Raising money for your nonprofit is a dynamic process. Whether you decide to deploy traditional or online fundraising tools, there are basic fundamental principles of nonprofit fundraising that can make you more successful than others in winning that grant or receiving a particular donation. Based on a survey of senior nonprofit executives based in West Africa, we share four tips to help make you more effective in your approach to raising funds for your organization.
Start From Within
Nonprofits are in the business of building a more just, equitable and sustainable world. From the beginning of your planning process, diversify your nonprofit’s fundraising channels to ensure that you can operate long term. Today’s global economic climate is too riddled with uncertainties to depend on one source of funding. Expand your fundraising sources to include individual donors, foundations, fundraising events, corporate sponsorships, employee giving, and where applicable, explore a social enterprise model. An internal culture of philanthropy where board members, staff, and volunteers give their time and resources can also add value to the organization and ensure long term sustainability and commitment.
Understand how potential donors operate and the best ways to reach out and engage them. You can start by researching philanthropists in your community, making connections in the grantmaking space, utilizing donor demographics, or obtaining information from organization’s websites. Familiarizing yourself with the behavior of possible donors whether individuals, grantmaking foundations or government agencies provides insights on how to engage them. For instance, community-based events like charity runs or walks are great ways to meet individual donors while online platforms are great ways to connect with millennial givers.
Show The Link
Nonprofits play an important role as a conduit between donors and social impact. Accordingly, an important aspect of fundraising is making the connection between a societal need and how your organization makes the necessary solution a reality. If the need is employment, how do your organization’s programmes create jobs; if it’s agriculture, how have your programmes increased food production? This is important because donors don’t give to organizations because they have needs; they give because organizations meet needs. Telling your organization’s impact story in a compelling manner and backing it with proof is an important step in developing a good case for support.
Building and maintaining relationships is at the core of fundraising. Cultivating donor relationships may take time, patience and a lot of strategizing but it always pays off. Tailor your strategy to suit the uniqueness of each donor by monitoring trends. For instance, some donors prefer to give during public events, while others may want to give privately. Staying connected helps to know the right time to ask for a donation or offer an opportunity to volunteer. Contact donors for their input and advice and not only to ask for gifts, remain appreciative and always be cordial. Remember that the key to successful fundraising is stewardship.