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4 “Secret” Fundraising Strategies You’ll Wish You Learned Years Ago

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Do you ever wonder why big nonprofits are big?

Is it luck? Longevity? A mega-donor or two?

Those things are great, but they aren’t the whole secret.

The difference is strategy.

Here’s the first surprise about that: the strategies that make the biggest difference are surprisingly consistent.

The second surprise: The surprises are not difficult to put to work. You don’t have to have a huge budget, specialised staff, or advanced learning.

Any nonprofit of any size can do it and start reaping the rewards right away. That includes you.

That’s why I wrote the eBook, 4 Little-Known Strategies The World’s Top Charities Use To Smash Their Fundraising Targets And Skyrocket Their Donor Value.

Big picture, this eBook is about just one strategy, with four facets. It’s the reasons some nonprofits seem to zoom to new heights right away, while others can’t seem to get off the ground.

The big picture strategy is this: Success comes not from finding new donors, but from capitalising on the donors you have.

Here are the four donor-maximising strategies I’m talking about: 

1.  Donations Follow Connection

For a donor to make a donation, big or small, they need to feel a sense of connection — first with the cause, then with the difference they’ll make, and last with your organisation. Without that connection, there’s no reason for a donor to donate.

So, if you want to raise more funds, you need to focus on creating that sense of connection with every donor and would-be donor. Whenever you connect with a donor – whether it’s through direct mail, email, a phone call, or a face-to-face interaction – your goal should be to emotionally connect them with your mission. Because if you succeed in building the connection, you’ll succeed in getting the donation as a result.

Here are some things that foster connection with donors:

  • Make your fundraising about what the donor can do. Not what you will do when they give.
  • Tell stories. Stories are by far the best way to reach and motivate your donors.
  • Be thankful. Thank them quickly, with passion, and often!
  • Keep showing your donors the difference their giving makes.

Do these things, and you’ll see revenue increase, as donors give more often, stay with you longer, and increase their giving. Most fundraisers don’t do this. And their results show it.

2. Messaging is about action 

Here’s the secret all fundraisers need to know: Donors give to make things happen, not to support charities.

A lot of fundraising basically goes to donors and says, “Give us money, and we’ll do something cool with it.”

They put the donor in a support role. The organisation is the star. 

Donors are walking away from “support us” nonprofits in growing numbers. They’re choosing organisations that show them the difference they can make by giving. They say, “Do something cool by giving money!”

It doesn’t cost a single penny more to shift your messaging to this orientation. But it rockets your results to new levels.

3. Fundraising is a two-way relationship

Suppose your spouse, partner or best friend always asked you do to stuff for them. And never thanked you. And never did anything for you. 

That relationship would come to a quick and sad end!

That’s exactly what a lot of nonprofits do. They ask. Then they ask again. Then they ask yet again.

Guess what happens. Pretty much the same thing that happens if you behave this way in your personal life. The relationship ends. Except with donors, there are no confrontations, no fights, no divorce proceedings. They just disappear. They give elsewhere.

Asking is important. But the other side of the relationship is equally important – maybe

even more important. You’ve got to talk back to them to let them know two things:

1. You appreciate them.

2. Their generosity really makes a difference.

That’s how you go from being an unsatisfying source of transactions to a source of for donors. It’s also how you go from scrabbling and scratching for every dollar to having donors who love to give to you and respond often.

4. A goal for every donor

A lot of organizations think of fundraising as a series of campaigns. They try to get donors to give. Then they try again. Around and around they go – asking, then asking, then asking.

That’ll get you some revenue. But you don’t rise to new levels.

You need to see one-off donations as just a first step. The real money comes from having three upward paths for your donors and encouraging them to follow them. The paths are:

  1. Regular (monthly or recurring) giving. The value of a recurring donor is much higher. Not only because they’re giving 12 times a year rather than once or twice, but because they stay with you over time.
  2. Legacy (planned) giving. Having your organisation named in someone’s will is a huge financial windfall. You should be cultivating those donors who might consider remembering you that way — which means treat your older donors like royalty! It can take a long time (often years) to get the revenue.  But it can be huge — like transform-your-ability-to-change-the-world huge!
  3. Mid-value and major giving. Some donors who are giving you a few smallish gifts every year have the capacity to give more. Your job is to find them. One of the best ways is to watch their giving patterns, and then to “spend smart” on those who do. That means send them more elaborate, attention-grabbing (and expensive) direct mail. It also means thanking them well. That’s how you turn some of those under-$100 donors into over-$500 donors. And some of those over-$500 donors will increase to $1,000, $10,000, even $100,000, and up.

Not all your donors are going to take these upward paths. Many — probably most — will stay as now-and-then relatively low-dollar donors. And that’s okay. Those folks are great, and you need them too.

Those are the Four Strategies that help nonprofits move from where they are to where they should be. 

Want more details and pointers? Download your FREE copy of 4 Little-Known Strategies The World’s Top Charities Use To Smash Their Fundraising Targets And Skyrocket Their Donor Value. This transformative guide takes just a few minutes to read. But it will give you the framework that will turn your fundraising from an endless cycle with limited revenue to an amazing journey with donors to change the world!

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