The importance of diversifying your fundraising efforts

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Alright nonprofits: This one’s for you.

You’ve probably heard the expression “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Well, there’s more than one way to fundraise, too. Oftentimes, due to lack of time, resources, or knowledge, nonprofits will put all of their metaphorical eggs in one basket. This might be one big campaign, one event, or one appeal. But fundraising is more than just “the big stuff.”

Fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember: Your interactions with contacts now could be what turns them into donors a year from now. Don’t write people off just because they don’t donate right away. Raising money is about connections, growth and partnerships. One big event might make you a ton of money, and you might say that’s all you need for the year. But if the same people are coming to your event year after year, you’re not reaching anyone new. And eventually, you’re going to need a new pool of donors.

Remember: Your interactions with contacts now could be what turns them into donors a year from now. Don’t write people off just because they don’t donate right away.

Here are some tips to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your fundraising efforts:

  • Think big — but think small, too. You know those little fundraisers that don’t raise a lot of money? Restaurant nights are a great example. They might not bring in thousands, but they’re a great way to gain visibility for your nonprofit. That visibility is what will get you donors in the long run.
  • Don’t be afraid to use social media. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten donors through Instagram rather than the nonprofit’s website. Social media is a huge way to fundraise right now — don’t write it off just because you might not be used to it. People love giving and they love being on social media. Take advantage of that!
  • Make connections. Like I said, fundraising is a marathon. Those coffee meetings and networking events might not seem like ways to raise money right now, but believe me, they will be worth it in the long run. Relationship-building is a major part of fundraising. Yes, it takes time. But it’s well worth the wait.
  • Try different things. Just because you’re holding an event this year doesn’t mean you can’t put out a mailer, too. Obviously you don’t want to hold your event and send out your unrelated mail campaign at the same time. But with enough space between, it’s perfectly fine (and smart!) to do both. Don’t let people forget about you between one annual event and the next.
  • Be creative! Giveaways, raffles, and auctions don’t have to be connected to an event. They are great ways to get the community engaged and raise some money at the same time. No, they might not be a HUGE money-maker, but the funds plus the exposure make it worth the effort.

There are so many ways to raise money for your organization. The worst thing you can do is try something once, have it not work out, and never try a new method again. Keep trying. See what works for your nonprofit. Each organization (and its donors!) are different.

Need help? Give us a shout.

Elaina Lyons is the founder/owner of Lyons Share Marketing, LLC. Get in touch with her here.

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