Learning how to raise money for a cause is not easy. Many people start nonprofits and think that because they have a good cause, the money will follow. But that’s usually not the case. With more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S., there are plenty of excellent missions. However, one of the toughest things for most nonprofits is to raise money.
Why Does Fundraising Have to Be So Difficult?
Asking people for money to support a cause is something many individuals feel uncomfortable doing. Often, nonprofit staff and volunteers think that fundraising is like asking for money for themselves. Of course, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Asking for charitable fundraising dollars is not asking for the person who does it. Instead, it’s for a good cause that merits support.
That said, other reasons also exist that hurt nonprofit fundraising. Understanding how to raise money for a cause means fundraisers have to understand these issues.
- Sometimes, nonprofits don’t inform their communities about the work, brand, and programs and services delivered. Meaning, they don’t tell their stories well.
- Donors may not understand the broader vision and future of the nonprofit. In other words, what the group does today, but also what it sees as the vision for tomorrow.
- Many nonprofits don’t do a great job of informing the community and supporters of the results and metrics.
- Nonprofits don’t let their donors understand why money is needed and how it will get spent. And, once fundraising finishes, they don’t follow-up with their champions about how their money made a difference.
How You Can Overcome the Most Common Challenges
When nonprofits ask others to help them raise money, they may receive an initial response that is heartening. But then, typically, everyone seems to get too busy to help. Then, there’s radio silence from fundraisers. Frequently, nonprofits don’t follow-up with their fundraisers to ensure that they have what they need to raise money for the cause. By far, it’s important to remember that most people don’t like to fundraise. So, our first big tip is this one:
Tip 1: From the outset, tell your fundraisers how urgent their help is to the mission. Remind them that they are not asking for themselves; they’re asking for the cause. Many people might not realize they’re subconsciously avoiding fundraising, despite any promise made to you.
There is a way to help fundraisers with the ask, and that’s by marketing your fundraiser assertively. By doing so, you help ensure that your community knows what’s happening at your group. Therefore, when you have fundraisers going out to ask for financial support, more people will understand what’s happening. As a result, this helps to alleviate the pressure your supporters will feel when asking for money. When they encounter someone who knows what’s going on, it will make it easier for them to fundraise.
So, don’t skimp on promoting your group. A lot of times, nonprofits, schools, churches, or civic groups forget to market themselves and even their fundraiser enough! Marketing in the digital age is a lot less expensive than it was, mainly because of social media. While social networking platforms require you to pay to boost your posts, the charges pale in comparison to advertising costs of a decade ago. You can promote your nonprofit to thousands of people with less than $10 on social media.
Tip 2: Always make sure you have a plan. Look at the year and layout of all of your events. Then, develop a plan that includes multi-channel marketing. That means emails, direct mail, social media, etc. Remember, you don’t have to be everywhere, but master a few marketing methods. After, develop a timeline to move you to engage with your prospects and supporters consistently. And don’t forget, don’t always ask for money. Also, inform, educate, and update people about your cause.
Our team is always looking for different ways to tell “the story.” That story has many elements. Our story includes how the fundraising company came to be. It also covers how we help nonprofits and others to raise money with gently worn, used and new shoes. Other elements of our story include sustainability and also helping people in developing countries. Micro-entrepreneurs purchase the shoes collected to create economic opportunities in places with systemic poverty.
We know and understand our social enterprise well. And, you should know and understand your nonprofit well. Once you know yourself well, you can then create a fundraising and marketing plan. From there, you can create all of the material that you need to raise money. But, for you to do any of it well, you have to know very well who you are as a brand. It may seem easy, but it’s not. One of the reasons that nonprofits miss how to raise money for their cause is because they don’t know themselves well enough. And, that means understanding not only your mission but what resonates with supporters. It is only then that you can create solid plans and materials that will raise money.
Tip 3: Get ahead of the competition. Let the community know about your brand, your story, and success. It’s essential to find ways to get the word out each day about the work you do. Make it a point in the storytelling to provide facts and figures about your success. Informing people about your metrics will go a long way toward helping people understand your essential work and progress.
Let’s face it. Nonprofits have trouble raising money because there’s a lot of competition, as we explained at the outset. However, you can get around that reality. One of the best ways to do it is to share your story as often as possible. In other words, master the art of nonprofit storytelling! By doing so, you will get people to understand what it is that you do. Further, you will also enable your community to know about your success.
We can’t stress this enough. It’s vital to get good at sharing your success. But, it’s not only by telling people about the stories. It’s also critical for people to understand your facts and figures. For instance, get good at keeping nonprofit statistics for your group. Learn the statistics, in-depth, about the social challenge you seek to alleviate. And, then ensure you keep numbers about how your nonprofit is helping X number of people, for example, in your community. By doing so, you will likely see a notable increase in your fundraising dollars because people know you’re making an impact.
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