Identify New Supporters: A  Tool

Almost every nonprofit can use more supporters to help it fulfill its mission. “We need to get the word out so more people will help us,” mentions a new board member. At staff gatherings, your special event planner pipes up, “If only we had more corporate support.” The good news is that you can grow your supporters. The first step is planning how you will do it. Using a chart like the one below will help.

When you are ready to take action about growing your supporters, gather a small group of creative thinkers to fill the chart. You will start your thinking about organization needs and from them identify potential supporters. Filling out this chart can help you to move your organization forward by identifying new partners, and to obtain the items and resources you need.

Activity/Needs Why Needed Priority Who Benefits (Aim for 5 or more groups for each need) New Potential Support Cash Only? (y/n)
Books for children to read -To increase literacy-To support children’s  interest in reading 1 1. Children2.Teachers/ schools

3. Libraries

4. Families

4. Future employers

5. Booksellers

6. Community college, the local university

1. Ask schools & libraries to donate books scheduled to be discarded

2. Local employers ask to sponsor a class or buy books about topics related to their field

3. College students asked to donate their childhood favorites, with a note about why they liked the book

Meeting room for quarterly children’s literacy events onSat. afternoons from 2-5 -To create community support for reading-To increase literacy-To support children’s continued interest in reading-To involve family members 2 1. Children2. Families

3. Local business

4. Other nonprofits

5. Community

6. Libraries

7. Book stores

1. Partner with the health department; parents also receive free health information concurrently

2. Ask a book store to co-sponsor event(s)

3. Ask local business with training room to co-sponsor

PR and Media coverage about our programs in the Alta Vista School District (Pilot area) To create community support for reading 1 1. Children2. Families

3. Media- interesting local new to cover

4. Potential supporters- knowledge

5.Communty positive info.

6. Local photographer-opportunity to market to parents

7. Others listed above

1. Ask the college for a PR intern or work with a professor to create an assignment drafting press release and materials for events and reading

2. Ask marketing firm to donate one month of services in exchange for free publicity

3. Contact local photographer about covering the event and setting up holiday family pictures theme around books at the event


Definitions and Instructions:

Activity/Needs: This is the most important section of the chart.Clearly identifying your activities and needs provides you with the best opportunity to fulfill them. Write a description of the resource you need. What is needed to move your mission forward? To run more effectively? To create more outcomes? What barriers stop you from creating more? Move beyond money to what money buys.  Be specific. For example, rather than “more public recognition,” write “more public recognition in the Alta Vista school district.” The latter helps you to focus on district resources.

Why Needed: List the results you plan to obtain.

Priority: Rank the item 1, 2 and 3 depending on its high, medium or low priority. One is higher.

Who Benefits: This is about who receive value when you succeed. Who does your work help? What  benefits do you anticipate? Besides individuals, list groups or organizations that suceed when you benefit. For example, if your goal is for youth to read more, potential benefits groups include children, parents, teachers, book stores, and libraries, but also backpack sellers, second-hand book stores, newspapers, magazine publishers, and colleges.

Potential Support: List potential supporters. Again, be specific. Name names. This list may include new groups, even if they were not listed in the previous column.

Must It Be Cash? This is a yes-no question.  Finding ways to fulfill needs by accepting non-cash resources provides new possibilities. For instance, you work with a bookstore that sells new and second-hand books. They exchange a used book for free when a child younger than twelve brings in a book with a one-page illustrated book review. The store posts these reviews in their children’s area. The store benefits because parents browse the “reviews.” You can also help them obtain publicity. Resource you gain a new partner.

Yes, you can have more supporters. Use the chart below to get started.

Activity/Needs Why Needed Priority Who Benefits (Aim for 5 or more groups for each need) New Potential Support Cash Only? (y/n)

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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