As part of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s always good to consider a few new ideas for your fundraising. Of course, this isn’t about dropping the methods that currently work. It’s about stretching and trying new ideas to find those promising approaches that work for your organization and your supporters.
With that background, let’s get started on our list of seven fundraising ideas to consider in 2017.
Inbound marketing, or content marketing, is all about building online content that serves to attract supporters and potential supporters to your organization’s website. Once they’re on your website, you have an opportunity to move them from strangers to supporters and from donors to promoters.
Blogs from your leadership team, discussion groups, white papers, case studies, and research reports can all serve to attract potential supporters/donors to your website. It also helps to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise, which can further support a decision to donate to your organization.
We’ve written about this in “How Success is Measured for Nonprofits on HubSpot” and “Six Tips to Produce Content that Inspires Web Donations.” For further background, HubSpot has published “The Nonprofit Step by Step Guide to Inbound Marketing.”
I’m sure you’re already engaged in some inbound marketing. It’s time to take it to the next level by expanding your efforts, measuring results, and adjusting your approach as needed to generate more donations.
We all know the power of social media and particularly Facebook. With over 1 billion daily active users, it’s the perfect place to promote your cause and build your community of followers. It’s also fast becoming an effective way for nonprofits to raise money.
Once your organization’s Facebook page is listed as a nonprofit, you can add the “donate” button. This button can be used on your page header, as well as within posts and ads. Facebook also facilitates your supporters setting up a dedicated page to let them tell their story and directly raise funds for you.
Facebook has provided some success stories to give you an idea of what’s possible. For example, the Sierra Club’s Adopt a Wild Animal program generated over 350 donations and a return on ad spend of over two times. It works.
As you can tell, this moves Facebook’s utility from building your community, raising awareness, and activating supporters to raising funds.
Peer-to-peer word-of-mouth communication that provides a personal perspective is extremely effective in bringing in new supporters and donations.
With this type of fundraising campaign, you’re leveraging existing donor enthusiasm to reach new potential donors. In this way it builds relationships, expands your audience, and is very cost effective.
To support peer-to-peer fundraising, you’ll need to provide well thought out materials and social media content to current donors that fully promote the value of your organization in addition to actually asking people to donate.
While this is a word-of-mouth campaign, you’ll really need to be activating all your marketing channels—particularly your website—for supporting materials. But also use email, direct mail, and social media.
For example, one excellent touch is to build testimonials to support your campaign via your website and social media channels. It’s all about activating your members, providing the tools they need, and, as a result, driving new donations.
You may already be familiar with corporate matching gift programs where your donors submit their information to their employer, who has already agreed to provide matching donations to worthy causes. Of course, the big key here is getting your organization on the list of as many corporations as possible. Then you also need to alert your donors and prospective donors that their employer supports your programs. It’s a fabulous way of essentially doubling donations.
You can also extend this approach by finding individuals or organizations that will provide a donation amount that will be used exclusively to match individual donations for a challenge gift drive.
This is a superb way of not only generating publicity for your campaign and your organization, but also building your credibility in the community. For example, when a big name corporate or individual donor steps forward and says they will match donations, they are saying loud and clear that they support you and your cause.
The possibilities for raising money through events is nearly limitless. Here are just a few options to consider:
- Dinners including well-known speakers can attract donors and get your word out. Plus, your prominent donors can host the dinner at no cost to your organization.
- Auctions of donated items. Again, your only cost is to run the event.
- Runs and walks with goals that engage family and friends of the participants.
Visibility and desirability of the event are the keys. You should also ask yourself these critical questions—Is your intended audience interested in the event? Will they support it, participate in it, and make donations as a result?
The big key is to match your organization’s specific needs and identity. Plus, you’ve got to make the event exciting for your prospective donors and supporters. For further insight, see our blog post “Attracting More People to Your Fundraising Event’s Website.”
Contests are fantastic ways to engage your members and draw further attention to your association. Online photo, video, or caption contests can surface some fantastic content which can then be used to attract new members. Plus, your current members will often discover things about your association that they had either forgotten or just didn’t know about.
Other examples include supporters uploading videos to YouTube that tell why they support your organization or your event; uploading a photo of engaging in an event or organizational activity; and posting updates to social media that support your organization.
Based on their activities, entrants are entered into a prize drawing. Winners are highlighted, encouraged, and promoted in your community. All this generates engagement and is a superb promotion opportunity.
Take Advantage of Existing Programs
There are a number of existing broad-based fundraising programs that you should considering joining. #GivingTuesday is a perfect example as is the Amazon Smile program. With both these programs your organization just needs to follow the leader with promotions matched to the existing program and your organization.
With Amazon Smile, your organization needs to register and then promote the program to your supporters. For every purchase made through the program, you’ll receive 0.5%. It can add up and help your supporters feel good about supporting your organization from the purchases they’d be making anyway.
In “Year-End Fundraisers – Make the Most of #GivingTuesday” we wrote extensively about this program that highlights making donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The promotional materials are very well done, can be customized to fit your organization, and you’re taking full advantage of all the existing promotion around the day. Plus, it’s a superb launching point for your end-of-year fundraising.
These are two programs with national exposure that you should seriously consider for your fundraising.
Hopefully, one or more of these ideas have prompted you to look deeper and even to launch a new program. Of course, first you need to sell the idea to your boss. We’ve provided some tips on that task in “How to Sell Your Boss on New Nonprofit Fundraising Methods.” Perhaps you’ll find some insight to help you take the next steps.
Campaign Now Can Help
Campaign Now works with a wide variety of nonprofits across many different fundraising concepts. We have the services, the experience, and the expertise to help.
Contact us at (855) 329-4327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.