A recent Maclean’s article suggests arts charities spend more to get donations than other types of charities because they don’t have as good a story to tell donors compared to charities that raise funds for health research, welfare of children, or animal protection.
In a field where impact is harder to measure, how can you provide the reporting and visibility that your donors increasingly demand?
More competition for funding
I hear every day that it’s getting harder to collect funds – while donations overall remain steady, there is more competition and donors have higher expectations.
Funders want to know that their donation was effective and to understand how their contribution to the cause made an impact. Arts and culture nonprofits aren’t alone in this challenge. Many organizations are looking for new ways to demonstrate program outcomes to show donors they make a difference every day.
Measuring program impact
In an effort to quantify its community impact, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation is partnering with researchers to study the effect of its programs on vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with mental illness.
Many small and medium nonprofits and charities adopt new technology, like the Impact Tool provided by charitable organization Canada Helps. The Impact Tool enables organizations to provide Canadians, current and future donors, with the insight they need to give more generously.
The number of attendees or people reached, the scope of programs funded, and tracking program outcomes against goals can all be used internally to measure success, with wins shared externally to encourage engagement in your community.
For current donors, ensure they’re hearing about the big wins they helped you achieve, and increase communication around program spending and outcomes across the board so all funders feel informed and in control of their donation. To encourage new funders, demonstrate program outcomes using the same information and metrics packaged to show what they could help achieve. Help them envision themselves as part of your community, enabling your organization to do the important work you do every day.
Returning funders are critical for most arts and culture organizations and that’s where technology can help. Automatic reminders around anniversary time are a simple way to maintain and increase donations. Or imagine receiving alerts from your funder management system to flag that a donor has been on the website looking at information about the tiers of support, which would trigger a phone call to find out if they are ready to increase their donation. That’s the next frontier of funder tracking, which is quickly becoming a reality thanks to Microsoft’s intelligent cloud.
Communication and relationship building
Communication is a vital piece to both, managing the program impact and tracking funders. You might have the most effective programs in your sector, but if you don’t share the outcomes, you may miss on the opportunity to maintain and increase funding based on current and past success.
Do you have all your funders in one database, accessible and organized so you can target messaging by region, type of donor, frequency or size of donation, and more? Targeted messaging is proven to be more effective than generic messaging, so a customer relationship management (CRM) system that enables this kind of database targeting is key.
Donor expectations around visibility and ROI are not going anywhere. And as more organizations access the technology needed to provide this information, it will become the sector standard. Get ahead of the crowd with a donor management solution, integrated finance, or CRM for donor communication.
International nonprofit Right to Play’s system from Sparkrock let them integrate grants management and funding allocation processes and better allocate funds with real-time financial information. What’s more, custom reporting capabilities enable them to do complex analysis and calculations, for a better overall picture of where donations are being used and what their programs are accomplishing.
Ready to learn more? Let’s connect today.