Written by: Nick Huss, a digital entrepreneur and business enthusiast with a strong interest in non-profits. When not doing business (or planning his future non-profit) Nick plays soccer, travels the World, and writes books.
You’ve got passion and a plan … but your project needs money.
Having a fundraising strategy is vital to getting your passion project off the ground and keeping your organization going. If you’re worried about expenses or how your group will pay for things in the future, you need to take your fundraising game to the next level.
Below is an overview of fundraising basics, as well as five proven fundraising approaches.
The Basics Of Fundraising
"Great people coming together to make great change."
This is what fundraising is all about. Whether you’re supporting the construction of a new chicken coup to help feed and employ underprivileged African children or supporting a small community in India, donation-driven projects appeal to like-minded individuals with a shared vision and a plan to make it a reality.
According to fundraising TEDx-er Ruben Mayes, there are seven essentials to raising money through donations.
Commitment: Donors need to know you’re in it for the long haul.
Strategy: Who will you ask for help and over what period of time?
Local Impact: Consider how your fundraising effort may affect your local community.
Goals: Set realistic goals with measurable outcomes.
Accountability: People want to know how their money will be spent.
Ask For Money: You won’t get unless you ask!
Acknowledgment: Donors want to be acknowledged and thanked … repeatedly!
“People like us do things like this.” Giving is a group exercise!
Fundraising guru Seth Godin believes the core of fundraising is letting donors know they’re part of an elite group of individuals. “People like us, do things like this” is one of the most powerful ways to get donors on board with your cause.
How To Ask For Money
While newbie fundraisers are often intimidated by the idea of asking for money, seasoned fundraising professionals understand that this is the most important — and most rewarding — part of the process. Philanthropy is not logical. It is emotional. You’re asking people to invest in an idea, a promise of improvement. You want donors to share your passion … and give ‘til it hurts!
Start with a clear campaign objective — for example, “We’re raising $5,000 over the next 60 days to improve the ball fields at Smith Park.”
Explain why you’re fundraising to connect with donors. “I grew up playing ball on Smith fields. I’m sure you enjoy the park too…”
Emphasize what the gift will accomplish. “We’re going to re-turf the fields, making them safer to play on, and paint the snack stand.”
Ask for a specific amount and don’t be afraid to ask your potential donors to stretch. “Would you be comfortable with a $200 donation? No? What amount would you be comfortable with? Can we get that gift today?” Lock in all donation commitments ASAP!
Five Proven Fundraising Approaches
Here are five fundraising approaches that you can adapt to almost any situation or mission statement.
The methods used should be a combination of traditional fundraising techniques and digital marketing tools. Traditional fundraising tools like direct mail, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings still yield great results, while new approaches, like webinars, social media and videos, open up new avenues for fundraising. Don’t underestimate the power of a well crafted fundraising email!
Tell a story that resonates with your potential donor. Touch them on a personal level by putting faces to those being impacted rather than referring to general people groups.
2. The Year-End Approach
The end of the calendar year is often the biggest time for fundraising. People are simply more giving during the holiday season. In addition, companies do audits, and look to increase their charitable donations at year-end. For some non-profits, the annual end-of-year campaign is key to financial survival.
VIDEO: Year-end strategies
3. The Opportunity Approach
You’re not asking for money, you’re giving people a chance to invest in something world-changing. Not only will their contribution help change the world, but it will also change them, personally, from the inside out, opening their minds and hearts to a more compassionate way of thinking. Frankly, it feels good to give, knowing that you did whatever you could to help make the world a better place. Give donors the opportunity to be a part of something special, something magical, something bigger and more important than the daily grind.
4. The Cross-Promotion Approach
Cross-promote with a for-profit business. This can be a particularly effective strategy for non-profit startups looking to create networking opportunities. It also benefits the business, especially if the fundraising project will improve the surrounding community. Partnering with a corporate sponsor has the dual benefit of raising money and spreading your organization’s message to a larger audience.
5. Events Approach
As the pandemic winds down, people are getting together and fundraising events are heating up. From hosting a tricky tray to organizing a rock concert, creating a fundraising event could be an ideal way to find an audience passionate for your cause and let people meet the recipient of the fundraising campaign.
Using attractive and easy-to-read printed materials, such as postcards and brochures can work well with this type of approach. However, printing can be costly for nonprofits, so make sure you shop around and check out the alternative suppliers (like Toner Buzz for example).
Consider also partnering with existing events — and thinking outside the box — to give your fundraising a boost.
Remember, It’s not always about money. Host a drive where people bring canned food, toys, coats… Donating physical items gives people a greater sense of satisfaction when giving because they know how their gift will be used.
Keeping It Going
To keep your fundraising organization sustainable, you are going to need to diversify your funding sources and expand your donor network. Familiarize yourself with the grant cycle and know when to apply. Get to know your donors better and don’t forget your big-ticket corporate sponsors! Stabilizing your fundraising revenue will allow your organization to grow and thrive!
Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.