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Non-Profit Fundraising: Navigating the Journey of a Donor Dollar

Petra Eimiller
19 Jul, 2023

Non-profit organizations are constantly challenged to attract and retain donors and volunteers while remaining focused on their primary mission: serving their members and communities. In fact, for many organizations, focusing on the mission makes them ignore their accounting and marketing functions to the point that they find it hard to report on the result of their efforts.

And yet, that's what donors want to see: How are their donor dollars being used and how effective is the organization in achieving their goals? It's all about building trust. A few statistics bear this out:

  • The most significant contributors to non-profits from a percentage standpoint are people that earn $25,000 or less per year – these individuals donate up to 16% of their income.
  • 66% of millennials track the results from the non-profits they support and want personalized content. So, as Gen Z and millennials start earning more and are promoted, there is a greater opportunity for them to donate.

Tracking how the donations are applied and reporting the results can be difficult. Non-profits frequently face one of two problems:

  • Existing systems and processes have been in place for a long time. Although the processes work, they require too much manual intervention. As the organization grows, the staff falls behind, reporting takes too long, and personal interaction with donors suffers.
  • The systems grew out of need. The organization added one solution to solve a particular problem, then another solution for a different problem, until their process involved many different software applications that were isolated from each other. Each application requires its own licensing costs and IT administration, whether from volunteers or staff. And integrating the systems to share data is difficult, leading to data silos between departments and inefficient processes to compensate.

These problems can escalate to the point the non-profits find they can no longer effectively manage their donor outreach or even effectively manage their reporting for their management or board of directors. While the cost of upgrading outdated systems might appear daunting, the inefficiencies of maintaining manual, ineffective processes is a cost that should also be considered.

Automating the process, managing the data

Over the past few years, Microsoft has worked hard to tailor its cloud-based business solutions to be accessible, affordable, and relevant for non-profits. Microsoft's Cloud for Nonprofit suite provides non-profit solutions for fundraising, marketing programs, and volunteer management. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit is scalable with automatic upgrades, which limits the need for IT support, plus it provides customer engagement with secure self-service, so there is less need for staff involvement at every touchpoint. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit comes with integration with Microsoft's Power Platform, a suite of technologies that brings automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) features that let you engage more with your donors, automate internal processes, manage your finances, and report your performance back to your donors and stakeholders.

The journey of the donor dollar

Because all the components of Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit are integrated, they share a centralized database, so the data is the same across all the applications, making it easy to track and report on all interactions, donations, activities, and finances.

The journey begins with the Fundraising and Engagement platform, part of the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit suite of solutions. This platform helps you track, report, monitor, support, and engage constituents that are donating to your organization. Fundraising and Engagement lets you better understand your donors and supporters to help your organization drive engagement and fundraising.

Embedded AI-powered tools in the Microsoft Power Platform, like chatbots and self-service portals, help prospective donors and volunteers learn more about your mission, sign up for newsletters, donate to your organization, and volunteer for service.

You can use analytics tools, like Power BI, to gain greater insight into your donors and their engagement with your organization. You can also monitor donations by campaign as well as where the funds were allocated so you can track and report back to those donors to inform them how their funds were used.

You can also build real-time dashboards and reports to track key performance indicators (KPIs). These reports could be used to generate, for example, newsletters highlighting the donations you received, how the money was used, and the achievements you accomplished with those donations throughout the year.

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit also integrates with the Microsoft Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, letting you create tailored communications with your donors and stakeholders. For example, you can extract meaningful talking points from a Teams call and put together a targeted email containing the essential points without listening to the recording, or draft grant applications in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

Uniting technology and purpose for lasting donor impact

In the ever-evolving landscape of non-profit fundraising, the path to effective donor engagement and meaningful impact is illuminated by solutions that bridge the gap between purpose and performance. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit emerges as a transformative ally, streamlining operations, and fostering genuine connections. By unifying data, automating processes, and harnessing the power of AI-driven insights, this suite not only revitalizes donor relations but also empowers organizations to narrate the compelling journey of each donor dollar. As we look ahead, the synergy of technology and mission-driven pursuits beckons us to navigate this transformative journey together, ensuring that every dollar invested resonates with purpose and drives change.

On-Demand Webcast: Maximizing Impact, Minimizing Effort - Navigating the Fundraising Journey of a Donor Dollar with the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit

See how the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit can streamline your non-profit's fundraising efforts and improve donor engagement

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