The Results Are In — 2020 Fundraising Outcomes Strong
As the first quarter of 2021 comes to a close, many philanthropy resources are reporting that nonprofit fundraising for 2020 finished ahead of the previous year. At AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising, we have experienced similar success, with our clients raising nearly $10 million toward capital projects in 2020. Was it a record-breaking fundraising year? No, but people continued to give and support the organizations they care about, proving nonprofits still can fundraise during a global pandemic.
The year 2020 provided an opportunity for creativity at a time when social distancing and quarantining were practiced. Organizations provided updates to donors using video taken from cell phones to demonstrate safety precautions taken to serve the community or to provide virtual building tours. These videos were sent directly to donors with a personalized message from the organization or posted on social media and websites. In some cases, the video posts attracted the attention of the media, which followed up with a news story to expand reach.
Organizations also became more comfortable connecting with people through virtual conferencing such as Zoom. Virtual platforms provided an opportunity to present to service clubs, conduct committee meetings and visit with donors. AMPERAGE supported clients in these endeavors defining clear talking points and visuals for presentations or providing step-by-step tools for making a virtual gift asks. The tools resulted in some large gifts. AMPERAGE produced a 30-second video introduction for a virtual presentation that led to a $300,000 Iowa Great Places grant. Another client’s virtual presentation to the Enhance Iowa board resulted in a $500,000 campaign contribution.
Although large, in-person events were brought to a halt, campaign kickoffs and celebrations continued with virtual, livestream events engaging audiences from afar. An AMPERAGE client completed its campaign fundraising goal in early 2020. To announce the campaign success, the nonprofit held a livestream event which attracted the news media and interested parties. Other clients chose livestream kickoff events to announce fundraising campaigns.
Nonprofits also moved traditionally in-person events to virtual experiences. Last month, an AMPERAGE client had its most successful gala to date, converting the event to a virtual platform incorporating an online auction and raising over $100,000!
Opportunities for nonprofits to plan for the future were a big part of the past year. AMPERAGE conducted seven feasibility studies in 2020 for organizations planning to expand services. Some nonprofits recognized the need to build upon their operating reserves and endowment funds to weather through another recession. Other nonprofits considered audits of their development office operations to determine their organizations’ capacity, update fundraising practices and procedures and review volunteer structures. Although 2020 posed its funding challenges for nonprofits, it was a time to reinvent and inject creativity into nonprofit fundraising programs.
Last year also saw a resurgence of direct mail fundraising to target those spending more time at home. More details about successful direct mail strategies will be featured in the April edition of Fundraising FUSE.