6 Effective Fundraising Tips for New Non-profits

by: Christine Herring, Chief Technology Officer

You’ve done the research, written a mission statement and taken all the necessary steps to officially set up your nonprofit organization. Now it’s time to determine how you’ll raise the funds needed to support your efforts and keep your nonprofit running. Here are six ideas for raising funds to help you get started.

Host an Event
Events are a great way to get the word out about your cause, and typically prove to be key fundraisers for your nonprofit. When planning the event ask for sponsorships from supporters in your community. In return for crediting their business or family for their support, ask them to donate things like; items for auction, food and drinks, invitations or even the use of a venue. The more you can reduce the costs associated with the event, the more money you’ll raise for the people you’re trying to help. Also, consider forming a committee to help with planning and implementation for your events. Committee members can help to solicit sponsorships and draw interest from their own circles of influence.


During the event, assign tasks to volunteers or staff so you can spend quality time talking with your guests. Taking time to discuss your mission is valuable for building relationships. Share your story, let the people you’re talking with know what motivated you to do what you’re doing. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your donor base and help others catch your vision.


Try a Product Fundraiser
Nonprofits raise nearly $2 billion each year through sales of popular consumer products. Research has shown 45% of Americans purchase fundraising products each year. There are many fundraising opportunities to choose from. Here are just a few examples of products that produce the best results. T-Shirts, Cookie Dough, Candy and Coupon Books.


Some nonprofits sell items from inventory, either purchased or donated. When you’re first getting started it’s important to go slow ordering inventory. Inventory that sits in your storeroom does not generate sales or profits and shrinks your bottom line. Losses caused by excess inventory can create debt, additional taxes on unsold inventory and higher insurance costs on the greater value of inventory. It is critical to have a method for tracking inventory. Argenta Software for Nonprofits offers a fully integrated inventory system, complete with orders, vendors, products and invoicing. Using a system like Argenta will allow you to plan you purchases intelligently.

Amazon Smile
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charitable organizations selected by their customers. You can register to participate by going to https://org.amazon.com/  To register you must be an official representative of an eligible organization. You will receive your donations by electronic transfer. Visit org.amazon.com to access tools to help you spread the word to your supporters. Sign in to your organization’s org.amazon.com account and click on “Marketing Tools” to obtain a link to a customized Amazon Smile landing page for your organization that you may use in email newsletters, on your website, or in social media posts. Also, access a downloadable website banner and social sharing widgets to reach your Facebook and Twitter followers.


In Kind Donations
Goods and services, not cash, given to help with nonprofit operations are considered in-kind donations. It’s very important to solicit these types of contributions. For example, let’s say you need a website. You could use funds donated to pay someone to create one for you, but the cost of building the website is counted toward your administrative costs. As an alternative, if you find a supporter who will build a site for you and donate it, money would not be exchanged and therefore never counted as funds used to support your infrastructure. The less money that goes toward administration, the better. Donors usually have a bad feeling about contributing to organizations with higher administrative budgets.


Make sure to record a fair market value for the goods and/or services you receive. Use donation tracking software to do this. Argenta software for nonprofits, allows you to categorize in-kind donations separately from your administrative costs in your annual financial report.


Planned Giving
Any contribution that is arranged in the present for a donation that will be given in the future is considered planned giving. The most common example of this is when a donor commits to give cash, stocks or equity, from their estate upon their death.


It can be hard to ask someone about estate planning. No one really wants to talk about someone’s death with them. Consider alternative ways to promote the idea. One way is to find a few loyal supporters, possibly board members, who are willing to make this type of commitment, then ask them to share their plans with other potential donors. This may encourage others to do the same. You can write about the generosity of these donors in your newsletter or on your website. Getting the word out could help build strong future support for your organization.


Recruit your supporters to raise funds on your behalf. Crowdfunding is one of the best ways to raise money for your cause because it directly involves your donors in the fundraising process and can help you raise a lot of money. Another benefit is spreading the word about your organization. Donors can learn more from each other which will create an organic reach, that could potentially double your constituents.


You’ll need to decide on a crowdfunding site to use. Here are a few of the top crowdfunding sites available; Causes, Crowdrise, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Razoo is the most popular among nonprofits with over 14,000 who have raised around 100 million.


With any fundraising even crowdfunding it is very important to remember there are certain rules and regulations such as Charitable Solicitation Registration. This article from Grantspace http://grantspace.org/blog/risks-and-rewards-of-crowdfunding-for-nonprofits  provides great information on these regulations.


Fundraising is imperative for the success of your nonprofit. Remember every staff member, volunteer and board member should be working toward development in one way or another, whether they are soliciting funds directly or just helping people to understand the value of your mission.