Posts Tagged ‘Charity Fundraising’

5 New Ideas for Fundraising

Friday, February 15th, 2013

volunteer screening

  1. Crowdsourcing: Sites like Crowdrise have made it easy to get the word out about your cause and connect with people who might want to support it. Create a project and Crowdrise will put it out there for a vote. Firstgiving helps organizations fundraise online.
  2. Storytelling: Help donors make a good decision. People want to connect to their causes, and there’s no better way to do that than to tell your story well. Create vignettes of the people you serve and how your organization improved their lives. Feature a board member, to describe how important members of your community are involved in volunteering at the management level. Elicit an emotion from a reader, and you’re more likely to elicit a donation as well.
  3. Get reviewed: Just as on Travel Advisor or Yelp, people want to check out charities before they give. So make sure you seek reviews from community leaders, supporters and volunteers. Then, share them through GuideStar, Philanthropedia and GreatNonprofits. Watch your credibility soar!
  4. Follow up: You’ll leave donors with a great impression if you follow up with them after they give. Let them know how you used the funds, and they’ll be more likely to give in the future, and tell their friends about how great your organization is.
  5. Give the opportunity to get involved: Donors, especially younger ones, want to be part of something bigger. They don’t want to just write a check. They want experiences, even if it’s just signing a petition or sharing your Facebook page with friends.

Charitable Giving Results for First Half of 2011

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

volunteer background checkIt takes money to make money. That’s an old saying that doesn’t usually apply to non-profits, but according to a new study, it should.

The results of a survey conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that 60% of groups that spent more money on email and other internet fundraising efforts in the first half of 2011 saw a greater return in donations. But overall, only about a third of charities reporting actually increased spending on online efforts. The lesson: if you can increase your online efforts, you have a good chance of increasing your fundraising success.

Other results from the study were that participating charities were successful with a variety of fundraising methods, from seeking support from corporations and foundations, to events, direct mail and asking board members for donations. About 45% used social media and planned giving. Donors responded to every form of fundraising, with event donations up for two-thirds of the charities that produced them, and direct mail and major gifts up for 54% of the charities that invested in these methods. The lesson: Keep up the effort, no matter which form it takes.

Overall, giving was better in the first half of 2011 for nearly half (44%) of the responding groups; worse for others (30%), and unchanged for a large percentage (25%). Charities with large budgets—over $3 million—saw greater increases in giving.

Tips That Can Make Anyone A Fundraising Event Guru

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

volunteer screening, background check volunteersFundraising events for non-profits are seldom hassle-free. But they are almost always extremely important to the bottom line. With so much riding on a successful fundraiser, it makes sense to be as organized and thorough in planning as possible. Not only does it make the event easier on everyone involved, it can help bring in more much-needed funds right away, and set the stage for increasing support for your non-profit in the future.

Tips That Can Make Anyone A Fundraising Event Guru

  1. Set your objectives: know exactly what you hope to accomplish, the minimum fundraising goal that must be met and any other expectations that your board of directors or management might have.
  2. Set a budget: This can be the sink-or-swim item on your planning list. You must know what the spending limit is before you purchase a single postage stamp. Base it on previous events, and add or cut to individual line items as necessary.
  3. Start recruiting volunteers and sponsors early. This goes along with the budget—when you look at each budget item, ask yourself if there is a volunteer that can provide the service or a sponsor that can provide the product. Ask early and often. It’s a great feeling to cross a line off a budget because you managed to secure it free of charge!
  4. Start making spreadsheets. Simple Excel spreadsheets serve as checklists and planning documents. They can save your life!
  5. Select the right venue: Consider number of attendees, easy access, parking and accessibility for all. Make sure the main room won’t be too crowded, or you could see your attendees leaving long before the event is over. Get references from previous events and check up on service, food, comfort level (not too hot, not too cold) and accommodations.
  6. Reach out: Not only do you want to contact your entire list of supporters, but you want to let the general community know about your event, too. Get signs and banners made and hung around the venue and in other high-volume spots. Send press releases to the local newspaper and community blogs. Set up Facebook and Twitter accounts and make sure you update them weekly, then daily when the event draws nearer. And ask your friends and family to spread the word through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, too. It works!
  7. Get it in writing: Make sure you have the venue, caterer, speaker, auctioneer and anyone else involved in your event under signed contract. Don’t promote the event without them!
Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with background checks.

Non Profit Organizations on Twitter

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

twitter bird on volunteer screening blogWhat is Twitter? How does one tweet, or join a twibe?  Where is your town’s next tweet-up? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are the details: Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to communicate with each other in short updates, or “tweets,” of 140 characters or less. It is an online phenomenon, with over 21 million unique users in June, 2009—compared to only one million a year prior (according to The Nielsen Company). Users segment themselves into large groups, or “twibes,” by industry, interests, or any number of distinguishing features. It’s easy to find other tweeters in your line of work, or who share hobbies or an interest in the same cause—like charities. And often these folks get together to network or socialize face-to-face, at “tweet-ups.”

Studies show that more and more non profits are turning to Twitter as a way to spread their message, raise funds, and recruit volunteers. The American Cancer Society twitters. So does Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG Foundation. In fact, Lance announced the recent birth of his son via Twitter.

In Santa Barbara, CA, an executive with the local American Red Cross chapter met resistance when she suggested the group should have a Twitter presence. She was allowed to test it for two months, in the middle of which a major wild fire broke out. She was able to send out instant information about the location of the fire, evacuation plans, and locations of shelters. The number of Twitter users following the Red Cross rose quickly—and kept climbing—from under 200 to over 700.

People expect quick answers these days—and in the case of an emergency such as a wildfire, they expect an organization like the Red Cross to provide it.

Other non profit organizations with a presence on Twitter include the World Wildlife Fund, PETA, the Nature Conservancy, UNICEF, and Save The Children. The Humane Society of the United States engages their followers by asking for feedback and commentary on news items involving animal rights and animal cruelty, while The National Wildlife Federation offers energy conservation tips and facts about animals.

Twitter is an easy and effective way for non profit organizations to expand their support base, engage with their donors and meet new ones, recruit volunteers, and even raise funds as they raise awareness. Plus, there is so much information and advice out there, just for the asking. Where else can you have the ears and expertise of thousands of plugged in people at once? Even more important, you can gain valuable insight by listening to your followers and building relationships. Learn how to get started on Twitter, then sign up for an account and start tweeting!

Keep Communicating to Your Non Profit’s Supporters

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

communication on volunteer screening blogMy friend Kathryn recently joined a local non-profit board, on which I used to serve. She asked if for ideas for improvement, so I shared one. As a former board member, donor, and major supporter of the cause, it seems logical that I would receive frequent updates in the form of newsletters (online or in the mail), invitations to events, and other information. Because I do not, they are missing out on additional support—monetary and otherwise, that I could be providing, if only they were top-of-mind. As far as I know, they don’t even exist anymore!

This non profit organization’s outreach needs a lot of improvement. How about yours? How many supporters do you have who feel like I do? Who don’t hear from you enough?

As a non profit director or manager, you serve two masters (or mistresses, as the case may be!): your clients and your support base. To under serve either is a misstep. So, take a look at your outreach efforts:

  • How often do your supporters hear from you? If it’s just once a year when you ask for a donation, consider increasing the frequency of your contact–and your message.
  • How do your non profit’s supporters prefer to be contacted? You may be mailing printed newsletters to super-green folks who hate junk mail and wish you’d provide an online newsletter delivered to their email boxes.
  • What are you sharing with your supporters? Believe it or not, they want to hear what you’re up to! Share success stories. Profile a client, employee, or volunteer who deserves praise. Communicate a particular need. You may be surprised at the response you receive!
  • Are you saying “thank you?” If you let your supporters know that you appreciate their past support, they will be more likely to give again—whether it is of their time or their money.

What is your community saying about your charity? You can have thousands of fans and evangelists for your cause, who tell everyone they know about the work of your non profit origination, or you can have people who say nothing—because they simply don’t have any information to share. Give people something to talk about—keep your donors, volunteers, and former board members informed!

Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with background checks.