How a start-up nonprofit gets funding
(Answer to "What's your biggest challenge?") [292 words]
This "challenge" is from "Al in Indy," a reader of Karen's Fundraising Tips newsletter:
"I know of several small scale (but growing) missions that have recently gotten their start. Neither has figured out how to fund itself yet, and I'd like to help them. Can you recommend a good way for a person new to the fundraising arena to educate themselves on the best ways to fund your mission?"
The first goal is to get donors. And the first step toward this goal is to build a list of potential donors.
List building experts recommend starting with people you know. This includes family, friends, co-workers, and anyone you see during the day. Examples of this last group could be your bank teller, hairdresser, barber, grocery store clerk, dentist, doctor, and so on.
Everyone on your staff, including volunteers, ought to be constantly adding names to your mailing lists. Your lists are your greatest business assets.
As you go about your day, talk to people about your wonderful mission. Then ask permission to send updates and information from time to time. Get their complete mailing address and email address. And with a smile, mention some of these notes may even ask for a donation. Oh, and in the emails ask your donors and prospects to "please pass this on to a friend."
How do you maximize communications with your valuable donors and prospects? How do you get maximum results - including donations - in the least amount of time? Hire a professional copywriter who understands your nonprofit world. Hire a trained pro full time, use an agency, or go freelance.
Why? Because you've got a lot at stake. Your expertise is probably operating your organization and helping people served by your mission. We all have our areas of expertise.
So when the stakes are high don't hesitate to bring in another expert for those areas you're not trained in. Unless you're a professional copywriter, I recommend you invest in such an expert to write your fundraising letters and all your communications. This way you can keep your focus on your true passion . . . those you help every day.
That's the tip of the iceberg. The Hot Tips of the Month article below has more resources for you. These include how to build your donor file and raise funds, plus some outstanding professional organizations whose missions are to help you. And in case you missed it, there are a few relevant ideas in the Hot Tips of the Month article from the November 2006 issue of Karen's Fundraising Tips newsletter.
Al, this ought to bolster the funding resources for your start-up nonprofits. The best of good fortune for you and your friends.
In a future issue I'll share ideas on how to build awareness and get free publicity for any nonprofit organization.
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A Greeting from Me to You
This is a special time of year . . . Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's, and all the wonderful celebrations of the season. So many joyous reasons to celebrate and be thankful. My best wishes to you during this wonderful time of year!