Many nonprofits ask themselves "how do I increase my donors?" and to answer this question, we want to take a page from the business development playbook. Although we do not usually encourage ripping up books (us nerds love books), we do want you to find the chapter about the Sales Pipeline.
What is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a specific sequence of actions that a sales reps takes in order to move a prospect from a new lead to a customer. Traditionally, the stages of a sales cycle is structured something like:
This same sales cycle is easily adaptable for your nonprofit. Our version of this is referred to as fundraising or donor cultivation cycle. The backbone of any successful fundraising operation is an understanding of the cultivation process. The largest difference between a sales pipeline and donor cycle is that a large portion of effort goes into retaining and re-engaging donors and eventually turning them into your advocates. For example the visualization above has both the generic markers of a sales pipeline but it has been reinvented into a circular process for a nonprofit to retain donors and inspire future cultivation.
hubspot for nonprofits
How do I create a donor cycle? You now may be saying, "thanks, this is great information" but I encourage you to take it a step further and act on this knowledge. "HubSpot is an app I came across several years ago when I was a first time nonprofit director asking myself how can I grow our nonprofit organization with a limited budget." says our co-founder, "I was looking to quickly and efficiently document donations and increase revenue with limited resources. This is when I found HubSpot. It is a completely free online software built for sales reps."
HubSpot's sales section has a built in sales pipeline called "Deals". These deals link with individual and company contacts, allow you to set financial goals, and keep track of your progress. You can have multiple deals and multiple pipelines, all of which are fully customizable. Below is an example sequence used for grants with some sample deals. Notice, each deal has a deadline to fit within the grant cycle. Values added to each deal helps track annual progress on the HubSpot dashboard.
Example of a HubSpot sales pipeline used for fundraising:
Member Center is an a HubSpot plug-in allowing you to affordably document subscriptions and memberships.