Non profits across the globe are kicking off the 2012 fundraising cycle. They have written their yearly fundraising plans and are looking to help their balance sheets through a variety of methods. Here are four tips that non profits should have included in their plans to raise funds throughout the year.
Illustrate Impact
Let your story describe the impact of those donations you receive. Everyone knows non profits need money; let your story tell potential funders just what the raised dollar does. For example, let them know that a contribution of $10 buys two hot meals for elderly shut ins. A $25 donation buys a box of nails to build a house for a homeless family.
Pillars of Superior Fundraising
Those dollars you request are for something! Let the public know what that something is. As specifically and as dramatically as you can. More people will be moved by actually knowing how their potential contribution is going to be spent.
Accept Money Online
In this technological age, if your non profit is not accepting online donations, you are missing out on a big demographic and a big potential for fundraising. It doesn’t take long at all to set your website up to accept donations. Try linking your donation acceptance through Paypal and that will speed up your ability to receive donations. Since many of us already use Paypal and have our accounts set up, we find it easier to just click “Donate through Paypal” rather than pulling out a checkbook and mailing a check. That takes more time and effort and by the time that potential donor mails the check– if they remember to mail it at all– they could have already donated online and printed out the receipt for their tax records. If you are not accepting online donations, you and your Board of Directors need to seriously consider the effect it may be having on your organization’s ability to raise funds.
Pursue In Kind Donations
Not all donations are money. As a non profit you need to realize just what all you need to operate a successful program. Granted, you do need money. But there are other goods and services that your non profit would benefit from if they were given to you free. Does your non profit build homes? Could you not benefit from donated materials or donated labor? I know one non profit who built a two bedroom one bath home for an elderly veteran and had a company donate the complete cost of the bathroom– over $10,000 in materials and labor. That seriously put a dent in the overall cost to build that home. One non profit needed new computers- and the bank across the street was getting ready to buy new ones so donated the old ones to the non profit. Some non profits need school materials, some need carpet. Each non profit is different and you know – or should know- what all you need. Don’t look down on a gift simply because it isn’t cash.
Many people never give simply because they are never asked. For instance, many fraternities and sororities have local non-profits that their chapter raises money for, with fundraising being considered an important part of member participation. With this in mind, asking colleges and universities and offering fundraising ideas for fraternities could be worth including in your fundraising plans. If you are looking to start a donor based fundraising program, remember to do your research first and find out how much they have been comfortable giving in the past. Above all else, remember to ask each person individually and specifically.
Smart non profit organizations make sure their written communications represent the highest levels of quality.

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