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December 16, 2018

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Four Keys to Better
Nonprofit Fundraising Results

by Kimberly Reynolds

Non-profit fundraising is all about multiple streams of income, so how do you make more money for your organization?

Simple. When you put together your annual plan, you need to include as many ways to raise money as possible.

So, you're probably thinking: "That's easy for you to say, but how exactly do I go about it?" Easy! You just have to be "smart" about it, with a well thought-out plan that doesn't make too many demands on any one facet of your organization.

Every fundraiser that you conduct places various demands on your volunteers, your supporters, and your leadership. Those demands can be time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

The more large-scale fundraisers you conduct in one year's time, the greater the load you place on the people you depend on.

You need to be "smart" in how you go about your fundraising.

Four Keys to Non-Profit Fundraising:

Think Smart
Plan Smart
Work Smart
Be Smart

Non-Profit Fundraising - THINK SMART

Thinking smart means taking the time to review past results and strategizing about how to do better this year.

If you don't spend some time brainstorming some new and creative ideas to increase your bottom line, how are you going to rise above last year's results?

Define your three best income streams. Now, daydream a little about what changes or enhancements you can make that will add additional volume to those streams.

Non-profit fund-raising is all about reaching more people with a compelling message that inspires them to take immediate action to assist your organization.

How can you reach more people?

By exploiting two things - personal networks and personal motivators.

Your non-profit fund-raising has to be structured to achieve maximum leverage of everyone's self interest by providing sufficient incentives for giving time or money to your cause.

How can you make your message more compelling?

By giving it "story-like" visual imagery that speaks to your supporters emotions.

Decisions are made on an emotional level, not a logical one. A "story" allows people to visualize their contribution having a positive impact on what they've visualized. How can you inspire a higher percentage to immediate action?

By combining your story with a call to action.

A call to action leverages the immediacy of the emotional reaction to your story with a request to help now BECAUSE their contribution will have a positive impact.

Everyone wants to help. They just have to be properly coached about your situation and motivated to act now.

Non-Profit Fundraising - PLAN SMART

Planning smart means taking concrete action to put your ideas into an annual business plan. Yes, I did say "business plan."

No self-respecting, non-profit fund-raising organization should be without a written business plan to guide their fundraising efforts.

Your plan should spell out roles and goals along with detailed instructions on how you'll get there. It should be grounded in the past and targeted at the future.

Each non-profit fund-raising activity should be broken down into the necessary action steps that will produce the highest level of results with the most cost-effective effort.

Everyone should know exactly what's expected of them. A well- organized team where everyone understands their role is able to execute their mission flawlessly.

Everyone should know and be able to state your group's value proposition.

If they can't articulate, in two sentences or less, a convincing reason why you are raising funds, then you need a plan that helps communicate your message more effectively.

Non-Profit Fundraising - WORK SMART

Working smart means taking your plan and putting it into action with an eye towards getting the most bottom line results from every facet of your organization.

You'll get the best long-term results if you stay focused on not overburdening your volunteers, your supporters, and your leadership. Overworking volunteers will ensure that many will not be around to help next year.

Too many demands for small donations will alienate your group's supporters. Structure your non-profit fund-raising requests to two or three campaigns in a year's time, no more.

Size those non-profit fund-raising campaigns to get the most from each time your supporters are asked to make a contribution.

Continuous fundraising will wear out your leadership as well. Your key personnel will be spending most of their time on organizing and conducting campaigns.

You want to keep everyone fresh and motivated. Do that by having a well thought out plan that maximizes the value of everyone's time, energy, and contributions.

Non-Profit Fundraising - BE SMART

Being smart means taking the time NOW to begin a "Get Smart" effort about your non-profit fund-raising efforts. Start the brainstorming process now.

Get a small journal and start recording any and all ideas you have, day or night, about improving your fundraising. Some of them will be duds, but others will be gems.

Sure, the gems will be rough and will need polishing, but you won't have any gems at all if you don't let your creative juices run wild.

Just write them down as they occur to you and keep adding to the ones that make the most sense in the light of day.

Hey, if it worked for Edison and Einstein, it can work for you.

Start writing down all the ways that you can think of to create multiple streams of income for your organization.

Get your non-profit fund-raising planned and organized, then watch the money flow in.


About the Author:

Kimberly Reynolds writes for national publications about school fundraisers,nonprofit fundraising and charity fundraiser events. Find more fundraisers and ideas on her website,

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