As you are managing your donor relationships and direct appeals, and all of the other important work in maintaining a successful pace in your fundraising efforts, identifying key strategies to grow your fund development department is critical. Here are some “Tips and Tricks” that can help you increase your capacity and raise more money for your non-profit! Thanks to B. Michael McFarland and Jim McBride who helped in the creation of these tips.
- Plan your work and work your plan – Take the time to create a development plan: create the first draft; share with staff for input; have your development committee review; and forward to Board for approval.
- Clearly communicate to Board members what the non-profit is expecting of them (“what we’re counting on you for”), such as annual Board member pledge, major donor prospect names/gifts, sponsorships, sell/buy event tickets, volunteer at events, etc.
- Conduct a Donor Retention Analysis year-over-year; create a campaign to win back lapsed donors; can be as simple as who didn’t donate last year who donated the year before at $XX+ level, then make them your top prospects.
- Segment donors to create custom/tailored appeals: Top 20 or 50 donors – include number of years donating, original donation date, last gift amount, etc. Segment others by program area of interest, or geography, or lapsed donors, or professional sector, etc.
- Do ONE event annually and do it well.
- Volunteer on a grant-making committee; you will be better at writing grants once you participate in the review of grants.
- Create a Planned Giving Prospects List: if you have a database that allows you to pull a report on lifetime number of gifts, use that report and sort from most to least number of gifts (that’s your prospect list for soliciting planned gifts; the number of gifts an individual has made to your organization is a good indicator of their likelihood of making a planned gift).
- The IRS requires you send a ‘thank you’ for any gift over $250 – send one for EVERY single gift you receive, regardless of amount.
- TechSoup provides discounted software and hardware for qualified non-profits. A fantastic resource!
- Read “Fundraising for Social Change” by Kim Klein.
If you are interested in taking a deeper look at your fundraising capacity, please contact me about my planning services.