What is fundraising?
In a nutshell: The act of creating relationships to raise money for your cause.
Fundraising can include:
- Appeal letters or direct mail
- Major gifts, (really big donations from individuals)
- Sponsorship of nonprofit events
- Grants from foundations or corporations
- Monthly giving (where a person gives every month to your cause)
- Fundraising events, everything from a house party to a walk-a-thon to a major gala
- Phone-a-thons, calling people on the phone to ask for money
- Marketing your cause to make people more likely to give, through e-newsletters and other ways
- Engaging volunteers and getting their corporations to donate through employee volunteer fundraising
- Planned giving, when people leave your cause something in their will
- Online fundraising, where people give donations to your cause online
- Stewardship, helping donors feel appreciated and thanked by your cause
- Cause marketing, when your nonprofit partners with a corporation to achieve their business objectives
- And more.
As you can see. there are TONS of ways to fundraise. But which ones are the best? Which ones will get you the most money, the fastest?
What works best, better than anything else, is asking someone you know, for money, face to face. It has about a 50% chance of success.
The next best way to fundraise is to ask someone you know for money, on the phone. That has about a 25% chance of success. that means you need to reach out to 4x as many people as you need to say yes.
I’ve got a list of 52 ways to fundraise. Maybe one of them will spark an idea for you.
Here’s my private archives page, with tons of free articles about fundraising, all neatly laid out by category. Working on your appeal letter? TONS of articles about that. Want to get more major gifts? There’s some articles on that too.
Why am I qualified to tell you what fundraising is?
The reason I’m qualified to answer this question is because I’ve actually co-founded a nonprofit and I want to save you the trouble that I had when I started it. I didn’t know anything about fundraising then. That was back in 2004. Now I know a lot about fundraising. I have written a book about fundraising called The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising. I’ve taught thousands of people how to fundraise through webinars and workshops. I fly all over the country to speak at conferences to teach people how to fundraise.
If you’re brand-new to fundraising, you need to school yourself in how to fundraise. Here are some of the best fundraising blogs and books.
If people don’t give to you right away, even if it’s people that you know, you need to figure out what the hesitation is. People like to be asked face to face for money. This method will give you a 50% chance of success. Don’t just email people and expect that sole strategy to work.
You may also need to start connecting with new people. Here’s an article about how to connect with people quickly, either at networking events or other places.
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Author, The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising
10+ Years Experience in Fundraising for Charity
Co-Founder of Charity, The Moon Balloon Project