Nonprofit marketing in the U.S. today must contend with stock market results, government reform initiatives, and an uncertain political environment. This makes nonprofit financial performance a strong indicator of an organization’s impact and sustainability throughout 2018 and beyond. Therefore, organizations must consider how to effectively scale and fundraise while continuing to deliver on their missions.

While nonprofit organizations have a range of priorities, studies show their primary focus looks to expand fundraising and to develop operational efficiencies. Organizations of all sizes will have an opportunity for growth this year and need to raise essential funds through new and innovative approaches.

This is saying that it is essential that the right revenue streams and expense models support nonprofits’ goals. Recognizing the need to reduce the overall cost of finance means nonprofits will have to work hard to contribute to lowering costs through:

  • Boosting the productivity of core transaction processing
  • Automating routine transaction processing in accounts payable, accounts receivable and general accounting
  • Simplifying the resource-planning environment
  • Reducing disparate vendors and software occurrences to increase standardization

As for fundraising, experts agree, new donors are taking many forms. Many are putting assets into donor-advised funds at a record pace; some are completely new to charitable giving and are reacting to the political environment, others are tech-savvy and drawn to nonprofits that appeal for support as “investments.”

Clearly there are many new donor types and organizations will need new methods of contact to reach them and increase their overall fundraising efforts. Consider the following initiatives for improving an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness for delivering continuous growth.

Crowdfunding Approach

Try an innovative approach that begins by attracting donors online through crowdfunding. This non-traditional method may help to reach what is considered by many in the philanthropy world as one toughest groups to attract for giving – Millennials.

Tell More Stories

Crowdfunding platforms let nonprofits show their work through individual stories and photos in the space where young adults occupy most of their time, and also taps into their tendency to give to people rather than organizations. Nonprofits, like The American Cancer Society have started with modest, initial goals and believe that lots of small donations can really add up. Crowdfunding is continually growing, as a report by Massolution estimates that $34 billion was raised through this method in 2015 and is expected to more than double in subsequent years.

Utilize Data

Nonprofits have an opportunity to transform their organizations by building a culture around using data. Using data can help drive decisions and improve results. It can provide answers to some of the most important questions facing nonprofits today, such as which donors are most likely to give to my organization, which donors are most likely to stop giving to my organization, which volunteers or donors are likely to be the best donors in the long-term?

An initial goal nonprofit organizations can make in 2018 toward creating a data-driven fundraising program, is investing time to create healthy data. Simply verifying email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers and putting protocols in place to ensure information stays up-to-date are the first steps toward helping organizations more easily identify fundraising opportunities and bring in more capital.

Don’t Forget to Thank Your Donors

Now that you’ve worked hard to establish and build multiple, meaningful contacts with donors and prospective donors; touch them every way possible, through social media, email, by phone, in writing and in person. And thank them — publically and privately. Have your staff and your board members thank them. You cannot thank them enough.

Nonprofits will benefit from a focus on expanding their fundraising efforts and developing operational efficiencies, as this will give them the power to create sustainable and healthy organizations for the future.