The Best Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits
Many Nonprofits Are Looking for New, Virtual Fundraising Strategies During COVID-19
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Why are Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits so important? When organizations are tasked with raising funds, having effective nonprofit 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.
While raising funds is always important, nonprofit 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.
Why Do People Give to Nonprofit Organizations?
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 campaigns 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.
In general, there are three distinct groups that your organization can look to for funding. These include:
These groups give to organizations for various reasons. You will want to find out who your current constituents are and why they support your organization. Then, think about new supporters from the groups below.
- Personal connection to the cause – Health organizations, schools and churches benefit here. If someone has a family member affected by breast cancer, they are much more likely to engage in breast cancer fundraising initiates. Your children’s school or your Alma mater is likely high on your list, as well.
- Desire to give back – Many people have the altruistic desire to do good. They seek out opportunities and passions where they feel that they can make the most impact. Tell them stories about your organization and how their donations will affect people or animals and they will want to give.
- Recognition for giving – Businesses, foundations, and larger donors seek recognition for their donations and sponsorships. Provide sponsorship tiers and monthly giving campaigns that offer incentives to reach these donors.
- Tax incentives – Year-end giving is largely motivated by tax incentives. Don’t miss out on this – be sure to run annual appeals and provide timely donation receipts to all donors.
- Donating to a friend – Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have become very popular in recent years. Why? Organizations are tapping into this social need for people to support friends and family members support of a cause.
Seven Winning Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies
While it might sound like nonprofit fundraising is all about the money, in reality, it’s about so much more. Money is simply a tool – a way for your organization to accomplish its mission. One of the basic principles for fundraising is to see beyond just money, and instead to see it as a means to an end.
Instead of just asking your donors for money, educate your donors as to how their donation makes an impact. Inspire them to join you as a partner in accomplishing this mission. This helps you show them what their donations really mean, and more importantly, what it accomplishes.
Peer-to-peer and nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns offer a great way of inspiring your supporters to engage with your organization. When individuals choose to raise money for a nonprofit through the utilization of their network of contacts their network can span far and wide, especially geographically. Peer-to-peer fundraising has all of the magical elements of a perfect ask for support. It highlights a worthy mission, a story is told, there is passion from the person telling the story and the one-on-one connection that makes the ask to support a nonprofit even easier, coupled with a case for support that is strong and compelling.
Motivating your donor is important to larger and higher-level donors like Corporations as well. Getting a company or corporation to give to a non-profit is about learning and understanding their needs. Will giving to your organization assist their marketing efforts? Will a partnership with you increase overall revenue or improve the brand image? Learning the specifics of what a corporation is looking to gain will go a long way to bringing them on as a donor or corporate sponsor. Furthermore, just like with traditional donors, educating them on the true impact of their donations can also go a long way. It can also encourage employees and customers to donate personally, building your donor base even further.
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 a small 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 a 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 on 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 strong board of directors, or large volunteer and donor group? 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 on their social media channels?
- Who can take on a leadership role? It is impossible for one person to do it all. If you are a nonprofit with a small development staff, see if you can delegate some roles to trusted supporters or friends. Perhaps there are people with connections to 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 your 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 donation, 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
Maintaining a Consistent Image and Brand
It’s important for your nonprofit’s brand, identity, and image to be very clear and consistent across all marketing channels. Yes, that’s right – your nonprofit has a brand and image, even if you didn’t know it. Your image on your organization’s website, your fundraising websites, in emails, on social media, and even in print should all be consistent. This helps inspire confidence with your donors and new prospects while helping to build your credibility.
Donors want to feel confident in you and what you represent. When images are misaligned, donors can become confused – especially online. Ensure that all your logos are updated and correct across all of your web properties. It’s also important for logos and other graphics to fit correctly, be of the proper resolution, and not be cut off. You wouldn’t advertise on a billboard on a busy highway with a logo that’s misaligned. Similarly, check all your social media and website properties to make sure that all images and logos lend credibility and consistency to your organization’s image.
This allows your donors to see you consistently in multiple places as they may research your non-profit organization and your mission. This credibility helps convert prospects into donors, and inspires confidence with encourages long term donors.
Read more on creating your nonprofit brand.
Sustaining Regular Donor Communications
Regular, clear communication with your donors is another important basic strategy. Fortunately, with today’s advancements in technology, communication can be easier than it was just 10 years ago. Email, social media, blogs, and other channels are available, allowing you to easily communicate directly with your donor base. It also allows you to have a direct conversation, to answer questions, and to be more engaged publicly with your supporters.
The key here is to be regular with your communication and to do so via every channel you have available to you. Posting regularly on social media shows you have a presence and you are active, while regular emails keep people informed.
When it comes to fundraising, let donors know of your progress regularly. Afterward, thank them for their contribution, and educate them as to how their funds were used, and the changes that were made as a result. Donors don’t just donate to fulfill your needs; they donate to fill their needs as well. Showing that they made a difference in the world or in your organization goes a long way to retaining donors over a longer period of time.
Hosting Great Non-Profit Fundraising Events
One of the most challenging aspects of nonprofit fundraising can be developing creative event ideas to engage and excite participants. You need to consider your audience as well as your available fundraising event budget and resources before deciding on a fundraising event. The best events are hosted year after year and can become your organization’s signature events, looked forward to well in advance.
There is a multitude of ideas out there, but we’ve compiled some of the best and a few of our personal favorites. From walk-a-thon fundraisers to wine tastings, these nonprofit fundraising ideas can help you make your next fundraising campaign a huge success.
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 are online fundraising and utilizing fundraising software tools such an import fundraising strategy for nonprofits 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 that 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.