Non-profit development is hard work. Because great fundraising is based on building relationships with your donors (and particularly with major donors), it may seem that your bandwidth is limited to whatever you, as a fundraiser, can fit into eight hours per day.
The truth, though, is that there are lots of ways you can set up fundraising systems that raise money without you needing to be constantly involved. That’s right… with a little planning, you can have fundraising that works while you’re asleep… or at least while you are focused on other things.
You’ll never be able to take yourself completely out of the fundraising process (nor would you want to). But you can set up great fundraising systems that consistently raise money while you are working on building great relationships with your donors, or even while you are out of the office. You’ll still need to set up and manage these systems, but they can be a huge boon to your non-profit’s bottom line.
Here are four ways you can set up fundraising that works for your non-profit even when you’re not focusing on it:
#1 – Your Website
Your non-profit’s website is available for donors and prospects to visit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can make a donation on your website at any time. They can visit your site to learn about your organization in the morning, afternoon, or middle of the night. Is your website set up to take advantage of a round-the-clock stream of visitors?
Remember that most of the people who visit your website aren’t there to make a gift, they are there because they heard about your organization and want to learn more. For these visitors, your goal is to capture their e-mail address so that you can communicate with them over and over again. The best way to do this is to ask them to sign-up for your e-mail newsletter. Then, you can send them regular updates as well as occasional asks.
Of course, some people will come to your site and want to make an immediate donation, so be sure to have a short, compelling donor message on your site, as well as a clear ask and an easy-to-find DONATE NOW button.
Do both of these things, and you’ll create a round the clock online system for fundraising that works while you sleep. People visit your site, and either make a gift or give you their e-mail address so that you can send them fundraising solicitations via e-mail at a later date. What a great thing to wake up to!
#2 – Fundraising Committees
Every organization can use more boots on the ground, working hard to raise money from new donors. Even if your non-profit has 25 fundraisers on staff, you’re still limited to what 25 people can do over the course of a day. Thus, one of the best ways to make sure that your non-profit is raising more money is by multiplying your individual efforts. You can do this by using fundraising committees to aid you in your work.
Fundraising committees are groups of people who support your work and are willing to go out and help your team raise money. The most common examples of fundraising committees are event host committees, development committees, and boards of directors that are tasked with helping to fundraise. Lots of organizations get creative when setting up committees, establishing young professionals’ groups, advisory councils, and other teams to help them raise more than they otherwise could.
Want to set up fundraising that works while you nap, jog, or eat lunch? Set up some fundraising committees, support and motivate them, and then send them out to do their work!
#3 – Mass Fundraising Communications
You may not think them in this way, but your non-profit’s mass solicitations (such as direct mail and e-mail appeals) are also examples of fundraising that works while you’re focused on other things.
Think about it: you write a letter, segment your list, and mail the letter out to hundreds or thousands of people. Then you go do something else… Meanwhile, over the next few days, your donors and prospects are reading about your non-profit… and seeing your ask.
Your newsletters and other non-ask communications are also working while you sleep, by cultivating and stewarding your donors on your behalf.
Mass donor communications through e-mail and direct mail allow you to cultivate (and ask) donors who you would never have the time to speak with on the phone or in-person. That’s why mass donor communications are so important to your work. How strong is your organization’s mail and e-mail fundraising program?
#4 – Crowdfunding
Is your non-profit running a yearly crowdfunding campaign? If not… why not? Crowdfunding isn’t a magical money machine or a “set it and forget it” strategy. Like all of the suggestions on this list, crowdfunding is hard work. It takes time and effort to set up a campaign, build a leadership committee, and market your campaign.
But non-profit crowdfunding, much more so than any other low-dollar development strategy, has the capacity to go viral within your community. As your supporters donate and spread the word to their own friends and family, the campaign takes on a life of its own. Crowdfunding is fundraising that works by harnessing the power of the crowd – both your crowd, and the people who know the people in your crowd. It’s doubtful that you’ll raise millions through a crowdfunding effort, but every non-profit can launch a campaign to fund one project or aspect of its work.
Photo Credit: Reyner Media