Non-Profit Fundraising: The Basics of Raising Money
Most non-profits and charities rely on the generosity of their supporters and donors for funding. Therefore, raising funds to allow your organization to accomplish its goals is very important. Non-profit fundraising efforts can make or break an organization. They also allow the organization to connect with donors and the surrounding community.
Raising money for a non-profit can certainly be a challenge. There are many facets and nuances when it comes to being successful with your fundraising efforts. How can you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, events, and strategies? As is the case with many things, one of the best ways is to go back to basics. Here are just a few of the more critical basics of non-profit fundraising to get you started.
Why do people give to non-profit organizations?
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 effected 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 effect 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.
While it might sound like non-profit fundraising is all about the funds, 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 Crowdfunding for Nonprofits 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 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.
Maintaining a Consistent Image & Brand
It’s very important for your non-profit’s brand, identity, and image to be very clear and consistent across all channels. Yes, that’s right – your non-profit has a brand and image, even if you didn’t know it. Your image on your organization’s website, your fundraising websites, in email, 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.
Sustaining Regular Donor Communications
Regular, clear communication with your donors is another important basic. 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 at the click of a mouse.
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. Afterwards, 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.
Utilizing Non-Profit Fundraising Software
Our fundraising software for non-profits helps schools, churches and non-profit organizations raise more money through your fundraising campaigns and special events throughout the year, while helping to reduce costs and minimize resources. The right software allows your organization to easily achieve many of the ideas above – branding and sustaining regular communications – without a lot of time and effort. Fundraising software also allows your organization to raise more money by extending the reach of your giving campaigns. With online software tools, your nonprofit can take a fundraising campaign online where you can reach a much larger audience and spread more awareness for your cause. Learn more about selecting fundraising software for nonprofits.
Hosting Great Non-Profit Fundraising Events
One of the most challenging aspects to non-profit 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 are 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 25 non-profit fundraising ideas can help you make your next fundraising campaign a huge success!
Developing a Non-Profit Fundraising Strategy
When it comes to raising funds for your non-profit organizing, having a clear vision and strategy is critical. Once your vision is in place, you can start to build a fundraising strategy for your non-profit. How can you develop a clear vision and a strategy that will enhance your non-profit fundraising efforts? We’ve compiled some helpful non-profit fundraising strategies and advice to get you started. You may also want to read our blog on the importance of mission-driven fundraising.