Category Archives: Fundraising

More Fundraising Ideas

  • Paper calendars are still hanging on people’s walls. Determine what you think would sell in your market – only get a limited number of calendars printed – take orders now and deliver in December
  • Offer a training on something and collect money from people for attending. Usually, there’s a professional out there willing to train in return for a small fee and the opportunity to sell something during the training
  • Canvas shopping bags work well when you partner with a shopping district. Woodland Park Main Street has cornered the market on this idea in their small town. They include coupons in the bag from participating businesses and then they sell the bags at other events for $10 – $15, woodlandparkmainstreet.org
  • Write a book about the history of your organization – or another popular subject. Self-publish and sell the book. This also works well with cookbooks
  • Find a way to share your mission by including others. The Mountain Top Cycling Club in Teller County has a “Bike the Night” to bring families out for a bicycle ride. People pay for the opportunity to participate, they get a glow in the dark t-shirt, and have a pizza party after the ride – mountaintopcyclingclub.com
  • Host a festive gathering for families. The Made for More project has a colorful pumpkin festival coming up. This is when the community comes together to celebrate the harvest of pumpkins – madeformoreproject.org

Think of your fundraisers as a way to market your organization. Sometimes, a fundraiser takes time to catch on. The first time you do it may not be as exciting because the results were not what you expected but if you keep a positive attitude, plan for the next time, and learn as you go – things always get better.

Training Others to Advance your Mission

First of all – determine your mission. This is usually the top priority of your role with an organization. Let’s just say it’s to raise money since SOAR is all about lifting people up to help them be successful with fundraising.

“Everything is better when shared.” Have you heard that saying? Someone to help you is all that means in this context. A person, or two, or five, or ten to help you spread the word about your organization and RAISE MONEY! It’s easy when you do three things…

  • Who are you looking for? Determine this. What is the role you hope to attain in order to achieve your mission?
  • What kind of acquisition tools are available? Determine this. How can you implement these tools while adding additional tools to make your program special?
  • Bringing a person on board to fulfill your mission includes retaining them. What perks do you offer? Training is a key part having a person feel comfortable in their role. Regular conversation is another.

Training happens monthly when you bring your team together for a meeting. WARNING!!! Meetings are one hour and an agenda, which is done by the facilitator, is followed. Everyone has an opportunity to see the agenda ahead of time and plug in new items as necessary. The facilitator determines how much time each section of the agenda permits. Starting on time and ending on time are key. If there’s additional items on the agenda and it’s time to end the meeting the facilitator classifies the remaining items (can they be discussed via email or can they be summed it up in five minutes…is so, ask permission to go the extra five minutes).

Training is ongoing and it’s helpful to provide a “new hire” packet, so to speak. This packet includes all of the information a person needs to know in writing. It shares the time commitment a person has signed up for and outlines their participation.

Training at meetings are universal and 1:1 meetings are personal. Making sure to cover both is a way to keep people in the know and on a broader scope when need be. The broader scope takes over when you’re wanting someone to cover another person’s role in their absence. It’s easier to do when everyone on your team knows what’s going on behind the scenes.

In summary – share your mission with people who are able to help you expand your market. In the end, market share is fundraising.

Fundraising Grows when you SOAR in a V-formation

Volunteer commitment grows when a volunteer feels they are an important part of a successful program. SOAR works with nonprofits to develop the V-formation of fundraising. The giving back scenario matches the same practice of birds flying in a flock.

Nonprofits save money while building fundraising momentum with SOAR because there are credits available for the services they already have in place. Check your credits – click here

Nonprofits grow fundraising they they work on the “contributor” status of a volunteer. A contributor is someone who gets involved in attending, planning, and coordinating activities. SOAR has developed doable (easy) project plans for anyone to implement to raise more money than they have before. The V-formation is one reference. Birds work together to get from a place of lower resources to a place of higher resources quickly and easily. The principle also applies to people. Giving back provides momentum BUT how you give back makes a difference. It’s all in how you SOAR: Share your message; Offer opportunities for involvement; Accept how people participate; Respect and appreciate others

#SOARwithNetworkFundraising allows #fundraising to become the central focus in everyday activites WITHOUT it being the only thing you talk or think about!

Nonprofits – Beat the Odds of Fundraising by Being Cooperative

Beat the odds. Fundraising can be difficult, especially in a small community or micro community within a large city. Those raising money as well as those who contribute often view fundraisers as an unpleasant task. How do you make it easier? You already know a person will say yes before you ask for something.

Getting the YES takes time and energy. Many times, in the small community (micro-communities too), there tends to be a fear of losing. This ultimately fractures relationships and makes fundraising a competition. It takes a powerful organization already in the “circle” to say, “We won’t be part of an alliance if we’re not ALL going to be cooperative and work alongside each other.”

24 nonprofits have come together in Teller County Colorado to form the Nonprofit Cooperative. This is an example of how working together benefits all. They are sharing resources and training information. There’s organizations collaborating on events and it is more about helping each other to be successful than it is to be in competition.

To learn more about doing this in your community, send an email to iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com/ Be the organization to bring it all together. Watch success grow as Giving Back becomes reality.

Check the fundraising credits you’ve earned

Earn credits, buy credits, spend credits

Everyone begins their fundraising program at a different level. For this reason, we give credit where credit is due.

ADD UP THE TOTAL CREDITS YOU’VE EARNED:

We have a volunteer program (7+ volunteers)2
We host an annual volunteer appreciation event3
We have volunteer job descriptions and we distribute them5
We have a volunteer training program5
We have a system for tracking volunteer hours8
We have a social media presence (2+ networks)8
We schedule regular posts on social media (3+/week)10
We have regular events scheduled for fundraising 10
We have a fundraising plan10

DID YOU EARN ALL 61 CREDITS?

WOULD YOU LIKE TO EARN MORE CREDITS BEFORE YOU SPEND THEM? TRY THIS FOR 24 ADDITIONAL CREDITS:

Talk to 3 people you meet today about your organization’s mission8
Invite someone to visit your organization for a tour of services; schedule the date8
Call a major donor to say hi; keep the call short; don’t ask for a donation8

HOW MANY CREDITS DO YOU HAVE NOW?

Combine the credits you’ve earned (on your honor). If you earned all the above credits, you now have 85 to play with. Credits are spent on services listed below. Your “earned credits” actually lower the cost of SOAR’s programs. See the services along with the credits needed:

20-minute fundraising call to discuss tweaking your program for greater success61
Newsletter or Social Media Assessment61
50-minute fundraising call to discuss 3 initiatives to help you reach your $ goal85
Donor Letters – SOAR provides templates and feedback on three types85
Marketing Design (flier, rack card, postcard)105
Social Media Training (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)105
Training for Setting up and Using Facebook for Events & Fundraising105
“Your Nonprofit Story” – SOAR helps you create a powerful message250
Fundraising Plan (one year)250
Fundraising Plan (three years)450
Volunteer Program Development (three months of coaching)450
Annual Leader’s Program  – One Year of Coaching on Your Fundraising Program950

YOU CAN PURCHASE CREDIT TOO. JUST REMEMBER TO SUBTRACT YOUR EARNED CREDITS PRIOR TO BUYING!

Contact us with questions: iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com

NEW Fundraising Ideas Help You SOAR!

People get tired of doing the same old things. It’s time to get innovative with how you raise money. We have creativity in abundance at SOAR. We suggest you base your next fundraiser on the things your community likes to do. If you’d like advice on an idea, email iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com. We are happy to provide feedback!

SOARful ideas:

  • Run a contest on social media to engage your current donors while increasing your donor base. A photo or video contest will have participants sharing their work while bringing more traffic and attention to your cause. Make it a public vote to determine the winner and now you’ve increased traffic to your page. People pay a small fee to participate and then they pay to have their photo/video posted with you for a number of times. 5X is free, 10X – small fee, 20X – higher fee, and so on. Make a menu of opportunities you can offer for a fee and watch how fast it grows.
  • Develop a puzzle describing your mission. Then, sell the puzzle to people who love the work you do. Offer a competition so the puzzle buyers bring friends/family together at their home for putting the puzzle together. They take a photo when beginning the puzzle and at an allotted end time. At the end of the contest period, the group with the most pieces fitting in during the allotted time wins the prize. The benefit: your message is shared over and over again to the groups putting the puzzles together! You could also sell “clues” ahead of time. These clues will help the people put the puzzle together.
  • Sell an experience. People living in a mining district sell an SUV trail ride to visit an old mine. If there’s a racetrack near you and someone you know has a cool car – make it about being a passenger for a couple of laps around the track. This is also a great opportunity to partner with another business in your area actually in the business of providing “experiences.”
  • Parade coming up? A person could buy their spot on a float your organization is entering.
  • This is fun. Get some friends together and go on a mobile scavenger hunt. The first one back with all things on the list wins! Add a price to participation and prizes.
  • Have a digital scavenger hunt. Think of creative, funny pictures you could take with people in the community. Make a list and share with those who pay to participate. Add prizes and a closing event…fun, fun, fun.
People love puzzles and a competition makes a great fundraiser.

There are many ways outside of the traditional fundraiser to raise money. It could be a “new” activity that hangs on for a couple of years because you continue to expand on it. In fact, allowing an activity to grow naturally is the best way to create a sustainable program.

Good luck! Reach out if you have questions: iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com

Taking it Easy on Donors

Donors have a giving heart. They are asked more often than not to consider giving. Ask a donor, “What can I do for you?” and they will probably sidestep the conversation. It’s not something they’re comfortable discussing. It’s not supposed to be about them in their mind because it’s about others.

Understanding how a donor feels is important. You show a quality mindset when you take time to understand their intent and then provide opportunities for them to benefit. It is a nice way to “give back.” These six powerful words, “what can I do for you,” have the ability to transform a situation. It’s a way to shift the discussion and put the energy back on making someone else happy. In this case, it is your donor.

Consider this – more than half of all people who visit a nonprofit’s website do so from a mobile device according to Mobilecause.com. This is an old statistic so the numbers are much higher now. What does your website look like on a mobile platform? Check it out on your phone and make sure it is user-friendly. Is there a donor button? It’s not just about having a “donate now” button because a “donor” button is more about the emotional component of why they give. A donor button is about telling your story, and also about sharing with donors the benefit of why giving to your organization is important. The button explains what’s in it for them? This is that uncomfortable situation again. But, it’s true. What’s in it for them? They can feel good about giving to a cause and get a spiritual kudo just about anywhere. They can get a tax benefit for specific kinds of donations. Sure, this works. But, they can also GIVE to any organization to get the same rewards. Why would they give to yours?

Setting yourself up for success begins on the backend. It’s your opportunity to set the stage first. Begin by doing this:

  • Check your mobile platform for your website’s format and message. This is the the way most people are seeing you. Connect with your website designer as necessary to update for mobile changes
  • Be up to date on social media, other online sites, and with phone messaging systems. Call yourself and your answering system through the office. What message do you hear? Do you have recent posts on social media and on your website? It takes time and is often put on the bottom of the list. Dedicating a couple of hours each week to this process, or finding a volunteer to do it, makes the world of difference in the end
  • Make a list of the ways you’re giving back to donors and add to the list while remembering, each donor is different and it takes some time to discover the intricacies of what’s most important to them. This is about taking the time for discovery and then taking the time to establish a plan to let your donor know they are your most important asset.

The people you serve are most important to your mission. The people who help you serve are your greatest asset. An asset is the people volunteering, working for you, or those who provide a means for your service. A donor, a sponsor, or a foundation provide the means by giving money for your mission to continue. Taking it easy on donors is key to your success.

For additional information on coaching through the fundraising process – connect with SOAR with Network Fundraising. The programs are cost-effective and focused on your mission. There’s not a cookie-cutter approach to taking it easy on donors, providing the right message or opportunities to be involved, and engaging the public. Each situation is different. SOAR coaching offers the training and then the follow up. The Leader’s Program creates sustainability through a year-long program. Click Here!

Developing a Fundraising Plan – Raising Money is Always About Your Next Move!

The fundraising plan is first and foremost, the most NECESSARY document needed to raise money. Get a team together to discuss short and long term goals. Then, take small steps to open the right doors.  

  • Team

__________________________

__________________________


  • How much money by when?

____________________6 months

____________________12 months

____________________24 months

____________________36 months

____________________48 months

____________________60 months


  • Methods for raising money

Past 

____________________

____________________

Present

____________________

____________________

Future

____________________

____________________

  • Timeline for each method (each fundraiser has its own schedule)

Name of fundraiser: _____________________________________

11 months out: _________10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 month out…three weeks…two weeks…one week…three days…two days…one day…day of…day after…week following…two weeks following…three weeks following & start over again!

  • Participants (fundraising team, volunteers, invitations to activity)

Past:                                             Future:

___________                           ___________

___________                           ___________

  • Resources (location, activities, marketing, door prizes, etc)

Have:                                                                               What’s needed

_____________                                                          _____________

_____________                                                          _____________

  • Tracking mechanism (spreadsheet or donor management software)
  • Maintain focus with your team

Monthly meetings, contact via email and calls, keep the goals visual, provide task-oriented participation to be checked off upon completion and follow the timeline to a T!

SOAR coaches organizations through the development of a fundraising plan during a 10-day process. Cost is $199 for a one-year plan. Learn more – click here!

Keeping Donors In This Ever-Changing World

“I’ve donated to the same organization for fifteen years and now I’m getting thank you notes addressed to the ‘donor’ of the house. ‘Dear donor’ just doesn’t work for me!”

Technology allows us to do the whole process of thanking donors quickly. You get the form letter ready, merge the database, print the mailing label and run the closed envelope through the stamp meter. This happens so easily and quickly, anyone can do it.

Do you remember the days of five to seven days for a letter to be delivered? Now, we can deliver a message instantaneously. Email and text messages provide a new opportunity. A mobile system, which takes being remote and mobile to a new level.

A quick thank you message followed by something more lengthy is recommended. On donation forms collect:

  • Emails
  • Mobile phone numbers (include a box for the donor to check designating text messages as okay)

Develop a system for replying to donations. A quick email/text message looks like this: “Thank you for your donation to (organization). We appreciate your commitment to our program, which helps people (describe service). An official receipt will be sent to you over the next couple of weeks. Processing takes a bit more time on our end. Let me know if you have questions.”

The official receipt is sent to a donor along with a thank you letter, which nonprofits usually have as a template for anyone to use within the organization. It is important to write a personal note on the form letter but when this is not possible write a note card with your message and send it separately.

“I get a thank you letter for my donation and then the organization ignores me until they want my money again!”

Face it, nonprofits are usually so busy because they lack resources. Ignoring a donor is not something they do on purpose. It just happens when a hospitality program is not in place.

Hospitality, in some cultures, comes first and it truly is a benefit when a nonprofit adopts this culture. A volunteer initiative to provide hospitality to donors is not only fun for the volunteers but creates an atmosphere of family for the donor. People love their family! They are more understanding of their actions and stand beside them when the chips fall in a different direction.

A meaningful ‘thank you’ and developing a family culture are our two main recommendations for keeping donors in this ever-changing world.

Nonprofits Giving Back

Giving is something people do for nonprofits. Giving back is how the nonprofit returns the favor, so to speak. We feature in articles how people give back to others. It opens the door to a giving mentality, which is good in any walk of life. Interested in sharing how you give back? Send an email to iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com/ This opportunity is open to anyone!

Operation Care International

Operation Care International is a homeless and impoverished ministry providing personal items, blue jeans, winter gear, bottled water and bibles in the streets of Dallas. Susie Jennings is the Founder and President of the mission. It all started with her mission to give blankets to the homeless under a bridge in 1993.

Susie, how does your organization give back to donors and sponsors?

  • We thank them with personal phone calls
  • We give them a photo album, which includes them serving at our event
  • We send a video and report of the event
  • We send testimonial videos
  • We put their names in event programs
  • We make them honorary chairs
  • We take them to lunch
  • We send cards on holidays and birthdays
  • We visit them
  • We ask them to be part of the program

Susie, what simple thing can a person do to create a feeling of community?

  • Bring personal care products in your car
  • Buy some gift cards from fast food restaurants and keep them handy
  • Have a directory of places where the homeless can go in your area
  • Connect the homeless to community services, which can help them

Susie, what does Operation Care International do?

Our signature event happens on the 3rd Saturday of December when we hold a birthday party for Jesus honoring our homeless and impoverished children and families in Dallas, Texas.

The heart of the ministry is sharing the love of God to the people.

On the day of the event we provide our trademark activity of foot washing; emulating the character of Christ and also:

  • Evangelism and prayer
  • Bibles
  • Socks and shoes
  • Medical, dental and vision services
  • Personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Clothing, coats, sleeping bags, blankets
  • Hot meals
  • Haircuts and makeovers
  • Praise and worship teams/Entertainers
  • Free phone calls
  • Homeless service providers (lawyers, jobs, housing for kids)
  • Toys
  • Back packs
  • Books
  • Food

Susie Jennings is the author of 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles. She began Operation Care while also being a full time RN. Her story is amazing. Truly a life of miracles. Contact Operation Care at 972-681-3567 or info@OpCare.org