3 Step Recipe to Sustainable Nonprofit Growth

Sustainable growth blog
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Diversifying nonprofit income streams is key to a sustainable mission, and that’s why a plan should be baked into every nonprofit plan. How your organization cooks up sustainable growth initiatives – from planning campaigns to receiving donations and finding ways to maximize raised dollars to successfully diversifying income streams, directly contributes to organizational success.  

Don your chef’s hat as we explore three strategies to ensure that your organization follows the recipe to successfully raise funds and account for them.  

Step 1: Create a Plan for your Donation Lifecycle from Start to Finish  

Your nonprofit can bake its sustainable growth cake and eat it, too. While your finance team is prepping reports and ensuring budgets are on track, your donor development and fundraising teams are also working to create campaigns to develop new income sources.   

Using an end-to-end solution that helps your nonprofit raise, account, allocate, budget, and report on those funds has multiple benefits for an organization including:  

  • Optimizing fundraising efforts
  • Empowering donor stewardship
  • Tracking and managing finances
  • Ensuring long-term sustainability 

The average donation follows a journey through fundraising and accounting technology like this:

GiveSmart MIP journey

Step 2: Tap into Your Revenue Potential Through Fundraising

If your organization relies on fundraising, it’s vital to explore ways to help your donors rise to the top and work in their strengths to help and support your organization. To optimize fundraising efforts and provide valid insights, it’s important to understand steps to donor giving. Donors are vital because they can provide important funding and resources that serve your community and bring your mission to light. They not only help by giving their time and talents as volunteers and manpower but also help spread the word about your organization and recruit other members and donors interested in your cause. Understanding your donors allows you to reach a broader audience and increase donor participation to generate higher contributions.  

To help attract and retain donors, it’s critical to understand the donor journey and put yourself in their shoes. The donor journey represents the donor lifecycle — from finding your organization to donating and remaining loyal to your cause for years to come. 

The Stages of the Donor Journey

1. Awareness

Awareness is how well people know your nonprofit. The more awareness your organization has, the better chance of increasing your donor base.  

 2. Consideration 

The next stage in the donor journey is to communicate your values and purpose to the individual who has found your nonprofit. Think about how you can help them emotionally connect and engage with your organization over others in their community.  

 3. Decision-Making

By this stage, donors should decide if they want to give to your organization and spread the word about your mission. Once they’re in love with your nonprofit, you should make it easy for them to donate. Your donation buttons should be easily accessible at the top of your page so they can find them quickly. Add donation buttons in multiple places so it’s easy for donors to take action. Make sure to always thank and acknowledge your donors. That’s key to creating recurring donors and sustainers!  

 4. Evangelizing

The final stage of the donor journey is when you can start to rely on your donors to increase your brand awareness, recruit prospective donors, and share your nonprofit’s posts on social media to promote social fundraising. Keep your donors updated and engage with them via email or text.  

Managing the Donor Journey 

Fundraising technology optimizes donor management and enables your development team to maximize revenue potential through features like mobile bidding in auctions, peer-to-peer fundraising, and text-to-give campaigns. Implementing these tools allows organizations to fundraise daily, maximizing return on investment, and creating more sustainable funding.  

But donor management and engagement is only half the recipe. Setting up and managing recurring donations is the other. Recurring giving is a significant revenue stream for many organizations. Recurring donors give 42% more annually than those who make a one-time gift, and often become among your organization’s most engaged and most supportive of your mission. 

Together, donor management and recurring donations are the secret ingredients to fundraising success, but they’re only part of the recipe for sustained nonprofit growth. 

Step 3: Track and Manage Financial Resources  

Your development team mixed the batter of nonprofit success and the funding to keep you running, and you’re responsible for finishing the recipe and helping these new streams leaven over time.   

How you track and manage the funds you receive is crucial to nonprofit success. Fund accounting technology gives you the tools to: 

  • Consolidate vendors and make data-driven decisions
  • Optimize fundraising efforts and empower donor stewardship
  • Access real-time fundraising data to generate top-level finance reports  
  • Incorporate fundraising data as part of financial planning and analysis processes to drive better development outcomes
  • Automate manual processes and eliminate data silos
  • Improve efficiency with intuitive processes and built-in automation
  • Increase flexibility through unlimited fund tracking

Can you smell the aroma of sustainable nonprofit growth? With fundraising and fund accounting tools at your side, your nonprofit has the recipe for sustainable nonprofit development, and turn those ingredients into a mission-success souffle. 

Make Your Mission a Movement  

Creating an end-to-end fundraising and accounting solution is the key to nonprofit success. Use GiveSmart fundraising software, for a full-featured fundraising and donor management solution invested in your success that combines event and fundraising efforts with a Donor CRM for a 360° view of development success. 

Use MIP Fund Accounting as a cloud-based accounting software built specifically with nonprofits in mind. For over 40 years, MIP has helped thousands of organizations track every fund and follow every dollar. Efficiently run core accounting workflows, create and collaborate on unlimited budget versions, and integrate HR and payroll into accounting.  

On average, organizations that used GiveSmart saw a 9-times return on investment within the year, and last year, MIP customers who used GiveSmart raised over $11 million.

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Eric Oliver

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