7 Rules for Successful Fundraising

By November 1, 2015 No Comments

While working on various fundraising projects I’ve gotten a lot of input from professionals and read a lot of what makes for successful fundraising. One of the most successful fundraisers in Phoenix is Barrow’s Neurological Institute. They hit on all 7 of these rules and it’s literally paid off for them for years. Here are the 7 rules of fundraising success.

  1. Know Your Donors: As with any good marketing campaign, you need to know who you’re talking to.
  2. Educate Your Donors: Education builds trust. The more people trust you, the more they’ll trust you with their donation.
  3. Help Donors Find Personal Fulfillment: People want to make a difference. Make it easy to find personal fulfillment by supporting your cause.
  4. Build Trust in Donor Relationships: Can there be honesty in marketing? Yes! But do the people you are asking to donate believe it? A recent national poll showed that 53% of Americans say they sense a “feeling of deception” to the outreach marketing conducted by nonprofits. Be honest in all you do.
  5. Respect Your Donors: Show donors you care through actions and personal communications.
  6. Focus on Current Supporters: It costs 5x as much to raise a donation from a new donor than from an existing one. Keep regular contact with your current donors. And learn how to “growth hack”. Growth hacking is how businesses turn their customers’ customers into customers. The same can be done by researching your corporate donors as well and individual donor’s circle of influence and contacts.
  7. Make Giving Fun: Your marketing is outlined by a serious and specific marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while raising money. Your organization needs to do something different to get the attention of donors. Nothing gets people’s attention better than a little fun!

Here are a few examples of ideas that have worked with various organizations and individuals to increase their donations:

  • Auctions: Gather people to bid on art, jewelry, cars, antiques, baskets of food–almost anything. Have an old-fashioned down-home affair, or break out the black ties and tails. People love going to auctions, and companies love giving away merchandise and services to sell at auctions because they also get the benefit of doing a little fusion marketing with your organization.
  • Long-Distance Marathons: You can add “A-Thon” to just about any event and make it more fun and raise funds. Serious athletes and amateurs alike love raising support from sponsors in honor of your cause. Marathons also make excellent public relations events.
  • Pledge Drives: Have a special event where people can sign up to support your organization. Host a formal dinner at a resort and make the case for your organization. Or send people out with saddle bags asking potential donors to pledge to give. One side of the bag has blank donor cards, and the other side will fill up with completed pledge cards in no time.
  • Questions for a Buck: One company raised money by having their boss charge donations for each question asked of him. Since he was constantly being asked questions, this made perfect sense. Word spread throughout the company about what he was doing, and everyone continued asking questions and paying for it.

You don’t want the cornerstone of your donations to hinge on fun events, but it certainly adds flavor and spice while attracting donations. Make sure you include these ideas in your marketing plan and calendar. You can also evaluate and analyze them later for their effectiveness.

Follow these 7 rules to engage in marketing that will amaze the public and motivate your donors.

J. Todd Rash

Author J. Todd Rash

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