Donate to Acme Charity in lieu of a gift

in Fundraising,Grassroots Fundraising

In lieu of gifts we would like to suggest donations to Acme Charity.”

Have you ever received a card like that with a wedding invitation?  I did recently and it started me wondering:

How many charities periodically
mention this option to their donors?

I can’t say that I’ve noticed it on any of the letters or emails I receive from various charities.  Nor have I noticed it on a multitude of nonprofit websites I routinely visit. 

Admittedly this fundraising tactic isn’t going to bring in a vault full of revenue.  Still, why turn your back on any opportunity?  Afterall, this is a form of grassroots fundraising.

When might donors consider this option?  Weddings are perhaps the most joyous time.  But hospice and other care facilities, health charities, etc. can also tactfully share that donations in memory of or in honor of someone are possible.

Where or how can you make donors aware that donations like this are possible?

– Occasionally (at least twice a year) include a short article or even something resembling an ad in your newsletter

– List it as an option on your donate page

– Mention these donations and a few other unique ways to help your charity in an email every now and then

– Include an insert in a direct mail letter

– Have a note on your reply device for your direct mail

– Include it as a helpful tip in a text message or two

– Highlight this to new donors somewhere in your welcome package

– On your website page where you describe the different ways people can help you, talk about “in lieu of gifts consider suggesting donations to our charity.”  Once someone does this, get a testimonial and put that on your website too.

Again, I don’t think any of us expect this to be a major source of fundraising.  But it is an easy option to make available to supporters!  And you never know how it might turn out.

As a side note: It’s just possible that someone may want to know how much your charity received as a result of their wedding or other event.  Be prepared with a polite answer on why that isn’t possible (I’m guessing that most smaller nonprofits won’t be set up for this tracking).  Remember that donors don’t understand the complexities of databases, tracking funds, and so on and so forth.  Be gentle.

Don’t turn your back on any source of funds.  You may even pick up a new donor or two for the long haul via this unique grassroots fundraising method. 

Let donors and other supporters know – in a variety of ways and more than once a year – how easy it is to help your cause … how easy it is for them to ask family and friends to please send a donation to your charity in lieu of gifts, flowers, etc.