Too many times I hear from executive directors, volunteers, and development staff that they are restricted by board approval to move forward with fundraising ideas. It is always a board’s responsibility to ensure that a non profit has the funds to provide services. So what’s the hold up? I have no idea but there is a fundraising diet that all non profits can use for maintaining a healthy, balanced social network and financial foundation for their organizations.
Gala events, annual dinner, and auctions. These are a tremendous amount of work and the ROI has been proven to be poor. However, there are benefits such as the relationship building opportunities that can be developed in the planning of the event and at the event as board members mingle and work the room. These venues are usually a fantastic platform for story telling which, as we know, is one confirmed way to connect with the donor. The monetary ROI may not be great but the PR, marketing, and networking is. I give these events a thumbs up. I’m also a bit of a party girl!
Then there’s the physical activity fundraiser. The bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons and tri’s for this and that are a staple fundraiser. However, not everyone wants to get up off the couch to support a non profit so it might be a good idea to include a lounge-a-thon in your line up. ”Thons” are very effective for increasing community exposure especially through social media.
Bring on the ask letters, annual appeals, and the death bequest category. These are great because if you are asking for money through a letter it isn’t your first contact with the donor. If it is, you should be ashamed of yourself. The up front relationship development will have been done, therefore, the ask and appeal letter is like a maintenance donation.
Grant writing cannot go unnoticed. I will call these “bonus bucks” since grants need to be found and re-written in most cases year after year.
Finally a fundraising revenue stream must include the selling of products. This is a category that is overlooked. Products can be sold year round and generate more than %100 ROI. In the case of fundraising products the donor actually gets something for their contribution and believe it or not they like that. Their take away from a donation is long lasting. Depending on the product you choose to sell, each time the donor sees their purchase they are reminded of your non profit. See my post on (choosing the right fundraising product).
Out of sight out of mind does not apply here!