Top 7 No-Fail Fundraising Tips
By Lisa Merritt
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Non-profit organizations need funding for a variety of reasons, from hosting an event to providing services to paying staff salaries, just like their for-profit counterparts. The bigger organizations can afford to employ a Director of Development and fundraising staff, but what about the grassroots guys? Usually, their President wears all of the hats, often relying on volunteers to fill in the gaps. And fundraising is often the least favorite role. Here are my top seven tips for raising funds quickly and painlessly.
- Hire a freelance grant writer. Ok, I have to admit that I am a freelance grant writer, but ask any of my clients– I’ve more than earned my keep. And you can find a good freelancer wherever your organization is located who can keep the grants flowing so you can focus on other things. It may seem like an expense that you can’t afford at first, but when you factor in all of the time spent seeking grant opportunities, keeping track of deadlines, filling out applications and reports, and doing budgets, you’ll find that a freelancer should pay for herself many times over.
- Write an organization newsletter. In the electronic age, this can be an e-newsletter, costing you nothing to send and capturing those all-important email addresses. A printed newsletter is a great benefit in a membership campaign, too – you can mail these out and get extras to hand out at events. Think marketing - your organization, your needs, who you serve, why your services are necessary - when writing your content.
- Gather every email address you can. Make sure that you have email address spaces on your sign-up sheets, applications, payment forms, everywhere you can think of that applies to your organization. Then turn those addresses into money by sending e-notices of performances, requests for donations, newsletters, emergency appeals – all with no printing or mailing costs.
- Send a reply envelope. Always include a reply envelope with every correspondence. It is relatively cheap to print bulk amounts of these envelopes, and they greatly increase the amount of donations sent in. Also keep a big supply of these on hand at events.
- Use the media. Send in announcements of anything and everything to the local newspaper, radio show, even magazines specific to your field. Your local newspaper will print calendar notices if sent in by their deadlines, and may print announcements such as new address, personnel changes, honors, volunteer spotlights – anything that gets your organization a blurb with contact information is great!
- Website, website, website. You do have a website don’t you? Your organization can take donations directly through your website, even if they are other people’s products. You can sell tickets over your website. You can sell products over your website. Make sure it looks professional, submit it to search engines, then send out an announcement to the media about your new website.
- Write an article! Submitting articles to ezines is a free, fast way to get the word out about your organization and direct traffic to your website, where you can collect donations, sell products and tickets, and sign up new members.
Lisa Merritt is president of Pegasus Consulting Group, Inc., a full-service grant writing company, and author of Simply: Grant Writing. Please visit her website, [http://www.pegasuswriter.com/ebooks.html], for more information or to purchase Simply: Grant Writing in electronic format to get started grant writing today. She is also completing her first fiction novel.
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Article Submitted On: November 06, 2006