5 Fundraising Ideas for Not For Profits

March 27, 2014

Across the country, a bundle in inherited or earned family money is set to move from one generation to the next by the middle of the century. Boston College researchers estimate that up to $3.9 trillion could be transferred in the Greater Boston area alone before 2061. More than $1 trillion of that could be given to charitable and not-for-profit organizations. Harnessing the potential wealth to support operations and programming for your organization requires fresh ideas, a passion for your mission and innovative strategies that will give you an edge in 2014 and beyond. This article provides fundraising ideas for nonprofits, so read on and use them!


1. Mobilize your efforts. More than 90 percent of the planet’s inhabitants have mobile phones and more than half of them use the devices to access the Internet. Reports show Americans and Europeans spend up to two hours a day on their mobile phones. Not-for-profits seeking “cutting edge” donations know that mobile phone use is a trend they cannot ignore. Start a program in 2014 to educate your staff about how organizations are using mobile devices for storytelling and to effect social change. Tap into this technology to get your story out!


2. Aim for a dependable revenue stream. Many potential donors want to see that your organization will attempt to sustain its operation with their money, even if it is a modest amount. Philanthropists expect not-for-profits to think more like businesses than like donation recipients.What will make your organization sustainable? Start small, but think big.


3. Be a civic engagement workhorse. Connect with your audience creatively. For instance, you might use social media and mobile phone texts to crowdsource suggestions for solutions that will work in your community. Here are a few specifics to consider:

Solicit community input for your newsletter or social media updates.
Invite neighborhood “subject matter experts” who know your mission to a brown bag lunch.
Visit local schools to talk about some aspect of your organization’s work.
Become a “project” for a local business school teaching marketing, fundraising, website design – anything to get pro bono help. Then get the success story of a student working with you published in a university or other publication.
Make community members feel they are part of your team.


4. Get paid for performance. Learn about the growing social investment bond movement sweeping the country to attract investors in your cause. Just as a grant obligates an organization to achieve promised results within a set time period, this new brand of “impact investing” is looking for a measurable return on a financial deposit. Talk to one of the many consultants that are sprouting up in this arena. Spend some time learning what is working both in your mission area and outside the scope of your work.


5. Remember that content is still king. As the online and social media landscape becomes more crowded, content creators at not-for-profit organizations must adapt to meet the needs of their communities. Try to create shorter content that is more personalized and timely in relation to what is happening currently.Finally, don’t limit your content to the written word. Your organization may benefit from creating videos and photos to supplement your writing.


Do what you can to stand out from the pack.


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