Challenge #2: Fundraising


This week, we are taking a look at five of the most common challenges I hear from nonprofit leaders, and how I advise approaching these issues. While I cannot diagnose the specific issues your organization is facing, I can guide you towards asking the right questions so you can identify the best solutions. Let’s take a look at number two:

2. “Our donations have leveled off and we need to grow. How can we increase our revenue?”

There are many different approaches to tackling fundraising for nonprofits. While each organization has different factors playing a role in fundraising, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

• Do you regularly reach out to or “touch” your donors? If you only reach when you are asking for money, donors often feel used and taken for granted. What specifically can you do to make them feel like a valued partner and not just a walking check book?

• Do you simply rely on past donors or do you have a proactive donor acquisition strategy? Even with a faithful donor base, it is wise to continue adding to the list. Donor’s giving preferences (or circumstances) can change at any given time. So in order to protect your agency, new donors must be cultivated.

• Do you have multiple revenue sources? The agency that relies on only 1-2 major donors or only one main fundraising activity is putting their mission and existence at risk. What other channels of income can you develop so your agency is protected from unwelcome surprises?

• Have you tried a matching gifts approach? Donors love to see their donations provide significant impact. A matching gifts strategy is easy to run, cost free, and has the possibility of delivering significant impact.

• Can you obtain in-kind gifts to support you work? Sometimes in-kind gifts can be as valuable to an agency as cash donations. Don’t overlook this additional source of support.

• Does your board have a role in fundraising? It should. There are many roles board members can play to help raise funds, even the ones who say the are uncomfortable doing so. All board members should donate and help raise donations.

To learn more about how your board can play a role in fundraising, check out my blog post on effective fundraising and donor relationships (link below). Fundraising for nonprofits can  be difficult – but a little innovative thinking can go a long way. Look out for tomorrow’s post on recruiting high value board directors!

How can you involve your board in fundraising?