9 Best Ways to Raise More Funding for Your Organization
The Best Ways to Raise More Funding for Your Organization by Elenor Hecks
Nonprofit fundraising always presents unique challenges, but the pandemic has put some restraints on how you can bring in money for your cause. Most areas recommend against big social gatherings, such as donor dinners. Since some organizations rely on one or two big events a year, organizations must find creative ways to raise more funding.
There is some good news. Despite coronavirus concerns, charitable giving increased 7.5% in the second half of 2020 over the previous year. Interestingly, the number of overall donors also increased, showing people are paying more attention to where they allocate their money and are willing to help local charities.
Although giving is up, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the need to reach out to potential donors as well as those who already gift your organization money regularly. The methods below include some tried-and-true strategies you should still follow as restrictions ease, as well as some new ideas.
1. Host an Outdoor Event
Think about outdoor events you can host that might still bring in batches of donations while allowing for plenty of spacing. If you normally hold a fundraiser in the winter, push it to the summer and make it an outdoor barbecue with live music.
You can space tables away from each other outdoors. Mask up and stop by each one to engage your supporters on a personal level.
You’ll need a good PA system to pull off an outside dinner. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, be prepared with a backup plan. Of course, you could also create indoor spacing and limit the number of attendees or even host two separate events with fewer people at each.
2. Conduct Silent Auctions
Silent auctions allow supporters to donate and bid on things they care about. If you run a nonprofit animal rescue, you might auction off pet decor, gift cards and other things pet owners love. Study what residents in your region appreciate most. For example, one study showed people on the West Coast bid on baskets, and there is a 273.85% return on them.
Traditionally, silent auctions occurred in person, with bidders writing down their offer on a sheet of paper attached to a clipboard. However, you can certainly take your auction online and use bidding software to accomplish the same thing. You may even reach more people by taking your event digital.
3. Create an Online Conference
In-person conferences are expensive to host and create a lot of risk. If you make deposits on a venue and caterer, and reserve travel for a speaker, you are out most of the money should you have to cancel at the last minute.
Online conferences allow your regular supporters to feel safe and also open the door to more attendees. Those who can’t travel to you can still be part of things. You may want to host some things in-person but allow online attendees to be part of it via livestreaming.
4. Keep Current Donors Happy
It doesn’t do you much good to find new donors and lose current ones. Even though you are a not-for-profit, you still must run your organization like a business if you hope to succeed in the long term. Think about the customer experience and how you can ensure everyone feels appreciated and informed.
In one business study, 93% of respondents felt customer retention was just as important as acquisition. This may be even more true in charitable giving, as losing a donor means they send their money to a competing cause.
5. Send an Email
Some donors respond better to emails than to other forms of communication. Take the time to reach out to your top supporters occasionally. Greet them by name and let them know some of the exciting things happening in your organization.
Make it a goal to contact the top 10% of givers every six months or so. You can send a less personalized email to the rest of your donors, but make sure you stay in touch and remain transparent about how you use their money to help the cause.
6. Embrace Social Media
With more gatherings and marketing happening online, you must learn to utilize social media to your organization’s advantage. The use of apps is up about 20% this year, including social media platforms. People use the networks to stay in touch and get their news and entertainment.
Learn how to create emotionally appealing posts. Target your ads to your audience. Make sure you fully understand who your typical supporter is and why they decide to take on your cause.
7. Seek Grants
You don’t have to only rely on people to bring in money for your nonprofit. There are grants available for nearly any cause you can think of. Learn how to apply and go after the ones available to you.
Grants are free money that doesn’t have to be paid back. You typically do have to use the funds for a specific project or track everything, but you can gain a big chunk of money at one time for your efforts.
8. Approach Corporations
Don’t limit yourself to individual donations. Talk to big corporations in your community and try to get them to partner with you. Typically, they offer a cash donation and may also team up for fundraising efforts.
Some companies also offer paid time for their employees who want to work with the not-for-profit as a volunteer. The more support you get from the brand, the more it benefits your organization.
9. Get Creative
Don’t be afraid to try new tactics you’ve never used before. Pay attention to what other charitable brands do for fundraising. They can be in a completely different category, but you can still learn from their successes. Throw out what doesn’t work and keep what does. Over time, you’ll bring in more funds to help you achieve your goals.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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