“Would you like to donate?”

There’s so much more to fundraising than asking that question, which seems simple. There’s a lot of work that goes into cultivating fundraising sources, be it from individuals or large groups.

It does not, however, have to be daunting. Following some simple guidelines can help make raising funds for your nonprofit easier than you think.

Go for Grants

Oftentimes larger organizations, businesses, and even government entities have grants available for nonprofits, which tend to be on the larger side as far as the amount of money goes.

Take the time to research places that fit your needs. Do they fund in your geographic area? Do they fund the type of cause or program you’re raising money for? Read application guidelines and create a list in which you rank each possible grant from best match to least.

Applying for grants can be time-consuming and nuanced, but investing in a grants management system can help ease this process. It can keep track of deadlines and tasks, as well as store contact information.

When applying for grants, don’t be afraid to call even before sending the application in. Come up with a list of thoughtful questions to ask, such as best times to apply, when deadlines are, and clarifications to anything you may have read during your research.

Grant givers often want to hear from you outside of just your application.

Build Relationships with Big Donors

When you think of a big donor you may be seeing dollar signs – but that’s not all big donors are. Yes, they may have the capacity to fund a donation, but be sure they also have the interest and connection with your cause.

When trying to forge a relationship with such a donor, focus on how to connect on a personal level. Ask to come to their office for a meeting, give a tour of your facility, start a dialogue that requires a series of interactions over time.

You want to educate the donor on your organization, its benefits and mission, and how they can help.

People who are treated as friends of our organization, and not just someone with money, are more likely to give.

Leverage Your Network

When you look at everyone involved in your nonprofit, from the board director to one of your volunteers, you can guarantee each individual has a network they can draw from to drive donors.

Educate your board members and staff on how to be great advocates for your organization. Give them message points and tools they can use when asking those in their network to support the cause.

Have a Plan

Pledge to ask for one gift per week per personal contact. Look at the calendar year and spread out appeal letters to donors so you are asking for money at times that benefit you most. Do the same with events.

Even more importantly, have a protocol in place for after someone donates. Be sure to show appreciation to donors, and recognition when applicable. Again, making a donor feel like a friend and giving them a closeness to the cause may spur them to donate more often.


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