Transform your Nonprofit's Fundraising and Marketing for a Donor-First Digital Revolution

In 2020, many nonprofits converted their marketing, fundraising, and operations functions into an all-digital environment instantaneously. Before you move full speed ahead into the remainder of 2021, it’s important to revisit and future-proof your digital marketing and fundraising strategies for the future.

In this two-part webinar recap, we’ll cover:

  • 2020 and its impact upon nonprofit digital transformation
  • Questions to consider as you evaluate last year’s campaigns
  • 5 digital strategies to fuel donor engagement

2020: Nonprofit Digital Transformation at Lightspeed

Remote work and the corresponding reliance on internal collaboration tools and video conferencing plagued 2020. Additionally, former fundraising modes were no longer available as in-person events were canceled or converted into virtual events. No longer could nonprofits reference past fundraising benchmarks to predict future success.

As nonprofits navigate this all-digital environment and consider the return to face-to-face donor interactions, it’s important to evaluate the adaptations made last year.

Do you need to throw out your marketing and fundraising rule book, or can you tweak those strategies?

Let’s consider two common marketing and fundraising shifts the pandemic brought on:

1. The rise of virtual events 

Social distancing and lockdowns forced many nonprofits to cancel in-person events; however, other nonprofits pushed forward, adopted new technology, and hosted their events digitally.

One major benefit to this format is that organizations acquire participants beyond their headquarter's geographic location.

Consideration Questions:

Dig into your data from your 2020 events, did you expand your audience? How can you continue to foster these donor relationships?

Identify key characteristics of virtual event participants:

  • How much money did they contribute to your campaign?
  • What was the type of campaign in which they participated? Was it a virtual 5k or an online award ceremony honoring new scholarship recipients?

These insights help you draw conclusions about these participants’ support in the future.

2. A push toward online giving 

According to the public relations firm, M+R, and their 2021 Benchmarks Study, online giving increased 32% in 2020.

Consideration Question:

Did your organization realize an increase in gifts via your online channels?


The need for digital channels and engagement opportunities will only increase in importance. How can you make the online giving experience frictionless for your donors?

Consider how to decrease the number of clicks it takes to give. Revisit your online donation pages, and evaluate the audiences to which you market these pages.

If your target is prospective donors, include your organization’s mission, vision, and story. If your target is previous donors, you may not need to expound upon your organization’s story as these donors are already “bought in.” Provide an update on new programs, or share recent impact stories.

So, how do we translate the donor experience to the all-digital world?

First, start with the basics – your donor personas. Without a solid understanding of your donor personas, it’s difficult to develop marketing automation funnels that resonate. You may be tempted to skip this step entirely and ‘just get to the fundraising,’ but to achieve the results you seek, it’s vital to take a step back and imagine the donor’s perspective of your organization. (Hint: use your constituent data!)

Consideration Questions:Donor Personas

Who are your donors? What are their unique roles? What do they do either for a living, or to occupy their time? 
Where do they live?
When did they give? How often do they give?
Why do they give? What are their interest capabilities, and how do they align with your causes?

By evaluating the changes made in 2020 and applying those insights to your donor personas, your organization will meet the needs of your donors today while you prepare for the future.

Stay tuned for the next blog post in this two-part series: Five Digital Strategies to Fuel All-Donor Engagement.

Missed the webinar? Hear from digital marketing and fundraising experts at StatusLIVE and ClickDimensions

Watch the recording

Posted by Kelly Perry

Kelly Perry is a Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Nonprofit Solutions at StratusLIVE. She has over ten years marketing and communications experience within nonprofit technology and the publishing industries.