Running a nonprofit isn’t an easy task, and one of the most difficult related aspects is raising money. While securing grants can go a long way in keeping the wheels turning, raising money from the public is essential if an organization hopes to do good work. Substantial portions of grant money are needed to afford marketing, fundraising software and just keeping the lights on. Fortunately, there are a variety of great fundraising ideas that can help bring in much-needed funding.
One of the most successful ways that nonprofits raise money is through charity auctions. In a typical auction atmosphere, people are hoping to pay as little as possible for what they’re bidding on. In a charity auction, items typically go for far more than their face value. Anyone trying to sell an item on “Pawn Stars” that they bought at charity auctions learns this the hard way.
Fortunately, most attendees understand this and are happy to pay more. The best part is that many local businesses will be ready to donate items just to have their name on the program or be linked to the charity. Soliciting nearby companies usually results in more than enough items for the event.
One-Day Email Blitz
It’s important for your organization to send emails throughout the year, but one-day email blitzes can do great things. Pick a single day that is important to the group (i.e. Children’s Day for nonprofits focused on child abuse victims) and send out a series of emails that include emotional stories and a sense of urgency.
This fundraising tactic is great in that it gets people’s attention and doesn’t require setting up huge events. Additionally, it reaches out to people who have already donated before, and these individuals are far more likely to do so again. Finally, the online nature of the blitz allows you to take donations easily through your fundraising software.
Host an Annual Campaign
While it’s great to host events throughout the year, every nonprofit should also have at least one annual campaign that people can get behind. This will allow your organization to create a repeat presence in the community that people recognize. This campaign can be a physical event, such as a “Summer for the Troops” campaign, or simply a yearly charity drive where marketing is kicked up for a single week. Make sure your event has a recognizable name that people will immediately remember when the time comes.
Create Special Events
While charity auctions and annual campaigns are certainly special events, many nonprofits do quite well by thinking outside of the box and coming up with unique events. The sky’s the limit when it comes to special event ideas, but here are just a few that organizations have done well with in the past:
- Scavenger hunts
- Mystery dinners
- Cooking competitions
- Haunted houses
- Carnivals and fairs
- Charity galas
Board members should appoint a team to come up with a great idea and implement it (read: Board Guide). Depending on the size of the organization and event, a small group from the nonprofit could pull the entire thing together. For larger charities, it might be smart to appoint a group towards marketing, planning, purchasing and any other necessity.
Find a Matching Donor
If possible, you should try to find a matching donor for every fundraiser you create. This will add an additional marketing point, and people will be far more likely to donate if they know their money is going twice as far. While this may not be possible in every situation, it’s certainly worth a try.
It’s important to remember that the success of a fundraising idea can depend on a variety of factors. Anything from locale to organizational focus can make or break a fundraiser, and what might work for one nonprofit group may not work for another. Focus on the idea that’s best for your company, and never be afraid to think outside of the box.
More Fundraising Ideas to Help Your Nonprofit
- Easy Fundraising Ideas that Get Results
- Developing New Fundraising Ideas During Challenging Times
- Quick Fundraising Ideas to Boost Your Bottom Line
- 5 Unique Fundraising Ideas for Your Nonprofit
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