Raising funds to support the
philanthropic mission of any non-profit organization can be a time consuming
chore often fraught with trial and error.
While splashy one-off fundraisers
(otherwise known as “episodic funding”) can generate a large chunk of
charitable change they can also consume much needed resources for months on
end. At the other end of the spectrum, “ongoing” fundraising tactics, while easier
to execute, oftentimes don’t generate the required financial rewards.
To succeed in
fundraising, your non-profit must diversify its efforts to strike a balance
between episodic and ongoing fundraising activities that ensures multiple
streams of income for the medium and long term. This means having a long term
these five tips and tactics for optimizing your non-profit’s fundraising activities:
1. Tell Your Story – Create a Case Statement
Much like a
business elevator pitch (only longer), a case statement is a brief one or two
page document that clearly informs potential donors about who you are and how
their donations to your cause can make a positive difference. It is the story of your cause, and the part
played by your donors to support that cause.
statement is a useful tool for focusing your message and objective,
particularly when communicating with new donors – especially those who have a
history of philanthropy and know what they are looking for in terms of a
compelling and emotional cause. It can also be plugged into campaign messaging
and in-person solicitation efforts.
According to Enterpreneur.com, your case statement should
address why you are in business, what outcomes you anticipate, how your
organization is different, how you intend to achieve your goals, and what major
accomplishments your non-profit has achieved. It should also include the
history, philosophy and financing basis of the organization.
2. Target Your Marketing – Start with your Network and an
Understanding of its Motivation
basic marketing planning can help you zoom in on the right donors and avoid a
shot gun approach to your fundraising efforts.
building a picture of your current personal
network – your sphere of influence. This will likely include early
volunteers or board members. Next, determine what it is about your cause (the motivator) that appeals to them and
to their demographic. Using this profile data, develop a strategy for reaching
other potential donors outside this early “inner circle”.
you employ should be repeatable and reusable as your sphere of donors grows. Be
sure to assess the success of your approach and re-visit your strategy
frequently to ensure you are on track with your goals.
3. Write a Fundraising Campaign Plan
have written a business plan for your non-profit, drill down one step further
to develop a fundraising campaign plan for the year ahead. This is an
invaluable exercise in ensuring your tactics are aligned with your goals as
well as your available resources.
Be mindful of
your target market as you write your plan – your best bet for securing funds
from donors is to restrict your episodic fundraising activities to two to three
campaigns per year. More than that and you risk alienating your supporters with
too many contribution requests.
to plan out your strategy for ongoing initiatives too – this will include
everything from cause marketing activities to grant solicitations to
maintaining newsletters, attending and exhibiting at events, and other
(Read my earlier post – Tips for Finding the Right Blend of Funds for your Non-Profit – to get a picture of the role played by episodic funds and ongoing
funds in your non-profit business plan).
4. Understand the Role of Social Media