12 Things Every Nonprofit or Charity Should Do to Raise Money
12 Things Every Nonprofit or Charity Should Do to Raise Money
Acquiring funding for programs is a challenge every charity or nonprofit organization faces. Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier to not only request help from your supporters but also access a large pool of donors from around the world.
Having helped dozens of nonprofits raise money with our online fundraising platform, PayBee has learned many valuable lessons about hosting successful fundraising campaigns. Here, we share twelve of the most useful strategies every nonprofit should follow to make sure their programs are well funded.
1. Give supporters a simple way to give with a donation page
If there’s one lesson we’ve learned in our years of hosting fundraising events, it’s this: the simpler you make it for your supporters to donate, the more funds you’ll raise. And few strategies are simpler than creating a secure donation page for your nonprofit or charity.
A donation page offers a basic landing page where visitors to your website can make online donations to your organization. Most donors expect nonprofits and charities to have donation pages, so the easier you make it for people to find yours, the more donations you’ll be able to collect, not just during fundraising events but year-round.
While it’s up to you how advanced or basic your donation page is, we recommend:
- Customizing your page with your nonprofit’s logo
- Including a goal thermometer to show how much money your supporters have raised
- Using social media sharing options so more people can find your page
- Making sure your donation page is mobile-friendly
PayBee’s user-friendly software makes it easy to generate and customize a donation page that displays your organization’s unique brand. What’s more, we make it easy for supporters to access your donation page with QR codes that can be automatically generated by the PayBee system. Simply print these QR codes and display them around your event venue — or post the codes on your online material.
2. Make donating easy by offering mobile donation options
As previously stated, your donation page (along with your entire organization’s website) should be mobile-friendly since many online visitors will interact with you via their smart phones. You can take further advantage of this by offering opportunities for mobile donations.
This could mean texting your donors with a link to your donation page so they can visit your website and contribute to your cause. This can also mean using the PayBee App which makes it easy to not only make mobile donations but also bid on online silent and live auctions. Everyone has a smartphone these days, so connecting with your supporters via mobile devices is a great way to secure more donations.
3. Expand your reach through peer-to-peer fundraising
Ideally, your nonprofit or charity should already have a large network of supporters eager to donate to your cause. However, you can always find ways to expand this network even further — and one of the easiest ways to do this is by investing in peer-to-peer fundraising.
Peer-to-peer fundraising enables your volunteers, staff members, and other supporters to build their own web pages that promote your nonprofit’s mission while also requesting donations for your cause. These volunteers and supporters can then share their webpages with their friends, family members, coworkers, social media friends etc., and fundraise in your name.
The great thing about peer-to-peer fundraising is that it leverages your volunteer and staff’s networking ability to your benefit. Suddenly, your nonprofit or charity will be seen by hundreds of potential new supporters who will be more willing to learn about your organization since it’s endorsed by your friends. In addition, Paybee’s software makes it simple for your volunteers and staff to construct these peer-to-peer webpages — and make sure all the collected donations go into your account.
4. Generate regular support with recurring donations
Raising thousands of dollars at a fundraising event is great — but if most of that money comes from one-time donations, your programs could be in trouble when the money runs out. Instead, offer your donors the option of making recurring donations every week, month, or year when they visit your donation page.
Recurring donations offer many advantages for both your nonprofit and your donors. For one thing, these regular donations provide your programs with a steady, predictable source of income, making it easier to plan your budgets.
For another, a recurring donation can be much smaller than a one-time donation. For instance, a recurring donor might only pledge to give $30 a month as opposed to $200 all at once. This makes it easier for donors to give — while also generating more revenue for a nonprofit in the long run. Indeed, according to research on giving to nonprofits, recurring donors give more than 42% on average every year than one-time donors.
To turn your one-time donors into recurring donors, you need to make the process simple and rewarding. Use PayBee’s system to build a recurring donation sign up option for your website and use PayBee’s social sharing features to promote this option on social media. Be sure to also thank your recurring donors in your e-newsletters, in printed materials, and in person at your fundraising events. The more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to remain recurring donors.
5. Inspire others to give more with persuasive fundraising letters
Writing good fundraising letters is important when requesting donations. Whether you choose to send your letters via email or through direct mail, it’s vital that your letters:
- Use a friendly tone
- Be easy-to-read
- Explain to the reader why it’s important to donate now
- Share success stories to show how those donations are making a positive difference
- Educate the reader about your cause and the purpose of your nonprofit
- End with a call to action by requesting a donation, volunteer application, email newsletter sign-up etc.
If you aren’t comfortable writing fundraising letters, it’s perfectly fine to hire a professional writer to create some copy for you. Be sure your letters are customizable so you can address each potential donor individually and build a more personal connection.
6. Form mutually beneficial relationships with your sponsors
Corporate sponsors play a critical role in successful nonprofit and charity fundraisers. Not only can sponsors provide you with the money to support your fundraising events, they can also support you in other ways — including providing items for your charity auctions.
When approaching prospective sponsors, be sure to focus on their needs before your own. Consider how your event can help publicize their business, increase their brand awareness, and improve their public image. Emphasize that you can promote your sponsor on your website, email newsletters, and print materials.
Once you understand what type of recognition your potential sponsors value the most, you can put together a sponsorship package built just for them which increases your chances of securing their support. Just be sure to get them to sign a sponsorship agreement that covers your arrangement so you can be sure all parties know what to do.
7. Get outside support by applying for a grant
Donors and corporate sponsors can be great sources of financial support, but you can also gain additional funding by applying for grants. What type of grant you’ll apply for depends on your nonprofit’s mission, programs, and location. Grant funders can include government agencies, corporations, and foundations.
You can form relationships with grant funders and get to know the process of applying for a grant. It’s often a good idea to hire a professional grant writer who can produce a professional grant application that’s grammatically correct, free of errors, and communicates the importance of your nonprofit’s mission in a succinct and persuasive manner.
Interested in applying for a grant? Philanthropy News Digest’s Requests for Proposals (RFPs) is a good place to start. Here, you can find all sorts of grants for anything from music programs to community improvement and conservation. Check it out and see if your nonprofit’s programs line up with any of their requirements!
8. Connect with more supporters by hosting in-person fundraising events
Sometimes the old fundraising strategies are still the best. Hosting an in-person fundraising event like a charity dinner, auction, or festival, is a great way to connect with your community and meet your supporters face-to-face. After spending most of 2020 in lockdown, many people are eager to participate in social events, and you can expect more interest if you offer events and activities that your support network likes the participate in.
Of course, even a traditional fundraiser can be enhanced with some modern tactics. PayBee’s online platform provides an easy way for you to publicize your event on social media through our social sharing channels. Then at the event itself, you can use our PayBee Mobile App to make the check-in and check-out process easier and faster. The PayBee system offers plenty of tools to help manage your guest list and ensure your dinners and activities run smoothly.
After your event, our backend reporting system offers a breakdown of all your donations and attendee activities. This lets you see which of your event activities were the most popular, enabling you to host even more successful in-person fundraisers in the future.
9. Be more accessible with virtual and hybrid fundraising events
Want to attract a larger audience to your fundraisers? Use PayBee’s user-friendly platform to host a virtual gala that can bring in donations from people all around the world. Through live streaming video, live online auctions, live chat, online games, and more, your event team will be able to interact with a massive online audience ready to learn about your mission and support your programs.
That said, some audiences are experiencing virtual fatigue from being on Zoom calls and performing remote work all day. That’s why hybrid galas are becoming more popular. By offering ways for both in-person audiences and virtual guests to experience the same fundraising event simultaneously, your nonprofit will be able to enjoy the benefits of both in-person and virtual fundraising.
Hybrid galas do require a level of expertise to pull off successfully, however, which is why PayBee offers an excellent support team and network of expert partners to help you with yours.
10. Offer exclusive opportunities with a membership program
Exclusivity can be a powerful way to attract generous donors, which is why many successful nonprofits and charities start a membership program. This program can offer many benefits to members, including access to member-only events where you can raise more money, exclusive access to special newsletters, and additional recognition for their contributions to your mission.
When developing your membership program, be sure to consider the type of benefits your target audience will enjoy the most. Are they the type of people who enjoy in-person social gatherings or access to lively online chat groups? Would they appreciate a fancy dinner party or a more informal outdoor cookout at the end of the year? The more you cater your membership program to your members’ interests, the more support you’ll enjoy, and the more your members will bring in their like-minded friends.
11. Build a large support base with a crowdfunding campaign
Crowdfunding campaigns are a great way to rally groups of people around a project and show everyone how small contributions can raise money for a very big goal. Essentially, these campaigns reach out to a large number of people and ask them to donate money for something related to your mission, like new equipment, a renovated facility, trips etc.
People who donate generally give relatively small amounts, but get to see how their donations are contributing to your goal, often by viewing a fundraising thermometer on your website. Keep in mind that many people who donate to your crowdfunding campaign will be giving impulsively through their smart phones, so make sure your crowdfunding website is mobile-friendly.
Likewise, you’ll want to publicize your crowdfunding campaign through social sharing channels to attract as many people as possible. And make sure your donors know when you’ve met — or exceeded — your goal. It’ll give everyone a sense of accomplishment and encourage them to donate at your next event.
12. Keep in contact with your donors through phone-a-thons and e-newsletters
Just because you might only be able to host three or four fundraising galas each year doesn’t mean you should neglect your donors between events. Offer a regular monthly e-newsletter that keeps your supporters aware of your programs and how their support is benefiting their community. Host a phone-a-thon that lets you not only request donations from your support network but also show your gratitude for the support they’ve already been giving.
Bonus Tip: Save money by allowing your donors to cover credit card fees
Quite often, the best way to raise money for your nonprofit is to save money on expenses — and one saving tactic every nonprofit organization can benefit from is to let their donors cover any credit card and ACH fees for online donations. Many online fundraising platforms charge nonprofits a percentage of the donation as a transaction fee which can cut into your revenue. By offering a donor covered fee option, your supporters can pay this fee themselves, allowing your nonprofit to collect more money.
PayBee allows you to enable this donor covered fee option for your donation pages — and we’ve found that donors elect to cover those fees 90% of the time. Considering how much some fundraising events raise, that amounts to quite a bit of money.
From classic in-person galas to modern crowdfunding campaigns, the strategies nonprofits and charities employ in their fundraising efforts keeps growing every day. At their core though, all successful fundraising strategies focus on maintaining a positive connection with donors and making the donation process simple.
If you’d like to stay on the cutting edge of modern-day fundraising, be sure to sign up for a free demo of PayBee’s online fundraising platform. You’ll be able to experience first-hand how user friendly our platform is and even participate in a mock online auction. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask your questions about fundraising tactics to our team of experts. Come discover how nonprofits and charities are benefiting from our software by signing up for a free demo today!