Whether you are an Executive Director who is serving as your organization’s Chief Everything Officer, or a Development Director specifically tasked with creating a fundraising strategy, the first step to raising the money you need to power your cause is creating a plan.
How do you do that?
First things first, identify your potential sources of support.
This is particularly important if you’re facing budget cuts at the start of the fiscal year. When revenue sources change or disappear, it’s time to find new ones and amplify your existing resources.
Focus on these four primary groups:
Begin by creating the individual profile of someone who may donate to your organization. Who is that person? What are their passions and interests? What is their capacity for giving? Why would they be motivated to donate to your organization?
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that they will donate just because your cause is a worthy one. Contributing money, while altruistic, is still a transactional exchange. Understanding the intrinsic reward your individual donors get from supporting your program is essential to getting that support. When you understand what makes your donors give, you’ll be able to create more effective messages to inspire their support.
The conversation about foundations often begins with the phrase, “We need a grant.” Then the search commences, and the organization looks for a foundation to provide that grant.
It’s an approach that can work, but it’s not very efficient. Before you get to the point where you say, “We need a grant”, you should develop some knowledge of the foundations that support your cause, and research the projects and initiatives they’ve funded. Additionally, network and build genuine, reciprocal connections with decision-makers at foundations before you need to apply for funding.
Corporate support is something every nonprofit seeks, and businesses are not just a great source of money, but they can also be an integral partner in raising your organization’s profile.
Just like foundations, get to know the market for potential corporate support. Find out which companies donate to causes like yours. Understand how your cause can be an asset to a company’s brand.
Don’t forget to include the people who help you achieve your goals. Whether they are board members providing strategic oversight and raising money, or people who contribute their time and labor to making your day-to-day activities happen, don’t neglect volunteers in your 12-month plan. They are your organization’s evangelists, and you need them.
Once you understand your target market, you can start formulating a strategy to raise more money and better allocate your funds to align with your critical mission points.