Raise Awareness and Stretch Your Nonprofit Budget

in Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing

Our biggest challenge is trying to market on an extremely limited budget. We are always looking for tips on how to network and get our word out more effectively. We are also in need of increasing our membership base and corporate support as well.”

Those are the words in an email from the Marketing Manager at Sotterley Plantation – a National Historic Landmark – which is a private nonprofit located in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  

Two primary challenges of any development staff are acquiring more donors, and raising more funds from your file of donors. Sometimes you raise funds by acquiring members but the challenge is essentially the same.

Conquering these challenges can be more elusive when your staff is quite small and so is your budget like it is for the folks at Sotterley Plantation. For example you don’t have the resources to frequently out-source tasks to freelance experts or agencies.

Consequently a smaller, local or regional nonprofit needs to focus on the basics.  And you need to do them very well.  The four basics I have in mind are: 

1. Spreading the word (raising awareness of your organization)
2. Direct mail
3. Website
4. Email

And because it’s so vital to the success of your nonprofit, I want to make it clear that “donor cultivation” is an integral part of all four.  Even though I won’t discuss it further here in this post, please recognize that donor cultivation is part of EVERYTHING you do.  Everything you write.  Every telephone conversation you have.  Everything you publish.  Everything. 

What I will focus on is the first item ― spreading the word.  Once you develop a system for this I believe you’ll discover it helps you with acquisition, retention, and bumping up average gift size.

In fact, this topic is so important that I covered it in detail in a guest blog post I wrote for Joanne Fritz of About.com for Nonprofit Charitable Orgs:10 Tips for Making Your Small Nonprofit’s Development Budget Bigger.”  

So if you and your nonprofit face challenges similar to the folks at the Sotterley Plantation … and if you would like more than 10 ways to stretch your small nonprofit’s development budget … then I recommend you read my post on Joanne’s blog.

For example: I think you’ll be surprised to discover the many pools of local talent available to help you get work done and stretch your budget. These pools of talent can also lead to more donors and members which of course raises revenue for your nonprofit. A true win-win scenario.

Related posts:

10 Tips for Making Your Small Nonprofit’s Development Budget Bigger by Karen Zapp on About.com

It Pays to Advertise (even in ways you might not consider advertising)

Fundraising Starts With Marketing


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