For today’s non-profit organizations, the choices facing them when organizing a fundraiser seem to be infinite.
It is no longer enough for a charity to have a direct mail program, a major gifts program, and maybe a little planned giving. Instead, a successful organization now needs a comprehensive and mobile-friendly website equipped with an easy to use donation page. It must make constant updates to all of its social media outlets (think Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) Furthermore, organizations also need to stay on top of emails, print newsletters, volunteer activities and more. I understand that this comprehensive task list can feel daunting.
Determining the best way that your organization will invest its limited time and resources can feel like rocket science, so here are five fundraising principles to help you make better choices.
Principle #1: Price Point
When planning a fundraiser, do not make price the primary determinant of its value. Though the age-old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true in some facets of instances, it can be misguided to dismiss a fundraising event based on that theory. Sometimes a less expensive option can turn out to be the most lucrative. A great example of a cost effective, yet very successful fundraising campaign, would be the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge”, which raised millions of dollars for ALS research in 2014 with almost no overhead costs.
Principle #2: Target Audience
When fundraising, it’s always important to understand who your target audience should be. Once you know who you are trying to reach, you can adopt specific fundraising methodologies that will work best with that distinct population.
When your organization knows its target audience, it can create effective processes to attract, engage, and effectively communicate with potential donors. It is not realistic to expect a potential donor to seek out your organization. Furthermore, make sure you target individuals that have a disposable income. While fans and followers are always important to a non-profit, they won’t help you stay afloat.
Principle #3: Bang For Your Buck
While Principle #1 discussed that economic spending can be a good idea for non-profit, this principle urges organizations to carefully consider an expenditure before they ‘cheap out’.
While non-profits often struggle with limited resources, it is important to ask difficult questions and make good investments when it comes to your fundraising. You want to make comprehensive decisions in order to avoid dealing with the negative ramifications of hasty decision-making.
When developing a fundraising program, focus on processes with proven success rates rather than what has the most bells and whistles.
Principle #4: Reuse Your Resources
As just stated, fundraisers require strategic investments. If you have a great fundraising tool at your disposal, use it again! It is not a crime to repurpose or reuse, and as a limited-recourse enterprise it’s a savvy approach.
When something has worked for you in the past, it is in your best interest to use it again. Did you send out an incredible newsletter last month? Share it on Facebook, Twitter and your website. Your best assets should never stay put in one channel. The wider the distribution, the better the payoff.
Principle #5: Get Good Data
For any fruitful fundraising campaign, it’s critical to watch the numbers. While analyzing data is never sexy, it can help you avoid problems and make better future decisions. When you combine data-driven knowledge with personal experience you increase the likelihood of successful fundraising.