Written by Kaylee Kellogg, Communications Intern
Many people involved in the nonprofit sector will tell you there is very little “fun” in fundraising. You’re put in the position to ask people to back up what your organization believes in, and your left to their thoughts on what your organization may do with their donation or whether they really believe in the work you’re doing. It’s a tricky spot to be in, but here are 5 ways to make fundraising a little easier for organizations.
See where the organization is currently at with fundraising, and ask questions pertaining to what methods worked and set realistic goals for growth. Also make sure anybody who is involved with fundraising is clear on the organization’s mission, its accomplishments and tangible results potential donors can see. Consider giving donors some small incentive, such as more regular updates on your organization or giving them recognition on your newsletter or website.
Think of who can help you raise funds.
Generally, asking for donations is okay with just about anybody. There are some people that are easy to ask, such as an existing donor base, current and former board members and volunteers who you know care about your cause. There are also others such as local officials, vendors and businesses that may be able to help you out if you ask the right person. The group that is usually the most difficult is personal contacts, such as friends and family. Do some research using Google, LinkedIn or Facebook and see if people in this group might have a tie to the organization’s cause or have a history of giving, and check in with them if they do. Also take into account any life situations (a new baby in the family, moving, etc.) that might make it better for you to wait.
Ask face-to-face whenever possible.
Solicitation methods show that potential donors are 50-70% more likely to respond when you ask them personally. While telephone calls and events can work as well, try to ask in person when possible so the person can see your reactions and can ask any questions they may have immediately. Try to only use email and direct mail to ask for donations if you are sending them in mass, as people tend to know this is a rather impersonal method.
After opening a discussion with a potential donor and letting them know more about the organization, tell them why you care about it. People tend to have a better connection with the emotions of others, so use this so they grow to care about the organization as well.
If you are raising money for a specific event, recruit a host committee of volunteers who are willing to raise money specifically for your event.
Having a group who will handle potential donors, and making sure they are well versed with your organization, its mission, etc. can ensure that others at the organization can plan for a successful event.
These tips were learned during the Tried, True and New Fundarising Techniques session led by Rebecca Bahar-Cook, Capitol Fundraising Associates and Amanda Stitt, Change Media Group at the 2016 Building Michigan Communities Conference. What are some additional tactics you’ve tried?