As we embark on this year’s holiday season, usually a fundraiser’s best time of year, it can be tempting to stick your head in the sand and try to save money by just waiting out the economy. To the contrary, now is not the time to turn our heads on fundraising, but rather for us to be smarter about how we spend our money to raise money. There are some fairly inexpensive things you can do right now to make a huge investment in your fundraising function and generate new revenue. Here are just a few ways that you could invest $2,000 or less and realize many times that in financial return:
- Create an e-communications tool. There are several very inexpensive options online that will allow you to send e-newsletters, evites to events, and surveys to your donors, and even ask them for money. Online communication is such an inexpensive way to communicate with and further invest your donors and future donors in your organization. It saves you money and staff time, and people give larger gifts online.
- Conduct a half- or full-day fundraising training for your board. Your board of directors can be key fundraisers for you. Each of them has a network that they can tap into. However, often they don’t have the tools or confidence to know how to tap into that network. By bringing them together, providing the tools, background and skills they need, and being specific about what you want them to do, you can realize huge dividends.
- Send an additional gift letter to your top donors. Often nonprofits sequester their best donors as soon as they’ve given their annual gift. Nonprofits hide them away, fearing that somehow they will irritate the donor if they ask for another gift before the clock runs out on their first one. However, often this is not the case. The public broadcasting system has generated huge amounts of money through their ad gift programs for decades. Pick out 10-20% of your best donors, create a compelling ask and make the argument for how their additional investment will allow your organization to do even more and create even more impact in the community. You’ll be surprised at the results.
- Sign up with Kimbia. Kimbia is an online fundraising tool that takes 5% of the funds your raise through their online widget. You put the widget on your website, encourage others to put it on their blogs and websites and watch the money come in. If you don’t make anything, you don’t owe anything. It’s a no-risk way to get into online fundraising if you’re not there yet, or to boost your online fundraising if you already are there.
- Conduct a fundraising assessment. Have an outside expert analyze your fundraising function: the areas you currently generate revenue, the costs to generate that revenue, the internal processes you employ, your staffing structure, the technology you use, the methods, the messaging, etc. They will then create a list of improvements to all of the above that will allow you to generate more revenue, less expensively.
I would guess that any one of these investments of $2,000 or less would generate anywhere from 3 to 15 or more times that amount of revenue over the course of the next year. That’s a net revenue gain of $4,000 to $28,000 or more. And many of these ideas would continue to generate revenue for years after that. That’s a great ROI. One that a poor economy can’t make you ignore.