Answers to nonprofit fundraising questions by Patrick Coleman

Answers to nonprofit fundraising questions by Patrick Coleman

There are numerous articles that revolve around nonprofit fundraising, mobile giving and other donation methods. We have explored techniques and strategies of raising funds for nonprofit, we hope to learn more of the same. In this article, Patrick Coleman, CEO of GiveCentral, gives us insight into the actual maintenance and running of nonprofit fundraising. How can a nonprofit position itself to suit a situation and survive one? From the significance of annual reports and special events to the role of board members, we’ve got it all covered.

Q. How do you approach a corporate giving strategy if you’re based in a community without a large corporate presence?

It is a fact that some nonprofits are based where there is little of large corporate presence. However, the challenge here is to reach out to donors that may be connected with larger organizations. This could be through emails, social media platforms, newsletters or if the budget allows, a fundraising event in and around your target area. We have worked with charities who have donors that have grown up in a small rural community. Through web updates, social media and emails their donors were able to find them from thousands of miles away. That is how it will begin, we all have to start somewhere. 

 Q. What’s the best way to strengthen your charity’s approach to corporations?

The best way to strengthen this bond would be by making an effort to thoroughly understand the corporate mission, its employees and what they stand for. Have a one on one connection with employees, send them hand written notes, let them know about the next campaign you’d be launching and ask them for feedback. Invite them to meet you and your clients.  Host a lunch and ask them if they’d like to volunteer for a day. It’s mostly the little things that build a strong relationship .

Q. How do you help your board become more effective in their fundraising?

Make use of technology, let it help you help people including your board members. Your board members are the face of your organization, so they have a huge responsibility of being effective. It is difficult to execute nonprofit fundraising without technology. For example, when board members are faced with annual “give or get”, using AI to help them send appropriate messages to the right group of people is a good idea. Also, make sure that you have board meetings solely focused on appreciation and encouragement. 

Q. Why should organizations consider setting up a monthly giving program?

Firstly, it is easy for the donors since regular donations are being made in small amounts, monthly. Secondly, it is beneficial to the charity because having monthly donors helps in bringing in more regular funds. Thirdly, it is easy to make an estimation for the nonprofit while setting goals and targets. 

Q. What is the significance of annual reports in nonprofit fundraising?

Annual reports are a wonderful way to share your story. It is well known that nonprofit fundraising revolves around donors and causes, so it helps donors in seeing how their donations have been put to good use. It also helps in attracting the potential donors. Annual reports are proof of transparency and loyalty, something every nonprofit must embody.  

Q. How effective are the special events?

Special events give an amazing opportunity to nonprofit organizations to showcase and talk about their causes and campaigns, in person. An event can also be the time to interact with your donors, both existing and potential, it can gain you more volunteers too, you just have to interact and communicate well. This can also be the time for demonstrations of different donation methods like mobile giving and online giving. So special events in my opinion, can be made very effective.

Q. What do you have to say about the art of strategic planning required in fundraising?

Being able to plan well is a skill that can be learned and perfected by working on it. Good planning leads to good execution which in turn leads to good results. A thorough research about your donors, their giving habits, likes and dislikes, all these also become an integral part of building a plan. Know your audience inside out, align them with your nonprofit goals, work the magic. As a caveat, anticipate mistakes and failures.  Allow for the mistakes and failures as part of the planning process. We will learn from what and what doesn’t. Also make sure that you have allowed time to track the success of your plan. Too many plans are build only to gather dust after a few months. Build it, share it, track it, enhance what’s working well and change what isn’t.

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