This post was written by Neon One partner Debbi Stanley, CFRE of Rallybound. Rallybound is an industry leading peer to peer fundraising platform serving nonprofits like Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Sierra Club, and Michael J. Fox Foundation. NeonCRM and Rallybound recently joined together to create Neon One, an ecosystem focused on nonprofit software solutions.
Last week, I was in the company of royalty.
Ok, not real royalty, but fundraising royalty, to be sure. I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion with Staci Brown, Dave Hussa and Robert Diaz. We discussed how nonprofits of any size can use endurance fundraising as part of their overall fundraising plan.
During our panel, I was reminded of how similar themes echo through all nonprofit fundraising initiatives, so I put together a helpful list of fundraising tips. Here, tailored to your end of year and #GivingTuesday initiatives, are four easy fundraising tips, just for your nonprofit.
1. Always be looking to reach new demographics
How do you accomplish this? First, understand your existing demographics by using your data properly. Endurance programs are a great way to reach a younger audience (mostly under 40), and they raise almost 3x more than traditional walks. As you fold that theory into your end of year giving, maybe think about asking those participants for amounts different than you ask annual donors.
Sometimes events don’t always directly speak to your audience, so be creative in how you get donor segments involved. For instance, with an endurance event, your organization can include a short fun run the week before to encourage young children to sign up and invite their grandparents to sponsor them. Make it a great family day, and you might be surprised at the new doors that open.
2. Apply positive pressure
Several of our customers use the Rallybound solution to set up peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns for their board of directors.
One development director told me, “We hope the board raises something, but we don’t expect much.”
“Why do the program if you’re not prepared to make them squirm for not making their goals?” I asked. “They’re your board!”
A fundraiser training to run in a sold-out marathon will often have high fundraising goals they must reach in order to qualify for the race. So they must accomplish their fundraising goal.
Another great example: my son just started his freshman year at college, and I didn’t leave him with a rousing, “Ok, do your best! I will be proud if you complete 50% of college.” No way! That kid better finish, and he knows it!
It is end of year giving! Remind all your fundraisers that they need to be fundraising! You can – and should – help them by providing resources and examples of good fundraising appeals, as well as encouragement, along the way.
3. Corporate partnerships can take all shapes
Endurance event organizers are mostly for-profit entities. They partner with nonprofits to help recruit volunteers, create human interest stories for the media and melt the hearts of civic leaders who complain about road closures.
Businesses in your community can certainly use your influence in the same way if they are willing to partner with you on, say, a #GivingTuesday phone-a-thon. I always encourage nonprofits to think beyond “the logo” to the heart of the people running the corporation. Do some research on senior leaders and find a way to connect on a human level. Then have a good idea on how to give that connection real meaning.
When I speak to clients about DIY nonprofit fundraising, they always seems to lump it into one overarching thing. But there are all kinds of different “do-it-yourself fundraising” projects – donate my birthday, Thanksgiving dinners, or simply creating a better tomorrow.
Many organizations lump endurance fundraising into the same bucket as Zumba, but the stories are very different. As you establish your end of year fundraising plans, make sure to diversify your giving opportunities, your messages, and your outreach. Use this as an opportunity to engage your audience in ways that will resonate with them on a very compassionate, human level.
We are thrilled to watch Rallybound and Neon One begin this new journey.
Together, they’ll create an end to end ecosystem that will help nonprofits source the vital resources they need to achieve their goals. These four tips serve as important reminders that the tried and true are still valid and “moves management” up the donor pyramid still matters.
Walking beside hundreds of organizations every year, we see their challenges first hand, and we know the creative fire that’s just waiting to burn free in this industry. May this end of year giving season be your best and remember: we’d be happy to give you a lift – if you need one.