Last month, we wrote a piece on the financial challenges groups have when they can’t raise money for their cause. Unfortunately, many nonprofits, schools, civic groups, and churches have a tough time raising money. Of the 1.6 million nonprofits, many say that finding enough money to operate is the biggest challenge. But, it doesn’t have that way if you know 3 essential principles. Before we share our thoughts on how to raise money for your cause—no matter what—let’s see why fundraising is challenging.
Why Does Fundraising Have to Be So Difficult?
Asking people for money to support a cause is something many individuals feel uncomfortable doing. As a result, that’s why we have professional fundraisers. Still, one of the realities that nonprofit teams and volunteers experience is the idea that if they ask for money, it somehow feels too personal (as if it’s for them). Thus, with that thinking, it’s easy to understand why people don’t generally like asking anyone for money. And, even when they do it for a good cause, there’s a sense of dread. This idea, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth of how to raise money and why. Asking for support is not asking for money for the person doing the asking, but for a good cause that merits support.
Still, several other reasons also hurt nonprofits in their fundraising. And it includes some of the things discussed in our previous article:
- A big challenge for how to raise funds comes from nonprofits themselves. For instance, they don’t inform their communities well about the work they do.
- Donors may not understand the broader vision and future of the group. In other words, what is the nonprofit doing, and what does it see as the vision for the future?
- Many nonprofits don’t do a great job of communicating impact and results.
- Nonprofits sometimes don’t do a great job at letting donors understand why money is needed and how it gets spent.
- And, once donations happen, nonprofits don’t follow-up with their champions about how their contributions made a difference.
How to Raise Funds and Overcome Common Fundraising Challenges
Often, when nonprofits ask volunteers and supporters to raise funds, they receive an enthusiastic response. But then, typically, everyone seems to get too busy to help. Then, there’s radio silence. By far, one of the most important things to remember is that most people don’t like to ask for money. So, it’s always essential to motivate your volunteers. And, it starts with giving them a sense of perspective.
Pro Tip 1: Your Champions Are Not Asking for Themselves
From the start, tell the champions you recruit how important their helping you is to the work you do. And remember the psychology of fear of asking for money for most people. So, make it a point to remind them that they are not asking for themselves. Remind them, they’re asking for the cause—a mission they support. When your champions understand their own thinking, it will lower the barriers for them in how to raise money for your group.
Pro Tip 2: Everything You Do Could Be A Marketing Opportunity
Understanding how to raise funds for your group means you know that marketing is an essential activity. And one of the things you don’t want to do is waste precious funds on marketing money-wasters. So, look at your brand, the work, and all your fundraising events as worthy of marketing and promotion. As always, first, develop a plan.
Therefore, look at the year and layout of all of your fundraisers and events. Next, develop a marketing plan that includes a multi-channel marketing approach. For instance, consider social media, emails, and direct response. Then create a timeline that will move you to engage with your prospects and supporters consistently. And, don’t forget, you don’t always have to ask for support. Nevertheless, marketing is an excellent chance to build great relationships. Also, remember to inform, educate, and update people about your cause.
Pro Tip 3: Knowing How to Raise Money Means Staying Ahead of the Competition
We know nonprofits are about social good. But, there’s still a lot of competition for donor dollars. So, you need to get ahead of the game. You do this by letting your community know about your brand, your story, and your success. Meaning, top leaders at your nonprofit need to create local relationships with politicians, business leaders, and strategic partners. That way, when people think about supporting your cause, you’re the first one they call. There’s always competition for fundraising dollars. So, extend yourself deep into the community. And by doing so, more of those dollars will be coming to you.
We hope you enjoyed our two-part series. And, if you need additional ideas and thinking, please check out the Funds2Orgs resources.
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