Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 14, 2018

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A Nonprofit Tour:
A Smart Way to Grow

by Merle Benny

Do you have a system in place for introducing new people to your organization and mission? A regularly scheduled tour makes an ideal introduction to your nonprofit. Don't let the idea scare you off. You don't have to be big or own property. Your presentation is simply a prepared (and interesting) showcase that informs anyone about your work.

A great tour is visual, creative, quick, informative and intriguing.

Invest the time in preparing a great presentation and you will:

  1. Build a new, motivated base of donors and volunteers

  2. Always be prepared to introduce new people to your mission

  3. Make it easy for your board, staff and volunteers to show off their work (and attract volunteers and donors)

  4. Control the image people have of your organization

  5. Make your staff proud

Have you noticed that when something becomes part of the routine - no matter how challenging it seemed to start with - it is easier than you ever imagined? This is true for tours. Once you are in the groove, they are easy. Even fun!

I love tours. They do so much for an organization, I suggest you get started on planning yours. Just gather a great group and brainstorm on ideas. Explore how you can share your mission and your goals with a small group of people in a 45 minute (or so) time period. Do you have something to show? If you build housing, show it. On the other hand, if you provide mental health counseling you should explore creative ways to demonstrate the need for your services and your success in providing them. Be creative. Your Tour should:

  • Be inspirational - passionately sharing your vision

  • Be motivational - demonstrating how volunteers and donors have made a difference

  • Be compelling - communicating the need for your services and programs creatively

  • Be professional - your presentation may appear informal but it should be very well prepared and practiced.

A tour is regularly scheduled. It can be every Friday at 9am or the first Tuesday of the month at 8pm, or any other times and frequency that works for your organization. Remember, keep it brief, let people know they will be in and out in an hour. Your tour complete but informal, it should be well thought out but not memorized. Remember it is an introduction. You can't tell it all but your goal will be for each tourist to leave feeling like they know what you do and how they might be part of it. It is not time to ask for anything, that comes later in the relationship.

Be sure to include some visual presentation or view of the work of the organization - the traveling part of your tour could be as simple as a walk through the office. It could be a behind the scenes look or a tour by van. It all depends on your work. You'll need to prepare yourself and a few others to be tour guides.

Tours are a first step to a relationship. And the more relationships you have the better! From them you will get volunteers, donors and whatever else you are looking for. Have a follow-up plan, calling or emailing each attendee after the tour.

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About the Author:

Merle Benny is a published author and has recently released The Winner's Circle, a practical, easy-to-use program for nonprofit success and growth. It can be found at

With over 25 years marketing and management experience, as well as being a lifelong volunteer, Merle now works exclusively with nonprofits to help them grow and succeed. Her creative solutions for nonprofit organizations have included events, websites, videos, branding, annual reports, brochures and development. She provides free ideas, tips and tools for nonprofit leaders at:

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