Yesterday I spoke at a workshop with about 20 nonprofits represented.  (See “5 Leading Strategies for a Solid Fundraising Program” .)  In my presentation I outlined the 5 leading fundraising strategies and many tactics used to achieve those strategies.

I asked the audience a number of questions, and based on their response they all have a narrow approach to fundraising.  Nearly every one limited their fundraising to ONE method – usually direct mail or grants.  It appears they could benefit from diversification and having more sources of revenue.

Why do I say this?  You take on added risk when all your eggs are in one basket.  You’re more vulnerable when something beyond your control goes haywire.  Whether this “something” is the economy, corruption such as the Madoff investment scandal, or anything else.

Here’s another reason: We live in rapidly changing times.  In fact, the pace of change keeps increasing – especially where technology is concerned.  And any organization that fails to keep pace runs the serious risk of losing more donors and funding sources than they can afford to lose.  They may not be able to keep their doors open.  Many people suffer when this happens.

Some tactics to seriously consider improving or adding to your fundraising repertoire include:

  • First, hone your website.  Get that mastered and working correctly to the satisfaction of your donors and constituents.
  • Second, if you don’t already have a direct mail program . . . do your best to find the resources to start one correctly.
  • Then when the first two are working smoothly add in email.
  • Other reliable tactics
    • Grants
    • Corporate partnerships and sponsors
    • Special events
    • Bequests
    • Face-to-Face
    • Telemarketing
    • Auctions, contests, innovative interaction ideas, etc.
  • Some comparatively newer and also reliable tactics
    • Google Grants and Google Adwords
    • Online press releases
    • Video
    • Social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) – works best integrated with other tactics
    • Mobile – for cultivation, acquisition, awareness, fundraising, advocacy and more. It also works best when integrated with everything else you’re doing.

The odds are that you’ll enjoy more reliable and steady income when you use a mix of 5 or more fundraising methods.  Develop an overall strategy and integrate everything . . . have them build on each other . . . for maximum benefit to your nonprofit and those you serve.

What fundraising methods does your charity or professional association use?