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The reliance on grants and large donations may not provide non-profit organizations with a stable source of revenue. Thus, it is critical for nonprofits to develop relations with all niches of donors, including individuals contributing small and medium amounts of money (Rosso, 2010). However, the process of acquiring these donors and maintaining their interest in financial support is challenging due to their budgetary constraints and changing concerns.
The strategies to turn one-time donors into people who are committed to helping the organization on a regular basis should not rely on old ways of donor acquisition (Yandow, 2014). Instead, new approaches to information sharing should be used – the internet and social media can be considered as the primary sources of encouragement of and interaction with modern small donors.
The discussed nonprofit organization like Doctors Without Borders, known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF was created in the 1970s in France as a response to the various crises affecting people in underserved countries (MSF, 2016). It is a medical nonprofit that is focused on providing health care services to communities who experienced human-made or natural disasters.
Currently, MSF operates internationally, sending its volunteers and members on missions or establishing camps for long-term medical assistance. The organization is also interested in healthcare research – some facilities are equipped to analyze the most prevalent global issues in order to determine approaches to diagnosis and treatment. MSF is a large association that employs various strategies for attracting individual donors. As MSF does not accept governmental support, the role of donations becomes crucial to the nonprofit’s stability. It uses social media and other solicitation strategies to attract small and medium patrons.
One of the solicitation approaches that can be recommended for healthcare nonprofits such as MSF is a scalable monthly subscription-based option for individual donors. This concept implies that a person will commit to donating a certain sum of money each month (Garecht, 2013). The transaction can be made automatically – the donor should fill the forms and confirm preapproved payments for the first donation, and all subsequent payments will be transferred each time automatically.
This strategy requires the nonprofit to issue regular reports in order to keep the donor invested and informed about the use of the money. It is a useful strategy for small donors because it does not require major judgments before each donation. Moreover, it builds a relationship between the organization and the individual if the latter is regularly informed about the nonprofit’s activities.
The second possible strategy is focused on small one-time donations. Nonprofits can engage certain groups through social media campaigns about particular events. According to Saxton and Wang (2014), internet users respond well to calls to action if the cause of the organization relates to their interests, culture, and religious or political ideology. Thus, MSF can encourage people to make small donations by spreading information about the most recent crises and supplying facts about the community’s health and critical needs. Here, the concepts of urgency and a personal connection may contribute to the growth of small donations.
The expansion of the donor base can be increased with the strategies discussed above. Recurring donations may be small for new donors, but a transparent way of lowering or raising monthly payments can influence one’s preparedness to make a more significant commitment. On the other hand, the second strategy implies that a person has not been interested in helping before a certain point, after which they may lose their connection with the nonprofit (Auter & Fine, 2018).
In order to entice these donors, the organization should present its results and details about projects and show how one crisis may relate to another, establishing the need for continuous support. Nonetheless, it is vital to remember that social campaigns may not lead to large donations but help acquire more small donors instead (Saxton & Wang, 2014). The foundation for growth is directly linked to the nonprofit’s ability to engage individuals.
Internet and Social Media
The use of social media and the internet is vital in utilizing the proposed strategies. The internet allows nonprofits to reach international donors and create a network that disperses information about the organization’s cause. Thus, active participation in conversations on all social media platforms and the use of such websites to spread knowledge can help nonprofits to grow the donor base (Mosawi & Yuen, 2010). Currently, both younger and older adults have access to the internet, and a significant part of them receive news and other information through the same online channels (Saxton & Wang, 2014).
Thus, the utilization of such platforms as Facebook and Twitter can help MSF to let various communities know about the recent events in the world as well as show the association’s projects and research objectives. Moreover, social media allows nonprofits to increase engagement – the organization can answer people’s questions or encourage dialogue in the comments in order to promote information sharing.
Small and medium donors constitute a large part of all contributors to nonprofits. Their engagement should be based on transparency, the ability to scale the donation up and down, and regular communication or reporting of goals and results. Recurring donations should be made available and easy to control to provide donors with comfort and security. One-time donors may consider becoming regular supporters if their ideology aligns with the nonprofit’s cause. Social media can help the nonprofit to spread information about the most recent crises and ask users to participate or facilitate discussion.
Auter, Z. J., & Fine, J. A. (2018). Social media campaigning: Mobilization and fundraising on Facebook. Social Science Quarterly, 99(1), 185-200.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). (2016). 2016 US annual report. Web.
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Garecht, J. (2013). Case study: How one non-profit moved from grants to individual giving. Web.
Mosawi, A., & Yuen, A. (2010). No borders. In T. Hart, J. M. Greenfield, S. MacLaughlin, & P. Geier (Eds.), Internet for nonprofits management: Strategies, tools and trade secrets (pp. 269–287). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Rosso, H. A. (2010). The annual fund. In E. R. Tempel, T. L. Seiler, & E. E. Aldrich (Eds.), Achieving excellence in fundraising (3rd ed., pp. 51–63). San-Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Saxton, G. D., & Wang, L. (2014). The social network effect: The determinants of giving through social media. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(5), 850-868.
Yandow, H. (2014). Building your individual donor base. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Web.