It takes money to make money, right?
Generally, yes, you need to invest in fundraising to see growth and return, but there are a few inexpensive ways to raise money that have great returns with a low financial investment.
I get it, I've worked in small and medium organizations and I know how challenging fundraising can be when you feel like you don't have any resources. Those resources can be time, money, volunteers, anything. You may feel like you just don’t know how to up your fundraising game in a way that is realistic. I’ve got you covered.
This is the first of a 3-part series on fundraising on a shoestring.
This blog series will clearly outline not just what to do, but how to do it. You have three proven tactics to help you raise more money, engage your existing donors, and even find some new donors. All of this, without spending a dime.
Number one: Thank You Calls
You’ve probably heard that thank you calls are an effective tool to keep your donors giving and even increase their donations. So effective in fact, that researcher Penelope Burk identified a 39% increase in donation amount by donors who received thank you calls immediately after the charity received their gift. But are you making these calls?
For this strategy to work, you need to be on top of it! This may seem so easy that you tend to forget about it, but please, make sure you carve out just 5 or 10 minutes of your day to make thank you calls. It has the highest returns by far for anything you do in fundraising.
I highly recommend calling donors who have made a gift within 48 hours, especially if they are a first time donor, increased their typical donation, are also a volunteer, have been giving for years and have donated a significant amount of money. Don’t forget to take notes (especially key details you learn about them) and input them into your donor database.
The great thing about thank you calls is that they are even better done by volunteers or board members. A simple daily email to a volunteer thank you caller with all the details is fast and straightforward. Every month, pick a new volunteer or board member to do the calls.
Don’t know what to say? Here’s a sample script:
“Hi <salutation>, My name is <name> and I’m calling from <organization>. I'm just calling to say thank you for your recent donation. We just received it and your support means a lot to us. <Optional: comment about something specific their donation helped achieve or accomplish.> I don't want to take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you again. Have a wonderful day/evening/week-end!”
Congratulations! You’ve made your first call!
If you find you’re struggling with making this a habit, try to set aside 5 minutes a day, everyday, for 21 days straight. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to create a lasting habit.
Calls are short and to the point. Don’t ask for anything, especially another gift. If a donor wants to talk more, listen intently and enjoy the conversation. If the donor complains, listen intently and try to understand their complaint. Always apologize even if it isn’t your fault. Do your best to address it, but if it's something outside of your control, elevate the complaint and follow up with the donor appropriately with a resolution.
There you have it. The first tip to help you raise more money. Easy, right?
Fundraising is about so much more than asking for money. People give with their hearts to organizations that do the work that is meaningful to them. Fundraising is like matchmaking - finding the people who care about the work and building meaningful relationships. All you need to do is pick up your phone and start that relationship.