In last week’s blog post, we looked at a set of core principles that are critical for nonprofit organizations needing to raise financial support. If you haven’t read it yet, check that one out before diving into this one. It will make the ideas discussed below more effective.
So, what are some funding strategies that work? Let’s explore four categories of fundraising: direct appeal/pledging, professional programs, self-directed programs and grant funding.
Direct appeal/pledging. With this type of fundraising, you are literally asking people to give money to your organization, either through an individual gift or a pledge. This is the simplest and most direct method of funding your nonprofit and it should be a component of most funding plans. To be effective, however, you must be able to clearly articulate your program’s purpose and why someone should support it. This requires your program to be a more attractive target for someone’s giving than some other cause. I would again recommend you read last week’s blog article for a refresher on getting your pre-funding ducks in a row. After convincing someone to donate, you must maintain a consistent stream of communication with your donors, keeping your program before them on a regular basis if you want them to continue supporting you. That can be done through a variety of creative methods, one of the best being monthly newsletters. Technology has made this so much easier and cheaper, too. Instead of the hassle of dealing with printed material and postage costs, you may wish to consider a number of online communication tools that allow you to send newsletters, promos, etc. via email. We like Constant Contact for this purpose. You can also check out Aweber and some others. All are similar in features and price. They all come with pre-designed templates that make it simple to create good looking communications. Another often-overlooked tactic is to send a receipt/thank you letter for every donation, not just at the end of the year. Just remember that donor cultivation is a never-ending process. As soon as you start letting that slide, you’ll see your support slide right with it.