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Simple Fund Development Activities that Support Stability
At its heart, fundraising is an inherently uncertain endeavor impacted by external factors like the economic, political, and societal landscape that an organization exists within. The emergence of the pandemic in 2020 and its continued impact on society has been a stark reminder of how unexpected events can threaten organizational sustainability even when nonprofits are needed more than ever. Building a diverse network of supporters and income sources is a key component in your organization’s ability to navigate challenging situations.
Here are a few simple and economical ideas that support stability in fund development:
Use what you have: Did you know that you, your team, and your board all have a resource that can be creatively used for outreach and fundraising? You may even be using it right now to read this post–
your cell phone.
- Encourage your team to use their phones as fundraising tools that can document the story of your organization and share the impact of your work via social media to attract new donors and show current donors your organization in a new light.
- Creating content to expand your reach doesn’t require a professional team. Cell phones are also sophisticated camera and video tools that make it easy for your team to create engaging content that showcases your organization and compels people to give.
- Live streaming can seem scary, but it enables connectivity and facilitates community building to increase funding options. As event formats evolve, organizations that embrace virtual experiences like live streaming will be able to maximize the organic reach of social media to build a solid base of supporters and host live fundraising events.
Try it: At your next meeting, brainstorm ways that your phones can be fundraising tools such as taking pictures to build a repository of images to use in marketing outreach and grants applications that will elevate your organization’s fundraising campaigns. Also, try experimenting with creating video content such as donor thank you videos, live streaming events, behind-the-scenes access, and sharing video appeals which are all effective ways to use cell phones as tools for fund development activities.
Keep it simple: Think of the last time you purchased something. Perhaps you were offered the option to do good with your purchase by rounding up or adding a donation to benefit a nonprofit organization. Point of sale cause marketing programs like Amazon Smile allows nonprofits to benefit from an activity that people are already doing. These programs are a win for 81% of shoppers that do not mind giving in this way. For nonprofits, the programs are easy to join and require minimal monitoring. Just make sure that your stakeholders know of your involvement so that they can participate.
Try it: These programs are not limited to partnerships with big brands. Consider potential partners that are already in your network that would be willing to collaborate with your organization to create a simple point of sale campaign. For example, partnering with a local coffee shop to offer customers the option to round up all purchases to benefit your organization. Many businesses have philanthropic goals that they want to achieve so this helps them too.
Small details with big impact: How many emails do you send a day? How about your team, board, and volunteers? Each email has free marketing available in the email signature space which can link directly to information about donating to your organization. Having branded email signatures also brings a level of professionalism and cohesiveness to communications that should be illustrated throughout all outreach activities.
Try it: Create a standardized email signature for your team members, board members, and volunteers to remind their networks that they are proud supporters of your organization. It is also an endorsement from supporters to build trust and credibility with their networks which is essential in successful fundraising. Be sure to include your logo and links. Already have email signatures for your organization? Get creative with other materials that your stakeholders can use to promote your organization as brand advocates. For example, creating branded social media image frames for specific fundraising initiatives such as Annual Day of Giving campaigns or special events that your stakeholders can use to help increase your campaign reach and success.
Expanding your donor base to support stability does not have to be complicated or expensive. We encourage you to use these ideas as inspiration to explore different ways that your organization can create a resilient and diversified fund development plan.