Fundraising is an essential activity for your nonprofit. On one hand, it is your primary means of revenue, providing much-needed resources to pay your staff, support your programs, and keep the lights on. And on the other, fundraising as your primary revenue stream qualifies your nonprofit as a tax-exempt organization, according to the public support test, which states that any nonprofit must receive a “substantial portion of its income” from donations.
With these in mind, it’s easy to see how fundamental it is to have a strong strategy in place for raising money.
Your fundraising strategy must be cost-effective and provide a good ROI to make your nonprofit sustainable and your initiatives impactful. An effective fundraising strategy includes a combination of multiple approaches to target the many segments of your donor audience effectively. Here are some of our favorite ways for you to try.
6 Ways To Raise Funds for Your Nonprofit
A capital campaign is a limited-time effort to raise funds. It has a clear start and an end — just like any other campaign. Likewise, it will also have clear fundraising goals and, usually, a set purpose, like building a new center or acquiring certain tools or training.
A capital campaign is a big undertaking. This intense process tends to require high volunteer involvement, additional staffing, software updates, and board commitment to execute. So once you set your objectives, you’ll need to evaluate whether your organization is ready to embark on this challenge.
Individual donors account for a significant portion of nonprofit donations. Whether your strategy includes spreading the word among friends and family or hosting a volunteer drive in a nearby park, connecting directly with the people near the causes or programs you work on is essential for long-lasting bonds.
One way to leverage individual donations is by incentivizing recurring donations. Studies show that individuals who donate on an ongoing basis donate up to 46% more than those who give a one-time contribution. Furthermore, people want their contribution to make a dent in the causes they believe in — and a one-time donation may not be enough to achieve an impact, so they often take no action. Counter this by making recurring donations a simple process, and setting up a donor management system that allows you to track and engage with your contacts periodically. You can also make recurring donations simple by ensuring your system allows donors to elect to make their donations monthly.
Corporations, big and small, can bring much-needed funds to your organization in multiple ways. For one, they can directly donate money, which can either be a one-time or recurring engagement.
In addition to donating money directly, a company can encourage employees to donate by matching their contributions, or they may incentivize their staff to donate their time by providing paid time off or other rewards.
A long-term engagement with a corporation may result in ongoing support. But you’ll need to be strategic about your partnerships and find a way to strike a balance between embracing their support and continuing to further your nonprofit’s mission.
A strong online presence is a must in any nonprofit’s marketing strategy. And now, many tools facilitate fundraising online. For example, Facebook has fundraising tools for qualifying nonprofits. Or you can use crowdfunding platforms to reach bigger audiences and meet funding objectives relatively quickly.
Similarly, you’ll want to include calls to action in your content plan if you share social media posts, blogs or emails frequently. Mix the calls to action with mission-driven content, educational resources, and behind-the-scenes looks to provide context for your activities and status updates and foster long-term supporters.
Many industries have shifted to digital spaces to increase exposure and connect with their audiences. However, direct mail is still a valuable channel to reach prospective donors, foster brand awareness, and raise funds.
Direct mail fundraising essentially means creating physical letters, postcards, and other tangible materials that go out to an audience of donors or prospects asking for donations. You may use this tactic on its own or as part of a larger campaign. The key here is to refine your message and ensure that it conveys your mission effectively.
Fundraising events are a staple for nonprofits for a reason — they work. In some cases, large contributors and foundations may donate art, experiences, and other valuable assets to be auctioned. In others, a gala or regatta may appeal to a niche audience and gain media interest. On a smaller scale, a local nonprofit may host a barbecue or fair to collect funds for new resources to be redistributed back to the community they serve.
Regardless of your niche, an event is an excellent way to earn attention in your network, recognize special contributors, reinforce connections and secure funding.
It may be easy to feel stuck when fundraising, especially when you notice donations dipping and struggle to make ends meet. But don’t fret. There is a lot you can do to improve your approach to fundraising.
To start, conduct an audit of your organization, make sure that you comply with local and state laws, and that all of your financial records are in order. Next, set a clear budget and set objectives based on data — as opposed to gut feelings or guesses — to ensure that you’ll get the best out of your funds once you raise them.
Fundraising is a serious deal with stringent regulations and a lot of responsibility, and your reputation and good standing depend on this vital process. Taking these steps early on will increase your contributors’ confidence and help secure healthy donor relationships.
One final consideration: You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. A combination of fundraising strategies can help your nonprofit reach funding goals and sustain your initiatives for longer than relying on a single income stream. If you’re ready to devise a strategy that helps you meet your organizational objectives, schedule a consultation with our experts and together, we’ll find a way to make things happen.