Tip 44: Fund Raising Ideas That Work

14 Aug 2017 5:16 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

Summer is quickly coming to a close. As we move toward the fall, it feels like a "new year." This tip is all about new ideas to spice up your fundraising. Some of them are BIG ideas—don't dismiss them out of hand. Don’t miss the links to additional resources. The Chronicles of Philanthropy recently released a three article topic covering these ideas in depth. For those with a subscription, read the full articles here. There’s a lot to unpack, but well worth the read. We’re hitting the highlights below.

15 Fundraising Ideas That Work

  1. Cultivating Major Donors? Just Add Data. Use predictive-analytics software, to harness the power of data in much the same way that large hospitals and colleges do. Check out this resouce link.
  2. When the Ticket Price Is Right. Consider dynamic pricing to set ticket rates based on demand. Dynamic pricing can help increase both attendance and revenue. The Museum of Photographic Arts calls it Pay As You Wish. See how they did it.
  3. Fundraising Meets Virtual Reality. Consider how you might use virtual reality to help donors visualize your concept. Watch Unicef use vr in fundraising. 

    Watch the Video

  4. How a Match for Planned Gifts Paid Off. To bring estate donations to light, the union of Concerned Scientists established a $5,000 matching donation through a major donor. Estate donations went from 40 to 228 in one year. How can you establish a Giving Council? and Suggestions from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  5. Win Big With Smaller Fundraiser Portfolios. You may benefit by looking at the quality not the quantity of your donors. Fundraisers can manage their time better and focus on donors who can make a big campaign gift. Trust that spending time building relationships with fewer donors will pay off in the long run. Read this major study: Major and Planned Giving Productivity Issyes Reported by Today's Gift Officers.
  6. Make Food the Star of Your Event. People love food. Use a food theme to decorate and promote your event. Instead of giving a fundraiser, have an ice-cream social! 5 Ideas that Combine Fun, Food and Fundraising.
  7. Check-the-Box Planned Giving. Loyal annual donors are the most apt to make a planned gift at some point in their future, so offer that messaging in your regular annual-giving marketing. Add a check box for donors who want more information about including giving to your organization in their wills or estate plans.
  8. The Phone-athon of the Future?. Relay is selling to the charity world a key weapon from the Sanders campaign — the personalized-texting system it used to mobilize armies of young voters. Setup a Textathon! Using Relay software, upload donors phone numbers and data to laptops. With a few clicks, volunteers and staff can send a prewritten message to donors, one at a time, tweak the text to personalize it.
  9. Metrics for All! Performance by the Numbers. How can every staffer contribute to your broader fundraising effort? Can you set clear expectations for ways everyone can have an impact?
  10. Map Out a Year’s Worth of Gift Requests. Start building your calendars about a month and a half before the start of the new fiscal year, using donor history as a guide for when loyal backers might give. Schedule solicitations for new prospective donors toward the start of the fiscal year so they can adjust if the person declines to give. Engage board members help build and execute the plan. For instance, a board member may make introductions to new donors or supporters who have lapsed.
  11. Memes, GIFs, and Crowdsourcing Creativity. How can you tap your volunteers, members or donors in crowdsourced creativity to promote your cause? Challenge them to create a virtual flood of internet memes, GIFs, videos, and graphics — to promote authentic messages that inspire.
  12. Dinner at Mr. Jefferson’s: A Fundraising Success. Hold a Jeffersonian dinner. This approach was pioneered by Jeffrey Walker and Jennifer McCrea, who describe it in their book The Generosity Network

    Watch the Video

  13. A New Way to Hunt #MajorDonors. Do you have a digital-gifts officer? Rather than racking up airline miles to meet with prospects, these fundraisers court midlevel donors via phone, text, and email, hoping to move them into four- and five-digit territory.
  14. Millennials to the Rescue Consdier forming a council of young professionals to spearheads outreach to twenty- and thirtysomethings. Some do's and don'ts: dedicate staff to the group, formalize recruiting, don’t fashion the group as a junior board, embrace ideas for change — even when you have doubts.
  15. Try Experiments, Not Events Form an experimentation team — a few staff and board members as well as some donors and alumni — get together to study the organization’s fundraising data and come up with an idea to test every month or every quarter. Failure can teach as much as success.
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