Getting personal for fundraising success
October 21, 2021
According to a recent survey conducted by fundraising platform FrontStream, the vast majority (87%) of Americans say they’re donating to charity in 2021. And almost 20% claim they’re giving more this year than they did in 2020. However, remaining uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the economy is making fundraising challenging for many not-for-profits right now.
Social media and mobile apps have made asking for donations easier in some ways. However, one of the most effective strategies for raising money remains the personal appeal. Donors consistently are more likely to give if the request comes from a friend, colleague or family member who’s committed to your mission. Use this fact to put your nonprofit on stronger financial footing.
Board members are usually best
All of your organization’s stakeholders can promote your nonprofit and request support from their contacts. But development staffers aside, board members generally make the most effective fundraisers because they’re knowledgeable about your organization, passionate about your mission and typically have a wide range of contacts in business and philanthropic circles.
You can support their efforts by making sure they have the proper information and training. Consider equipping them with a wish list of specific items or services your nonprofit needs. Keep in mind that not all of their friends or family members may be in a position to make a monetary donation. However, some people may be able to contribute goods (such as auction items) or in-kind services (such as website maintenance).
When making a personal appeal to prospective donors, your board members should, when possible, meet in person. Letters and email can save time, but face-to-face appeals are more effective. This is especially true if your nonprofit offers donors something in exchange for their attention. For instance, they’re more likely to be swayed at an informal coffee hour or cocktail gathering (contingent, of course, on local COVID-19 threats and restrictions).
It’s also important for board members to humanize your cause. Say that your nonprofit raises money for cancer treatment. If board members have been affected by the disease, they might want to relate their personal experiences as a means of illustrating why they support your organization’s work.
Even when appealing to potential donors’ philanthropic instincts, it’s critical to mention other possible benefits. For example, if your nonprofit is trying to encourage business owners to buy ad space in your newsletter, board members could explain that your supporters are a desirable demographic, both in terms of spending power and an eagerness to “buy local.”
Work every channel
Although personal appeals are extremely effective, don’t dismiss any fundraising technique — particularly if it’s low- or no-cost and is easy to use, such as social media. The most successful nonprofits work every available channel to increase interest and donations. Contact us to discuss your fundraising challenges and goals.