Better Than a T-shirt: Can You Earn Funds With One of These Eight Ideas?

On my a trip to London, I experienced the following income generating ideas in practice. Read further to learn about current trends and opportunities that your nonprofit can copy or enhance to increase your revenue and fundraising.

1. Start With Planned Giving. When I arrived in the National Gallery’s lecture hall, a slide on the screen did not confirm the lecture’s name or offer a welcome. Instead, it invited participants to remember the Gallery in their will.

2. Not Always Free. Special exhibits provide excitement and stir return visits. Even if you regularly offer free admission, a special show with a fee might be your avenue for new revenue. The British Museum is ordinarily free, but the special exhibit cost twelve pounds.

3. Use Peer Pressure. Around London, all free sites had clear donation boxes labeled with a suggested donation. All contained money including bills and coins.

4. Press Buttons. If you offer an audio guide, include a number and an invitation to listen to a message about your capital campaign or how people can help with a challenge. “For more about what is involved in keeping up the grounds at our garden, press 100. For more about how you can help press 101.”

5. Double Duty Tickets. If you print tickets for your events, consider doing what Westminster Abbey does—use their back to further your mission. Each one included an invitation to return for a worship service with a list of service times.

6. Take Care of Your Donors Always. Much of London was under construction as it readies for their next celebration. The Globe Theatre was no exception. Their building project covered one of the many donor walls. However, the donor’s names were still visible. The Globe added a faux wall that included mock bricks and names.

7. Fee Plus Donations. Several sites asked for admission plus a donation of two pounds. At Kew Gardens the fee plus contribution option was listed as one of the fee options at the gate.

8. From Visitor to More. Many sites offered attendees an opportunity for a return visit on the same ticket within one year. While few international visitors will take advantage of this, it creates goodwill among local clientele and offers you a chance to meet patrons with a keen interest in your site. If you adopt this idea, remember to capture their contact information on the first return visit.

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