Fundraising is essential to ensuring the great work charitable and community organisations do every day continues. But with so many ways to approach it, how can you ensure your efforts will reap the rewards?
Kerri Tilby-Price is one of New Zealand’s leading training providers for the non-profit sector and author of The Seriously Good Guide to Fundraising. Here she shares some of her secrets to making sure you fundraise smart.
If you’re in charge of raising funds for your organisation, it’s easy to feel like you’re juggling 10 balls at once. Should you run an event, solicit personal donations, or apply for yet another grant? Do you spend time nurturing donors or seeking out new ones? And what about online giving – how does that fit into your fundraising plan?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but don’t be discouraged. Whether you’re a small voluntary group, or a large nationwide non-profit, the principles of fundraising are the same. Check out our top 5 tips for successful fundraising:
Know why you do what you do
Whether you are applying for grants, running an event, or trying to generate individual donations, people want to know about the impact your organisation is making in the community. We often get caught up talking about our programmes and services, but we forget to tell people about the big picture – the end goal.
Why do your programmes and services matter? What difference do they make? If your organisation was doing everything 100% right, what would your community look like as a result? That’s the story you need to tell.
We all know it’s important to thank your donors, but in reality, saying thank you is not enough. Whether you’re dealing with donors, funders, sponsors or fundraising volunteers, you need to make an effort to build genuine relationships if you want to keep their support.
Send them stories about how their gift (grant, donation, sponsorship, time) has impacted your organisation and the people you serve. Keep them updated with photos, Facebook posts and newsletters, and most importantly take time to find out what is important to them. Why did they support your organisation in the first place? What do they need from you in order to continue their support?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
No matter how well you plan your fundraising, you can’t take anything for granted. A big event can be rained off, a grant you have come to rely on can be declined, and donors can decrease their giving when the economy tightens.
If your organisation is relying on just one source of income, you are in a very vulnerable position. Spread your risk by fundraising via various channels e.g. donations, grants, business partnerships, membership, events and activities.
Build a team at every level
No matter which way you look at it, fundraising is not a one person job. Make sure that everyone in your organisation knows they have a part to play, and create a list of ways they can get involved. Not everyone has to be shaking buckets or baking cakes, but they can use their networks to spread the word.
If you are a registered charity, make sure your board understands that they are ultimately responsible for the financial sustainability of your organisation. What are they doing to ensure your fundraising is successful?
There are 97,000 non-profit groups in New Zealand, approximately 26,000 of which are registered charities. If you want to be successful with fundraising, you need to think creatively about how you can make your cause stand out from the rest.
Take time to search the net, brainstorm ideas, and attend workshops so that you are constantly keeping ahead of the pack.
Fundraising is not what it was 20 years ago, and 5 years from now the landscape will have changed again. Be prepared to think outside the square, revise, review and update.
Kerri Tilby-Price is the CEO of Exult Ltd, and is recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading training providers for the non-profit sector. She is the author of The Seriously Good Guide to Fundraising, and the editor of Tonic Magazine – a quarterly publication for the community groups.