over into every subsequent campaign and make each future initiative more efficient. This means that on-the-ground execution and follow-up efforts and post-campaign requirements will be easier and more focused than ever.

Once this cycle is established, managers can use the extra time and energy post-campaign to invest in the upcoming campaign: updating email sequences, and preferences, quickly reviewing tax documents and donor records, preparing for audits, and collecting data for stakeholder reports.

Automated tools allow campaign managers to help direct outreach staff through appropriate donation forms and steps for internal and regulatory compliance. Cloud document capture means that these forms are easily accessible for data capture, record review, and tax review.

Re-energize Your Donor Base

The opportunity costs are too high to not leverage these kinds of tools. To successfully transition to the next age of philanthropy, it’s a non-option to use more traditional fundraising methods like paper filing and manual communication management.

One expedient benefit to automation is that organizations can re-energize their donation base in the post-pandemic world. COVID-19 disrupted a lot of momentum and community-based camaraderie. This has created a need to reestablish connection and revitalize mission-focused campaign support. Data-based automated messaging and sequenced email series can be invaluable tools to re-engage sponsors.

Fundraising software can help your organization mitigate numerous problems, including:

  • Labor-intensive processing
  • Unorganized files & buried donor information
  • Data and human entry errors
  • Disjointed internal collaboration
  • Unprotected data
  • Lengthy audits

An integrated fundraising management platform will empower you to execute precision automated gift processing and curate donor information in real-time to better understand your supporters and how to better assist them. These systems can also encrypt, redact and annotate donor information that can be exported in audit-ready spreadsheets.

A cloud-based fundraising software solution can capture predictive metrics straight from your CRM donor database that can be leveraged for future campaigns.

Sourcing Donations From Your ERP

One of the critical guiding principles in any successful fundraising campaign is that it should be as easy and painless as possible for people to hand you their money. Your marketing and projects staff members have worked too hard in planning, managing, organizing, and evangelizing donors for someone to fail to reach conversion because the actual donation process is clumsy and unnecessarily difficult. Too much friction between petitioning and conversion and the easier it is for donors to lose their steam.

Cloud-based document management, electronic workflows, and automated gift processing work in concert with your CRM for improved donor management, and allow customers to experience a swift donation experience. Accounting software can store your donors’ giving information securely and allow them to easily set up and manage recurring gifts and quickly process on-demand giving.

Most donors are not keeping track of the expiration dates on their debit cards. Automated notifications about expiration dates can be vital to reduce dunning and strengthen donor retention to ensure recurring major gifts and contributions do not fall through the cracks.

Fundraiser Marketing Automation

Online fundraising tools are also essential tools for donor relationships.

Making sure contact information is accurate and up-to-date is essential for managing a sponsor base. Fundraising management software will create a gateway to validate names, phone numbers, and direct mail and email addresses.

Major donors want to stay in touch with the causes they’re supporting. However, too much outreach can result in fatigue, while too little can hurt donor engagement. Managing new donors requires just as much intentionality. For instance, first-time givers who get a personalized thank you within 48 hours are four times more likely to donate again.

Auto-triggered email sequences and templates can also be implemented to help guide individuals and keep them up to speed on the status of your campaign. Because email marketing can be triggered by actual events and timelines, your organization can avoid the risks of coming off as impersonal and insincere.

An AI-managed fundraising platform and record and track engagements and interactions with donors so you understand where they are at in their donor journey. Volunteers will be able to send the right personalized email or phone call at the right time for the most optimal results.

Without supportive gift-processing software, keeping track of donor details, supporting documents, and ongoing correspondence is time-consuming and costly. PairSoft’s solutions plug into your existing CRM to help fundraisers keep their pace and stay mission-focused.

Get a demo today to see how PairSoft can revolutionize the way you manage donations.

Holly Condon

With over 25 years' experience in the SaaS space, Holly brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the table. She previously held leadership roles at PairSoft's subsidiary PaperSave and resides in South Carolina with her family.

View all posts by Holly Condon
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