This is a guest blog post and is being posted with permission from Kelsey Woodworth of GiveSmart.
Achieving sustainability can be a difficult, yet important, topic to address for nonprofits. Today’s uncertain economy leads to unpredictable federal and state funding, making established channels of funding even more critical.
In a fluctuating economic climate, establishing sustainable sources of funding can be tricky, and often inconsistent. Stability means more than just a few big donors.
How to achieve nonprofit financial sustainability.
Let’s first look at finances. Who’s managing them? If your team is small, lean on your board treasurer for financial advice and organization – it’s what they signed up to help with! It’s imperative that someone who understands finance is the one managing money coming in and going out for your nonprofit.
Pull revenue from a variety of resources: individual donors, corporate sponsors & donors, fundraising events, online donations, government support, grants funding & private foundations. You can’t rely on one source of income and you must be front-of-mind to your most important donors.
Staying on the mind of donors is easier when your marketing messages are concise and consistent. Tell your audience facts they will remember. Tell your audience stories that will move them. Keep your look and sound uniform so that it’s easy to distinguish your organization from others. And if you’re completely new to this concept, build marketing into your budget and enlist fundraising professionals to make sure you’re off on the right foot.
Non-profit Revenue strategist Gail Bower said, “First be prepared to invest in marketing and a strategy. It is not a frivolous expense. Rather it is integral to every organization’s business model. The right tactic delivered at the right intervals to hit the right levers can—and should—deliver a tremendous windfall that builds over time.”
Social media is often a good place to start because it’s free, easy, and your donors are there waiting to connect with you.
In addition to social networks, keep your database clean, organized, and up-to-date. This will make your outreach efficient with current contact information. Additionally, add color to donor profiles so that when you do reach out you can tailor your messaging to their interests, recent activity, and add personal notes.
Invest in the right technology.
Investing in the right fundraising technology also helps you get the most out of your event when you can streamline processes, ticketing, giving, and donor information all in one place. Capturing donor activity enables you to do smarter outreach by tailoring to your donor’s interests or attendance to specific events. Harnessing this specific data also helps you efficiently strategize.
With the right technology you can deploy an online donation strategy that makes it easy for donors to support you on a recurring basis, anytime, anywhere. It’s important that giving is as easy as possible, whether it’s $5 once, or $500 per month.
Securing corporate partnerships.
To survive in today’s economy, it makes sense for many nonprofits to expand their relationships with corporations beyond transactional sponsorships. True partnerships leverage shared resources and information to achieve more together. This Corporate Donation Guide is a great place to start if you’re looking for corporations that give back, how to write grant letters, and key steps to securing corporate sponsorships.