- Thu, August 11 2011
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
The new book, Nonprofit Management 101, is a super useful soup-to-nuts guide to running a nonprofit. (Full disclosure: My colleague Rebecca Higman and I wrote a chapter on online fundraising.)
The book’s editor, Darian Heyman, has been kind enough to share ten fundraising tips from the book. Here are the first two. To get the full list - at no cost - go here! (See the bottom right corner of the website page.) Enjoy.
We combed through the hundreds of tips and takeaways featured in Nonprofit Management 101 and pulled out ten gems that will revolutionize your ability to bring more money in the door without adding additional, daunting responsibilities to your schedule. We hope you enjoy these Top Ten Fundraising Tips. If you find any of these helpful, be sure to check out Nonprofits101.org and follow us on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/454t888 so you can be the first to hear from us when new whitepapers are released, and to learn about more helpful tips and resources.
1. How to get your board more involved in fundraising:
Stage a Board Member Thank-a-Thon. Tons of nonprofits experience frustration with getting their boards to fundraise; in fact, it’s the second biggest reasons why E.D.s leave their post according to CompassPoint’s “Daring to Lead” study. Any easy way to give board members a chance to dip their toes in the waters of donor engagement is staging a thank-athon. The key is to make it easy for board members to participate, and to help them understand that fundraising is much more than making an ask. By inviting your board members to come together one evening or weekend to call and thank recent donors, they will get exposure interacting with donors and will leave feeling empowered and connected to your organization’s work. This will also help to improve relationships with your donors, who will be delighted to receive a thank you call without an attached ask. (Read more from Bob Zimmerman in Chapter 31, “Getting Your Board to Fundraise.”
2. How to increase your chances of getting a grant:
Never Apply for a Grant Without Contacting the Foundation First. As much as you might want to believe that grants are awarded simply due to the fit of the program and the excellence of the application, it simply isn’t true. In fact in our experience the odds of getting a grant that you send in without contacting the foundation are about 5-10%. Just as in individual (and all!) fundraising, developing relationships is critical. There are people at these foundations, called program officers, who are directly responsible for deciding who gets money and who doesn’t. They care deeply about the work they are funding, and consider it an advantage to be able to scope out potential grantees. In person meetings with program officers are ideal, but even a short phone call with a grant manager or administrator can still yield the basic information you need, as well as getting your name in the mind of someone at the foundation. Sometimes these initial conversations can save you valuable time in applying for a grant program that was not a fit—always do your homework on their funding goals ahead of time! But often, they are valuable knowledge gathering sessions: use the call or meeting to identify their key priorities and desired language, which many times cannot be found on their website; figure out which of your programs or initiatives is the best fit, and determine how much money you should request. Finally, go out on a limb and ask if they would be willing to preview your LOI (Letter of Intent) or proposal before your official submission. This will give them a sense of ownership over your request and provide you with valuable feedback. Start today by calling the offices of your top foundation prospect and seeing if you can get on a relevant program officer’s schedule. Read more from Tori O’Neal-McElrath in Chapter 20, “How to Seek a Grant.”