There are lots of different types of fundraising strategies that your non-profit can use to raise more money. In fact, for most organizations, the problem is that there are too many different ways to raise money.
That’s why it can be so hard to figure out how to raise more money for your non-profit… there are so many types of fundraising to try that it may seem like you should be trying everything. Of course, when it to fundraising, you have to have focus. Most non-profits have limited bandwidth and resources for fundraising, and if they try to do everything, they won’t do anything well.
Over the past year, I’ve worked with a number of non-profits that were ready to add new fundraising strategies to their development programs. These are organizations that are already doing the basics well. They are focused on individual giving, they have a great fundraising plan and an emotionally compelling case for support, they are doing meetings, making asks, and stewarding their donors properly.
The next step for each organization was to add a new fundraising strategy to the mix. But which of the hundreds of types of fundraising strategies would provide the best ROI if it were added to their fundraising program? In my experience, there are 4 types of fundraising that most non-profits should at least explore, once they have a strong basic fundraising program in place. Here they are, in no particular order:
#1 – Run a Crowdfunding Campaign
I’m a big fan of crowdfunding. Of all of the newer types of fundraising your non-profit could try, I believe that crowdfunding has the highest likelihood of success for most non-profits.
Remember, crowdfunding may seem easy, but it is actually a lot of work. Your non-profit will need to work hard to lay the groundwork for a successful crowdfunding campaign. Good crowdfunding campaigns rely primarily on your current donors, board members, and volunteers to not only donate but also to spread the word about your campaign to their friends and colleagues. In my experience, this is one of the types of fundraising that could become a new yearly strategy for your non-profit.
#2 – Hold a Giving Day
Giving days, like crowdfunding campaigns, can be great ways to raise small and mid-sized gifts from your current donors, as well as a smaller number of new donors who are already connected with your current donors. Giving days are one-day fundraising campaigns where your non-profit uses all of its fundraising channels to raise money, either into your general fund or for a specific need at your non-profit.
Also like crowdfunding, giving days are one of the types of fundraising that require a significant amount of work behind the scenes before the money starts pouring in. You’ll need to be talking to your donors for weeks before the giving day to get them ready to give once the campaign launches. Most non-profits with a mid-sized pool of annual donors should be able to hold a giving day each year.
My advice is to not hold your giving day on #GivingTuesday. Why compete with hundreds of thousands of other non-profits to get people’s attention on Giving Tuesday, when you can have a random Wednesday in May or Tuesday in September all to yourself?
#3 – Launch Donor Clubs
Has your non-profit thought about launching donor clubs and giving societies to systemize your stewardship program and encourage donors to upgrade their gifts? Donor clubs are groups of donors who give at certain levels (usually mid-sized or larger gifts) and who receive certain benefits in return. Some non-profits also host donor clubs for young professionals, or for those who make planned gifts to the organization.
For example, you may have a giving club for donors who give $1,000 – $5,000 per year to your non-profit, and another for donors who give $5,000 or more per year. In return for their donations, these donors receive certain benefits including special newsletters, invitations to special events, and special donor recognition opportunities.
Of the 4 types of fundraising strategies listed in this article, this is the strategy most targeted to helping you build your major donor fundraising program.
#4 – Hold Community Prospecting Events
While most of the types of fundraising listed above are focused on current donors, community prospecting events are focused on helping you engage with new potential donors for your non-profit.
Many organizations have found great success with holding community events for free or for minimal cost and then engaging with those who attend to identify people who might become long-term supporters of the non-profit.
For example, you might hold a panel discussion or host a speaker on a topic related to your mission… or a supportive local pub might host a night where a percentage of all the proceeds go towards your non-profit. This second example is a way to generate revenue, sure… but it’s also a great opportunity for your fundraising team to set up an informational table at the restaurant and spend the night telling patrons about your work (as well as collecting contact information for your e-mail newsletter).
If your non-profit is already doing the basics, and doing them well, it might be time for your non-profit try one of these 4 types of fundraising strategies. Remember, if you do, test them to make sure they will work for your organization. If they are not producing a return on your investment of money, time, and energy, don’t be afraid to move on to more profitable fundraising channels.
Photo Credit: Pictures of Money