Ways To Jumpstart Your FundraisingUpdated May 11, 2020
Nonprofit fundraising activities raise money for a specific purpose. To get the most out of these activities, it is important to understand what a nonprofit organization is and the various fundraising options that are available.
A nonprofit organization operates in a capacity that is beneficial to the community, either as a whole or to a specific group or cause. These organizations are often charitable, educational, religious, artistic, or scientific. For example, churches are religious organizations that are usually classified as nonprofit organizations. Certain colleges and schools are nonprofits, since some are scientific research groups. They don’t intend to make a profit, so any money received goes toward maintaining the organization or toward the purpose it was created for.
Financial Accountability For Nonprofits
In this respect, nonprofits are different from for-profit organizations. However, this is not the only way they differ. They must also have a board of directors that governs the actions of the organization. The board ensures the organization uses its funding properly. Nonprofits may apply for tax-exempt status, provided they meet the necessary requirements set by the Internal Revenue Service section 501(c)(3). Because they are accountable to the public, nonprofits must file an annual form with the IRS that reports information regarding their finances. This includes the salaries for the top five highest paid non-officers in the organization. The information must be made public, either at the nonprofit’s office or on the website.
Resources On How Nonprofits Work
- Not-For-Profit Organizations: This PDF document discusses not-for-profit organizations and the differences between them and nonprofits.
- How Do Nonprofit Organizations Work?: The article is broken into categories that review the facts, significance, fundraising, programs and services, and considerations for how a nonprofit works.
Successful Fundraising For Nonprofits
Nonprofits depend heavily on outside contributions, grants, and fundraising efforts. Fundraising efforts are a great way for companies to directly interact with the communities they serve, while raising the money they need. To have a successful nonprofit fundraising campaign, a nonprofit must first identify its target audience and create a goal.
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eBook: Jumpstarting Your Fundraising Efforts
Target Audience For Fundraising
The target audience is the group of people who are most invested in, or believe in, the type of services the organization offers. These people are most likely to participate in the fundraiser and pay for the service or item that is offered.
Nonprofit Fundraising Goals
The goal is the basis of the fundraising effort. When establishing a goal, the organization must consider its needs and the amount of money required to meet those needs. For help setting your fundraising goals, check out these resources:
- Fundraising Goals: Download our free eBook for a better understanding of what fundraising goals are. You’ll also learn about their importance, and how organizations determine what their goals should be.
- Setting A Fundraising Goal: This page on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website shows the importance of setting goals when fundraising. It also goes over two important parts to setting a goal: making it realistic and making it public.
Creating A Fundraising Plan
A fundraiser is just one part of successfully raising money for your organization. Long-term success revolves around building relationships with donors so they don’t just give once, but keep coming back. This is called donor relations, and involves regular communication through mail, email, social media and personal contact. It is helpful to track communications with donors and know how they donate, so many nonprofits choose to use a donor management software. You can raise money at events, but you can also do online donations and attract major donors through donor relations. All of these are important pieces of a comprehensive fundraising plan.
- Donor Retention Is The Key To Fundraising Success: We wrote this article about three strategies to increase donor retention. It’s something special when you find someone who believes in your cause enough to relinquish their hard-earned cash, so learn how to maintain a high donor-retention rate.
Examples Of Fundraisers
There are countless nonprofit fundraising ideas. Therefore, it is a matter of finding which idea or event best suits your organization and its purpose:
- Sell food, such as cookies, pies, cakes, and other baked goods.
- Prepare and host dinners, luncheons, or breakfasts, and then sell admission tickets. Spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, and crab feeds are popular options for fundraising meals.
- Hold a silent auction. Organizations often hold the auction the same day as a fundraiser meal, and local businesses typically donate the auctioned items.
- Host a craft show.
- Have a t-shirt fundraiser because everyone loves t-shirts, and they are easy to customize and order.
- Sell products. This is a great way to promote your cause and engage supporters at the same time.
- Offer a service, such as a car wash.
- Have prepared fundraisers. Examples include selling coupon books, candy, or movie tickets that national companies make available to help organizations raise money. The nonprofit sells these items and retains a percentage of the sale.
- Have a walkathon.
- Create a Text to Give campaign.
- Have a 50/50 raffle. There is no upfront cost.
- Host a trivia night. Local restaurants sometimes offer up their business in exchange for the exposure, and they typically contribute a percentage to your nonprofit.
- Have a Battle of the Bands contest. Charge aspiring local bands an entry fee and attendees a modest ticket price.
- Hold a golf tournament. This popular event gets your supporters out of the house for a good cause.
- Hold a penny drive. Set a large container in a well-trafficked area, and let people know why you’re fundraising. When done effectively, it can raise money and awareness for your cause.
- Create a scavenger hunt. This is fun for people of all ages.
- Host a karaoke night. Partner with a local bar or restaurant.
Promoting Your Fundraiser
After reviewing various fundraising suggestions and selecting which is ideal for your organization, the next crucial step is promoting the fundraiser. Getting the word out to the public is critical to getting the necessary funds. Popular promotion options include:
- Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth is the classic method of promoting an organization’s fundraising efforts. Submitting a press release to local newspapers and contacting area radio stations can also be effective.
Post the fundraiser on your website and local event calendars.
- Donation page
Using a donation page is a great way to raise money for your nonprofit, and it allows people to give quickly, easily, and securely.
- Social Media
Social networking sites, such as Facebook, can spread the word quickly and reach people who may not live locally, but who are interested in making a donation.
- Celebrity Recruitment
Recruit local celebrities to host an event, such as the mayor, a popular news anchor, musician, or business person. This can allow organizations to attract wealthy donors.
Depending on the type of fundraiser, it is important to promote it early enough so people can make plans to participate. The success of the fundraiser is determined by the number of sales made, cost required to host the event, and the turnout, if applicable. Ultimately, this will affect how closely the organization comes to meeting their monetary goal.
Easy Fundraising Ideas
Nonprofits are an important part of the community since they typically provide services that help community members or the environment. Like businesses, they require money to function, and provide services to their communities. This is why fundraising efforts are so crucial to the continuation of these types of organizations. When done properly, a fundraiser not only helps the organization meet its financial goals, but it is often a way for people within a local area to interact for a common cause.
Matching Gifts With For-Profits
Some companies match gifts their employees make to nonprofit organizations. The most common donation match involves a 1:1 match, but some companies commit to a 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 ratio. Matching gifts are a great way to maximize donations.
To learn more about matching corporate gifts, read this guide.
More On Nonprofits And Fundraising Recommendations
- Catalog Of Fundraising Ideas: This PDF lists a number of ways to plan a fundraiser.
- Fundraising Ideas For A Nonprofit Organization: This page provides four fundraising proposals to help nonprofit organizations raise money. Ideas include tournaments, galas, entertainment, and campaigns.
- List Of Fundraising Ideas: Under “Fundraising Guidelines,” there is a list of prepared fundraising ideas, such as candy and discount card sales. You will also find ideas and instructions for how to raise money from auctions, dinners, donations, food, games, and more. The ideas are meant for colleges, but they are also useful for nonprofits.
- Fundraising Ideas And Tips: This page provides dozens of fundraising recommendations. It breaks down each idea into categories that include several variations on the main fundraising idea.
- Do-It-Yourself Fundraising: This article talks about how to get the necessary money for your nonprofit organization. The acronym R.E.A.L. (Research, Engage, Ask, and Love) is used to describe this process.
Aplos As A Fundraising Tool
If you got this far down the article, congrats! We hope you gained some great insight into the world of nonprofit fundraising. Also, if you’re interested in better managing your donors, and solving problems like lapsed or fatigued donors, then check out our donor management and fundraising software.