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Posts Tagged ‘ fundraising ideas ’

Fundraising: What’s Trending this Month

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Monitoring fundraising/philanthropy blogs and articles this past month, here’ what’s trending in fundraising:

1. Political Fundraising: Shocker! More specifically, campaign volunteers giving first before asking. Does celebrity endorsement/giving hurt or help? Secret, non-traceable data-mining for the perfect prospective donor.

2. Livestrong: Hum. Good guy or Bad guy? Drops the doping fight (admission of guilt?) and bolsters Livestrong charities (again!). Two things are certain, this guy has a steadfast core group of donors and he made silicon bracelets must-have bling.

3. Should Non Profits Jump on the Social Media Train? Gosh, this is topic trending for 2012 for sure. Current or on-going discussion: small non profits are missing out by not utilizing social media, what social media increases google rankings (kinda varies but pretty much: Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn), How to use Social Media to raise money and so on….

4. Women are more Generous than Men – so pay attention to us! Not certain why this came up so much this month, could be driven by the Chronicles’ recent blog on the topic – those trendsetters!

5. Design: Website, Colors, Image, Slogan, Name….lot’s of branding chatter to increase your nonprofit chatter.

Start Your NonProfit for Sustainability: Part Two Fundraising

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Finally, you are now in business and we can start fundraising for your organization in earnest.  Nonprofits, like most start up businesses, begin with the founder personally (and perhaps your board members) funding the organization until it can be funded with outside sources.  If you have to fund the organization yourself at the beginning, be sure to keep meticulous records of what you have put into the organization and be clear about its intent. For example, whether your funding is a gift or a loan to the organization. Here are some creative, fun and traditional ways to fund a nonprofit organization:

  1. Sell Something.  Collect and sell items on Ebay or Craigslist to raise your start-up capital.
  2. Borrow Against Life Insurance Policies.  If you have a life insurance policy, check to see if it has cash value. Most policies start accumulating cash value after a certain period of time.  When you borrow against your life insurance policy, your policy stays intact as long as you continue paying the premiums when due.  If you die while there’s an outstanding loan against your policy then the face amount is reduced by the loan amount. The nice thing about borrowing against your life insurance policy is that there’s no credit check, or income verification like most other loans. All you have to do is call you insurance company and let them know you want to borrow the cash value.
  3. Borrow from Family and Friends.  Your friends and family are a good source of capital fundraising. This might be one of the most cost effective ways to fundraise for your business—that’s if your friends or family members are not asking for interest on the loan.  You can also protect the spirit of the transaction by putting your agreement in writing and making small payments as soon as you can.
  4. Grants.  Depending on what your business is there are a number of small and large corporations that give away money in the form of grants.  Grants are usually competitive in nature, but once you receive the money repayment is not required or expected.  Grant amounts vary and some may have conditions. Once your grant period is complete, you should mail the grantor a final report clearly indicating what was accomplished with the grant money. This should be done whether or not it is required.
  5. Fundraising Registry Sites.  There are many fundraising sites that are geared toward nonprofits.  Most fundraising sites have fees or a percentage that you are required to pay based on the amount of money you raise.  The fees the site owner may charge could include a monthly user fee, or credit card fee and other nominal charges.  You should check before you start using the site.  Once you’ve set up your fundraising idea on the registry then it is up to your efforts to send your site link to everyone you know and request a donation.  Let them know how their contribution will help you and this will motivate donors. This is a fun way to raise money through your own creativity and watch your money grow on your site. Don’t forget to say “thank you”. Some fundraising registry sites to research are Network for Good and Razoo.
  6. Place a Donate Button on Website.  More and more nonprofits have a “donate” button on their websites.  If your ultimate goal is to fundraise then you need to consider a “donate” button on every page of your website. The internet technology today makes it easier for individuals to donate anytime without leaving the comfort of their home.

If you find a couple or even just one of the above idea’s to make sense and feel it will give your new organization enough cushion to seed your program – I would recommend that you also give some thought to investing in a part-time fundraising professional. Oftentimes the first investment in a fundraising professional is a consultant; which is smart as it most likely will bring in more money sooner rather than later. It is important to note that it may be more beneficial to your organization in the long run to have them on staff. Whichever direction you take, give thoughtful consideration to the level of importance those donor relationships are to offer your organization sustainability over the long-haul.

NEW IDEA’S FOR THE NEW YEAR: Create an On-Board Strategy!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

NEW IDEAS FOR THE NEW YEAR: Create an On-Board Strategy

What is an On-Board Strategy? Simply put, it is a strategy to keep those new 2010 donors on board. Fundraising Professionals know that it costs more to acquire new donors than it does to retain current donors.

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) acquiring new donors through direct mail averages between $1.25 to $1.50 cost per dollar raised with a 1% rate of return vs. renewing current donors via direct mail which averages $.25 cost per dollar raised with a 50% rate of return (better).

Makes for a pretty good case to develop an On-Board Strategy for 2011 doesn’t it?

This fundraising consultant believes that the most important element to consider while developing your On-Board Strategy is keeping in touch with your current donors or as I like to call them, new family members – because that is exactly how they should feel. So let’s start there. Here are six simple ways to stay in touch with your new family members.


  1. E-mail quarterly newsletters.
  2. E-mail press releases and press clippings.
  3. Promote your website and other social media (facebook, Twitter et al) on every e-mail sent. Ensure your website and social media is continually updated and informational.
  4. Host an open house or other appropriate event bringing your donors to you face-to-face.
  5. Letters of endorsement. If appropriate personally contact your donors (within a specific giving level) and thank them for their support while also asking for an endorsement you can place on your social media sites. This will not only convey appreciation, but will also engage them more intimately in the promotion of your organization.
  6. Identify those within a certain giving range and grab a cup of coffee to discuss your organization and get their feedback on why they give and thoughts on the future of the organization; make it clear this is not a meeting to ask for money (that will come later).

Now that you have some ideas on how to keep in touch with your donors, the second element of your On-Board Strategy should be to develop and implement ways to better engage your donors. Here are four simple ways to successfully engage donors.


  1. Find ways for donors to hear your success stories, when possible use p ictures or post video’s onYouTube of your work in action.  This brings your mission directly into their home  environment.
  2. Let your supporters know what your organization is currently working on, inform them on any internal changes, provide them with a contact person if they have questions, suggestions or want more information.
  3. Make it easy for your donors to become active in your organization. Ask them for advice, insight, time (as a volunteer), leadership (on the board or committee), advocacy. You will be surprised at their willingness to do more than “just give money”.
  4. Always let volunteers and donors know how much you appreciate and count on their support. And do this immediately after their gift of time or money. Let them “see” the difference they have made for the people, place or thing which serves your mission.
  5. Publish lists or photos of your volunteers, donors, committee members and friends (those who give in-kind gifts) in newsletters, on a designated wall in your building, your annual report, website and so on. Make sure they are sent a copy of the publication or email directing them to the website or other social media site.

The third element of an On-Board Strategy is to make certain your donors don’t feel their usefulness is only a financial one. In fact an On-Board Strategy is less about fundraising and more about advocacy for your mission. If you successfully, concisely and continually promote your mission, the money will follow. Here are a few ideas to turn your donors into advocates.


  1. Host a monthly or quarterly breakfast or lunch to discuss issues around your cause, welcoming your donors as active participants and problem-solvers. Perhaps include a  guest speaker as a draw.
  2. Strategically invite certain donors to write a post for your blog on why they support your cause AND how the relationship has made a difference in their life.
  3. Invite donors to mention your non-profit or “like” your organization on their social media sites. Create and provide them with a “widget” to include on their website.

And finally, if you do not do this already, TRACK your donor retention. You want to know what strategies and tactics work. The only way to do this is to diligently track the percentage of donors retained each year. You can start now. Generate a report listing donors who did not renew in 2010; at the end of 2011 run the same report and my guess is you will find you lost fewer donors or rather you RETAINED more donors.

The best of luck and success in this New Year! Marcie