1) Say “thank you” a lot! People want to be recognized for what they give, whether in time or in money, and it’s important from the get-go to let people know how much your organization appreciates their support.
2) Share your stories. Stories are the new elevator pitch. The strongest request from your organization is the one that highlights the impact you make. Share these stories with your donors and let them know how their gift makes change happen.
3) Use your money to create impact. Donors don’t want to buy stuff, they want to invest. Make them partners in your work.
4) Be transparent and accountable. Be honest about what you spend money on and share this information freely with those who support you financially.
5) Diversify your funding streams. Don’t be overly reliant on one donor, one granting source, one event or one corporation. More than 80 percent of the dollars that are given to charities in Canada come from individuals — individual donors matter!
6) Be cost-effective. While it costs money to raise money, be thoughtful about how much you spend. An event can cost you upwards of 50 cents for every dollar you raise, while a bequest can cost as little as five cents, or a written campaign 20 cents.
7) Integrate your asks. Think about the number of ways in which you will engage with your donors for a single ask — web, letter, email, social media.
8) Build relationships. Strategize about how to keep donors over the long term. Get to know them, cater to their needs and communicate often (at least three times a year).
9) It’s about people! The people who are involved are most likely to support you. Remember to ask. Also, treat everyone who comes in contact with your organization as a friend to the project and a future investor, and make their experience a positive one.
10) Draw on available expertise. Find people who can help you. Fundraising isn’t always easy.
11) Know who you are. Don’t stray from your mission, vision or values, and let donors know how you live those out daily.