Are you looking for ways to raise money for your nonprofit organization? Fundraising can provide an excellent source of income and financial resources, but it needs to be organized correctly in order to be successful, and the right fundraising methods needs to be utilized. You will also need to get creative with fundraising ideas. In this guide, we provide all the valuable information you need to launch successful fundraising campaigns for your nonprofit.
A Comprehensive Guide to Fundraising for Nonprofits!
Know Your Mission and Audiences.
A successful fundraising campaign starts with knowing your mission and targeting the right audiences. Take the time to research who your prospective donors are and wrangle their interests in your cause. Determine what specific goals you’re trying to achieve with fundraising and how those goals fit into your organization's mission. Make sure you can clearly articulate this tie to those from which you will be asking for donations. Knowing this information will help you craft a more effective pitch for donors, which leads to greater success in fundraising.
Research Potential Funders.
Research possible sources from which to collect donations by brainstorming unique ways beyond just donations. Donors may be willing to invest more than just financial resources, either in the form of skills, goods, services or access to their own network of contacts, so look beyond just fundraising for nonprofits. Consider alternative sources of money and other types of support that can benefit you and your organization. Once you’ve identified potential donors, research their interests and qualifications. This will help you craft a pitch that resonates with them on a deeper level and increases the chances that they’ll be motivated to contribute significantly.
Develop Your Proposal.
A successful proposal should clearly communicate the details of your project and showcase why it is important and worthy of investment. Your nonprofit fundraising proposal should include an overview of your nonprofit’s mission, a plan to meet goals and objectives, and projected outcomes. Additionally, be sure to illustrate how funds will be used to support this mission. Finally, emphasize areas where the potential donor can have the greatest impact based on their interests, expertise or resources. With these elements in mind, your proposal has greater chances of successfully soliciting a donation.
Know your Competition
Know what other fundraising events and campaigns and charitable organizations you might be similar to and competing with for limited funds. Among your fellow nonprofit community, know when the best times of year and best venues are to grab the attention of prospective donors before they do.
Develop a Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy
Once you’ve developed your fundraising proposal and constructed an effective fundraising campaign, it’s important to develop a fundraising strategy that includes long-term goals as well. Make sure these goals are realistic and achievable within a certain timeframe. Additionally, establish specific milestones to measure progress throughout the fundraising process. This will help keep everyone involved.
Launch an Appeal Campaign.
An appeal campaign is a great way to kickstart your nonprofit fundraising. Whether you’re sending out emails, direct mail pieces, or making phone calls - make sure to craft an inspiring and compelling message about why your cause is worth supporting. Additionally, don’t forget to include links to donation pages on social media platforms and other digital channels so that donors have an easy route to donate. Developing a strong and differentiated call-to-action will ultimately convert potential donors into actual supporters of your nonprofit organization.
Think Beyond Individual Donors
Don't forget to consider big donors when you solicit donations. You won't get what you don't ask for. Make sure to approach or inquire with local businesses when you are ready to raise money. Small business, a local restaurant, a large corporate that has home-town roots are all viable options for securing a major gift. Developing a relationship with a key corporate sponsor and its board members in exchange for goodwill marketing, or partnering with companies who offer matching gifts when their employees donate to a cause are two worthwhile avenues for raising money. This, alone, could double your nonprofit fundraising success!
Don't just stop with the well-known, well tested fundraising ideas like a bake sale or direct mail appeals. Instead, reach for fun, new or creative fundraising ideas. For example, consider fundraising silent auctions, a crowdfunding campaign, or a fundraising walk-a-thon. These events can really boost fundraising success and bring in new donors. Try something silly to raise funds, or something that involves an atypical location or age group, or simply make sure your donation form is always printed and available to hand out no matter where you go. Any fundraising idea that is new, fresh or different might just be the one that catches on in social media, and before you know it you have 10,000 likes and donors you never even knew you could reach! Try a time of year when you are not competing against other nonprofits creative fundraising ideas too.
Don't Just Raise Money
Part of your fundraising strategy should include expanding your request to the needs of your organization beyond just money. Why? Because getting people involved, even if they can't donate directly, may prompt them to encourage donors they know who can. Prospective supporters are likely to run in the same networks and social circles as those who are willing to donate their time to your cause. Also, you can encourage supporters to get involved by volunteering their time, which is an in kind donation - saving you time saves you money in one way or another. In kind donations and volunteer grants are great ways to indirectly help your bottom line fundraising. Exploring corporate partnerships or employer-sponsored means to give time or money or awareness to your cause are also key. These efforts will help create a larger and more engaged fundraising community generally.
Broaden Exposure to your Nonprofit Organization
Ensure that the widest possible audience knows about your nonprofit organization, your efforts to raise money, and any related fundraising events. Do so my marketing your efforts in every possible way including social media, radio ads, TV commercials, and other forms of advertisement. Additionally, reach out to local press or influencers who may be interested in sharing your story with their own network. The more people that know about your nonprofit fundraising, the greater chances you have of receiving donations. Also broaden your fundraising efforts by connecting with partners in the corporate and business world who can offer additional resources such as networking events, marketing campaigns or even volunteer opportunities.
Introduce Online Fundraising Software and Platforms.
Join the wave of nonprofit organizations that are turning to online fundraising to reach a wider audience and make donating easier. Setting up pages on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, online gift card stores like GiftUp!, or payment processors like Stripe can automatically launch your online donation page - they are one of the most easy fundraising ideas! Further, online fundraising makes it easier for potential donors to make online donations and for you to track your efforts to raise money. Make sure you thoroughly research the platform you choose so that you will have no surprises when it comes to fees associated with different transactions.
Coordinate Your Online Fundraising Campaign with a Physical Event
Nothing beats the energy of a fundraising event. Consider coordinating an event that brings your fundraising strategies to life in the physical world while you raise money. Hosting a fundraising gala, raffle or silent auction can allow donors to get a more personal connection with your nonprofit’s cause and mission and will likely inspire them to contribute significantly. Make sure you have hand-out donation forms and hashtags pointing participants to your virtual donation process. You may even advertise suggested donation amounts. Event fundraising combined with online fundraising advertised through social media channels will enable you to reach a broader range of people, strengthen relationships with existing supporters, and increase donations for your nonprofit organization.
Experiment with a Virtual Fundraising Event
Don't just rely on social media or an online donation page to call your virtual fundraising complete. Instead, organize a virtual fundraising event with a fun event page. This can be anything from a webinar, livestream comedy show, or cook-along. Encourage participants to donate whatever they can and include interactive elements such as Q&A sessions. Additionally, you could leverage existing relationships with influencers to help spread awareness of your fundraising effort amongst their networks.
Tie Your Fundraising to Current Events or Current Culture
When advertising your fundraising event or campaign, make sure to explain how your campaign raising money has a direct connection to something in current news or currently being shared or discussed in social media and through social media posts. People are more likely to make an impulsive, heartfelt donation toward your fundraising efforts when they feel they are part of the current tide. Tying your fundraising effort to a current event or trend also gives you the opportunity to leverage trending hashtags that can increase your fundraising success.
Make it a Habit
Try to find ways to expand your one-time donations into ongoing donations. Look into corporate grants, matching gift programs and other means to encourage your donors to commit to an ongoing frequency with which they are willing to make online donations. By raising more money out of each donation source, you are making your fundraising methods more efficient. Recurring donations are a strategically important means to raise money.
Utilize the Power of a Peer to Peer Fundraiser
Peer-to-peer fundraising has become increasingly popular with nonprofits and can be a powerful way to raise money. This type of fundraising involves supporters reaching out directly to their personal networks on behalf of your nonprofit fundraising campaign or event. Having an army of passionate advocates who are willing to share your fundraising message is an extremely effective way to spread the word about your cause and increase donations. For peer to peer fundraisers to work make sure that you provide fundraising materials such as branded templates, social media posts, emails and other resources for them to use in order for their efforts to be successful.
Use the Numbers
Use data to your benefit and that of your donors. You will make more money if you make it easy for your donors. For example, make sure the tax deduction for any charitable contribution is very clearly indicated and communicated, make sure donation receipts are always provided, and make sure your donors know you are one of the eligible nonprofits for tax deduction purposes. Further, make sure you collect and store donor data and analyze it to understand the money raised, the trends in which donors donate the most, and to determine which of your efforts ended up being the best fundraising ideas.
Celebrate When you Achieve your Fundraising Goal
Let donors, community members, corporate sponsors, volunteers and anyone else you helped or assisted in your efforts to raise money know once you've met your fundraising goal! Be vocal about your success - it will drive excitement and give donors a sense of having served a bigger purpose. Use social media posts to raise awareness of your achievements and to keep your nonprofit's needs top of mind.
Follow Up with Donors
Once your initial fundraising event or fundraising campaign has finished, don't stop there. Follow up with your donors to say thank you. Whenever someone donates or gives to your fundraising campaign, be sure to send them a thank-you note. A personal touch can go a long way in cultivating relationships and encouraging future donations, so take the time to show appreciation for their contribution.
Also, remember that fundraising is an ongoing process - not just a one-time event - so continue nurturing relationships with donors on an ongoing basis to build long-term support for your cause. Also keep your previous donors updated on your progress toward your fundraising goal - this might just result in recurring donations! Showing appreciation for their donation and highlighting how their contribution has made a difference in your fundraising goals will help ensure they’ll be back again when you need them next time.
Additionally, make sure to stay connected with these donors through newsletters or other forms of communication so they are aware of all fundraising efforts going on with your nonprofit organization. By implementing these strategies, you can maximize fundraising efforts for your nonprofit organization while creating meaningful connections between prospective donors and your mission.
Don't be afraid to try new things- fundraising is always an ever-evolving process and likely won't look the same next year as it does this year.