The committee you tasked with finding the right cause for your business has finished its discovery process — and your team finally has a fundraising purpose. High five! Now it’s time to set some goals and activities to help further your company’s mission of helping others.
Every time you purchase through the WorkPlacePro.com website you have the option to round-up your total to the nearest dollar. When you decide to round-up your total you can choose from 3 different organizations to donate your money.
Currently the options are The Breast Cancer Foundation, The American Cancer Society, or the National Autism Association.
In 10 months, you as our customers, have donated $3,635.87 to these organizations collectively. For that, we thank you. We could not do any of what we do without you and seeing you offer up your donations truly means the world to us.
We are currently researching other organizations to add to our round-up program. If you have something near and dear to you please leave a comment so we may consider it for our next cause!
To some, fundraising can seem impossibly difficult; to others, overly simple. But if you fall into either of these categories, it’s likely you’ve fallen prey to some of these common fundraising myths.
Don’t let assumptions about fundraising hold back your organization’s success. Check your assumptions against these common fundraising myths.
Donors Already Want to Give
When you live and breathe your non-profit, it’s hard to see how anyone would not want to give immediately to your cause. But that’s because you’re front and center to witness how big the problem is, and how big an impact the non-profit’s work makes.
Your target audience of potential donors most likely has no idea, and may never have even heard of your organization before. So never go in assuming your donor wants to give—be prepared to start at the beginning and prove the impact a donation will make.
Donors Only Give for Selfish Reasons
It’s common marketing advice to take a donor-centric approach in your fundraiser messaging. But don’t confuse this with a lack of generosity.
Neuroscientists have shown that making donations lights up the reward center of the brain, which means people enjoy donating. Respect that showing donors how their gift makes an impact, which helps make a personal, direct connection between the act of donating and the positive impact that donor makes.
Corporations Give the Most Money
Contrary to this myth, an article in Slate cites a drop in corporate giving over the past corporate years, while individual giving remains steady. This impression comes from the fact that major corporate donors get lots of visibility from the non-profits they support in the way of name-dropping and “sponsorship” call outs.
But that’s just because when a corporation donates, they’re doing it to bolster their image—in a way, they’re indirectly paying for the promotion the non-profit will give them. This doesn’t make corporate giving any less good, but it’s important to bear in mind when planning a fundraising campaign.
Everything you Say has to be Packed with Emotion
It can be wise to use emotion to motivate donors to give to your cause. However, be wary of how much you use it. Relying too much on emotion can feel overly sensational to readers. Don’t forget to balance your emotional content with statistics, factual content, and background information.
Online Fundraising isn’t as Good as Offline Fundraising
Online campaign efforts, historically, have not brought in the same amount of donations as other types of campaign outreach. But when these campaigns were given a closer look, it became clear that this discrepancy was due to an underinvestment in online campaigning, not the medium itself.
When they given an equal effort, online fundraising can be just as effective as other marketing methods—if not more so! Just look at the impact of ALS’s 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised over $100 million.
A Form Letter is as Good as a Personal Ask
Consider how easy it is to receive a piece of direct mail and toss it right into the trash without so much as reading it. Now, think about how motivating it is when someone comes to you and asks you personally for your help.
Even fundraising pros dread the discomfort of approaching an individual and making a request for a donation in person. But it’s still the best way to rally people to support your cause.
Fundraising is a Science
Actually, this myth is true. A wealth of information is available through professional trade publications and websites, based on scientific research and studies. Use it to stay informed about the latest methods and strategies.
But beware—don’t confuse the scientific principles of fundraising with mechanical, automated execution that doesn’t take creativity or strategy into consideration.
For Fundraising, Make No Assumptions
Perhaps because it’s personal, or perhaps because it’s challenging, fundraising has a lot of different stigmas and assumptions around it. Regardless of the reasons for it, being aware of what’s fact and what’s fiction will give your organization a leg up on reaching its fundraising goals.
Are you trying to raise money for your cause? If so, an annual fund raiser may be a good way to accomplish this. Annual fund raisers are not just telemarketing opportunities. They also give you and your organization the ability to reach out to people who would want to be included in the cause’s plans and to get in touch with past contributors in case they would like to renew their support. Organizing an annual fund raiser may seem daunting, but with a bit of help and this article as your road map and field guide, it can go much more smoothly. If you are thinking of organizing an annual fund raiser for your cause then take the first step. Read this article, and then start your annual fund raiser today!
The Three Fund-raising Periods
There are three relevant fund-raising periods in a year. As a fund-raiser, it is important to know about these periods and to keep them firmly in mind as you attempt to organize your annual fund-raiser. The first important time is the end of year period, covering the time-frame from November through December. This is the point at which it is most feasible for donors to give and for your cause to receive donations. If you intend on doing an annual fund-raiser, this would be a perfect time to do it. The second period is the period between January and June. This period is still very lucrative but not quite as lucrative as the year-end period. Finally, the least lucrative period of all is summertime, the months of July and August. Do not host your fund-raiser in either of these months.
Pay Attention To Your Contributors
As you are calling possible contributors, listen to what they say carefully. Keep records not only of what they donate and who they are but also their attitudes on donating. If they seem willing to donate but say they do not have the money at this time, make sure to take note of that.
Always Follow Through
If a potential donor says they would love to give but do not have money or that they cannot give right now, be sure to make a note of that information. It can be very valuable. When you make a second round of calls, be sure to follow up with these people. It is possible that the potential donor was giving an excuse to get off the phone with you. However, it is just as likely that they really do want to donate to the cause but really did not have the money. If you never call those people back, you will never know which it is, and you may lose potential money. As an added note, when you call back, do not be pushy, as that will make a possible donation turn into a definite no.
Organizing an annual fund-raiser may seem like a daunting prospect, but it does not have to be. Using the tips above as your road map, the journey will be much smoother than it would otherwise have been. You will find your amount of donations increasing and perhaps more importantly, you will have a wider base of loyal donors.
Only 43 percent of donors who gave to organizations in 2009 donated again to the same donations in 2010, according to a study by Urban Institute. And yet, most of those donors did make financial gifts again in 2010—just not to the same organizations.
For an organization looking to maintain and grow its [donations], retaining existing supporters is critical. It costs an average of five times more to earn a new donor as it does to retain a donor, according to data from NonprofitEasy.
Furthermore, this organization’s research showed that most donors don’t give their biggest donations the first time they give—the biggest planned gifts tend to come from donors who have given to a nonprofit 15 times or more over their lifetime.
All this adds up to major benefits for nonprofit organizations that can retain more of their donors. But how can an organization accomplish this?
Say Thank You
This simple action lets donors know that their contribution has been noticed, and that it is appreciated. In short, it establishes a connection, reinforcing to donors that they matter. And when donors know their contribution matters, they’re more likely to give again.
Reach Out Frequently
You can send out communication to your donors as frequently as monthly without jading your audience. In fact, regular outreach can lead to better, longer-term donor relationships.
Don’t Ask for Money Every Time
Even more important than touching base with donors regularly, make sure that those communications have varied messages. Don’t keep asking for more money with every touchpoint. Invite them to your events, help them learn more about the organization, and show how they have already made a difference.
Be Genuine and Personable
People don’t make connections to things; they make connections to other people. So at least some of your communications to donors should come directly from a person at the organization. Use a genuine, personal voice in these communications to build a relationship.
Use Donor Personas for Better Targeting
More than one kind of person is donating to your organization—who are these donor groups? Use surveys and feedback from your donors to learn more about them. Even just breaking up audience by how new they are to your organization, or how much they give, and targeting your message accordingly, can personalize your message and improve response rates.
Ask for Feedback
Your loyal donors know you better than anyone. And, they offer an important outsider’s perspective that you can’t have as an employee of an organization. If you take the time to ask for and listen to longtime donor’s feedback, you now only strengthen your relationship with those donors, but also may learn new ways to better connect with new ones.
Hold on to Your Organization’s Donors
Your donors are your organization’s best advocates and proven supporters. Retaining more of your existing donors is one of the best ways to maintain and grow your supporter base. Don’t let your valued supporters slip away—use these tips to build one-time donations into lifelong relationships.
Deciding to fundraise is a brave and important commitment. But aside from selecting your cause and receiving donations….what else do you need to know?
Here are a few tips of what you should and should not do while fundraising. Follow these tips to get you off to a great start and ensure that you pull your fundraiser off successfully!
- DON’T be afraid of asking people for contributions – your cause needs them!
- DON’T take no for an answer if a person’s reason for declining is because they don’t think it’s a worthy cause. Instead, take te opportunity to challenge their perceptions.
- DON’T just ask for money – you will need all kinds of contributions from people whether it is their time, goods or money. Be willing to let people help in different ways.
- DON’T get stuck in old ways – regularly re-evaluate your methods and what is and isn’t working.
- DON’T try to fix the whole world in one day – focus on smaller goals and the tangible changes that reaching these goals will bring about.
- DON’T put forward false positivity if things are not going well. Be straight with your contributors if you reach a bump in the road. You never know – this may even further motivate your donors to act!
- DON’T get distracted or tire from the main goal – make the fundraiser your primary focus until the targets you set have been reached.
- DON’T try to do everything on your own. Fundraising takes a lot of work so delegate some tasks to the other committee members, or rope in your friends and family.
- DON’T use a one-size-fits-all approach. Try something…if it doesn’t work, try something else.
- DON’T hesitate to ask the same contributor’s again – people get busy and need reminding. They may also have different circumstances than they did when you asked the first time and may be able to offer something else.
- DON’T forget to consider the costs you will need to cover and incorporate it into your fundraising goals. The last thing you want is for everyone helping out to start feeling out of pocket because they had to cover all the expenses.
- DON’T become greedy about donations – every penny counts.
- DON’T be unrealistic about what your fundraiser can achieve in the time that you have – you have to set targets based on the resources that you have.
- DON’T sit back and wait for the money to come to you…it won’t. You will have to work for it.
- DON’T spam your contributor’s or overwhelm them – they are your biggest asset!
- DO ask your donors to support your cause. If they don’t know about it, they can’t help.
- DO keep emphasising the positives and the tangible effects that raising this money will have on your cause.
- DO acknowledge and thank each and every contributor for their donation – whether large or small.
- DO keep an open mind as to how people can help – if someone can help in a way that you hadn’t thought of, hear them out.
- DO involve your donors – keep them informed with a newsletter, social media pages or phone calls. Keep donors informed along the way – what progress has been made and what goals are still active.
- DO check that your fundraiser is legal. This might mean checking local by-laws and guidelines before setting your fundraiser in stone.
- DO build your database by keeping accurate records of names and contact information and continuing to build on it.
- DO streamline your approach to fundraising. Ensure that all of your fundraising work is in keeping with the goals and missions of the organisation and is working towards the overall objective.
- DO be specific about donations – tell people how much you need and how they can contribute.
- DO take advantage of the resources you have available, particularly free ones.
- DO utilise social media by opening fundraising pages and spreading the word through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
- DO put your money where your mouth is. Even those volunteering their time should lead by example by contributing to their cause.
- DO set a specific target so that everyone can see what you are aiming for.
- DO give your donor’s several options for contributing by offering a mailing address for cheques as well as internet banking options and ‘Pay Now’.
- DO remember to have fun!
Fundraising is one of the most crucial yet difficult tasks of any organization. If you do not succeed in this endeavor, monetary goals will likely not be met and the whole organization will suffer. So how do you properly raise funds without your fundraising efforts going stale? How do you drum up support at the exact right time of the year for your contributors to want to give? If you would like answers to these and the other important questions that any fundraising effort needs to answer, then this article is for you. We will delve deep into the mysteries of fundraising and pull out the answers to make your next fundraising attempt a success.
Research Your Donors
As with any undertaking, research is very important for your fundraising goals. It can give you an edge when communicating with potential donors in a variety of ways. First of all, if you research your donors’ interests, it will give them the sense that you know them. Secondly, researching their interests gives you a way to connect your cause to the things that they are passionate about. Donors are more likely to donate to a cause that fits in with one of their passions in some way, as they tend to feel that a cause of this nature is worth their hard-earned dollars. Researching your donors also can make them feel as if you care about their interests, passions, hobbies and desires and about them as people instead of just donation numbers. This will make them far more likely to donate to your cause.
Practice Asking for Donations
No one asks for donors perfectly on the first try. That is why practice is absolutely crucial. Without practice, you will wind up stuttering and nervous or leaving out necessary information. You will look unprofessional, and unprofessional causes get fewer donors. By the time you are sitting in front of a possible donor, you should have practiced all the possible paths the conversation could take many times over. This way you do not get caught unawares when the conversation veers down an unexpected path. Another benefit to practicing every aspect of your ask is that the conversation will flow much more naturally, and you can simply focus on talking with your donors, learning about them and connecting.
There are three steps to practicing your asks. Start by writing down your asks and reading them aloud. When you have them memorized well enough that you do not need your written copy any longer, move on to practicing in front of a mirror. Just like when you were in elementary school, practicing your asks in front of a mirror can help you gain confidence and discover parts of your presentation that need more attention before you actually reach the donors. Finally, record yourself on video practicing. It would be wise to show this video to a friend or family member or someone that you trust. This extra pair of eyes can be valuable in pointing out problems or hesitations or things that you might have missed in your donation speech. Recording yourself on video also lets you see your own performance from a distance, so you can more objectively observe what the donors will see.
Never Surprise Your Donors
Make sure, up front, that your donors know you are asking them for money. If they act surprised, something is deeply amiss with your delivery. On the first call you make to them, it should be made clear that you are interested in them as a person but that there is a deeper purpose for your call. This gives your donors a chance to prepare their responses, questions and objections. Good fundraising is not about bullying your donors into submission. Rather, it is about showing them how your causes line up with their passions. A harassed donor is far less likely to donate to your cause, and much more likely to simply slam down the phone or snap at you, and things go much more smoothly when you and the potential donor are on a level playing field.
Do Not Bore the Donors
Being boring feels safe. You have a preprogrammed script and you want to stick to that script because you have memorized it. However, it is better to vary your script to fit your audience. This is not a speech, after all, but a request for funds from people who can either accept or reject it. It is important to study the flow of the conversation and tailor your delivery to suit the tone. If a donor seems cautious, for example, it is best to gently encourage them. If a donor is assertive, then you may back off the encouragement. Flexibility in delivery means that your audience can be more easily taken into account, and your donors will appreciate not being bored to tears.
Seeking donations for your cause can be intimidating and difficult. You never know if you are going to be accepted or rejected, and the whole thing hinges upon your ability to make a good impression on the potential donor. If you are too stiff or formal, you risk alienating them. Researching your donors before you even begin that first phone call can show you what sorts of people they are as well as what their passions and other causes are. This, in turn leads to a more intuitive delivery on your part as you show the donor how their passions and your causes intersect. Practicing your delivery is also very important. Practice your delivery over and over until you have it completely to memory. Then vary it based on the donor you are interviewing. Be sure to gauge their mood and give them ample chances to make objections or to outright refuse. A level playing field between you and the donors is crucial. Fundraising efforts can seem very intimidating. However, they do not have to be. Using this article as your guide, along with some knowledge of your donors, you will soon be making money for your cause. You will not even have to bully the donors to do it.
Even in the digital age, direct mail has continues to be a powerful method for nonprofits to connect to supporters for fundraising. In fact, one in three consumers reported they had taken action for a nonprofit in response to a piece of direct mail, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 DMA Fact Book.
But not all direct mail is equally effective—the writing and layout rules for direct mail are different from many other kinds of communication. If you want to be sure your materials catch donors’ attention and inspire action, follow these best practices.
Use a Call to Action
It may sound obvious, but people are a lot more likely to do what you want if you ask them. That’s what a call to action is: asking your audience to take a specific action to help your cause.
What action do you want your donors to take? Polish it into a short, simple, and specific phrase that you can use consistently across your direct mail and other marketing materials to drive readers to become donors. Be clear about what you want, and also about the benefits of this action.
Example: “Provide a month of clean water for $25.”
Write for Skimming
Most people will only give your direct mail a few seconds of consideration before deciding to read it in full or not. To grab attention quickly, create your mailer to be easily skimmed.
This means using big headlines, engaging images, bullet points, and white space to establish a clear order for the eye to follow. Think about what it’s most important for a person to understand immediately, and then provide supporting details once you’ve got their attention.
In marketing, it’s often advantageous to repeat your key message multiple times, and direct mail is no exception.
Why? As Bloomerang explains it, donating to a nonprofit lights up the brain’s pleasure center. Each time they read a mention of this action in your direct mail piece, it creates the simulation of the action in the brain, resulting in that same pleasurable feeling—which motivates a person to fulfill the action.
Mix it Up
While you want your branding and call to action to be consistent, change up your direct mail with a variety of materials that have different supporting content. This helps grab readers’ attention, while letting you reach out to your mailing list more frequently.
Keep these materials organized by planning out your full campaign and various messages beforehand.
Strategic design choices can help your direct mail get noticed. To stand out, stay way from the standard white envelopes and letter sizes and get creative. Bold colors (consistent with your brand, of course) and big or unusual sizes can earn your direct mail a few extra seconds of attention.
Suggest an Amount
People are more likely to make a donation when a specific amount is suggested to them. Keep the amount reasonable, and tie it to a tangible result (see the call to action example above).
For example, if your suggested donation is $25, create checkboxes for $10, $25, $50, and “As much as you’re able!” with a fill-in-the-blank option so the donor can choose their own amount if they prefer.
Reinforce your message yet again by circling your recommended amount on the form.
Make it Easy
The easier it is to donate, the more likely people are to do it.
Include everything needed to make a donation in the mailer. This may mean including a donation form and return envelope, and/or directing people to an easy-to-remember URL with a user-friendly form.
On the donation form, include checkboxes for the donation amounts, and be sure your organization is prepared to accept as many payment options as possible, including all major credit cards. Ask only for as much information from the donor as necessary.
Remember the Most Important Word
In direct mail, the most important word is you.
Rather than focusing your message on what your donor’s money can do for you, focus on how a donation serves your donor. Remember, without donors, your organization’s work isn’t possible. Make them a part of the action.
Direct Mail Should Help Donors Help You
Most people want to give, but the clutter of every day life and other demands on their attention get in the way. A strategically crafted direct mail piece can cut through that clutter to get donors’ attention, and make it easy for them to give.
With these best practices, you can win more attention, optimize your response rates and draw in more donors. When it all comes together, your organization has the support to make a real impact, while donors get the satisfaction of knowing they helped make a difference, and everyone wins.
Are you inspired to join a cause or start one in your community? That’s great—there are so many different make a positive difference. Odds are, you don’t intend to do it all by yourself—not only can you make a bigger impact with others’ help, but it’s also more fun.
But how do you get other people involved?
It’s one thing to be motivated yourself, its quite another to motivate others to join you. Regardless if you’re looking for donations for your next fundraising run or volunteers to help build a house—asking for favors is usually uncomfortable for most of us.
But, no matter. A few simple steps can make it easier, both for you to ask and for others to say yes.
- Give before asking.
Before you can build a community around your cause, you’ve got to be part of a community. That means contributing to something and building genuine relationships. Regardless of the cause, people are more willing to join in when they care about you and feel connected.
You don’t need to start form scratch to do this, though. What groups or communities do you already engage with?
- Make a personal ask.
People are more responsive to requests when they are addressed on an individual level, rather than when part of a group. Who doesn’t appreciate being singled out as valuable?
So when you want to get people involved, take the time to invite them personally, one-on-one, and if possible, in person. Don’t forget to share why you want that person involved, and how much it would mean to you.
- Be clear about what you want.
Whatever it is that you’d like a person to contribute to your cause, be sure to be clear and specific. If someone is not sure about what they’re being asked to do, they’ll usually just take a pass, instead of risking committing to something they didn’t intend to.
- Make it easy.
This tip might sound obvious, but it gets overlooked all the time. The easier you make it for people to complete your ask, the more likely people are to help you.
So before you ask someone to support your cause, think about it: What can you do to make it easy for people to do what you’re asking?
- Show the big picture.
Most people have a desire to give back and help others out … but you have to show them that their action will, in fact, make a difference.
Be clear about the problem your cause is trying to address, what your effort will do to help, and how what you are asking the other person to do fits into that effort. For example, don’t just say that a $20 donation helps you meet your goal of $5000—explain that their $20 can provide food for a child in need for a week.
- Recognize people for their contribution.
People need to feel valued. After someone gets involved with your cause, thank them for it. This can mean calling them out in a meeting for their contribution, including their name among your donors or volunteers, or a simple phone call to say “thanks.”
7. Spread Your Passion
It’s easy to get inspired to contribute to a cause. But it can be harder to ask others to get involved, too. But there’s easy steps you can take to make asking for involvement easier … and to make it easier for others to say “yes” when you do.
With these simple tips you’re sure to gain lots of support for your cause—your passion will be contagious.
Do you have a cause you support? Do you want to support the cause, but have no money to donate yourself? Do you want to earn money and have fun in the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions this article is for you. We will discuss several ways to earn money using national awareness days as a catalyst for garnering support and raising public awareness of the issue that you support while still making the process fun and easy. What is more, you will not even have to worry about calling donors to ask them for money, as no one likes telemarketers and the likelihood of reaching your goal when using that method is very low.
Do Something You Love
If you have an activity you love doing, you can use it to earn money on an awareness day. For example, if your passion is knitting, you can knit scarves or shawls in the cause’s colors such as pink for breast cancer awareness and then sell these shawls on National Breast Cancer Awareness Day. If you love to run, then it would be entirely possible to organize a race or marathon on an awareness day. This combination of activities you love and the boost in support brought out by the awareness day will ensure that you will earn money for your chosen cause as it is quite clear why you are knitting scarves or running a race.
Do a Cook-off
Everyone likes food! Another idea for your cause’s awareness day is to host a cook-out. Charge an admission fee, and then let people eat free. Charging the admission price per plate or bowl is the best way to do this. That way, if people would like seconds or thirds, they will need to pay the admission fee for another plate. For this to work successfully, it is necessary that the admission fee not be a lot of money, perhaps five or six dollars at the most. You would be surprised how quickly the money adds up. To get people interested beforehand, send out questionnaires asking what sorts of foods people would want. That way you will not have a lot of leftover food that no one will eat.
Earning money for your cause can be very easy if you have good products you have made or services you can render. But doing something special on your cause’s awareness day makes the likelihood of meeting your donation goal even higher. People associate concepts and colors with events in their mind. If you do something to earn money for your cause on an awareness day, there will be no doubt at all where the donations are going.