With the new year comes new goals, but we know that your community organization needs money for the vital services you provide in town. Small organizations often have a tougher time of raising money for a variety of reasons, including the additional obligations for security and protection they may have, especially in dealing with vulnerable populations.
Most nonprofits, particularly the small community groups, do not have someone working on obtaining major gifts. Yet, major donors can provide a substantial amount of funds to your organization that would make it easier to for your nonprofit to complete its mission.
If you’d like to try to see how you can raise more money that can help your group do so much more, particularly for vulnerable populations in your community, there are three ways you probably haven’t considered to uncover major donors whose interests and passions align with your organization.
Mid-Range Prospects and Donors
The first place to look is always the people who are closest to you. It costs more money and takes more effort to prospect for new people, so the most natural place to begin is with people who are already donors to your community group. The aim is to bump up current donors who already support and care about your cause.
Begin by taking a look at the top third of your donors, the middle third and the lower third. Next, group the people in the middle tier and the lower end of the top level. These people will likely be giving to your organization several hundred dollars every year. These donors will become the audience that you will target to become major donors. Create a plan that will include a special appeal for them that thanks them for the gifts they’ve already made and explains the impact of their donations. Then create a campaign uniquely targetted to them and tell them why you want them to step up and join others in this particular request.
An easy way you can incentivize your mid-range donors to increase their contributions significantly to your organization is by having a special cultivation program that provides them an opportunity to get personally and more deeply involved with you. Make sure to have opportunities for them to meet other like-minded supporters as part of a special fundraising group.
Other Publications Can Provide You Leads
The best fundraisers in the business look at the list of donors that are named on the websites, IRS 990s or other publications of other organizations in their communities. Perhaps there are other nonprofits or cultural institutions in your town that have the support of business and civic leaders. By researching who is involved in other organizations, you can create a list of prospects for further research for your own.
Once you’ve developed a list of names, take the time to do further research on the internet of some of the top names that you believe would be interested in your organization perhaps because they support a similar group or because there is an element of their biography that aligns in some way with the work of your organization.
When you’ve completed your research, the next step is to research how you can get cold prospects involved in your organization. One of the best ways to do it is by figuring out if there is a personal relationship with a board member or other current donor to your organization who may facilitate an introduction. One proven strategy you can try is to invite a small group of prospects to a breakfast meeting or cocktails at the end of the workday with the executive director of your group so invitees can learn about the issues related to your mission and the work you do.
Leads from Corporations and Foundations
More than likely, your group is receiving support from institutional funders, such as trusts, corporations, and foundations. There’s a way to leverage their efforts for your organization even further by asking them for leads.
Think carefully about a unique program that you can develop that would enhance the outcomes of your efforts in the community. Ask each of your greatest institutional champions to help you get other funders on board for a particular initiative. Remember, corporations and foundations have relationships with others, and they do communicate with each other. Make it a point to provide them with specific prospects you’d like to meet because they are likely to support your work.
A morning breakfast meeting for current corporate and foundation and prospects is a great place to begin. Position it as an opportunity to obtain greater insights on the particular issue you’re dealing with in the community. At the breakfast meeting, talk about the broader issues of your mission, so there is a value to attendees, but also speak to the key insights you’ve learned by the work you do through your community organization.
Although prospecting for major donors can be hard work, it’s not impossible, especially with the above-mentioned strategies.
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