fundraising on a shoestring - part 3 of 3

Here is the final straightforward and budget-friendly tip to help you raise more money as part of our fundraising on a shoestring series.

What is it? Host an open house!

Your donors give because they care about the core work of your organization. The best way to connect them with that work is to give them direct exposure. Now, not all organizations can put their donors directly on the front-lines, but if you're creative, there are some great things you can do.

An open house is something that you can do every year and make it a special "insiders look" into the day-to-day of your charity.

If your charity provides services in a space (like a shelter, home or community centre), host your open house there. If you don't have a space, have one of your board members host it in their house or office. It doesn't have to be fancy, in fact, I find authenticity wins over fancy every time.

No one wants to go to another boring event where they don't know anyone and they have to make really awkward small talk and then stand around listening to a bunch of boring speakers. There. I said it. An open house is about the work of your charity. So showcase it! Do you have an art therapy program? Have your donors make art! If you're a circus school (seriously, I recently met with one), teach them some cool circus tricks. Put your work front and center. Bonus tip - if you can have your program participants or clients TEACH your donors, even better!

I know everyone feels obligated to have a bunch of people speak, because it's the right thing to do. Stop it.Have one speaker on behalf of your organization (a formal welcome and thank you) and if you have to have another speaker, have a program participant tell their story.

If you need more official roles for your other board members or sponsors, give them a name tag that indicates they are a host and have them introduce themselves one-to-one with the guests. Even better, give each host a small list of 2-3 people they should connect with to really focus their energy.

The closer your donors feel to your organization, the more likely they are to keep giving and even increase their giving. Yes, you can raise more money without making any asks.

The best thing about these tips and tools is that they create rituals. Keep doing them as part of your regular routine and you'll start to see the results grow.

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