Establishing an Annual Campaign

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.

How To Hold Onto Your Current Supporters

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.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Fundraising

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!

A to Z of Fundraising


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.

Direct Mail Fundraising


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.


Repeat Yourself
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.


Stand Out
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.

How To Get People Involved

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.


  1. 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?


  1. 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.


  1. 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. 


  1. 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?


  1. 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.


  1. 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.

Using Awareness Days To Raise Funds

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.

Applying For Grants

Non-profit organizations and charities both rely heavily on grants to help pay for the costs of upkeep, events, and day to day functioning.  If you are a part of a charity or non-profit but have never applied for a grant before, the task can seem a little daunting!  Read on to learn helpful tips that you can put into practice the next time you apply for a grant.


Determine Your Eligibility

If you are not able to receive a grant, there is no reason to apply for it, so the most important first step you can take in your search is to simply determine whether or not your company is eligible for a particular source of funding.  You must know the type of charity or non-profit you run, and you must choose whether or not to apply as an individual or as the company itself.  If you do not have this information, you cannot get very far in the application process!  Your company might be listed as an educational, government, or public housing organization, or it might simply fall under the non-profit umbrella term.  Different funding is available in different categories.


Understand The Steps

Funding opportunity announcements are released regularly from grant-making agencies that are looking to back non-profits.  When you find a funding opportunity announcement that you seem to be eligible for, locate the application and gather your information.  Register to apply through a grant venue, and wait for your registration to process.  This step is crucial, and must be completed before you can apply to the grant itself.


Research The Grant-Making Agency

The agency that is offering the grant will have a web site that is full of useful information to help you understand what it does and why it is interested in backing a non-profit.  Knowing what the agency focuses on and cares about will help you write a custom-tailored proposal that is sure to impress those who have the final vote on the grant’s recipient.


Fill Out The Application

Realize that you might have a lot of competition for certain grants, so your application’s professional nature and complete information will be deciding factors in the final decision.  It is necessary to have a full-scale concept of what your organization is and where it is going before you ever begin the application process.  You will need to write a detailed proposal, which showcases your ideas and explains what your company does, as well as how the grant money can help improve its functionality.  The more specific you can be, the better!  Do not simply say that you need the money to pay for expenses and upkeep.  Talk instead about how the funding will help you grow toward your ultimate goal.  This is also a good time to restate the grant-making agency’s goals and policies as they relate to your non-profit.



After you complete the application, submit it and be patient.  The screening process may take a long time, but you will eventually find out if your application made it to the final assessment, and if your non-profit was selected as the recipient.

Start Green Fundraising

Schools and non – profits have to raise money to keep themselves running. One tried and true way to do it is by selling products throughout your community. But the standard wrapping papers and cookies are not exactly green—or healthy. Besides, everyone else is pushing these same products too.

Instead, consider standing out from the crowd and extending the positive impact of each buy with environmentally friendly products.

These days, there’s plenty of eco-friendly twists on this traditional fundraising model, and options range widely, from chocolates to cleaning supplies to green equivalents of classic fundraising staples.


Take a look at these great green fundraising options:



Green fundraising company Nature’s Vision offers environment and wildlife-themed jewellery, along with a slew of other accessories, tees, and bags. Order using the forms and helpful promotional materials on the website, and collect a percentage of every sale you make.



Among its many product offerings, Greenraising offers a line of environmentally friendly personal care products. Just encourage your community to shop on the website, and designate your organization as the beneficiary of their purchases.



Treats can be guilt-free when they’re Fair Trade. Irresistible options include Divine Fair Trade chocolates or Grounds for Change Fair Trade coffee.


Wrapping Paper

If you want a more traditional fundraiser, take a look at Mother Earth Fundraising’s 100% recycled wrapping papers, gift bags and cards. Your loyal customers won’t even miss your old standbys.



If pushing products is not your organization’s style, you can still earn by taking environmentally friendly actions. For example, Terracycle lets organizations profit for collecting and recycling waste items such as empty product bottles, baby food containers, and much more. Earth Tone Solutions lets organizations profit for recycling empty printer cartridges.


Go Green, Make Green
With so many organizations in a constant battle for those fundraising dollars, a unique green product can help you stand out from the crowd, while offering an extra incentive to give. These are only a few great options for running your own green fundraiser—there’s plenty of ideas out there to meet any need. Get out there and take your organization green!

How To Thank Your Contributors

In a study of 50 nonprofits and 2 million contributors detailed by, as much as 70 percent of nonprofits had not followed up with contributors a month after their donation. Thirty-seven percent never even emailed a thank-you at all.

When your nonprofit sends a timely thank-you, it stands out in a compelling way. It also motivates contributors to develop a bond with your organization.

According to, 65 percent of first-time contributors never give a nonprofit a second donation. However, 80 percent of those one-time contributors said a prompt thank-you could have persuaded them to give again.

Those two simple words, “thank you,” are very powerful. But it’s not enough to know the value of a thank-you. How you thank contributors matters, too.

Here are some tips to make sure your thank-you’s to contributors resonates. 

  • Send a card
    When selecting stationery for a thank you note, get away from the organization’s letter template and opt for a card instead—it implies a personal message instead of a business one.
  • Use the person’s name
    This is another important way to be personal with your message. Avoid blanket terms like “donor” or “friend,” and use contributors’ names instead to show people that they matter to you.
  • Show the impact
    In your note, briefly share a success story or recent accomplishment the organization has reached to show how the person’s donation is making a difference. Put the spotlight on the contributor—they have made this accomplishment possible.
  • Extend an invitation
    Encourage the contributor to get more involved by inviting them to an upcoming free event or for a tour of the organization’s work site—but avoid anything that involves additional donations. You could also encourage them to follow you on social media. 
  • Acknowledge past gifts
    If a contributor has a history of giving to your organization, be sure to recognize that. It can be as simple as thanking the contributor for another gift, or you can get creative and show how the person’s cumulative donations have added up for a greater positive impact.
  • Sign from a specific staff member
    Sending a thank-you from an individual in a leadership position at the organization makes the note personal. 

Saying “thank you” to contributors matters—and so does how you say it. To keep contributors motivated to support your cause long-term, send prompt, personal thank-yous within a month of every donation. It’s not just a matter of savvy business practices—it’s also the polite and kind thing to do.