Nonprofit organizations usually bring together diverse groups of people with a wide variety of talents. Fundraising may not be everyone’s strong suit, but it should be everyone’s responsibility. But it’s possible to engage your entire organization and make fundraising less daunting.
Shifting to a fundraising culture can only benefit the organization. Here are some ways to get everyone engaged:
When you require this level of participation, be prepared to provide any necessary training to help people become more comfortable with fundraising. Here are some best practices to employ:
All levels of the organization can benefit from examining how to work with donors, according to Mark C. Germano, instructor for Nonprofit Executive Program at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and an expert in fundraising and grant strategies.
“One of the things that I’ve seen repeatedly within the nonprofit sector, both from leadership as well as entry-level staff, is that they focus on a transactional relationship. They think about the donor as giving one gift and only one gift. And they try to get that gift as fast as they possibly can, when in fact, most donors want to give to an organization because of the mission of the organization,” Germano said.
With the right training, each person tied to the organization – from program managers and administrators, to directors and board members – can be a fundraiser.
Raise funds with limited staff by making things scalable, or creating fundraising ideas once and then reproducing them. For example, make it easy for board members and friends of the organization to hold fundraisers in their homes. Set up the guidelines, offer ideas for themes, provide graphics templates and help them organize it and get the word out. Whether you’re looking to raise $500 or $25,000, the basics can be scaled to any size event.
Or, focus on asking different groups, such as young professionals, health care providers or artists, to officially support your organization. This “affinity approach” can easily bring in more like-minded members and supporters to donate, get involved or help raise funds.
Scalable fundraising makes it easy for others to do your fundraising for you.
Raising funds for an organization can’t happen without carefully cultivated relationships. Nothing in fundraising is more vital, Germano said.
“The most important strategy in raising dollars is to really focus on building relationships with those organizations and individuals and families that support you, because philanthropy is a voluntary action fueled by emotion and justified by logic,” Germano said. “It’s the head and the heart coming together to really try to do something meaningful. So building those close relationships is absolutely critical.”
All donors are important, and even a small gift can become the basis of an ongoing and supportive relationship. But it can be difficult to find the time to properly nourish and grow these relationships. Try these tips:
“What do you know about your donors? What information would you like to get? Once you have that information, how do you build a plan that will really help you expand your ability and not only connect with more donors, but also expand the number of people that know about your organization,” Germano said.
Strengthening your organization’s coffers doesn’t have to be a struggle. Try these simple fundraising ideas that can make a big difference:
Focusing on fundraising can make your organization stronger and sustain it for the long run. With the right training and a little effort, everyone in your organization can become a fundraiser. “The thing I like to say is more money, more mission, more mission more money. They’re hand-in-hand,” said Germano. When you create a fundraising culture, you’ll have a financially stronger organization with much less effort.