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Show of hands – who stuck with the 2020 marketing strategy they had outlined at the end of 2019? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? 

If we can take one thing from 2020, it is that everything can change. It can change quickly, unexpectedly, and in ways we never even could have imagined. But more than that, it showed us how necessary it is to have a flexible fundraising strategy. While it is important to have a strategy in place, nonprofits must have that balance between planning and improvising. However, improvising does not necessarily mean running blind when your plan goes off track.

Take a look at these top four ways to keep your nonprofit’s fundraising strategies flexible. Just in case.

Review Your Strategic Plan on a Quarterly Basis

Your strategic plan is not a crock pot – you do not set it and forget it. While the bulk of the work is likely done upfront, you should review the entire plan on a quarterly basis to make sure that it is still relevant and effective. 

What should you look at during this review?

New information about your issue area

Is there a new need, or is part of the mission becoming less essential? Are the same demographics utilizing your programs? Has something in the community affected how people can access your services?

New technology that is available

Is there a social media platform that is taking center stage with your clients? Are there other new tools available? Has something groundbreaking taken place in web design or mobile use?

Past analytics to see what worked and what flopped

How did your last fundraising efforts go? What should you keep, and what can get nixed going forward?

Internal workings of your nonprofits

Are you using your resources? Are you staying within budget? Are successes and changes being communicated effectively to the team?

You want to allow for tweaks as you collect and discuss new information. Adjusting your strategic plan doesn’t mean it was wrong to begin with – it means you adapting to accommodate our fast-changing world.

Plan for the Worst

I’m not trying to jinx things. I’m knocking on wood between every sentence, I promise. But as much as we hope to never have another pandemic, it is good practice to be prepared for anything. Natural disasters, like hurricanes and floods, disproportionately affect marginalized communities making the need for many nonprofits even greater. A change in a state law could impact what medical services people are allowed to receive. Even smaller crises, like a thunderstorm on the day of an outdoor fundraiser, has the potential to derail a campaign. Instead of trying to scramble, think of anything that could create a need in your mission:

Natural Disasters

How would a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster affect your campaigns or your clients’ needs?

Economic Disasters

How would an economic crises impact your fundraising, and how you could continue to serve the community?

Changes in the Law

What legal changes would impact your clients’ day-to-day lives or how you are able to serve them?

And then, don’t just think about it, but get ready for it in advance. Have a few stock landing pages at all times that are ready to be populated with the relevant copy and details. You can even include some stock photography that will be updated with current images when you have them. 

You should also do the same when launching a campaign. Think about what could derail your fundraising efforts, and have a landing page ready to address it. What would happen if a crisis struck the day before your big fundraising event or in the middle of an online campaign? Thinking about these things in advance will leave you feeling prepared and ensure the success of your efforts.

Lean on Video Storytelling

Of course all content is important, but video can no longer be called a trend. It is considered essential. Video is the number one tool that nonprofits are finding the most effective, and it makes sense. It can tell a story. It can show the need in the community and your impact. It can connect to your supporters and encourage them to get involved. It has the potential to elicit emotion that copy or an image simply can’t. So make video marketing part of your flexible fundraising strategy.

Fundraising Pages

Including video on fundraising campaign can explain the goal, the need and the impact. In the case that something obstructs your campaign, updating the video to address it can keep your nonprofit relevant and even strengthen the relationship with your donors.

Social Media

People watch short videos on social media. It is a fact, and it is not one that is going away. Including a 45 second video on Instagram or Facebook commenting on a crisis or a change is likely to get seen and shared.

Thank You Pages & Emails

Your job is not done after a donation is made. Donors deserve to be thanked, and if they are donating in times of uncertainty or chaos, that should be acknowledged. Video is an effective and memorable way to do that.

When your marketing strategy has to pivot, and fast, because of something that is shaking up a community, your best bet to reach the community is through video. Whether shared in an email, blog or on social media, the audience is more likely to watch than they are to read about it. So when disaster strikes, have a plan on how you can make a quick video. There are many tools online, and it isn’t too hard to create something great on the fly with your phone. By embedding a call-to-action so viewers can help, or pointing those in need to the right resources, your video can make a difference in times of need.

Involve the Right People

Your strategic plan, the planned and the improvised versions of it, are only as good as those involved. If you have an extremely small team that is already stretched too thin, it might not be feasible to tack on new or unexpected work. This is when it is invaluable to have a helping hand on deck with the skills and knowledge ready to make the required changes quickly and effectively.

Mittun is here to help you create a flexible fundraising strategy. We offer support plans for our clients based on their needs and budgets, and many other resources to help your nonprofit do the most good. When you need to pivot quickly, we want to help.

Do you have the right people to successfully execute fundraising strategies ASAP?

Contact Mittun for a free assessment today.

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