April 30, 2020

10 Hints to Master Fundraising in Difficult Times

A 2020 Candid analysis predicts that between 3 and 38 percent of nonprofits will close in the next few years—and they studied organizations with revenues greater than $50,000 per year.
The stakes for developing nonprofit revenue are unlikely to be this high again in our careers.
To lead your nonprofit, use these ten practical tips based on my work guiding hundreds of nonprofits leaders facing income challenges.

10 Tips for Mastering Fundraising in Uncertain Times

1. Lock in your current funding streams.

Don’t disqualify yourself from your current revenue because you forgot a report.

2. Ask this question.

Ask, how can we take advantage of this? Seek new opportunities which are only possible now. Be innovative.

3. Request planned gifts.

COVID reminded us that our health is precious, and now maybe the only hour we can act on our values.

4. Pivot toward solutions.

Yes, uncertainty is annoying. Instead of moaning, generate options.

5. Involve your donors.

During the 2020 lockdown, donors stepping up to the plate warmed the hearts of many.

6. Focus on your opportunities to provide value.

Ask: Who needs the value? Do they have the resources to obtain it? If yes, explore further.

7. Identify what’s unique and special about you.

You’ve got millions of competitors. Every 501c3 provides tax benefits—but only the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance serves the whole St. Pete arts community.

8. Seek revenue until the final bell.

In most car accidents, people quit too soon. If drivers kept driving, they’d reduce injuries. Make the extra phone call and effort to earn the revenue.

9. Consider merging sooner.

Think about merging when you have more to offer, rather than later. (See The Merger Checklist.)

10. Remember, uncertainty includes both good and bad.

It’t not always greener over there. The recipients of Mackenzie Soctt’s gifts face new unknowns. What do their long-term donors think about their financial needs now? Yes, you might prefer the challenges of other organizations, but remember they don’t have your advantages.

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit CEO Library.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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