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Grant giving from one nonprofit organization to their nonprofit agency partners helps to drive communal change in dozens of social good areas. Historically, the nonprofit allocating funds to programs and agencies – known as the grantmaker – would base their funding on the need described by their agency partner – referred to as the grantseeker. While this logic has funded programs for many years, grantmaking nonprofits are now taking a more strategic approach to determining the funding for programs and agencies. With a shift in which programs receive funding, so too comes a change in the overall grant management process.

Grantmaking nonprofit organizations over the years have faced numerous inefficiencies such as paper trails, tracking grant expenses, the burden of reporting on investment success, and more. Luckily, with the right tools and processes, your grantmaking process can benefit many levels, including your internal team, applicant evaluators, and agency partners.

Let's explore how to streamline the grant management process and gain strategic insights from Gary Goscenski and Bryn Bogemann at Perspectives Consulting Group.

Grant Management Starts with Intentional Investing

A significant shift in how grantmaking nonprofits allocate funds can be traced to the idea of intentional investing. As Gary Goscenski simply puts into an analogy, intentional investing "is like going to the grocery store and purchasing items off [a] list, knowing what you want to [make for the week]."

Intentional investing is when your organization goes into a grant-giving investment with certain results in mind. According to Perspectives Consulting, there is a shift from asking partner agencies what they'd like funding to intentionally seeking out agency programs that align with the desired outcomes for nonprofits.

How can your nonprofit begin to look at grant giving through an intentional investing lens? Bryn Bogemann from Perspectives Consulting explains 3 steps:

  1.  Clearly identify the causes or desired goals that matter most to your organization.
  2.  Calculate what dollar figure would need to be raised to reach the impact level established in your goal.
  3.  Ask donors for the money to fund your desired cause or goals.

Having a solid understanding of what programs donors' dollars will go toward changes how your grant process will look. Rather than an open call for agencies' application requests, you'd be better suited to have agencies apply if their programs serve one of your desired goals.   

How to Make your Grant Application Align with Intentional Investing?

Moving away from an open-ended application process? Now is the time to restructure each grant application and who it is best suited for. Here are 4 request for proposal (RFP) types that support intentional investing:

  1. Issue-Specific RFPs mean funding is available for programs that serve a specific cause. i.e., reduce homelessness in a certain location.
  2. Metric-Specific RFPs seek out programs that will achieve a certain measurable outcome if funded. i.e., help a certain percentage of children reach their grade reading level.
  3. Programs and Services RFPs seek out specific programs they want to see in the community. i.e., a financial planning program is needed for those who recently immigrated to the USA.
  4. Collaborative RFPs ask partner agencies to work together to achieve a specified result.

Collect Grant Applications with Online RFPs

Before we review how to streamline your grant management process, first let's review some of the primary steps involved with the grant giving process from a grantmaker's perspective.

The Grant Giving Process for Grantmaking Nonprofits

Once your organization selects the RFP type that best suits your goals, consider how you will make your grant known. Grant management software – like Andar/360 Community Building Module - allows agencies to apply online easily and can streamline how your team collects and stores partner information.

Next, consider the right questions to ask agency partners during the application process to find partners that will meet your community impact goals. Using grant management technology such as Andar/360's Community Building Module to collect qualitative and quantitative data, applicable tax forms, and other necessary attachments will ease the intake process. All form fields answered by agency partners are automatically saved in your Andar/360 CRM for retrieval and review at a later time.  

Further, consider if you need your online application open to all agencies or if you want to make the funding opportunity open to a few select agency partners. With the right grant management tools, this optionality of who can apply should be standard.

How to Add Efficiencies to Grant Processing

Once grant applications are collected, evaluating each with a standardized scoring process is recommended. With grant management technology, you can set up a scoring criterion for each question type and have evaluators' online reviews summarized easily in your database. Whether your internal team member or a volunteer evaluator does the grant application evaluation, having the assessment completed online will save you time in data entry.

Set up permissions so grant reviewers only have access to the applications they need to review. Remember, there could be sensitive information in agencies' grant applications so consider treating and storing this information securely. With grant software, the next steps of approving, issuing funds, and following up with agencies for reporting can all be completed efficiently for all stakeholders. The beauty of having information about your grantseeker in a single profile will make it easy once it is time for your finance department to issue the grant. The finance team will simply review the profile, see the approved application and if assigned by the evaluator, they would see the designated grant amount. Your grant management software serves as a single source of truth for all team members.

Grant Management Impacts Multiple Departments Including Marketing, Community Impact Teams, Fundraising Teams and Finance Departments

Community impact teams, for example, can use the same grant management online portal used by agencies to apply for funding, but now to request reporting feedback from agencies. Here, funded agencies will report on the impact they've made on the community, inform you if they've met your pre-determined program goals, and more. Impact results from funded agencies are then stored in your central CRM and can be referred to with the rest of your organization's reporting data.

In all, having a dedicated grant management software program as the backbone of your grant allocation process will improve flows of information from agencies to evaluators, to finance and community impact teams. The days of following the paper trail of applications are now behind us. Even as described here today, we've intentionally left out the dozens more whose hands touch the grantmaking process. For example, executives want to know who is applying for funding – can you easily supply this information? Again, with centralized storage of all grant management processes and data, finding figures such as who has applied and who is in the process of applying should be simple for your team to find.

If you'd like to learn how Andar/360's Community Building Module can streamline the grant management processes for your team, contact us today.

Blog Article by Hanna Middleton, Marketing Manager, Andar Software

For the last ten years, on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving, millions of individuals and organizations globally partake in GivingTuesday. The idea behind the GivingTuesday movement is simply to encourage people to practice generosity. This benevolence movement has inspired hundreds of millions worldwide to give back to their community, collaborate and do good. Mark your calendar as this year’s 10th anniversary of GivingTuesday is November 29th, 2022.    

This blog post will discuss how your nonprofit can kickstart and amplify your GivingTuesday campaign.   

How Nonprofits Participate in GivingTuesday 

#GivingTuesday is an inclusive movement for all! Charities, social enterprises, organizations, community groups, and more are all invited to join the movement. Since GivingTuesday itself does not collect funds, your nonprofit can leverage this movement’s energy for fundraising. Joining the GivingTuesday movement is as simple as you need it to be. Your organization does not need to register to participate, but if you’d like, you can register to join as a nonprofit partner

For a quick snapshot FAQ on nonprofit participation in GivingTuesday, check out the infographic below. 

GivingTueday FAQ Infographic for Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit FAQ Infographic

Tips for Setting up Your Nonprofits’ GivingTuesday Campaign

Establish Campaign Goals

Whether this is your first or tenth time participating in GivingTuesday, setting SMART goals for your campaign is the best place to start. As your first course of action, understand what your contribution to the movement will be, i.e., how you plan and execute your GivingTuesday campaign and measure success. Your goals will determine how you execute and deliver on an impactful day of spreading awareness and raising funds. 

Ask yourself the following when establishing your campaign goals:  

Prepare Your Messaging and Communications

Will you be tying your GivingTuesday messaging into the season of giving thanks, or will you be relaying the messaging of your mission statement? Both are good strategies to take on their own, or you can tie the two together. When discussing the movement as a whole, you can simply reference GivingTuesday's key messages and talking points

When preparing your messaging, be sure to consider communication dos and don’ts. Here are a few examples: 

For guidance on how to make your GivingTuesday campaign stand out from your other fundraising events, be sure to check out the Getting Ready for GivingTuesday Workbook. To highlight one of the many important lessons taught in the workbook, here’s how to create an inspiring ask/call to action: combine a belief statement (a cause that someone can stand behind), a you statement (how you can create positive change for the cause), and an opportunity statement (inviting the individual to support the cause). The workbook also outlines how you can identify campaign ambassadors, build your campaign brand, and how to develop a campaign narrative.  

Spread the Word

Proclaim your GivingTuesday message on your website, through your email marketing, and on social media channels. Set up a successful email marketing campaign in advance of GivingTuesday. A few weeks to a month prior, inform and remind your constituents that you will be participating and encourage them to start thinking about how they too can get involved. Give your email recipients a chance to donate before November 29th or have them signup to volunteer for any larger gatherings or events you plan to host for GivingTuesday.   

Build some hype around your campaign in advance of November 29th on social media too. Create a visually captivating GivingTuesday campaign that is authentic to your organization and community. If you don’t have the design skillset on your team no need to fret. GivingTuesday prepared an entire collection of materials to support your campaign including logo files, a collection of branded GIFs, a bank of stock photos, and dozens of pre-designed social media images for your posts, banners, and stories! Don’t forget to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag on your social media posts to expand your reach.  

GivingTuesday Canva Example
Pre-Designed Social Media Image from Canva

Generate Generosity and Raise Funds This GivingTuesday

Picture this, you’re engaging your donors, volunteers, and community and spreading the word of generosity this November 29th. You’re inspiring acts of goodness, community involvement, and, best of all, many generous folks to want to donate to your cause! Now ask, where am I going to collect my GivingTuesday funds? Easily launch your giving campaign with Andar/360’s online fundraising tools that process billions in online donations annually. Send your donors to a web-accessible donation page to collect funds from various payment types with the peace of mind that donors’ data is secure. To keep in the spirit of GivingTuesday, consider our branded donation page.  

Ask us how we can help create custom online donation collection pages that encourage donors to give while streamlining your administrative work.  

Blog Article by Hanna Middleton, Marketing Manager, Andar Software

Donor engagement, often viewed as the ability to develop and nurture your donor base, stems from the need to expand your nonprofit’s reach and ultimately drive more donations. Reports show that 75% of charities have seen a decline in at least one type of donation since the first quarter of 2020; the need to retain and rebuild donor engagement is of the utmost importance to most every nonprofit. 

Could email marketing be the missing piece in your nonprofit’s revenue generation and donor engagement strategy? A 2021 report from GivingTuesday shows that 76% of fundraisers credit email marketing as their greatest online fundraising effort.  

Whether you distribute one-off emails or run multiple personalized drip marketing campaigns, this email marketing guide filled with best practice tips can help every nonprofit enhance their donor engagement strategy. 

How Email Marketing Supports Nonprofit Organizations 

As many nonprofit employees wear multiple hats, email marketing may be a new concept for some. Still, almost anyone with an email address has likely seen an example of email marketing in their inbox. In the world of nonprofit email marketing, emails ask recipients to donate now, read about current programs and initiatives, or learn how donations have impacted the community.   

If you have any hesitation to starting or revamping your email marketing, keep in mind that email marketing is one of the highest producing of all marketing channels, earning you up to $42 back for each dollar invested. Underutilizing this channel limits the exposure of your organization’s mission and reduces the opportunity to fundraise. 

Mailchimp found that nonprofit marketing emails receive an open rate of 25.17% compared to all industries which have an average email open rate of 21.33%. This means that for every 4 marketing emails you deliver to a donor's inbox, 1 individual will open the email and be head-on with your messaging.  

No need to be discouraged if your email open rates are not yet at the industry benchmark. Read on to learn about the various email marketing types and top tips to make your emails stand out in donors' inboxes.  

Starting Email Marketing Campaigns: Creating Your Email Lists 

Before we look at the various types of email campaigns used by nonprofits, let’s consider to who you want to send each email. While each donor is unique in the ways and amounts that they give, there are often common characteristics that can help group donors together. This process of segmenting donors into grouped categories, or personas, helps to ensure that your email content resonates with the stage of the donor stewardship journey they are in.  

The Donor Stewardship Journey 

The Donor Stewardship Journey

Having a database that allows you to segment your donors, such as Andar/360, will ease your list creation process. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to send emails that are personalized based on where a donor is in the donor stewardship journey. For example, the content you’re sending to a donor of 10+ years will vary greatly from a prospective donor. 

Email Marketing Campaigns Used by Nonprofits 

Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of email marketing campaigns that support donor engagement and relations.  

Welcome Emails 

Congratulations, you have received the email of someone who has expressed interest in your nonprofit! Whether you collect their email from your website or during an event, the best practice is to follow up with a welcome email.   

In this email, you get to introduce your organization's mission and thank the individual for expressing interest in your nonprofit. This message can be universal to all new folks, or you can personalize it based on the source from where you acquired their email.   

Say, for example, you gained a new email address from an in-person fundraising event. The welcome email could include a thank you for attending. Remember to segment emails collected from the event into their own list.   

Nurturing Campaigns 

A nurturing campaign (also called a drip marketing campaign) is a series of emails sent to a group with similar behavior, demographics, and/or stage in the donor stewardship journey. In other words, a collection of emails is sent periodically (usually over months) to share new information to influence the recipient to get to know your brand and mission and eventually donate.   

Do you currently use nurturing campaigns at your organization? If you said no, you’re not alone. When polling from 170+ of our current clients, 66% said that they currently only run batch email communications.  

The benefit of nurturing campaigns compared to batch emails is lifecycle value. With nurturing campaigns, you have the power to progressively move a non-donor who is unaware of your key mission to becoming aware of your solution and ideally providing enough persuasive and educational material over time to convert them to a donor.   

The example below highlights how you can tailor your key messages to fit each stage of the donor stewardship journey.    

Donor Stewardship Journey Example with Key Messages and Content Examples per Stage

Please note, nurturing campaigns don’t have to be tailored to non-donors only. Maintaining donor relations through nurturing campaigns is equally important.  

Newsletters 

Running monthly or even weekly newsletters is standard practice in most nonprofits. While newsletters vary in length, intended reader (donors vs. non-donors) or distribution frequency, it is common practice to include content on upcoming events, donation opportunities, recent initiatives, community impact, and more. 

Newsletters also serve as brand recognition appearing in the inboxes of those who may not have interacted with your organization in many months.  

Donor Thank You Emails 

Whether you receive a donation of $5 or a pledge of $50,000, each donor deserves to be thanked. Setting up automated email thank you letters following the act of giving shows recognition and appreciation for each and every donation.  

Take your thank you emails to the next level by adding personalization. Include the donation amount, the donor's name, and how their donation will impact your mission. 

By tailoring the messaging to the individual, your emails will strengthen the relationship with the individual and build trust. A 2021 McKinsey study shows that 61% of consumers expect brands to celebrate their milestones and 59% want timely communications tied to key moments. The same study explains that consumers believe email personalization showcases a brand's investment in the relationship and view the email as less of a transaction.  

Tips to Enhance Your Email Engagement 

How to Boost Your Email Open Rate

The biggest obstacle all marketers face is getting their email recipients to open their emails. Open rate, or the percentage of email recipients who open your email in their inbox, is consistently being challenged by changing privacy laws and regulations such as Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.  

To increase email open rates, get in the practice of writing strong, captivating, and personalized subject lines, adding preheader text, and sending emails at the right time. Let’s look at each factor in detail. 

  1. Write Strong and Personalized Subject Lines 
  1. Add Preheader Text 
  1. Send Your Emails at the Right Time of Day 

Increase Your Email Click Rate 

If you’ve followed the steps above, chances are you’ll have more eyes reading your emails. In order to have the recipient click on your call to action (CTA), your emails need to counter readers’ 8-second attention span. 

  1. Check Your Email Content 
  1. Create Visually Appealing Emails 

Download the free email engagement checklist:

How the Right CRM Helps Donor Engagement 

Ask, can my CRM Segment my Donors and Distribute my Emails? 

There is no need to spend hundreds of hours each year scrubbing and cleaning email marketing lists and data. Imagine a CRM that easily collects and organizes donor data while helping you manage donor relationships. Look no further than Andar/360, your all-in-one nonprofit CRM software.  

With Andar/360 your organization can deploy marketing messages, including newsletters, community announcements, event invitations, alerts, community impact results, success stories, campaign results, and more. Easily create and sort contacts into segmented lists based on demographics and tags. You can even include individuals’ contact data in your marketing messages to increase personalization.  

With integrations to Mailchimp and Constant Contact, your team can quickly launch email marketing initiatives while seamlessly syncing contact information and email metrics back to Andar/360. Rich data from your email marketing, such as your bounce and open rates, automatically sync back into the CRM, giving your entire team access to all email marketing performance data. Those team members in a relationship management role can leverage individuals' email engagement metrics to gauge their willingness to donate.    

Driving Donor Engagement Summed Up

Getting your organization’s message into the minds of your prospective or current donors is not a one-time effort. As you have learned, email acts as a channel to reach out with the right type of messaging that resonates with their stage in the donor stewardship journey. Applied with tips to enhance your email engagement, you should be set up for success. And remember that email marketing can be used to connect with all your constituents – don't forget to engage your volunteers and partners too.  

If you are looking for a CRM to host donor data, process pledge data, and connect with our integrated email platforms, contact our team today

Blog Article by Hanna Middleton, Marketing Manager, Andar Software