The Million Dollar Fundraising Idea that Works for Every Non-Profit

There are lots of different ways to raise money for your non-profit. Most strong development programs use a mix of fundraising methods to find, cultivate, and solicit donors. These strategies may include personal cultivation, online fundraising, direct mail, fundraising events, and more.

Likewise, every non-profit is different. Some organizations have a large fundraising staff, others have none. Some non-profits have board members who have large, high net worth networks, others have boards made up of volunteers who have never raised money before.

No matter what fundraising strategies you use at your organization, or what type of non-profit you are working for, there’s one million dollar fundraising idea that will catapult your revenue more than any other single strategy…

Get out and ask donors for money face to face.

WAIT! Before you say, “Great, got it Joe… we do that already…” and then click off to another site, stay with me for a minute.

Because almost every non-profit I have ever worked with that says they are already doing face to face meetings with donors was doing it WRONG. How do you know if your non-profit is doing it wrong? Just ask yourself if you’ve ever heard anyone at your organization say one of the following statements:

“We go out and meet with donors… but only our major donors.”

This is something I hear all of the time. If you’re only doing face to face meetings with your major donors, you’re missing out on a significant amount of revenue.

Now, I know that your resources are probably scarce, and that you don’t have lots of time to do meetings asking for $25 or $50. But if you aren’t meeting with your mid-level donors, they’ll never become major donors. You do want more major donors for your organization, don’t you? If so, you’ve got to ask your mid-level donors to upgrade, and the best way to do that is face to face.

“We mostly use fundraising events, letters, and online campaigns to raise money. We only meet with our donors when we’re working on individual solicitation.”

Making in person asks of your donors is important for individual solicitation and cultivation, but did you know it’s equally important for fundraising events, letters, and even crowdfunding? It’s true – the donors who are currently sponsoring your events for $1,000 could be doing $5,000 sponsorships… if you sat down with them and asked them to do so, instead of just sending a renewal letter each year.

Likewise, that donor who gave $100 to your crowdfunding campaign last year might give $500 this year, plus send out personalized e-mails to all of her friends asking them to donate, if you stopped by her office one morning and asked her for an upgrade and some help spreading the word.

In-person meetings and face to face asks work for almost every tactic in your fundraising arsenal.

“We spend lots of time meeting with our donors in person… but most of our asks are done with letters.”

Face to face meetings are great for cultivation and relationship-building… but if you’re only meeting with your donors to cultivate them, and then relying on letters (or even phone calls) to make your asks, your leaving money on the table. There’s no better way to make an ask then by sitting down with a donor face to face.

If you’re doing asks through letters but never in person, chances are it’s because your nervous about making face to face asks. There’s no need to be – read our short guide How to Ask Anyone for Anything and then practice, practice, practice!

Photo Credit: Frankieleon