Following hard on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in late November, Giving Tuesday is set to kick off the 2020 season of giving and year-end donations on the 1st of December this year.
In 2019, Giving Tuesday generated some $21.9M in online donations across Canada’s fundraising platforms. That’s 462% more than the amount raised in 2018, and a staggering 1247% increase over the event’s launch year in 2012.
If you’re like most nonprofit organizations, you can expect your fundraising team to be exceptionally busy during the short but impactful weeks of the holiday giving season. And to help them stay focused, you’ll need to make it as easy as possible to monitor their end-of-year targets.
The best way to track your Giving Tuesday fundraising progress is with the help of real-time data. So consider these three strategies for leveraging your cloud accounting software to better support your fundraising efforts.
1. Use your cloud accounting software to guide your fundraising focus
Chances are, you’ve already been using accounting software for nonprofit organizations to track your fundraising and program expenditures throughout the year. But did you know you can take advantage of that same cloud accounting technology to identify your fundraising focus for Giving Tuesday?
Start by examining the income and expense accounts in your general ledger to see how much you’ve raised and spent throughout the year on your organization’s various programs. Then take steps to channel your fundraising communications accordingly.
Here’s an example.
Imagine your nonprofit organization is focused on wildlife conservation and that you run two separate fundraising programs, one to protect wild bears and one to protect salmon.
Since you’ll have set up your accounting software to track your bear and salmon programs independently at the start of the year, you can easily view and act on the real-time financial data for each program as the year comes to a close.
For instance, if the accounts payable for your wild bear program shows you’ve yet to generate enough funds to cover your costs for the year, you’ll know to tailor your Giving Tuesday messaging toward raising more money for bears.
2. Integrate your fundraising software with your nonprofit accounting software
Because of social distancing requirements, more small nonprofits than ever will be relying on online donations to meet their Giving Tuesday targets this year.
Fortunately, because some cloud-based fundraising software options were designed specifically to integrate with online accounting, you can easily track key information across all your systems and use it in multiple ways.
- See real-time data around your campaigning progress in both your fundraising and cloud accounting software
- Keep leadership and fundraising team members up to date on that progress
- Use your progress status and targets to spur more donors to action
Let’s say your donation collection strategy includes leveraging digital channels like email or social media. By accessing your fundraising data in real-time, you can tweak your year-end messaging to keep it as fresh and current as possible.
Equally important from a financial perspective is the fact that taking an integrated approach to fundraising means donation management no longer has to include waiting for cheques to arrive in the mail.
With digital payments and tracking, fundraising can happen more quickly, allowing you to improve your nonprofit’s overall cash flow.
3. Create valuable dashboards using your fundraising and cloud accounting data
Putting together a P&L (profit and loss) report allows organizations to share information about their revenues and expenses during a particular period. But the data and documents generated by traditional financial reporting can sometimes be difficult to interpret - and they may no longer be current by the time your team sits down to make important decisions.
Instead, consider using your cloud accounting data and a visualization tool like Power BI to create a real-time dashboard that will keep your board and executive team up to date on your fundraising progress.
Not only will you find it easier to draw useful conclusions from a visual data dashboard like this, but you can also use those insights to better guide your campaigning plans over the all-important weeks of the giving season.
Data dashboards can be built to display many valuable information features, including:
- The surplus or deficit for each of your fundraising programs
- Your fundraising progress vs. your year-end targets
- The response you’ve received in terms of open rates vs. click-thru rates for specific email campaigns
- A solicitation analysis comparing the funds generated by various campaigns throughout the current year
- Your fundraising activity by source (including, for example, website, email, or Facebook credit card donations)
- The total number of donations you’ve received this year vs. the same period last year
If you don’t have the necessary expertise in-house to perform cloud-based software integrations or work with data visualization management tools, it can be well worth hiring external accounting support.
The bookkeeping and controllership service experts at Enkel, for example, won’t just help you track your annual fundraising progress - and provide you with real-time updates throughout the giving season – they can help you build data dashboards to better support your leadership team, executive board, and fundraising crew.