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  • Writer's pictureValerie Davis

Need to Fill a Budget Gap? Tips to Raise Funds Now

During this crisis, many nonprofits are experiencing significant revenue loss due to cancelled fundraising events, uncollected fees-for-services, loss of governmental reimbursements, and delayed donations to name a few sources. It is critical to fill these gaps, and nonprofits are working hard to do this. One immediate remedy is to tap into grant funding explicitly allocated for Covid-19 crisis response. However, this grant funding is not intended for the long-term. Nonprofits must build sustainable funding.

You are not alone if your nonprofit has relied heavily on government and United Way program funding and depended on fundraising event(s) as the main source for unrestricted dollars. However, this is not a sustainable funding strategy.

A reliable and sustainable way to grow your revenues is to focus on increasing your donor base and individual contributions. According to the Giving USA 2020 Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2019, Individual donors comprised 69% of all charitable giving.

Furthermore, just three months ago, The Big Give raised a record-breaking $32 million. Doug Kridler, President & CEO of The Columbus Foundation, said “It was an 81 percent increase over the last time.”, according to an article in the September 2020 edition of Columbus CEO.

Kridler also said that people “want to be generous; they want to do something.”

Therefore, now is the time to ask. You need support, and people want to help!

Let me repeat - Don’t wait - Now is the time to:

- reach out

- ask

- generate awareness

- create a sustainable funding plan and put it into action

Five Simple Strategies

1.Tell your story

Hone your story. Use storytelling to reach new audiences and create awareness about what you do. How has Covid-19 impacted your organization and those you serve? Focus your communications on who you help and how donations are helping those you serve. Be specific, and remember that donors like to see the impact they are making.

2.Grow your donors and individual contributions

Plan how you are going to reach and secure new donors. Start with the low-hanging fruit. Send targeted messages to former event attendees and those on your event invitation list. Use your story to create your case for support: why you need their help, whom it will help, and how it will impact them. Don’t talk about the gap in your budget -most everyone has budget gaps right now. Instead, explain how their donation will help and what it means for a specific individual or group you serve (this may be a family, animal, community, etc.).

3.Conduct peer-to-peer fundraising

Using this approach means that your supporters reach out to their friends, family and colleagues to raise money for your organization. This fundraising method is sometimes overlooked, although it is commonly used in conjunction with charity runs and walks. Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective and cost-efficient way to engage your supporters and grow revenue for your nonprofit. Best practices include planning out messaging and having supporting materials prepared in advance.

4.Engage your corporate partners

Find ways to help your corporate partners tell amazing stories of how their employees give back to the community through their involvement with you. For example, post stories and pics on your website, your newsletter, and your social media accounts. Furthermore, think about ways to reach and engage their employees as volunteers or as new donors. Consider conducting lunch and learns, tours or virtual tours of your location, and promote volunteer opportunities for teams and individuals. Work with your corporate partners so that you are engaging their staff in ways that help them achieve their employee and community engagement goals.

5.Grow sponsorships that support your mission

Create new ways to work with sponsors by offering sponsorship opportunities that support your mission and provide value to your sponsors. For example, think about work that you are doing within a program and consider offering sponsorship opportunities to fund this. Benefits to the sponsor(s) would include promoting the sponsor(s) on your website, social media, and newsletters.

In conclusion, it is vital to fill the fundraising holes in your budget, and it is critical to plan for and implement sustainable funding solutions. Five simple strategies that you can implement immediately are:

1) Tell your story,

2) Grow your donors and individual contributions,

3) Conduct peer-to-peer fundraising,

4) Engage your corporate partners, and

5) Grow sponsorships that support your mission.

If you feel overwhelmed or simply do not have the time to take this on, there are experts who can assist you. I would be excited to talk with you, and my contact info is below.

Valerie Davis

Philanthropy Focus

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