Let’s face it. Running a successful nonprofit is extremely difficult. There’s so many hoops you have to jump through just to become a state recognized, fully functioning 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Now once you’ve got all the paperwork filed, your board members picked out, a decent website among several other things, you’ve now come across the problem of funding. After all, the impact of your nonprofit is directly correlated to how much money you can bring in.
It’s pretty simple. More money equals bigger impact. Less money equals a not so big impact. And what’s the point of your nonprofit? To make as big of an impact as possible.
You want to build water wells all throughout Africa that potentially saves hundreds of thousands of people by providing clean, sustainable drinking water. You want to feed and provide housing for the homeless. You want to tutor young kids so they can get into college. Whatever your mission is, it’s important. But it does take money.
But the problem you may face is not knowing where or how to start getting funding. After all, although you have this incredible passion to help, you may not have a fancy business degree. You just have a heart to right the wrongs of the world.
So with that said, let’s get into the 7 fundraising ideas that your nonprofit can use that actually work so you can stop wasting time and energy and money on things that don’t.
1. Make Your Online Donations Unbelievably Easy
Now this kind of goes without saying but it’s important to incorporate an easy way for people to give. The easiest way is by far on your website. I’m sure you already have a way for people to give online BUT there’s a really good chance you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
You see, when someone comes to your website and decides to give a donation, for every click of a button your donor has to click, the odds of your donor continuing the process goes down dramatically. So the easier you make your donation process, the more money your organization will receive. And one way is for your donor to never leave your website.
There is a company called FundraiseUP. They specialize in online fundraising for nonprofits and have a very specific approach to online funding that really can’t be beat.
FundraiseUP has developed a genius way to keep your donors on your site the entire time. So when you click donate, a box with your specific branding and messaging pops up instantly. No more redirecting to another URL and waiting on slow load times. It’s simple. Easy. And specifically made to boost conversions and get more consistent donors.
Another great thing I love about the platform is that it’s not only extremely easy for donors to use and navigate through, it tracks EVERYTHING and seamlessly plugs right into any CRM you may be using, such as SalesForce or Kindful or even your email campaign software like Mailchimp.
Other amazing benefits to using FundraiseUP include:
- Gives your donors the option to cover any transaction or processing fees
- Encourages your 1 time donors to give monthly. For example. If a donor comes to your site and wants to give $50 once, the next page will ask them if they would be willing to do $10 per month instead. This turns that $50 one time into $120 per year.
- Automatically sends your donors a receipt and Thank You email
- Automatically updates any expired credit cards so any recurring donations you do have won’t be interrupted.
Check out FundraiseUP and schedule a demo. I promise, you won’t regret using this company.Stop doing year end fundraising events and do this instead.
2. Stop Doing Year End Fundraising Events And Do This Instead.
There was a time where spending all of your efforts on a big, fancy, year-end charity event was worth it, and still can be to a point. The problem with that is you are spending tens of thousands of dollars just hoping that you bring in a lot of money.
You’re relying on your own marketing efforts not only to get people to come but to give in a substantial way. And if your message is not expressed in a way that people relate to, you may not even make your money back you spent on the event. That can be very scary at times. And you may have done this before. Almost every nonprofit that has been around for a few years has done some sort of year-end event like this. Now don’t get me wrong, these can work if done properly, but it’s still an investment in hopes of a good “ROI”.
Let’s say your budget for a year-end event is $25,000. That’s covering renting the place to hold your event, food, invitations, entertainment, etc. If 150 people come, you would need an average donation of about $160 per person just to break even. Now that is 100% doable in my opinion, but how much more money will you get above and beyond that. You may come out ahead $10,000 or $15,000. Now you may be thinking, “Well that’s more than what we had before, what’s wrong with that?” Nothing. That’s great. But the problem still relies on hopes and dreams. And especially towards the end of the year, there are things that can come up that are completely out of your control. Depending on where you live, there’s weather issues that can affect your turn out, Holiday travel and a list of other things. When fundraising is involved, the more control you have over who and when, the better. Try doing this instead.
Take that same budget of $25,000 and split it into 25, $1,000 chunks. And instead of 1 big event, take yourself and 4 other donors out to an intimate dinner. This will give each person a budget of $200 per person which should cover a really nice meal for everyone. And over the course of a year, that would be 25 dinners.
Be selective when inviting potential donors. You don’t necessarily want to invite someone’s cousin’s cousin to a nice dinner because he likes steak. It’s also much easier to set dinner meetings throughout the year as there’s a good chance your donors are being pulled in many different directions come year’s end.
What you’ve done is something very special. You’ve taken the time to give your full attention to these select individuals. You can freely and fully explain your heart behind what you’re wanting to accomplish and not be on a time limit. You’ve taken a big, generic event and made it an intimate gathering. Not only that, these individuals you’ve invited now feel more a part of your organization.
You have deepened your relationship with individuals that could possibly completely change the future of your organization. You’ve made them feel special and people want to invest their money and time and resources in things and people that make them feel special.
Do these intentional dinner meetings over the course of an entire year and watch the level of unbelievable generosity come your way. A nonprofit that I work with recently did this. They took their budget of $15,000 and ended up generating $85,000 and were able to deepen and strengthen those relationships at the same time. And one of them took a very select group of donors to a dinner and secured $25,000 in one night. Small, intimate gatherings win over big events every time.
3. Have Your Board Members Pay Annual Dues.
If you’ve never heard of this concept before, that’s ok. But just to let you know, it’s a pretty common thing for nonprofits to do. There are tons of benefits in having your board members pay to be a part of your organization.
One reason is it generates quick, consistent cash flow. If you’re just starting out and may not have any money to host a dinner party, having your board members pay $500 to play a role in your organization now allows you to provide a really nice meal to take out influential donors in your community.
4. Look for corporate sponsors in your local community.
Out of the hundreds of local businesses around your city, there’s bound to be a few that have a similar passion as you do. Have them sponsor an event or see if they would be interested in participating in a company match for their employees to give to.
5. Find a volunteer that will write a grant letter.
The US government gives billions of dollars each year in grants to various charities and nonprofits. Go to Grants.gov, do a quick search and see what your nonprofit is eligible for.
Now I say find a volunteer to write a grant letter only if you can’t afford to pay a professional. If you can, I certainly recommend hiring a certified grant writing professional. A recent client just received their first $5,000 check after spending just a few hours researching and writing a grant letter. It’s well worth your time.
6. Stock Donations.
There may be individuals that may be short on cash but receive company stock options. This is becoming a more popular way of generating donations. The great thing about stock donations is that when stock is given to a nonprofit, the “donor” gets the full tax deduction and the nonprofit receives the full amount given. You don’t have to worry about any fees or anything like that.
And stocks have the advantage of growing so when it comes time to cash in, that original $5,000 in stock could be worth way more by now. I would speak to a trusted financial professional beforehand and they would be happy to set everything up for you.
7. Use Peer-To-Peer Fundraising
What do you mean by peer-to-peer? Peer-to-peer fundraising is a strategy that many nonprofit organizations use to raise money quickly and the best part is that your organization isn’t doing it all. You’re solely relying on your volunteers and other supporters.
Let’s say your nonprofit builds water wells in Africa and it costs $10,000 per well. Well your goal is not to just fund and build 1 well, it’s to build hundreds if not thousands of water wells. It’s to build as many as humanly possible.
So by setting up peer-to-peer fundraising, it allows other people to fundraise for you. You’re not having to only use the financial resources that your board or staff uses. You’re able to tap into the greatest resource of all. PEOPLE!
Head on over to classy.org. Much like FundraiseUP, they do online donations for nonprofits as well, but where they really shine is easy peer-to-peer fundraising. One caveat is that they are a little bit on the pricy side, about $500 per month, but the likely hood of you recouping that money by implementing a peer-to-peer fundraising opportunity is extremely high.
8. THIS is the secret. But you have to do it right.
Did you know that Apple will match any financial donation made by one of their employees up to $10,000? Well now you do. Double The Donation has introduced a way for companies to match what their employees donate and have built it right into the donation process.
As a donor is inputting their information, they will be given an option to look up their company to see if they will match donations. All they have to do is type in the name of their company, click on it, and then Double The Donation will automatically send that particular company the donors information including how much they donated and will then automatically match those funds.
As you can see, there are many different ways to get more funds coming into your nonprofit. And if you’re doing some of these, that’s great! You’re really ahead of the curve.
But I guarantee by implementing an easy way to give online that doesn’t drive donors away due to a clunky donation process or redirection to another website, and by offering company matching can increase your donations by up to 200% and even more!
Also by encouraging your donors to make smaller, monthly donations will create sustainable income will give your nonprofit the greatest opportunities to create massive impact for the long term.
And lastly, having intimate, fun dinner parties allows you to spend way less money, potentially get way more than you ever could throwing a big, year end event, and also shows your donors you really care about them and how much you appreciate them.
These fundraising ideas, among other things, are just a few of the many different ways to help fund your mission. But maybe the best piece of advice I could offer would be to tap into your most valuable resource… people.
Talk to people in your community. Seek partners and advocates. For each new person you find that has the same passion you do, they know 10 more people. So don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask them to join this journey with you.