If your nonprofit organization has been around for some time, you probably understand the frustrations associated with nonprofit fundraising. While supporters are typically enthusiastic about giving during the first few years, financial gift amounts tend to dwindle the longer the organization stays in operation. Boosting support and appreciation for your organization can be challenging; however, learning to do it right is worth the time and effort, for it guarantees that your organization will be making an impact for years to come.
Fundraising is the lifeblood of a nonprofit organization. Without it, you would not have the funds or resources to carry out your mission. Garnering support for your organization is important, and understanding the keys to fundraising success will help you raise the support you need to meet your budget requirements and carry out your mission. Over the years, many nonprofits have shared their fundraising secrets with us and we’d like to pass those on to you. Keep the following in mind as you begin to plan out your fundraising initiatives for the year:
- Make your case with your donors. In order to raise money to meet the need, you have to convey the need to your donors and supporters. Your donors will want to know why they should support your organization, so make sure you state your case clearly. Clarify why you are asking for a donation and provide your donors with examples of your past successes. By showing your donors how their donations could make an impact to reach the desired “results”, you are making your case clear and increasing your chances for support.
- Appeal to your donors’ personal side. Over the years, nonprofits have discovered the secret to fundraising success – tapping into human emotion. Your donors and supporters want to invest in a cause they believe in, so use compelling storytelling with images and videos that connect personally to your donors. If they can relate to or sympathize with the need you are trying to fill, they will be more likely to give to your organization.
- Manage your funds responsibly. The grants you win and the funds you receive through fundraising are not yours to keep. They have been entrusted to you by generous donors and grantors to accomplish an agreed upon goal. Show your donors that you are managing your funds responsibly by providing them with periodic updates on your organization’s work. For grantors, make sure that you are keeping accurate records and creating effective reports that showcase your nonprofit’s progress toward accomplishing your mission.
- Thank your donors. We cannot stress it enough – thanking your donors for their support and generosity should be one of your biggest priorities when it comes to fundraising. Anyone who gives to your organization wants to know that their gifts are appreciated and being used effectively. Send a hand-written thank you letter to your donors or draft an email thanking them for their online donation. A little thanks is sure to go a long way toward achieving your fundraising goals.
- Create a culture of fundraising. Let your staff know what true fundraising success looks like. Involve the entire organization into the process and focus your efforts on training and empowering your staff on the basics of fundraising. Providing your staff and volunteers with the tools they need to successfully raise funds for the organization will go a long way.
- Develop a well thought-out fundraising strategy. Just as businesses have to develop a clear strategy to market their products, your nonprofit organization must have a clear and innovative strategy to make their fundraising efforts truly effective. Find what works for your organization and try new strategies as they arise. Email marketing, social media, print ads, word of mouth, and fundraising events are all effective ways of raising funds and support.
- Utilize fundraising software. We cannot stress the importance of fundraising software enough. Fundraising software can help you achieve better results, make it easier for your donors to give to your organization, simplify the reporting process, and enable you to launch effective fundraising campaigns within minutes. If your nonprofit is not currently utilizing fundraising software, now is the time to consider investing in it. It will streamline your fundraising efforts so you can focus on connecting with your donors and meeting the needs in your community.