Have you ever asked yourself: how do I get started with fundraising?
It can be difficult to know where to start, and how to stand out among the millions of social impact organizations fundraising today. Developing and perfecting your fundraising strategy is a key component of the development strategy for any nonprofit. Whether you are at the beginning of your fundraising career or need a refresher on innovative strategies, we are here to help.
There is no magic bullet for fundraising. The best fundraising strategy is the one that takes into consideration your organization’s unique mission, network and goals. After helping thousands of social impact and nonprofit professionals with their fundraising efforts through our online fundraising courses, we narrowed down to some key aspects to consider as you develop your own unique fundraising strategy.
Breathe and get ready.
Take a moment to reflect on your organization’s readiness to begin fundraising. Is your mission statement clear and aligned with your fundraising goals? Have you undergone a recent financial assessment to understand the need that fundraising must meet? Do you understand any internal deadlines that need to be taken into consideration? Even the most innovative strategies must start from a solid place of what you need and why you need it.
Explore your options.
Nowadays, there are as many ways to fundraise as there are organizations doing it. Make sure you pick the right mix of fundraising efforts that will raise enough funds to meet your goals and that is achievable by your team. But for smaller organizations, or for those just starting out, finding the perfect mix can be difficult. Bringing a fundraising consultant on board could be a great option for organizations stuck in a rut, or for those that may not otherwise know the best fundraising approach for their budget and overall goals. It is a great idea to try different fundraising approaches, particularly for younger organizations, as you figure out what your donors are most responsive to. This approach helps minimize risks and gives you opportunities to speak to different types of donors. For example, you could try a fundraising dinner with a silent auction and a Facebook campaign for donations.
You are not alone! Even if your organization is small, you do not have to fundraise on your own. Tap into your colleague’s experiences to come up with ideas that will resonate with your potential donors. Use your own social network and that of your colleagues to spread your message far and wide, both online and in person. Fundraising affects everyone and you will be surprised by how much more you can accomplish as a team. Fundraising should be on everyone’s radar as a key activity to ensure the survival and sustainability of your organization.
Use your data.
Donors love data because it gives them an insight into your work and the impact of your organization. Data analytics are key to your fundraising efforts and building confidence in your organization, which translate into more generous donors. You do not need a statistician to help you here; direct and easy-to-understand numbers can be incredibly effective. Put yourself in the shoes of your donors. Think about what they want to know that would make them feel comfortable donating to you, which could be the number of people you are serving year over year.
Invest in donors.
As you connect with donors through your fundraising efforts, you have the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships that will result in repeat donations. Take the time to invest in this relationship by consistently circling back to donors, not only to ask for donations but also with tokens of appreciation. Something as simple as a Thank You card, a tour of your office, a field visit or even a quick email from the CEO can make a big impression.
You will learn a lot through your fundraising efforts if you keep learning and adjusting your strategy to find what works for you. Therein lies the key to innovation, trial and error! Make sure you document your learnings to discover gaps in your own knowledge and find resources to help you close them. Find the support that works for you, so you can continue improving your fundraising strategy, year after year.
If you are ready to kick your fundraising into high gear, enroll in our Fundraising Strategies course today! If you’re new at fundraising, consider our Introduction to Fundraising course to get started. If you are more advanced, consider our Fundraising: Connecting with Donors course.
May 10, 2019
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gina is our Marketing Manager at Philanthropy U. She has a background in international education, international development and scaling enterprises.
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