5 Advanced Fundraising Tactics You Can Automate

Identifying, qualifying, and cultivating major gifts prospects takes months, often years. And doing so requires a number of tactics to be used over that time. And it doesn’t stop after they make their first gift. Then, it’s on to stewardship tactics.

All this work can easily overwhelm even the most organized and motivated gift officer. The good news is, so many of these tactics can be automated. And when you automate many of the fundraising tactics you’re using to identify, qualify, cultivate, and steward your prospects and major donors, you’ll save tons of time and mental energy. That will free you up to focus your efforts on the tasks that only a person can do.

Let’s take a look at five advanced fundraising tactics you can start automating.

1. Personalization

Major donors cannot be effectively engaged using impersonal, mass marketing strategies. These people are different. For most organizations, they account for the great majority of your fundraising dollars. You cannot treat them like just another donor. And that means personalizing your communications to them – every single time you reach out.

Personalization shows you value this person and care about their life story, as well as their opinions, values, and motives for engaging with your organization.

Personalization means a lot more than just using mail merge to put their name in the greeting, or their city in a letter.

It also means referencing things like:

  • Past giving data
  • Interests and values
  • Ideas and opinions they have expressed in surveys or even phone conversations
  • People of influence in their lives
  • Motives for giving and engaging with your organization

You can automate the gathering of much of this information using surveys and other email strategies. And you can automate the use of it in future communications.

Do you see how much time this will save? Imagine having to research every prospect and donor whenever you reach out to them. You’re scouring past emails, giving records, survey data, and notes scribbled in a binder – all so you can include personal information and show you have listened and that you care about what this person feels, thinks, and believes.

With automation, you can do all that without having to lift a finger during the identification and qualification stages, as well with certain tasks in the cultivation and stewardship stages.

2. Relevance

Why doesn’t mass fundraising communication work for major donors?

Imagine sending a free guide with tips on how to talk to your heirs about an estate plan. You’re sending this out so that whoever requests the guide identifies themselves as a potential planned giving prospect.

That’s a good idea – with your general donor lists who you know little about.

But if you include your major donors in that sort of marketing, what if one of these donors has no children?


With fundraising automation, you can be sure your communications with all your major donors are relevant to them. Don’t write to business owners in communication to a major donor who doesn’t own a business.

Don’t send invitations for a local event to a person who lives three thousand miles away – unless you know that person has traveled to your events in the past. And even in that case, you should personalize your communication to them and make it clear you understand the travel requirements in their case.

Automation of the sort we’re talking about will combine all the tactics in this list. You want it personalized AND relevant.

3. Timeliness

You also want it to be timely. Timely communication is far more effective than belated communication.

Whenever a person has taken some sort of action that merits a response, you want that response to come at the best possible time.

For something like a donation, filling out a survey, or requesting a guide, report, or other resource, your response should be immediate. They should get a thank you email, an email with instructions on what to do next, or whatever other information they need to know or that is relevant to what has just transpired.

If they ask a question, they need a response within 24 hours, if not much sooner.

Sometimes, timeliness means waiting. A major donor or supporter may tell you they can’t talk for a few weeks, and they might give a date when you can reach out again.

When you automate your fundraising communication, you won’t forget to reach out to them at the time they told you they would be available. Not before. And not weeks later.

Automated fundraising communication makes it much easier to communicate in a timely fashion.

4. Repetition

So much of fundraising is about simply staying in front of people. This is no difference with major donors in this regard. You do not want them to forget about you. Life is busy, and people have a lot going on.

Repetition is a fundraising tactic that ensures you remain a relevant part of a supporter’s life. Even if they don’t make a major gift for months or years, simply hearing from you now and then ensures that you’re on their mind.

Without automation, this can be difficult to do, because if you’re also trying to send personalized, relevant, and timely communications to each major donor, you have to have something to say to them that fits within all those parameters. And you need this to happen consistently.

With fundraising automation software, you’ll be able to ensure your organization remains on the minds of your major donors and prospects, even if this is during a lull in your actual in-person outreach to them.

5. Efficiency

This final fundraising tactic may be the most important one of all. And that’s saying something, because if you’re sending out personalized, relevant, timely, and frequent communications to your major donors and prospects, you’re doing really well!

And while automation software can handle much of that, let’s remember the reason we’re doing this:


Fundraising communication is all about engagement. Giving is a singular act. But engagement happens over months and oftentimes years. The more regularly a person engages with your organization, the more responsive they will be when it comes time to ask them for a major gift.

But engagement is very hard to do efficiently.

You’re asking people to do things like:

  • Get involved
  • Volunteer
  • Participate in online activities like social media engagement
  • Give input via surveys, polls, and other methods
  • Attend in-person opportunities
  • Request information

All these engagement-level activities enable you to remain on their minds and involved in their lives. It gives you something to say when you communicate with them.

But doing this on your own requires a lot of effort. It is very easy to lose control of all the balls in the air, especially as you continue trying to deliver these opportunities in a personalized and relevant manner.

By automating your fundraising tactics, you can efficiently deliver a steady stream of engagement opportunities to your major donors and prospects that they will appreciate receiving.

And you’ll be doing this without overwhelming your gift officers and other staff members.

Why? Because it’s not just delivering the communication. You also have to respond to it, record their responses, follow up, monitor response rates and engagement metrics, and devise the next round of communication for each recipient.

It’s almost impossible to do this well on your own, even for a small caseload of, say, 30 major donors and prospects.

With fundraising automation software, you can do all this and more at the highest levels of efficiency, so you’ll be able to focus on the things only a live person can do, like make phone calls and develop personalized outreach plans.

Where Do I Find Engagement Fundraising Automation Software?

It’s actually surprising how little of this is out there, designed specifically for nonprofits and major gift fundraising.

MarketSmart’s fundraising automation software was designed specifically for this purpose – to help gift officers and their organizations engage and communicate with their major donors in a personalized, relevant, timely, consistent, and efficient manner.

Our system has freed many gift officers from tasks they could never keep up with anyway, and has made their fundraising outreach efforts far more effective. This is why we offer a 10:1 ROI guarantee – because our system has delivered outstanding results time and time again.

See how MarketSmart helps gift officers be more effective

See what our clients say

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