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10 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Nonprofit

Posted by  Mark Baars

Fundraising is an age-old nonprofit activity, but the way organizations go about it has evolved. Indeed, there are now a number of new ways to boost the public's interest in raising funds for charity, many of which are overlooked.

1. Establish Memorial Giving

Asking donors to include your organization in their estate planning can help ensure that donors continue to make an impact even after they've passed on. If a donor passes without a posthumous donation plan, a brief note of condolence may encourage relatives and estate benefactors to pick up where the deceased left off.

2. Engage Grassroots Advocates

Many of the most passionate people are not formally involved in organizations. Reaching out to these unofficial allies may spur people who may not get deeply involved in an organization to at least donate to the cause.

3. Engage the Affected Parties

Identifying the people who would most benefit from the work the organization is doing and then drawing their attention to how it's affecting them personally can engage them as both supporters and donors.

4. Plan for "No"

A "no" today may be a "yes." This is especially useful when you ask if circumstances will be more favorable in the future, and then make a note to re-engage them at that time.

5. Make it Specific

People donate to causes that speak to feelings, thoughts or experiences they've had. Identifying what matters the most to donors and then meeting them on that level can not only increase engagement in the cause, but spur people to donate as well.

6. Boost Social Fundraising

Social media provides nonprofit organizations with a way to engage donors in a collaborative, transparent environment. Fundraisers can start real conversations with donors, identifying what's important to them. The organization can then show potential donors exactly how their funds will further their objective.

7. Enhance Crowdfunding Efforts

Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly important aspect of nonprofit fundraising, but it works best when it's for a specific project rather than just general donations. People want to feel like they're making an actual difference, not just throwing money into a black hole. In addition, using videos to tell your story is often more effective than text descriptions, and they're more shareable as well.

8. Seek Vendor Donations

The companies that provide your organization with food, office supplies or other goods and services may also be willing to donate their offerings, cash or other types of funding. This is especially true around the holiday season, but fundraisers can also make requests for events and specific projects. Vendors may even be willing to provide an annual gift or other regular donation.

9. Decrease Decision-Maker Turnover

In 2013, a nonprofit management report found that 50 percent of fundraising and development directors are unhappy and planning to leave their posts within the next two years. This alarming rate of turnover makes it difficult for organizations to sustain a stable donation strategy, hindering overall fundraising efforts. Replacing these essential team members takes an average of six months, costing valuable fundraising time. To curb these losses, organizations need to make sure that directors have a stronger voice in fundraising strategy and goal setting.

10. Invest in the Right Technology

Reporting the outcomes of the organization's activities is one of the most effective ways to keep current donors and create new ones. Supporters need to see the return on their investment, such as the number of hungry people that were fed, how many fresh water wells are drilled or the number of children who received vaccinations. They also appreciate being able to know exactly how their money will be spent, down to the penny. With the right financial data system in place, organizations can benefit from reporting and other funding-related functionalities that tie funds directly to outcomes, providing supporters with a road map of their donation's journey.

Mark Baars

Mark Baars

Mark is an industry data analyst spotting the latest trends in business, finance, IT and education. At Unit4 Mark delivers relevant market insights and aims to support CFOs, CIOs, controllers and business leaders to resolve their daily challenges.

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