The Best Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits

Why are Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits so important? When organizations are tasked with raising funds, having effective non-profit fundraising strategies is a key element to success. Before you begin to organize any fundraising campaign, it’s important to first develop a clear vision with specific goals in mind. Many fundraising professionals find that it’s helpful to start with an impact-oriented goal when starting to develop a fundraising vision or strategy.

Non-Profit Fundraising StrategiesFor example, your organization’s goal might be to clean up a local park. Cleaning up the park is the impact you want to have on the community. Once this goal has been established, you can assign a monetary amount to go along with it, by calculating how much money you need to accomplish that goal. When developing non-profit fundraising strategies in this way, it becomes easier to communicate with donors. They easily see what your organization’s mission is, and how their donations will help you to accomplish it. This also promotes donor advocacy and transparency, which are vital to steady, secure funding.

Once your vision is in place, you can start to build a fundraising strategy for your nonprofit. Don’t rely on just one source for all your funding. Instead, diversify your funding sources. This reduces risks, and increases the chance that you will be able to secure the funds you need. If possible, organizing multiple fundraising events can further this diversification. It gives donors and prospects to donate multiple times throughout the year, and allows you to create more awareness around your mission.

While raising funds is always important, non-profit organizations often have other needs as well. For example, volunteer labor might be needed to help organize an event. A key in successful non-profit fundraising strategies is to identify all of your organization’s needs, and then develop programs that help to fill these needs. Give donors the chance to assist your organization in ways outside of donations. This could be volunteering with your mission, at events, or even donating supplies or other in-kind contributions.

Six Winning Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies

Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits: Special Event Fundraising

#1 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Host Great Special Events

There are many reasons to host special events, besides just raising money. Special events are a great way to introduce people to your nonprofit organization or charitable cause, bring constituents and supporters together to reinvigorate them, and raise money. Special events include everything from black tie charity galas to school carnivals. The type of special event you decide to host will be determined by several of the factors discussed below – including your budget and available resources.

Some of the best non-profit fundraising ideas are outlined here. No matter what type of event you choose, make sure the event is fun for attendees and well run. You want your supporters to come back next year, after all. Creating signature events that your supporters look forward to and attend each year is an excellent fundraising strategy that also helps to create a strong nonprofit brand. Using proven event management software for online registration and sales is key to your organization’s success.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising is an effective Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy

#2 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Implement Peer to Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer is a powerful method of fundraising that leverages supporters to fundraise on behalf of your organization or cause. It’s also known as P2P (p2p) fundraising or crowdfunding. The power of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign lies in your participants’ fundraising abilities. By tapping into their social network of friends and supporters, your organization is able to reach a much larger audience, therefore spreading greater awareness of your cause and raising significantly more dollars than traditional fundraising campaigns. Be sure to incentivize your top fundraisers to keep them working hard for your cause. Some of the best P2P fundraising events include:

Year-end Giving

#3 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Boost Year-end Giving

The last month of the year is vital to most organizations’ fundraising efforts for the year. Kicked off by #GivingTuesday and going through December 31, the year end giving season simply cannot be ignored. If your church or non-profit organization is like many others, you will receive 20% or more of your charitable income at the end of the year. Year-end gifts are made for several reasons including tax purposes (last change for a tax deduction, anyone?), as charitable Christmas or holiday gifts in tribute or in the name of a loved one, and because the need is made wonderfully apparent by organizations during this time. If you don’t have an annual fund drive throughout the year or as part of a special holiday campaign for your organization, this is the time to focus here. Start by carefully prepare your end of year fundraising letter (or Year-End Appeal).

Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits: Recurring Giving and Membership Campaigns

#4 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Develop Recurring Giving and Membership Campaigns

Recurring giving campaigns help your organization earn more from your donors. Monthly giving programs provide consistent, year-round funding which is vital to meeting overhead costs such as rent or mortgages, employee salaries and more. So be sure that your donations website includes an option for easy, monthly recurring gifts.

One of the most essential foundations for a strong monthly giving program is to communicate a clear purpose for the monthly giving campaign. Pinpoint a specific and ongoing service, effort or other aspect about your organization that needs consistent financial support and let donors know. 

As always, be sure to recognize your recurring donors – don’t take them for granted once they signed on. Donor recognition campaigns can include:

  • bricks or other items with the name of the donor, especially for building projects or capital campaigns
  • special events or discounts just for donors
  • recognition on your organization’s website or other public platforms
  • branded non-profit swag – like t-shirts and coffee mugs

Utilize Social Media

#5 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Utilize Social Media Daily

Don’t discount the potential power of social media platforms. If you don’t have the bandwidth to manage all of the platforms well, pick at least one or two and work hard to develop your following. Social media happens fast – so don’t save this task to the end of the week. Spend at least 15 minutes per day updating your profiles, posting messages or tweets and keeping up with your constituents. Add links to your social media sites on all of your emails and on your organization’s website and engage with your constituents.

Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits: Update Your Organization's Website

#6 Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits: Update Your Organization’s Website

The importance of a beautiful nonprofit website with clear calls to action cannot be overstated. Review your organization’s logo and branding, along with your website and donor-facing technology at least every couple of years. Be sure that your sites are mobile-responsive to look good on all devices. Donors want to be part of an organization that is doing exciting things – not one that is left behind with old technology. Utilizing sound nonprofit SEO techniques will ensure that your organization’s website can be found online – and that’s really the first step.

Determining the Best Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies for Your Organization

Successful fundraising strategies vary by organization. Keep the following considerations in mind when building your nonprofit fundraising strategies:

  • What is your fundraising budget? This is obviously an important question to ask. If you have little up-front budget then a large fundraising event such as a gala is probably not the answer. This type of fundraiser requires initial investment (securing a venue, paying for permits, paying for marketing/promotional expenses, catering down-payments and more). Be sure to prepare a detailed fundraising event budget before you embark on a large-scale fundraiser. Remember your goal is to raise money, not spend more than your organization can afford.
  • How big is your team of supporters? If you have a number of participants that can help you raise funds, a peer-to-peer fundraising event such as a walk-a-thon fundraiser might be the perfect choice. Here each participant can help raise funds by creating a personal fundraising page they can share throughout their personal and social networks. Whereas a small team of people planning the fundraiser may lend itself to something a bit less labor intensive such as a fundraising raffle.
  • What about your database? Perhaps you don’t have a lot of volunteers to help out at a fundraising event, but if you have a huge database of previous donors and potential supporters. Maybe an online donation drive is the right answer for your organization? You can easily send an email message to your database where you invite them to click to your donations website and make an online donation. It makes it really easy for donors to give back without having to obligate much time or energy by attending an event.
  • How can you leverage your resources? Perhaps you have a large board of directors, volunteers, donors groups, etc. On the other hand, you might be a small nonprofit with only a few very dedicated supporters. Regardless, tap into those who do support you and see how they can help. Not just by making a donation, what else can they do? Can their business match their donation? Can they host a small coffee group to introduce your organization to their friends and neighbors? Can board members send fundraising notes to their Rolodex? Can individuals post announcements in their social channels?
  • Who can take on a leadership role? It is impossible for one person to do it all. If you are nonprofit with a small development staff, see if you can delegate some roles to trusted supporters or friends. Perhaps there are people with connections into large organizations that may be able to help with sponsorship proposals. Or maybe someone is interested in taking the lead for finding and scheduling volunteers. You’d be amazed to find out how many people may be willing to lend a hand…especially if they are passionate about your cause. This strategy is a must for school and PTO fundraising initiatives.
  • How much time do you have? Is it Q4 and you’ve realized you are 20% shy of your annual goals? If so, you need to do something quick! With little lead-time, you’ll likely be looking at more of an online fundraising initiative that could possibly be spread with the help of all of your networks. You have little time to facilitate planning a fundraising event or securing in-kind donations or prizes for a raffle or auction, but it doesn’t take long to get a fundraising website up and promote your online fundraising campaign via social networking. Giving Tuesday is a great time to launch this type of year-end fundraising appeal.
  • Is your fundraiser scalable? If you find a fundraiser that works, why reinvent the wheel? Try to find a successful fundraiser that can be planned once and then used over and over again. This will help you save valuable time and resources, and provide an expectation for your supporters. As time goes on, people may end up coming to you to offer their time and support rather than you seeking their help. Business sponsors and donors may end up budgeting for your fundraiser well in advance if it’s something they can plan on year after year. Charity golf tournaments make great signature events.
  • Fish from multiple pools – Some organizations only focus on major gifts from big donors. They figure if they can get thousands from one donor or business it isn’t worth it to focus on the groups who bring in smaller funds. Others have a contrary view, thinking they will do better with smaller, more frequent donations and don’t waste their time selling big-pitches. The best plan is usually to try both! Never limit you reach. You have no idea where one small donor supporter can lead you to (perhaps they have a connection to one of those big fish that will come on board later). Similarly, not targeting businesses or large-donors could result in missing out on a great opportunity.
  • What tools do you have to accomplish your goals? This is an important question. How do you intend to execute your fundraiser? Our Fundraising software for nonprofits can be extremely helpful, especially if you are low on resources. The easy-to-use tools take a lot of the legwork off your administrators, while simplifying the process for your constituents. Participants can easily register for events, donors simply click a button to make an online donations, event details are seamlessly updated and shared via a fundraising website, and communications are automatically pushed out to your supporters. In addition, numerous reports can be generated to help with tracking progress, database management, and evaluating the success of your campaign.

DoJiggy Helps Nonprofits Implement Successful Fundraising Strategies at Affordable Prices.

DoJiggy's fundraising software solutions

Benefits of Online Fundraising Strategies

Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits: Go Online

You may have noticed that all of these nonprofit fundraising strategies involve an online component. While you may be hosting a walk-a-thon at a local park, your event registration and fundraising will occur online on your peer to peer crowdfunding platform. So why is online fundraising and utilizing fundraising software tools such an import fundraising strategy for non-profits to embrace?

Online Fundraising Extends Your Organization’s Reach

A primary benefit of online fundraising is the ability to extend your reach beyond your community. Fundraising used to be about walking door-to-door and asking neighbors to make donations, or making personal phone calls to family and friends. With online fundraising, your network expands globally. As well, your constituents can easily engage in fundraising efforts by sending donation requests via email or posting links from their social networks or sharing videos on YouTube. All of these things help drive potential donors to your organization’s fundraising website. By asking people to forward your request to their social network, your reach grows exponentially.

Nonprofit Fundraising Websites Offer a One-Stop Fundraising Hub

By implementing an online fundraising campaign, you create a fundraising website which becomes the central hub for your fundraiser. Here’s the place where you direct potential donors to learn more about your cause and make online donations. This is where all information is shared and data is stored. Your fundraising website can be accessed anytime from a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.

Online Fundraising Simplifies Fundraising Strategies and Transactions

Online fundraising simplifies all transactions. Participants are easily able to register online, purchase tickets, join teams, and more (rather than mailing in checks and registration forms). Online fundraising also allows for secure online payment processing via credit card. After transactions are made, our software tools track payments, manage recurring donations, and generate various financial reports. Participants are easily able to track progress as donations are tracked in real-time. Every time a contribution is made, fundraisers can track this against goals. Administrators can also generate numerous financial and participant reports in the administration area.

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