As a non-profit organization leader you most likely have many goals, such as building a community and understanding for your cause, motivating volunteers and developing awareness. When starting an organization, you should have both long-term and short-term goals. Both types of goals are critical to your organization’s mission and to increasing donations.
Developing a Mission
One of the key factors to consider when starting an organization is how you will measure your success. With non-profit organizations, the answer is most likely how well it will advance the cause you support or serve those in need. By developing a clear mission statement, you are determining exactly what you want to accomplish. This will help you map out both your long-term and short-term goals. It will also help you recruit volunteers and donors who wish to support your mission.
According to Marc Koenig of Nonprofit Hub, “In many ways, a mission statement is a kind of PR move: a way to position your organization as memorable and unique.” It is important to keep this in mind as you develop your organization.
Setting Your Long and Short-Term Goals
The long-term goals for your non-profit organization should reflect your mission statement. For example, if your organization was created to help hunger in your local area, then your long-term goals should be to set up a certain number of food banks. Your long-term goal should be achievable and time-specific.
When setting up short-term goals, you should focus on a shorter time period and those short-term goals should come together to help achieve your long-term goals. You can also think of short-term goals as action steps. An example of a short-term goal may be to raise a certain amount of money over the next month or two. Using our example of the food bank, a short-term goal might also be to set up one food bank within the next six months.
Your goals greatly affect the success of your organization. Without your mission statement and goals, you might have difficulty bringing everything together. Another goal to consider is how you are going to reach out to the public, as well as how you will recruit volunteers and reach out to donors.
Impact of Your Website
Using the power of the Internet and social media, you can spread your mission to a wider audience. By developing a website, you will be informing the public about your cause and can potentially gain more supporters.
According to Michelle Castle of Demand Media in her article, How Does an Effective Website Impact Promotion in a Nonprofit Organization, “effective websites for nonprofit organizations provide essential information, reinforce the organization’s credibility, show the organization’s personality and use information collected from Web traffic to refine marketing campaigns.” In fact, studies have shown that over 75 percent of people that have visited an organization’s website have said that it has impacted their decision to donate.
In addition to informing the public about your organization, your website also helps you establish credibility and shows your organization’s personality. Your website is an effective tool you can utilize to display pictures, stories and news about your latest events and what you are doing to make a difference.
Kivi Miller of Nonprofit Marketing Guide explains that you should write in “first and second person as much as possible,” and “tell more stories.” She states, “when you tell more stories about the real people involved in your organization, whether as beneficiaries or supporters, your organization feels more personable too.”
Accepting Donations Online
With more people using the Internet and social media through their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, you are more likely to gain recognition for your organization. Once they learn more about you through your website, you can leverage this to accept donations.
According to the Blackbaud 2014 Online Giving Report, “online giving grew 8.9% in 2014 compared to 2013.” Their report goes on to state that “donors are shifting online and this continues to be a growth opportunity for nonprofits.” Therefore, it is crucial for non-profit organizations to take advantage of the Internet for collecting donations.
When collecting donations online, you want the process to be simple. Impulse donors are more likely to give if the process is quick and easy. If a donor has to write a check or mail a donation, it becomes a process and they are less likely to follow through with it.
Through an easy to use donation plugin on your website, you can also collect recurring donations. Once set up, your donor won’t have to think about it and will feel comfortable knowing that they don’t need a reminder to send you their monthly or annual gift.
If you are using a WordPress website, which many organizations currently use, you want the best and most effective donation plugin. Donors should be able to submit their payment while remaining on your website. A quick one-page checkout has proven to help capture impulse donors.
Some donors might be interested in submitting recurring payments. If they are able to do so on your website, they are more likely to continue donating on a monthly or annual basis. By using a simple donation plugin that accepts recurring payments, the process will be made easy for the organization leader and donors.
Starting a non-profit organization is no easy task. In fact, there are many things to consider when developing a mission for your cause. However, as part of your goals, it is important to consider how great of an impact your website can have.
“Nonprofit Mission Statements – Good and Bad Examples.” Koenig, Marc. Nonprofit Hub. http://www.nonprofithub.org/starting-a-nonprofit/nonprofit-mission-statements-good-and-bad-examples/
“How Does an Effective Website Impact Promotion in a Nonprofit Organization?” Castle, Michelle, Demand Media. Houston Chronicle. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/effective-website-impact-promotion-nonprofit-organization-28215.html
“7 Ways to Show Your Nonprofit’s Personality.” Miller, Kivi Leroux. Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog. June 1, 2011. http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog/2011/06/01/7-ways-to-show-your-nonprofits-personality/
“Charitable Giving Report – How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2014.” Presented by Steve MacLaughlin. Blackbaud. February 2015.