I’ve worked with a lot of non-profits over the past dozen or so years. Some needed help with events, others with raising more from their board. Lots of organizations needed a development plan or a strong case for support… others needed help rapidly growing their fundraising.
In all of those years, I have noticed that there are three key tipping points for non-profits that help organizations move from surviving to thriving. Three key changes that organizations make when they are ready to really supercharge their fundraising efforts.
Here’s what non-profits do when they are ready for a fundraising breakthrough… and what your organization can do if you are ready to supercharge your fundraising.
Change #1 – Focus 80% on Individual Giving
There’s no greater fundraising tipping point for a non-profit than when it stops focusing on events, grants, and government support and starts focusing most of its resources on raising more money from individual donors.
The evidence is clear – the vast majority of fundraising revenue in Western nations is raised from individuals. Yet, so many organizations are focused on big events or grants. This is a huge mistake that causes non-profits to spin their wheels by doing too much work for too little return.
Breakthrough non-profits focus their work where the money is – individual giving. This doesn’t mean they don’t hold events or write grants… they do. But they focus most of their efforts where most of the money is… individuals.
Change #2 – Replace Your Current Prospecting Plan with a Program Focused on Referrals
How does your non-profit currently find new prospects? Do you force your board to give you names for your mailing list? Do you write letters to “big donors” in the community hoping they will give, or cold call local businesses asking for a meeting?
Smart non-profits see a massive increase in revenues when they switch from cold prospecting and begging for names to a program focused on referrals. When was the last time you asked your donors, volunteers, staff members and board members for referrals during a personal, one-on-one conversation?
Referrals are the single best source of new prospects for your non-profit.
Change #3 – Invest More in Your Development Program
I have never, ever seen a thriving, rapidly growing non-profit that penny-pinched on fundraising expenditures. I have, on the other hand, seen dozens of organizations turn the corner from surviving to thriving when they started to really invest in a strong development program.
Great fundraising is integral to your non-profit’s overall success. Are you focused on fundraising? Are you investing in fundraising? If you are like the average non-profit, chances are you are underpaying your staff, skimping on new fundraising tactics, and missing out on major opportunities. Don’t make this mistake.
To really supercharge your fundraising, you need to invest in your development program.
Photo Credit: John Fowler