10 Fundraising Tools That Work

February 2, 2016

You need to raise funds in order for your nonprofit organization, school, or youth club to continue to operate and do all the good things you do, but if you’re like most nonprofits you struggle to invest money in fundraising unless you’re certain it will bring a return. Dollars are hard to come by, and every one helps, which is why you need to take advantage of the following 10 fundraising tools that work.

1. Newsletters

Print newsletters might seem passé in this day of digital communications, but the truth is direct-mail is more powerful than ever. That’s because it’s tangible and unique – a departure from the norm for millennials and an expected staple among baby boomers. Good newsletters are filled with great content that finds relevance with your audience. The best strategy is to focus your newsletter efforts on your largest donor demographic.

2. Donation request/membership letters

If your organization offers memberships, send direct-mail letters for renewals along with the option to add a donation. If you do not offer memberships, donation request letters can still be great ways to raise funds. Create a mailing list of your largest donor demographic, then target your letter copy to make a request that resonates with your audience.

3. Facebook

Facebook can be an effective fundraising tool when you make it fun and interesting for your audience. Who can forget the ice water challenge videos? You don’t have to be so elaborate; I’ve seen even the smallest of nonprofits successfully fund the purchase an ultrasound machine simply by asking for help and sharing a link.

4. Postcards

Postcards are good for driving donations, especially when coupled with a crowdfunding vehicle such as Indiegogo. The best strategy here is to ask for funds for a specific purchase or project, particularly if it will benefit the local community.

5. Table tents

If you can partner with a restaurant, table tents can be powerful fundraising tools. Here’s how it works: the restaurant agrees to donate a certain percentage for every customer that checks in, posts a photo, or leaves a review on social media. Print table tents to promote your partnership. It costs the customer nothing but a few minutes of their time, allows them to support your nonprofit, gets the restaurant more exposure and only pays when action is taken, and sends more funds to your organization.

6. Email

Email marketing – not spam – can be an effective fundraising tool. The best strategy is to create a regular email newsletter in which you offer relevant and interesting content to your subscribers. You might need to offer some an incentive to sign up. When the time is right, you can then send an email requesting a donation.

7. Banners

Hosting a bake sale, car wash, or other one-day or weekend fundraiser? Get impulse buyers/donors to your location with large banners strategically placed in the busiest (nearby) areas of your city.

8. Flyers

Hosting a big fundraising event, such as a casino night, blind auction, concert, 5K, or poker run? Flyers are the go-to marketing tools. Blanket your town with them, see if your local grocer will stuff them into bags, and insert them in your local paper. Flyers work best as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign: banners, local advertisements, PR slots, and social media (think Facebook events). Repetition sells!

9. Door hangers with envelopes

If you have a large group of local volunteers, you can distribute door hangers with self-addressed stamped envelopes stapled to them. Distribute them in targeted areas to tell potential donors why your cause deserves their attention. Make it easy to donate!

10. Calendars

Calendars can be lucrative fundraisers if you have a passionate donor base. For example, if you work to save stray dogs from being euthanized you might print a calendar featuring fun photos of some of the dogs you’ve saved and placed as pets. You can then sell the calendars to raise funds for your cause.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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