10 fundraising strategies for troubled times

For many nonprofits, fundraising results are down. That’s scary.

But there are some smart things you can to that will help you in hard times. Check out this excellent post at Clairification: Top 10 Strategies to Navigate the Current Cloudy Nonprofit Landscape. Some great things you can do right now:

  1. Invest in Strategies to Retain More Donors. In hard times, it’s even harder to get new donors. That means you need to work extra hard to hold on to the donors you already have. Do everything in your power to be your donors’ favorite cause: The one that speaks to them with relevance and respect, the one that thanks them quickly and emotionally, the one that makes it clear their giving makes a difference. When you do those things, donor retention goes way up. And a retained donor is more valuable than a new donor.
  2. Ask for a Larger Gift. Donors want to make a difference. Ask them to do more. Not all of them can or will, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Really!
  3. Ask for a Monthly Gift. Now is the time to really push for monthly donors. Some donors will say yes … if you ask them and give them good reasons to do so. And the jump in value-per-donor for monthly donors goes through the roof.
  4. Ask for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds. Find out who has DAFs and then do your best to connect with them through that giving channel. The average gift is much higher.
  5. Ask for Engagement in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. Give them more to do than just send you money. Those who succeed at this can be real super-advocates.
  6. Ask for Matching Gifts. Go to your mid-level and major donors and ask them to give to create matching funds. Then go to the rest of your donors with powerful match appeals. Both groups respond well to this offer!
  7. Suggest Gifts of Stock. While most donors won’t do this, it’s a great tool for those who do. It can help them and boost your revenue.
  8. Ask for Legacy Gifts. Bequests to charities are a huge source of revenue. But they rarely happen unless you ask donors to consider it.
  9. Test, Test, Test! Your sense of what should work is miles away from perfect. Don’t make stuff up. Find out what really works … by testing, or if you don’t have the quantity for valid tests, ask around and find out what those who do test know.
  10. Treat Donors Respectfully. If you don’t treat your donors with love and respect, they’ll leave. It’s very simple. Your attitude about them shines through, even if you’re trying to hide it.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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