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.
For 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
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.
Benefits of Online Fundraising Strategies
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.