Fundraising is a fundamental part of the operation of any non-profit. The task can seem daunting if your charity is new or has a fledgling donor relations operation. The key to successful non-profit fundraising is excellent planning and preparation.
Successful fundraising efforts rely on several steps. Internal organization is key to fundraising, and we will focus on that topic in this blog. Below are some general recommendations for getting your charity’s fundraising up-and-running.
- Step 1: Begin careful planning and execution. It is imperative that your charity set a fundraising goal. Being ambitious is good, but don’t make the goal unrealistic. The goal must be attainable. Over-extending can cause decreased morale among staff, which can also damage motivation for the cause and the overall mission.
- Step 2: Understand that data is your friend. Accurate data about donors and potential donors will help you predict how the individuals are going to donate in the next year. Forecasting allows you to determine where to place your team’s efforts in solicitation.
- Step 3: Establish a plan for solicitation. If you have a team, determine which team members will solicit for an annual campaign, and if you have more than two team members, who will solicit for larger gifts. Once a plan is decided on, write the plan down. This is imperative in the event that the development officer leaves (it happens!), and will enable the Board of Directors to understand what is happening concerning fundraising.
- Step 4: Hone your message. When practicing your fundraising pitch, always ask the question that your donor will be thinking in her head: “why should I care?” If you can craft your message and answer the “why should I care” question for your donor, success will follow.
- Step 5: Practice makes perfect. Running through your in-person fundraising pitch on friends and colleagues can yield dividends. Also, consider testing the ideas on a small group of donors or doing market research. Both can help identify flaws in the message or presentation. Additionally, testing can create a buzz for the idea.
- Step 6: Make sure everything is in place. Once you start contacting donors, people will want to donate. Make sure that your donor platforms are mobile device compatible and clean and easy to use. A branded donate page is more awarding for the donor than a generic one. It makes the donor feel like they had an impact, and it also keeps the logo of the organization in front of them.
- Step 7: Create a Donor Stewardship program. Once a donor is in your system, make sure that you reach out to him or her with regular “touches” such as e-newsletters or mailings. Consistent follow up (“touches”) helps with donor retention.
Capstone Charity Resources has many preferred professional business resources for fundraising. If you think your charity is in need of professional assistance in this arena, give us a call at 319-730-7605.