Every non-profit wants to raise more money. But not every organization has the bandwidth and budget to launch major new fundraising campaigns or large-scale initiatives.
Thinking big and building out new major fundraising programs is important for every non-profit at certain points in their life-cycle. But there are also some simple things that every organization can do to raise more money without increasing your budget or staff size.
Here are 5 quick things your non-profit can do right away to raise more money to support your work:
#1: Focus More on Individual Giving
The vast majority of money that is raised by non-profits each year comes from individual donors… not from corporations, and not from foundations or other non-profits. If you want to raise more money this year, you must focus on where the money is: with individual donors.
One of the best quick ways to increase your fundraising revenue is to reconfigure your fundraising strategy so that you are spending less time on writing grants or seeking out corporate support, and more money on meeting with and calling individual donors.
#2: Don’t Beat Around the Bush – Make Direct Asks
This is another quick fix you can make to raise more money for your non-profit. Far too many organizations beat around the bush when it comes to making fundraising asks. This includes asks made in person, on the phone, through fundraising letters and e-mails, and on your website.
If your fundraising letters are saying things like, “Please consider supporting our work. You can use the enclosed envelope to make your donation today,” then you are leaving lots of money on the table. The same thing goes if your team is going to in-person donor meetings and saying, “I’ll leave you with this prospectus. Please consider making a gift!”
People don’t give unless they are asked, and none of those statements are asks. If you want people to give, make direct asks. Try: “Would you be willing to make a $5,000 gift to support our scholarship program?” (for in-person asks) or “Will you make a gift of $200, $100, $50, or whatever you can afford to help save these children from a life of poverty?” (for fundraising letters and e-mails).
#3: Raise More Money Online by Focusing on E-Mail
If you want to raise more money online, you have to focus on e-mail. Social media is fine, but most of your followers won’t see what you post there (unless you pay for advertising). Your website is great, but most people who visit will take a quick look and never come back. But, when you have someone’s e-mail address and their permission to use it, you are in the driver’s seat.
Focus everything you do online on getting people to sign-up for your e-mail newsletter. Once they do, be sure to send them an e-mail newsletter on a regular basis (somewhere between once per week and once per month). Then, several times per year, send fundraising appeal letters via e-mail. E-mail is the killer app for online fundraising.
#4: Pick Up the Phone and Get More Personal
One of the most underrated tools in modern fundraising is the humble telephone. If you want a quick way to raise more money for your non-profit, try picking up the phone several times per day to check in with your major and mid-level donors and to give them updates on your work. Hearing from you in this way will make your donors feel more like valued members of your team.
If you decide to implement this strategy, beware: as you sit down to make calls, you’ll be tempted to send out a quick, personalized e-mail to the donor instead. There’s nothing wrong with sending out personalized e-mails as donor touch points, but they should not replace cultivation phone calls, so resist the urge. If you want to raise more money, you definitely should try adding phone calls to your cultivation mix.
#5: Ask for Referrals and Raise More Money
Your current donors, board members, and volunteers appreciate your work, support your mission, and are willing to invest their money (and / or their time) into your work. And chances are, your current supporters and friends also work with people, live with people, and socialize with people who would also be interested in your work.
That’s why referrals are so important for the success of your non-profit. If you want to raise more money, start asking your current donors and supporters to introduce you to other people they know who might be passionate about your mission. The next time you are meeting with or calling a donor, simply say, “Who else do you know who might be interested in our work?” or “Who else should I be calling to get them involved with this campaign?”
Not every donor or volunteer will feel comfortable making referrals, but some will. Adding a referral strategy to your fundraising program will help you meet new donors and raise more money for your organization.