Donor relationship management is at the heart of any growth strategy for nonprofits and a key part is the ability to upgrade supporters to repeat donors. SMS is one of the most effective and efficient ways to cultivate that monthly donor relationship.

Here’s how one organization was able to increase their monthly donor percentage utilizing SMS. You’ll learn about the advantages that SMS has over other forms of traditional fundraising and the results that came about using Engage’s process:

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Start increasing the number of monthly donor upgrades for your organization by working with our team. With our full-service SMS campaigns for nonprofits, organizational growth can be easy. Ask us for a free consultation and let us help you increase fundraising results today.

There are many reasons a donor may feel inspired to give to your organization. But perhaps one of the biggest (and most overlooked) reasons is the feeling and experience a donor has with your nonprofit.

Strong donor relationships and trust in an organization are cited as some of the top reasons a person chooses to give to a nonprofit. When you are able to establish and nurture a positive relationship with a donor, it builds trust in your organization and allows them to feel good about supporting you.

However, it’s not enough to just send out your regular marketing communications and expect that donors will feel appreciated and respected. Your team needs to put in the extra effort to ensure that each and every donor feels like a valued part of your community.

If you’re searching for ways to improve your donor retention, good news—cultivating donor relationships will greatly help you retain donors and grow your database.

We’ll take you through the connection between donor relations and retention, the importance of retention, and how to build relationships with donors in this post.

How Strong Donor Relationships Leads to Retention

The correlation between donor relations and retention is a much stronger one than most organizations think.

In a recent study, past annual donors who had not made a gift to an organization within 24 months were asked why they had stopped donating. The biggest reason was that they were never acknowledged or thanked for their previous gift.

We’ll get into the specifics on why it is so crucial to say thanks to your donors later in this post, but that study represents a very obvious and important point. If you do not maintain a relationship with your donors, they will leave.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “why do I need to retain donors when I could focus on acquiring fresh, new donors?”

Well, to pique your interest, here’s a quick stat: for donors who have given more than once, the retention rate is 63%.That’s a huge thing to gain, and an even bigger thing to lose.

For more reasons on why you should absolutely put time and effort into your donor retention, keep reading.

Why Donor Retention Is So Important

Almost all nonprofit marketing strategists agree that donor retention is actually more important than donor acquisition.


For starters, the cost of retaining donors is far lower than the cost of acquiring new donors. As a matter of fact, the cost for acquiring a new donor can be 50-100% more than the amount they actually end up giving to your nonprofit.While the cost to get new donors into your database can be quite high, existing donors can be marketed to for a very low cost through methods like email appeals or social media ads. 

The funds that are raised from a single donor over a lifetime is called the lifetime value. The longer a donor has had a relationship with your organization, the higher their overall financial value is over a lifetime.

Not to mention, if you’ve managed to maintain a relationship with a donor for a while, these people are the ones most likely to give large donations. It has been found that most major gifts are made after a donor has given to your organization for at least five years.

Focusing on retention and stopping donor lapses from occurring pays off in the long run. Only 1 out of every 25 lapsed donors returns and donates in the future, so it’s absolutely crucial that you do everything you can to prevent lapses from happening.

Donor acquisition is a large part of growing your base and community, but don’t forget about the importance of donor retention!

5 Ways to Build Strong Donor Relationships

Now that you’ve learned why donor retention is so important, you’re ready to delve into the how. Through these 5 essential donor relation techniques, you will build great relationships and retain more and more donors for your organization.

1.     Segment your communications

It’s vital to always provide value to your donors. Therefore, your content should always be targeted and mindful of your audience. Are you sending an event invitation to someone who has never shown any interest in event participation? Or perhaps you’re sending a newsletter to a donor who only interacts with month-end fundraising appeals?

Whatever the case, analyze your database and segment lists based on the content they actually interact with. That way, you can create content that speaks to these people and appeals to their interests or desires.

If your communications are trying to appeal to everyone, they’ll feel generic and flat, and will end up appealing to no one! Take the time to learn about each donor group’s interests and your relationship with each donor will become more personal and fulfilling.

2.     Ask them to donate again

If you don’t ask your donors to donate, they won’t! You may think that appealing to your donors for more than one contribution is bothersome. But as long as you’re taking some time in between asks and thanking them on the occasions they give, ask away.

Not many people think of this point as being a major reason for donor lapses, but it is. Your donors lead busy lives. If you don’t take the time to remind them about the great things their gift will fund, your organization will not make a lasting impact in their minds.

Don’t ignore your donors and you’re on your way to a strong donor relationship.

3.     Impact, impact, impact

Reporting to your donors about their impact can take many forms, which is great, because it will give you lots of content and is incredibly important for donor retention.

Donors want to know that their money is going towards an organization that’s actually making an impact. You can show this through beneficiary stories, an infographic with impactful statistics and imagery, or a video of you showing what their funds went towards. However you choose to report donor impact, just be sure you do!

50% of discontinued donors say it’s because they did not see any impact from their donation. That’s how important it is to make donor impact known.

Giving your donors specific, tangible examples of how their gift has made a difference goes a long way to creating a positive donor experience and relationship.

4.     Keep your promises

Whether or not you can keep your promises to donors says a lot about the trustworthiness and credibility of your organization.

When you donors ask to only be contacted for donations only once a year, do you honour that? Perhaps there’s a group of supporters who don’t want to be solicited via text message, are you sure to add them to a do not solicit list ASAP?

It can take a long time to build up trust with a donor, but one violation of that trust and your relationship is irrevocably damaged. 

Also, be sure to deliver content when you say you’re going to. For instance, if you end a fundraising campaign by saying, “stay tuned for our impact report for fundraising results,” be sure to deliver your impact report in a timely manner.

You may think that donors don’t remember small details of your content such as this, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who wouldn’t forget that breach of trust.

The bottom line is: do what you say you’re going to do in a timely and trustworthy fashion.

5.     Say thank you

And last but certainly not least, say thank you to your donors.

Many organizations may think a “thank you” for a donation goes without saying—it doesn’t. Even just sending a quick “thanks” following a campaign does wonders for donor relationships, and by extension, donor retention.

Donors want to feel appreciated for the money they’ve donated, time they’ve volunteered, events they’ve participated in, etc. Give them thanks in the form of a social media post, email shoutout, or even a handwritten thank you note.

The more you can personalise your expression of appreciation, the better. After a donor has sent a specific amount of money, write them back saying exactly what their gift will fund. For example, “your $25 donation will add five books to an underfunded school library.”

It doesn’t feel good when organizations take your money and run. That’s why even the smallest acknowledgement of thanks creates positive feelings about your nonprofit.

Your donors will be grateful for it, and you will be too when they stick around and contribute to your cause for many more years to come.

Having Trouble Retaining Donors?

Nonprofits are often extremely busy organizations, juggling limited time and resources to try and change the world. Perhaps you just don’t have the time to spend on donor relations and need some help. We get it.

At Engage Fundraising, we work with charitable and nonprofit organizations to help them run successful direct marketing campaigns, donor relationship building and retention, and donor conversion.

Don’t worry, we’ve got all your marketing needs covered. Reach out and get a free consultation now.

Fundraising thermometers are used by almost every nonprofit organization from time to time. And there’s good reason for it—they work.

Thermometers are tools used to visually display the progress of a fundraising campaign and motivate donors to give to your organization.

While this tool is a widely popular fundraising tactic within the nonprofit world, many organizations don’t utilize fundraising thermometers to their full potential.

In this post, we will go through the innate power of fundraising thermometers, why they work, and how you can best implement them for your organization. We’ll even be providing some fundraising thermometer templates to use for your next campaign!

Why Fundraising Thermometers Work

Using thermometers for fundraisers is a great idea because they play into human psychology and what makes our brains tick. Below we’ll go into several reasons why thermometers work to help nonprofits reach their fundraising goals. 

Social proof

Social proof is a well-known psychological concept where humans conform to match the behaviour of others in various situations. 

For example, let’s say you walk into an elevator, and everyone was facing the rear of the elevator as opposed to the doors. Social proof predicts that you too would strangely face the rear of the elevator to conform to the behaviour of the group.

In marketing, social proof is a powerful psychology tool that can be leveraged to boost sales, donations, and overall results. In fact, 82% of Americans will make a purchase because a friend or family member recommended it. This sort of word-of-mouth marketing is a huge example of social proof.


Fundraiser thermometers are another social-proof tactic because they display up-to-date financial results of a campaign and say to donors, “look, other people have donated, too!”

Donors don’t want to just blindly throw money at an organization and hope that they will do something impactful with it. They want to know that there are others who believe in your organization and trust that you will use their funds to make a difference.

Social proof is a great tool to get people to trust in your organization and your cause.

Visualization of a goal

Thermometers or progress bars aren’t just for fundraising. If you think about it, they’re everywhere.

Loading screens, media players, file downloading/uploading, and volume indicators, just to name a few. Why are these symbols so prevalent?

Because they are visual representations of the progress you’ve made towards a goal. Most people are visual learners and prefer to be presented information through image-based communications.

Sure, we could represent fundraising progress as a fraction or raw data, but numbers are inherently more difficult for our brains to comprehend and process, especially when large numbers are involved.

Fundraising thermometers appeal to our visual nature in a way that data and numbers just cannot. Which is part of the reason why they are so effective.

Direct impact

Another reason fundraiser thermometers are so powerful is because donors are able to see their direct impact. 

Thermometers act almost as a visual stand-in for the change donors are creating. When they see the thermometer increase as a result of their contribution, they can feel the direct impact they just had on your campaign.

A lot of times, donors rely on your communications to update them regarding their impact. But fundraising thermometers allow donors to instantly see the difference they’re making. Because so much of what drives nonprofit giving is that feeling, thermometers are fantastic tools for driving donations.

Accomplishment & gratification

Along with being able to see impact, fundraising thermometers also offer donors instant gratification.

Because thermometers are fantastic visual representations of your campaign, when donors go to make their donation, they know exactly what percentage of help they’re providing to your cause. And in the case of real-time thermometers, they can even watch progress rise due to their donation.

This allows donors to feel an instant sense of accomplishment and gratification for their contribution.

As a nonprofit, you want your donors to feel the significance of their support. This sense of accomplishment and impact is what keeps donors satisfied and excited to continue supporting your organization. Fundraising thermometers are an excellent method of achieving that.

How to Implement Fundraising Thermometers

Now that you better understand the psychology behind why fundraising thermometers work, it’s time to take a look at best practices when it comes to implementing them. Follow these tips to ensure a successful campaign for your nonprofit.

Add into your content

Fundraising thermometers are very versatile in terms of where they can be used.

One of the various places you can use them is on a campaign fundraising landing page. Embed one onto a page so that donors can see real-time results of their donation. Include shareable social links so supporters can share your campaign with their friends and family.

Speaking of social media, thermometers are also the perfect tool to include on all your digital channels. If you’re nearing a goal, take a screenshot of your thermometer and post about how you just need a few more generous donors to pitch in and make an impact.

Another classic use of fundraising thermometers is through email. Use a static thermometer to capture a moment of time in your campaign and make an appeal to donors regarding the difference their donation would make for your organization and your cause. We’ve included a couple of fundraising thermometer templates for your nonprofit at the end of this post!

Set a realistic goal

It can be tricky to determine a good goal for a fundraising campaign, especially if it’s your first one.

Setting the bar too low may make donors think, “how will that amount of money make a real impact?” But conversely, setting the bar too high may seem like an unattainable goal and donors won’t feel that they can make a difference with their donation.

To start, take a look at the results of previous campaigns you’ve held. If you’ve never held a fully-fledged fundraising campaign before, analyze donations you’ve received in a similar timeframe as your new campaign.

Once you’ve compiled data regarding your previous endeavours, increase that amount by a few percentage points. When in doubt, make your goal a bit lower than what you think you can actually achieve.

When you end up raising more than that goal—great, your campaign was a success!

And if you blow past your goal early in the campaign, don’t be afraid to communicate to your donors that you’re increasing your goal due to the amazing support you’ve received. Frame it as a way your organization can make even more of an impact.

Goal setting varies from organization to organization, but once you get a few fundraising campaigns under your belt, it’s much easier to predict where you will stand for your next one.

Use mid-campaign

Choosing the timing to introduce a fundraising thermometer into your campaign is crucial.

A study showed that people are more likely to donate when a campaign has already raised 66% or more of its goal amount.

This is another example of social proof at work. Donors are more likely to donate to your campaign when they see that others did the same before them.

Donors also want to see their donation be the one that leads to your organization reaching the goal, or coming close to it. The closer you are to your goal, the more people want to donate and help you get that one final push.funrai

That’s why it’s essential to only begin using a fundraising thermometer in the middle or at the end of your campaign, when you’ve already raised a significant amount of funds.

Include “impact amounts”

Another useful tactic is to include tangible “impact amounts” for each milestone your campaign reaches.

Next to each big fundraising milestone, include a blurb about what that amount will fund. This helps donors know exactly what their money is going towards achieving, and gives them a real-life, tangible visual.

For example, next to the $1,000 mark on your fundraising thermometer you could include, “will fund clean water for a whole community for one month,” or, “funds tuition for 3 children for a semester.”

These sorts of examples remind your donors why they are supporting to your cause in the first place.

Design and brand it

Make sure that the design of your fundraiser thermometer matches the overall brand of your organization. You always want the branding for your nonprofit to be as cohesive and identifiable as possible. This is no different with graphics like fundraising thermometers.

Brand identity is a huge piece in creating a recognizable and reputable image and organization.

When sharing your thermometer across your socials or anywhere outside of your website, it’s important that people are be able to recognize your organization. Even just matching the colours and font to that of your organization can go a long way for brand identity.

Fundraising Thermometer Templates

Get your next campaign fundraising-ready with one of our thermometer templates below! Customize them for your campaign and be sure to share it across all your platforms to ensure success.

How We Help Nonprofits Change the World

Nonprofit organizations need fully-developed marketing campaigns to raise the funds and support needed to make a difference. Perhaps you don’t know where to begin or don’t have the time, we recognize that.

Our team of marketing experts at Engage Fundraising work with charitable and nonprofit organizations to develop direct marketing campaigns, build donor relationships and retention, and increase donor conversion. We can help your organization reach your goals and make a real impact.

To learn more about us and our mission, click here.

One of the most important parts of running a nonprofit is the constant search for funds. 

Organizations often utilize donation campaigns, monthly fees, and sponsorships to meet their financial goals. And while these are all great practices, one of the best ways to get large funding for your nonprofit is through grants.

Often seen as a huge undertaking for nonprofits who already have limited time and resources, grants are sometimes overlooked by organizations in lieu of less laborious fundraising methods.

But it’s crucial that nonprofits don’t ignore this fantastic opportunity for fundraising. The work put into the grant process is almost always worth it once your organization is finally awarded that well-deserved grant.

And grants are only becoming a more and more viable form of acquiring funds for nonprofits. Since 2013, private foundation grant giving has increased year over year, and in 2020 more than $90 billion was awarded.

nonprofit grant tracking increase fundraising

With some strong organization and tracking methods, applying for grants can become a much more manageable process.

Keep reading to learn more about our tips for grants for nonprofits in 2022.

What Is a Grant?

A grant is an award given to a nonprofit organization (the grantseeker) by a foundation, government, or corporation (the grantmaker) to help further a philanthropic goal or mission. 

Grants are a very important fundraising tool, with nearly one out of every five nonprofits having received one before.

These awards are almost always cash funds that do not have to be paid back by the nonprofit organization. 

Sometimes the grantmaker specifies exactly how they want the nonprofit to utilize the awarded funds and in what timeframe. Other times, nonprofits are free to use their grant however and whenever their organization sees fit.

In order to be considered for a grant, nonprofits must source relevant grantmakers and grant opportunities. Then, the organization must create and submit a grant proposal. Typically, these proposals have to do with the reason you’re seeking a grant and how your organization would utilize the funds. Often grantmakers have specific questions or documents required in the application that grantseekers must address in order to even be considered for funding.

Grant proposals can be written by a staff member, but some organizations prefer to outsource this kind of work to a contractor. Some nonprofits even hire full-time grant writers, so they can submit numerous applications year-round.

The Importance of Grants for Nonprofits

Grants have many benefits when compared to other types of nonprofit fundraising. 

As opposed to individual donations and crowdfunding, grants are large gift amounts, which individual donors and supporters of your organization typically cannot give.

When compared to loans, grants also have a big advantage because they almost always do not need to be paid back.

It’s very important to have solid processes for grant-sourcing, writing, and applying because grants are a game of volume. The more you apply, the more likely you are to be awarded. In fact, almost 100% of organizations who applied to more than six grants were awarded at least one.

And once you’ve received your first grant, it’s actually easier to receive more grants because your visibility and credibility have been established to grantmakers.

With so many clear benefits, it’s easy to see why grants are an important endeavour for many nonprofit organizations.

However, the obvious downside of this process is that there is often tough competition for each and every grant. That’s why it’s crucial to find the right grants for your organization, organize your application process, and submit a strong and well-thought-out proposal.

We’ll take you through the steps of submitting a solid grant proposal that will stand out from the crowd.

How to Find and Apply for Grants

Before you can begin crafting a grant proposal describing all the amazing things your organization does, you have to find one first! Every grant will have different application questions and requirements, so you need to source a grant and learn more about their grant proposal process before anything else.

Finding a grant

Often not concentrated on as much as the grant-writing process, grant-sourcing is actually arguably the most important step in creating a grant proposal.

You only want to spend time writing grants for the most promising grantmakers. That means that you must find foundations or corporations that align with your organization’s missions and values.

Grantmakers are much more likely to consider your application if you organization does work or holds values that match with their own. This can also be important to your supporters as well. If you were to receive funding from a foundation with contradictory values to your own, you may lose supporters and your reputation could be tarnished.

In a recent study, 91% of respondents said that they applied to grants for nonprofits in 2021. That’s a lot of competition.

If you’ve never applied for a grant before or are a small nonprofit, you have much higher chances if you apply for locally-based, smaller grants with a pool of fewer applicants. When you are able to successfully receive awards from these grantmakers, it will give you the experience and credibility you need to apply for those large, highly-competitive grants.

Next, you may be wondering where to actually look to find grants. There are plenty of grant search sites where you can filter by type of grant, location, and more. We recommend GrantWatch, which has sites for both U.S. and Canada grantseekers.

You can also Google nonprofit grants for your organization. Just be sure to use specific search terms referring to your grant interest, location, funding source, and any other terms that apply to your nonprofit. It’s important to apply to the grants which fit your organization as closely as possible for the best chance at securing funding.

When you find a grant that looks like it may be a good match for your nonprofit, be sure to read through all of the grant details. If your organization doesn’t match the eligibility criteria for the grant, don’t bother applying, even if it’s almost a match. You most likely have limited time and resources, so you’re much better off exerting your efforts on a grant where you will definitely be considered.

Applying for a grant

So, you’ve chosen a grant or two that sound promising for your organization and you’re ready to begin the application process. What now?

You may want to dive right into writing your proposal. But before doing that, there’s some vital preparatory work that must be done.

As we mentioned previously, the required documents, information, and writing varies between each and every grantmaker. First, sit down and make a list of every piece of information needed for the application, so that you can get a better idea of the amount of work the total proposal will take and what order to complete it in.

It’s also important to think about who will be reviewing and rewarding the grants. Does the grantmaker want more facts and figures, or a heart-touching appeal regarding the people your organization is helping? While the answer is most likely a mixture of both, knowing how much of each to include in your proposal according to audience will make your writing all the more persuasive.

Be sure to develop a convincing story or narrative about your nonprofit and keep that theme consistent throughout your proposal. Find data to back up your narrative, give plenty of examples of the impact your organization has made, and what you would be able to accomplish with the grant funding.

How to Track and Organize Grants

Nonprofits are typically applying to (and hopefully being awarded) a large number of grants. It’s essential that organizations have methods and tools in place to track grants in both the application and award stages. We’ll introduce you to some vital nonprofit grant tracking methods and software that your organization can implement.

Application phase

The amount of work and planning that goes into creating even one grant proposal can be daunting. And if your nonprofit is applying to many at once, the importance of organizing and tracking your grants is multiplied. Luckily, there are tons of nonprofit grant tracking tools out there for every grant-writing team.

It’s no secret that Asana is a powerhouse when it comes to organizing teams and their daily work projects. What many nonprofits may not know is that Asana actually has a grant application pipeline template that can help your team with all aspects of the grant proposal process.

Airtable is another software which can help you track application status, manage contact lists, and create and follow deadlines for each team member. Information can be displayed in block format, charts, and more to keep all those critical grant details neat and organized.

Grant management software tool Instrumentl allows nonprofits to track grants throughout an entire lifecycle and can generate custom PDF or CSV reports for status updates or required materials. These can be shared with team members or stakeholders so that you’re all on the same page when it comes to grant writing.

Award phase

While the importance of organizing your grant applications is very evident, many tend to overlook the importance of tracking once you are actually awarded a grant.

Most grants have stipulations attached to them that your organization must follow upon receiving it. Grantmakers may only want you to use the funds on a particular project or type of expense. Sometimes grants must be used over a specific period of time, as well.

In these cases, you must stay organized and track each and every expense and date in which the grant funds are used. A great way to do this is through grant accounting software systems. Here are a few that are sure to keep your team on track when recording your grant funds.

Cayuse is a financial management software that allows you to track all grant spending in one place. It can help you predict and prevent spending issues before they occur.

Another great software with the ability to track grant spending is Xero. This tool can also be integrated with many other third-party apps that can help keep your nonprofit organized.

Quickbooks is another big name with a nonprofit service that many aren’t aware of. You can create specialized grant reports to easily keep everyone in your organization in the loop.

Our Biggest Tip for Nonprofit Fundraising

After successfully receiving a grant, it’s crucial to maximize your new funds and invest in your organization’s growth. In order to do this, you need a full marketing strategy with multiple revenue streams.

If you just don’t have the time or resources to develop a marketing plan, we can help.

Engage Fundraising works with charitable and nonprofit organizations to develop direct marketing campaigns, build donor relationships and retention, and increase donor conversion. 

Learn about us and unlock your organization’s potential today.

We all know that Facebook is a social media giant. In fact, more than 1.96 billion people log onto the site every single day. With so many active users all around the world, it’s no wonder that Facebook for nonprofits has become one of the preferred ways to advertise.

Nonprofit organizations often have limited resources to allocate towards advertising and marketing. The good news is: with Facebook ads for nonprofits, even organizations on the tightest budgets can expand their audience.

Once you understand the fundamentals of Facebook ads and how they can make a huge difference for your nonprofit, there’s no limit to the supporters you can attract and engage with.

Continue reading to hear about the distinct benefits Facebook ads offers, how it works, and most importantly—how to use it!

The Benefits of Facebook Ads for Nonprofits

Facebook ads has some huge advantages as opposed to other marketing methods—or even other similar digital ad platforms.

Sharing power

Digital advertising is a fantastic way to build brand awareness. As opposed to email, it allows you to communicate with people who have never heard of your organization. For many nonprofits, Facebook ads are the first point of contact with a new supporter and set the conversion funnel in motion, eventually leading to new donors.

Social media advertising also has much larger sharing and engagement power in comparison to a marketing channel like direct mail or email. A thread of comments under an engaging ad, or a share from an excited new supporter pushes your brand to a new set of people that you wouldn’t otherwise reach with other forms of marketing.

Highly visual

Facebook ads is also a highly visual platform, a distinct advantage it has over other digital advertising channels such as Google ads. This allows advertisers to create images that catch the eye, convey emotion, and persuade the user to check your organization out!

Targeting ability

The ability to target a specific audience is also much stronger on Facebook than it is on Google. Facebook has access to billions of profiles and data regarding each user’s page likes, saved posts, brands they’ve interacted with, and much more. This means that you can target those who are most likely to support your organization with extreme precision on Facebook.

Reasonable costs

One of the best things about Facebook ads is that you can decide exactly how much money you want to put in.

From $2 a day to $200, your organization is in control of the maximum spend amount, so that you track and consider every dollar your nonprofit is spending.

In certain countries like the U.S., there are even Facebook grants for nonprofits. These grants are credits from Facebook that can go towards ads to help spread your mission and to encourage digital philanthropy.

How Facebook Ads Works

Facebook ads are very simple to get up and running, but first it’s crucial that you understand some of the basics about how the platform works to promote your ads.

Before creating a Facebook ad, organizations must first determine the goal of their campaign. These goals can range from page likes to lead collection. Once the goal is determined, Facebook can then begin tracking for the desired outcome. In a recent study it was found that 26.94% of Facebook ads are focused on conversions, 24.19% of ads are aiming for post engagement, and 22.64% are optimized for link clicks.

nonprofit facebook ad metrics fundraising

As detailed previously, Facebook ads works so well because the platform can target users based on various demographics such as age, gender, profession, location, etc. Facebook will only advertise to those who fall within your targeting, so you can appeal to the most promising people for your organization. This gives your nonprofit the best bang for its buck because your money is going towards the best chances at conversion, as opposed to just throwing money at a huge audience of people.

Utilizing your goal, target audience, creative, and a budget that you set, Facebook then begins pushing the ad to your nonprofit’s future supporters!

How to Use Facebook Ads

Let’s get into the specifics. You understand how Facebook does it’s advertising in theory, but how about actually creating an ad in practice?

Follow our simple steps down below to get your first ad up and running.

Create an account

Before we can begin any of the fun stuff, we first have to create a Facebook page for your nonprofit.

Log onto your personal Facebook account and then visit Meta for Business to create a page. You’ll be walked through a very simple process by Facebook where you input your page name, organization type, description, and profile picture.

After those basics are sorted out, you will be able to customize your page with content that matches your organization’s identity. This includes website links, location info, contact info, and you can even start posting!

Once you’ve created and branded your organization’s page to your liking, you can get started creating your ad.

Determine your ad’s goal

First, navigate to Ads Manager. This is an ad tool by Facebook which allows you to view all your campaigns at once and is the best and easiest way to create and track your ads.

Then, ask yourself: why does my organization need to run an ad? Are you promoting an upcoming event, trying to get likes on your page, or trying to fundraise for your month-end campaign?

Whatever the reason, be sure to specify it when prompted by Facebook ads manager.

nonprofits facebook ads manager settings copy

When you hover over each objective option, Facebook gives you a helpful tidbit of information to help you determine which objective is best for your goal.

Choose your goal and we can move onto the next step.

Calculate your budget

Once you’ve chosen your goal, one of the next steps you’ll have to take is determining your ad campaign budget.

You have the option to choose a daily budget or lifetime budget, and then input the monetary amount. This acts as the maximum spending amount for the timeframe you’ve chosen.

It has been shown that just $5 per day can buy you 9 page likes. That’s 9 potential donors or volunteers for your organization for just $5!

nonprofit facebook ads likes fundraising

The more money you allocate to your campaign, the more people you can reach. Only you and your organization can determine the amount you’re comfortable spending in order to reach your goals.

Target your audience

If you haven’t already, now is the time to tap into your database and determine your organization’s demographics. Are your supporters mostly older or younger? Men or women? Local or abroad?

All of these criterium and more are available for you to edit with Facebook ads.

You can also target those who have already shown interest in your organization through Facebook. Perhaps a supporter interacted with one of your events before, but forgot to register. You can target your ads to those specific people so when it pops up on their feed, they’re reminded to go and sign up for your event!

Because Facebook has such a wealth of data about each and every user on its platform, they also have a powerful targeting technology called “lookalike audience.” With this tool, you can select a source audience of strong past supporters, and Facebook will find users with similar characteristics to these people and advertise to them.

These targeting tools are big reasons why Facebook ads is such a powerful advertising platform. All you have to do is figure out your audience and you’re well on your way to becoming an ad expert.

Add your creative

Next is the heart and soul of your advertisement, the creative. But there are a few main components to each ad that you should know about first.

  • Image or video: The image or video you include in your ad is the thing that is going to make a user stop scrolling and start reading. Therefore, it’s vital to make this image as eye-catching and powerful as possible. Use bright, branded colours wherever possible and make sure you use text conservatively. As a matter of fact, Facebook actually used to reject all ads where the images contained more than 20% text. While they have since repealed the rule, they still recommend images composed of less than 20% text for the best performance.

nonprofit facebook ads text creative fundraising

  • Copy: There are three places to include copy for your ad, the primary text field, headline, and description. While you may want to go all out describing what makes your organization great, it’s better to keep your copy as short and sweet as possible. Describe your mission, tug at some heartstrings, use a couple actionable words to tell users how they can help, and that’s it. Facebook recommends limiting the primary text to 125 characters, the headline to 40 characters, and the description to 25 characters.
  • Call to action: Finally, you’ll get to decide on a call-to-action (CTA) button. Be sure that the CTA that you choose matches what you actually want users to do. If you are simply trying to get users to visit your website and learn more, choosing the “donate now” button could be off-putting and create poor results for your campaign’s goal.

Once you’ve got your creative, you’re all set to post your first ad! Be sure to review how the ad will look across all feeds, then hit publish.

If you need some inspiration for your organization’s ad campaign, check out this example below.

nonprofit facebook ad example fundraising

Test, test, test!

But we’re not done there.

After your ad has been up for a while, you may begin to see results dip. This is a very common occurrence that is frequently attributed to audience fatigue or tired creative.

That’s why it’s essential to frequently test your targeted audience, your images, and messaging. Finding the users and creative that work best for your organization will allow you to get better results over more time and for less money.

Facebook actually has an A/B testing tool that will allow you to test various creative and audiences against each other. The results of these tests are invaluable to a nonprofit organization who is trying to make the most of every dollar spent on advertising.

Final Thoughts on Facebook Ads for Nonprofits

Facebook ads is a powerful tool that should be utilized by every nonprofit to expand their reach and conversions. If you just don’t have the time to design a complete ad strategy for your organization, we understand.

Engage Fundraising works with charitable and nonprofit organizations to develop direct marketing, build donor relationships, retention, and increase donor conversion. We can help you achieve your mission of changing the world.

To learn more about us, click here.

The world of fundraising has gone digital. In order to build your community, engage your base, and raise money, your nonprofit needs a developed email marketing strategy.

But, where to start?

For many nonprofits, the thought of creating an email marketing campaign from scratch can be overwhelming.

And it’s easy to understand why. With your average supporter receiving dozens of emails in their inbox daily, how do you make your content stand out?

Below you’ll get an inside look at the importance of email marketing. We’ll also provide a list of essential steps to get your campaigns off the ground.

Why Email Marketing is a Necessity for Your Nonprofit

Compared to other digital content, nonprofit fundraising emails provide a unique set of advantages. They’re absolutely crucial to engaging with supporters and, of course, bringing in money.

After all, there are more than 4 billion email users globally, and that number is expected to grow to 4.6 billion by 2025.

nonprofit email marketing statistics fundraising agency

If you’re not tapping into the power of email, you’re missing out!

By adding a stream of emails to your marketing strategy, here are a few ways you’re benefiting.

Great for engagement

Email marketing for nonprofits is one of the best ways to communicate directly with your supporters. Send an email telling your community about upcoming events, causes you’re supporting, or how their support is helping. This creates a dialogue with your donors and builds relationships.

As a nonprofit, it’s vital that you provide value. Supporters are much more likely to engage with your organization when you tell them how you’re making a difference. Nonprofit fundraising emails are a fantastic opportunity to share your mission and values.

Your community will feel good hearing about the work you’re doing, and in addition, you will gain invaluable engagement. And as a result, you’ll be building your database and funds.

Nurtures leads and data

By sending out engaging, interactive content, you will gain an understanding of who your best supporters are.

Is there a group of people who open every email you send out? Or perhaps there’s a handful of donors who make sure to donate every month? Those people are your best chances for conversion.

Collecting data allows you to find the best leads in your donor base and create targeted content for those people.

Low-cost implementation

The biggest reason nonprofit fundraising emails are so prevalent is simple: they’re cost-effective. With countless email service providers on the market, charitable organizations can send out an email for pennies on the dollar. As a matter of fact, on average every $1 spent on email has a return on investment of $36.

lower nonprofit email marketing cost fundraising agency

Nonprofits often have to be conscious of every expense. If your organization is on a tight budget, email marketing is the best, low-cost investment you can make.

How to Develop Your Email Marketing Campaigns

We’ve talked about the why, but now you’re probably wondering: how?

Developing an email marketing strategy can seem daunting. But with a few foundational principles and steps, you can have your first campaign up and running in no time.

Begin with a good list of supporters

If you’re just beginning to send nonprofit fundraising emails, you want to test the waters with a small list of dedicated supporters to gauge responses and engagement.

Spamming a huge list with multiple emails daily is a sure-fire to burn through your data and will have people searching for the unsubscribe link.

But crafting a thoughtful, targeted email to those who have supported you in the past is an amazing way to see how engaged your community is and what type of content they prefer.

Go through your available data and identify your strongest supporters who have donated, volunteered, or participated in your past events. Then, create emails that speak directly to those groups of people. For example, thanking them for their past contribution or participation, and offering them another chance to help.

Putting effort into identifying your best supporters and creating mindful, targeted content is the best way to warm up your list and create a positive donor experience.

Analyze your data

Once you’ve collected data regarding your email performance, it’s crucial to analyze and draw conclusions from the numbers.

Do your donors prefer newsletters that keep them up-to-date on your organization’s latest endeavours? Or perhaps they want to hear about the results of your recent fundraising campaign?

Are your open rates higher when you send an email late at night, or early in the day?

Every statistic tells a story regarding your supporters’ behaviour. Therefore, it’s essential that you tap into this wealth of information and develop nonprofit fundraising emails that play into these trends.

You do not want to be wasting your time and resources on a campaign that no one is engaging with.

Take the time to learn about your community and what makes them tick. Once you have that knowledge, then it becomes easier and easier to develop content that speaks to your audience.

Grow your list

In order to have a successful nonprofit fundraising email strategy, you must always build your list of supporters. And while retaining donors is extremely important to an organization’s health, acquiring donors is the only way to grow.

As a result, you must take every opportunity possible to promote your email sign-up. Make the sign-up form on your website is easy to access, encourage people to register for your list at events, and bring attention to your email sign-up on all your digital channels.

Some popular places to create a sign-up form include the footer of your website, a pop-up form, or a dedicated landing page that you can link to.

Your landing page should be simple and easy to navigate. Be sure to include some information regarding what you do and why it’s important, but keep it short and simple. Then, ensure that the process to sign-up is as easy as possible so people don’t lose interest and click away.

Create quality content

While you may think this goes without saying, all too often organizations send out boring, uninspired emails and expect the funds to flow in. As we detailed earlier, it’s vital to provide value to your donors.

You have to take the time to speak to your supporters personally and provide them with useful information and opportunities. Otherwise, it will show in your email results.

Planning out varied, engaging fundraising emails with quality copy and graphics will build up your brand and reputation. And it will also create a meaningful dialogue that fosters donor relationships.

Keep reading to see some tried and tested email content examples.

5 Examples for Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

Stuck on what type of content to create for your email marketing campaigns? We’ve got a list of essential nonprofit email examples to get you started.

Individual stories

If your organization has examples of individuals you’ve helped in the past, share their stories.

Donors want to know that their support is making a difference. Sharing stories of those who have benefited from your nonprofit are concrete examples of the impact they’re making.

Reach out to some people who may be willing to share their story. Next, interview them to hear more about their personal journey and how your organization has helped them.

This type of content allows your community to have a real human connection and feel the impact of their support.


Newsletters are a great way to keep your supporters updated with your mission and share upcoming events or initiatives.

Again, you want to make sure these emails are donor-centric, letting them know how they’re making a difference.

Newsletter emails can include a wide variety of content, which is what makes them so versatile. Try including campaign updates, upcoming events or volunteer opportunities, educational news or studies, and resources for supporters to get involved.

Calls to action

If your nonprofit has a big emphasis on advocacy, be sure to reach out to your supporters for help.

Encourage your community to sign petitions, start peer-to-peer campaigns, or even create advocacy content. This is a fantastic way to empower supporters and get them involved with your organization.

Make it as easy as possible to join your advocacy efforts, and provide resources to help them along the way.

Fundraising emails

Nonprofit fundraising emails are an integral part of email marketing. They allow you to raise funds quickly and directly for a specific cause or occasion.

Because these emails are singularly focused on donations, you need a clear reason for asking for money. Whether you’re fundraising for a research project, collecting donations following a disaster, or asking for gifts during a holiday campaign—make sure your reason is compelling.

Include examples of how generous donations helped during previous campaigns and what kind of impact their donation would make today.

Thank you

Above all, donors want to feel appreciated. Making sure they know how much they are valued is paramount to donor retention.

Taking the time to say thanks to your community goes a long way in creating a positive donor experience. You can even target these emails to deliver a personalized message of thanks regarding the specific cause a donor supported.

Expressing your appreciation to your donors is absolutely essential if you want to maintain and nurture long-lasting relationships.

Here is an excellent example of a sincere thank you message from one of our clients:

nonprofit thank you letter example fundraising agency

Need Help Email Marketing for Nonprofits?

We realize that nonprofits are busy making the world a better place. If your organization could use some help creating a meaningful and effective email market strategy, we’re here to help.

Engage Fundraising is a leading fundraising agency dedicated to working with charitable and nonprofit organizations. We help our clients run successful direct marketing campaigns, donor relationship building and retention, and donor conversion.

We want you to leave the marketing to us so you can continue changing the world. Learn more about us by speaking with a specialist.

If you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday campaign, you need to.

Known as a global generosity movement, Giving Tuesday is one of the most powerful donation-driving campaigns out there for nonprofits and charities.

Since 2012, Giving Tuesday has aimed to combat the consumerism of the holiday season with a huge day of philanthropy.

And year-over-year, this day of generosity has only gotten bigger and more crucial for nonprofits and their year-end campaigns.

Continue reading

As leaders in the industry, we have spent years developing our nonprofit SMS program. With the countless A/B tests we’ve been able to develop a set of best practices that can be applied to any campaign.

These are the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Included are key optimizations that are statistically proven to lift conversion rates and improve nonprofit SMS campaign results along with specific ways you can apply them.

Improve your nonprofit SMS campaigns today and download the free guide by using the form below:

[contact-form-7 id=”346″ title=”SMS Campaigns Lead Magnet”]

Our team of experts is also here to offer full-service SMS campaigns for nonprofits. We’ve helped many organizations cultivate relationships via mobile text messaging and strive to improve donor activation every day. Ask us for a free consultation and let us help you increase fundraising results today.