Fundraising is your nonprofit’s lifeblood; it fuels the impact you make. Yet, most of us aren’t professionally trained fundraisers so it doesn’t come naturally to us.
How can you attract more donors? What are the secrets of professional fundraisers?
She distills over 30 years of professional nonprofit fundraising experience and expertise into seven short videos. Here are her seven secrets to fundraising like a pro.
1. Develop a case for support
Your prospective donors are asking why they should support your nonprofit. You need to clarify why you’re asking for a donation, and sell the successes of your nonprofit. Developing a case for support gets donors to invest in your organization. People don’t give to charity anymore; they invest in results.
2. Create real, personal, and urgent appeals
The most effective fundraising appeals are real, personal, and urgent. Use compelling storytelling with images and videos to connect a donor’s donation to a tangible impact or result of their donation.
3. Startup founders must have fundraising responsibilities
In a startup nonprofit, the founding team is responsible for setting an example: this team should be the first to donate to the organization so that others will follow their lead. The amount doesn’t matter; full team participation matters more.
4. Be good stewards
Committing to year-round stewardship will retain current donors and recruit new repeat donors. Their funds are an extension of their faith in the organization and the missions, so remember: you’re not only stewarding their money, you’re stewarding their trust. Care for your donors by investing in them -- send a personalized thank you note; a formal, written thank you note; mid-year update; and a personalized ask the following year.
5. Create annual donors
Where can you look to find more donors? First, focus on your obvious prospects. Recruit from your Board, staff, and volunteers; you could ask your vendors (i.e., accountant, lawyer) for an annual gift. Next, move on to the people that you serve, such as your alumni and constituents.
6. Create a culture of fundraising
Help your Board envision what fundraising success looks like. Get the entire organization involved in the process by empowering and training everyone on the basics of fundraising so that they grow comfortable with making an ask.
7. Develop an email strategy
Email is one of the best ways to encourage giving. You must have a set strategy and plan for your emails so that they augment fundraising. Segment your emails to focus on specific niches of your audience. Personalize the “From” and “Reply To:” fields with a person’s name rather than a department or general inbox.
*Rob Wu is the founder of CauseVox.