Raising funds for a nonprofit can be a challenge. Even with the right advisers, team, plan, and dedication, pulling off a successful fundraising event can be quite difficult. Many organizations have adapted their fundraising efforts to new technology and trends; using mobile technology and donor management software has become common. Whether you choose to remain traditional or switch to more tech-savvy methods, here are some lessons that can help you increase your donations and grow your fundraising community.
Be proactive, yet approachable
An organization with a goal to raise funds must never be passive. You will have to be aggressive and active with all that you have, be a go-getter. Know your community well, maintain good relationships, and encourage them to raise money for a clear mission.
Remember that nothing beats a well-thought-out plan
Plan enough to reach your goal, but do so mindfully and with specific outcomes in mind. Look at how other entrepreneurs balance planning and executing and take inspiration from successful campaigns. Try to keep a clear perspective and not get bogged down in unnecessary details. Always keep your end goal and mission in mind.
Do your research and don’t be afraid to try something new
Read about different nonprofit fundraising campaigns around the world and be willing to take risks. Instead of an auction to raise funds, you might consider Raise the Paddle. A Raise the Paddle event invites all your guests to make a gift to your charity via text and allows them to see a real-time tracker showing the status of their mobile giving. While auctions often focus on tickets or baskets or trips, Raise the Paddle begins by reminding the guests of your mission and its impact in your community. It helps make casual donors more knowledgeable and engaged with your mission and can foster friendly competition as donors see the total giving on screen in real time.
Communicate effectively and creatively with your donors
Use videos and testimonials to share your charity’s impact ahead of your fundraising events to spread greater awareness about your mission. Your next steps will be to build on these new relationships and to increase your goal at next year’s fundraising events.
Don’t be afraid to up your fundraising goals
At one recent gala we attended, a charity exceeded its goal by more than 100 percent in less than five minutes. The staff’s biggest regret was not making the goal bigger.
Most important, be open to changing your preconceived plan
If the original plan does not generate the desired result, be receptive to changing the steps and the approach of your fundraising plan. Know what works best for you and your cause. Something that works for one organization may not work the same for you, so plan accordingly.
It is important to pick the right tools for your fundraising needs, but even more important to have clear goals in mind and a plan in place. Be consistent, clear, and proactive in your planning, and you will be guaranteed a successful fundraising event!
Patrick J. Coleman is president of GiveCentral and Coleman Group Consulting. As a CEO to two enterprises, he is on a mission to help reduce costs and increase fundraising for all charities through ways such as mobile giving. With a diverse educational background and over 25 years of experience in operations leadership and strategic planning, he has developed a proprietary methodology that focuses on the art and science of negotiation to deliver measurable, implementable, and sustainable results. Mr. Coleman has served as board president for Elk Grove United Way of Suburban Chicago and as a board member of both Talkline/Kidsline and Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS).