Small shops with 2 or less – and even no – staff dedicated to fundraising can meet the challenge of raising funds, expanding their donor base, and taking advantage of evolving trends in fundraising. All it takes is the right tools and a good plan.
Assess the tools and resources your organization has. Begin with people power. Everyone in your organization – staff and volunteers – can play a role in fundraising, whether helping to identify potential donors, participating in major gift asks, or telling your story through social media.
Be sure you understand their capacity and willingness to be part of your fundraising effort.
Fundraising is about communicating and the Internet is a powerful tool to tell your story. Make social media work for you.
Visitors spend more time on websites that have videos and photos. Other social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to expand your audiences and engage potential donors.
Managing contacts is key to your fundraising efforts. Use your database to track your donors and prospects, manage your donor recognition program, and segment contacts for targeted asks.
Having assessed the tools within your organization, develop a plan that uses those tools for maximum impact. In small shops there can be a gap between expectations and resources. A good plan manages both.
Set achievable targets for expanding your audience, growing your database, and raising funds. Build performance measurements into your plan. With limited resources available you need to know what’s working and what isn’t.
Make everyone part of the plan by reporting your progress at regular intervals. If everyone has ownership of the plan, everyone will be motivated to make it work.
The theatre is now owned by the community and efforts to preserve it are underway. The group is now working to raise $400,000 to replace the roof.
Preparing all those plans before asking for donations meant the groups was wellprepared to answer questions the community had about the project.
Holding the town hall meetings was a great way to recruit volunteers and involving everyone in the community – from youth to seniors – meant everyone was engaged in the project.
Keeping the community informed ensured the they wereon-board with, and knew about the project, and made those phone solicitation calls much easier.
Groups running a volunteer-based fundraising effort should put careful thought into the right combination of skill sets and experiences needed for your leadership volunteers and have a recruitment process that ensures you get them.
Major gifts are the largest donations an organization receives. Depending on the organization a major gift might be $500 or $100,000. Typically 80% of donations come from 20% of donors, so identifying, cultivating and retaining major gift donors should be a priority for your organization.