• Nonprofit Learning Lab

Seven Fundraising Tactics That Have Proven Success

Updated: Jul 27

This is a guest blog from Beacon Design by ChemArt


As a nonprofit organization, you may have tried many different fundraising tactics, but how do you know what works for you and your donors? It’s important to keep track of specific campaigns, how they were run and what the success looks like. Have you sent direct mail out before, but didn’t receive a ton of donations back? There are a million reasons why that might happen; the design didn’t stand out enough, there wasn’t a clear call to action, the list was not updated, etc. Taking a deep dive into why a campaign did not yield the expected results is crucial to the success of the fundraiser. Below are seven fundraising tactics that have had proven success, let’s get started…


1. MAKE IT EASY: Make it easy to fundraise, offer giving options via mobile apps, online options, and texting options. The NP Source’s Giving Statistics report shows that the text-to-donate increased 205% over the last year. When an organization texts a donor to ask for a donation, it makes it incredibly easy to text back and make the donation.

In addition to text campaigns, take a hard look at your website. You may think it’s easy to spot the “donate now” button, but to others it may not be, so get an outside perspective. Then, use that feedback to create an easy to spot call to action. Making all of the giving options easy for donors will only assist in increasing the donation amount or number of times they donate.


2. GET PERSONAL: Keep all communication and donation requests personal. People are more likely to respond in a positive manner when they feel like they’re personally connected to an organization. When sending out communications make sure to include specific information about the donors like their names or even reasons why they’ve donated in the past. Connecting them to future initiatives and your overall mission statement will assist in building a stronger connection, keeping them coming back year over year!

3. SHOW APPRECIATION: Who doesn’t like a present, especially a present that reflects something your connected to in some way? Thanking your donors with a special gift or using the gift as a way to raise funds through different initiatives, events or groups within your organization is a great to generate revenue for your non-profit! When you’re thinking of special gifts to use in your fundraising or donor appreciation campaigns, think about something handcrafted and special. The promotional marketing arena is huge, so there is no shortage of pens, mugs, hats, t-shirts, lanyards, etc. But what can you do to stand out, be remembered and make your job of retaining that donor or patron each year a little easier? A handcrafted custom keepsake made 100% in the USA could be exactly what you need! It’s custom, so you can have fun with the design to reflect your mission. It’s special, in that it’s handcrafted in the USA from the finest materials. Then it’s easy because a keepsake can be done annually, keeping those funds coming in each year. Your design can be as simple as a logo or something as intricate as a building, piece of art, etc.


4. PUT THE FUN BACK IN FUNDRAISING: Creating fun events is not only a great way to generate revenue and bring on new donors, but it’s also a great way to raise awareness for your cause. Try a 5k run or walk, get everyone together for a gala or bowling league, have a charity sporting event, host an annual catered dinner, etc. Think about relevant events that might highlight your mission and have fun with it to help drive donations.

Creating events also brings people together, so be sure to discuss allowing not only existing donors, but members of the local community as well. That’s a great way to build your donor base. It’s also important to be visible within the community and get local support from businesses. Asking corporations or retail shops to make donations of their space, items or services will assist your organization in a big way. The possibilities are endless and if you get a local business, family or donor to sponsor your event, all funds raised, go right to your cause.

Once the event has been decided, promote it! Promote via social media, through an e-mail blast to your donors, in community news outlets, through the local chamber of commerce, on community message boards, on your website, etc.


5. PUT ME IN COACH: We’ve all seen the movie where a triumphant success comes from having a great coach, cheerleader, advocate or supporter. Let’s use that idea, to turn donors into brand ambassadors that can help you achieve your next triumphant win. No one knows your organization as well as you or a donor who has been with you for years does. They’ve seen the success that you’ve had within the community, the work you’ve put out to ensure you’re living up to your mission statement, and the importance of your organization in the community. Who is better to speak on your behalf then someone who has watched you succeed in your community and continued to support you in those endeavors? Give them specific ways to help fundraise, tiers of donations, thank you gifts, and special ways they can help to refer friends to your organization or build awareness.


6. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE: Combine your marketing tactics; digital and traditional. Using traditional approaches along with newer marketing techniques can help to bring your marketing message to all types of donors. The younger donor tends to respond to newer more innovative techniques/messaging, while the older donor tends to learn towards more traditional approaches/messaging. The key is hitting both! Creating personas for your donors is important and once you know how they like to consume information, you can include them in the right campaign to maximize results.


7. DATA, DATA, DATA: When you collect information about a donor, how you use it and how you continuously add to it, is crucial to segmenting donors and putting them into the right campaigns/efforts. Understanding how they like to process information, why they donate, what’s important to them, other groups they donate too, if they are active on social media, if they are visual or content driven, etc. will give you an upper hand when communicating with them. It also helps you build a deeper connection because you are sharing specific parts of your story that are exceptionally relevant to them, which in turn will help you retain that donor long term.