Top 10 Fundraising Tips for Success

fundraisingMany organizations rely on fundraising to promote and support their efforts. In order to pull off a successful fundraising event, nonprofits must spend time in preparation prior to the event and in review after the event. The following tips will help your organization take your fundraising event to the next level and raise the funds your organization needs.

1. Stage a Thank-a-Thon – getting your board to fundraise can be difficult, a good trick to get board members to fundraise, is to stage a thank-a-thon. Call donors and say “thank you” and this is key – with no other ask.  It’s that simple.  It will help your board recognize fundraising is more than an ask, it’s also about nurturing relationships and stewardship.

2. Never Submit a Cold Grant  – did you know foundation giving is about 7-8% of the overall fundraising pie?  To get a piece of that pie build relationships.  Get out and network.  Research first, do your homework and be able to answer whether or not the foundation a fit with your organization.   Begin with calls and/or emails.  Don’t ask questions that are already explained on the website.

3. Make Specific, Direct Asks – once you understand why someone would give to your organization or program, make the ask.  If you don’t ask the answer is always “no”.  Be sure to position your program in the context of what the donor cares about and give a specific number.

4. Map Donations to Impact  –  people don’t give to you because you have needs; they give to you because you meet needs. Donors don’t want to hear how about the “bad” economy…. They want to know where their donation went the last time and if they give to you today, how their money will be spent.  Make sure to tell stories that show the impact of donor dollars.

5. Make Your Donation Button Shine – be online. Google analytics is free and a helpful way to see how people come to your organization’s website, how long they stay and when they leave.  Be sure your donation button is visible on every page.  And, don’t be afraid to experiment! Try different colors of your donate button.   Again, online tell the story of how the money will be used, map the impact for example: donate $5 to ‘save a litter of kittens’.

6. Create and Tap Your Social Network – meet your donors where they are at – in the social networks where they spend their time.  With an audience of 900 million and growing, Facebook is a good place to get started.  Pose questions, they engage the community more.  Post at times of day when your audience is active.

7. Corporate Partnerships – seek corporate and media sponsorship when you plan events with lots of participants such as a gala, walk-a-thon etc.  Always be sure to show the business the value of their sponsorship.  Another way to develop and nurture businesses relationships is to seek in kind donations like a local brewery that can always provide the beer for your events.

8. Apply for a Google Grant – they don’t give cash, it’s $10,000/month of free advertising on Google.  This is huge!  Nonprofits take advantage of this today.  It does take about 6 months to get it started.

9. Use the 2:1 Ratio for Fundraising Events – to avoid the likelihood of an event losing money, create a budget of expected expenses and be conservative in the amount you estimate you will raise. If the amount you expect to raise is $2 for every $1 you spend, that’s a fundraiser.  It’s ok to throw an event that doesn’t make money, you may do it for a different reason, just think of expensive events as friend raisers or fun raisers.

10. Understand the Social Capital Market – Earned income streams are attractive. To get started, ask yourself, how will it advance your mission?