6 Steps to Meet Your Fundraising Goals

November 29, 2008

Posted in Fundraising.

As I recently wrote, some people think about fundraising out of desperation. I take a more pragmatic approach to fundraising.

I have an intimidating fundraising goal in front of me for 2009. I’m going to beat that goal. Here’s how.

1. Use a budget

What’s your fundraising goal? Once you know, then you need to plan out how you’ll get there. Don’t forget to plan for your expenses, though – marketing, printing, postage, events, etc. Use the budget to set milestones.

2. Celebrate Milestones

Milestones serve two purposes in fundraising: leverage to raise more money. Donors love to finish projects, and milestones are something they can finish. Being close to completing a big milestone can be reason enough for a donor to help push you over the edge with a second gift.

More importantly, to my mind, is that a milestone is a small victory. As I’ve written before, every victory builds momentum, creates energy, and grows into more success.

3. Balance and diversify

All your eggs in one basket? Is that basket your annual appeal? Or a single event? When the low-carb diet craze hit, the Girl Scouts were hit hard. Cookie sales plummeted. They bounced back by creating sustainable fundraising programs that weren’t as vulnerable.

4. Maximize returns

Special events are the bane of too many organizations. They take a lot of time to produce, often target people who aren’t engaged in your mission, and rarely produce significant financial returns. They might produce a profit, but they aren’t the most profitable way to raise funds.

Break down your fundraising efforts for last year and figure out what makes you the most money, and focus on those activities.

5. Spread it out

If your late fall appeal doesn’t go well, what can you do? If you’re pinning your funding hopes all at the end of the year, you risk falling short and having no opportunity to adjust on the fly. Spreading your efforts throughout the year also lets your staff and volunteers spread the work efforts out.

6. Hit the streets

Most importantly, you absolutely have to get off your ass —make phone calls and visits all the time. The more contacts you make the higher the donations. Frequent and meaningful contact requires a lot of time and energy and work, but it’s the tried and true way to build relationships and funding.

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