Are you fundraising or friend-raising?

By Kacy Noltemeyer and Keeley Parker
Co-Vice Presidents, Fundraising Solutions

Photo of Kacy Noltemeyer and Keeley Parker
Kacy Noltemeyer and Keeley Parker

Ahhh, back to school time. Brace yourself for the onslaught of bake sales, car washes, and cookie dough and gift wrap peddling! These are just a few ways young people are introduced to fundraising at an early age.

It’s easy for nonprofit organizations to fall into similar one-off fundraising patterns that may not align with an overall strategy, such as partnerships with the local business community (i.e. 20% of restaurant proceeds on a certain night will go to your school, organization, etc.). While community partnership events can be valuable and important friend-raisers, they aren’t known for being great fundraisers.

Your organization might pull in a few hundred dollars from these types of events or partnerships, but money isn’t really the point. Rather, consider them “easy lift” opportunities to acquire new stakeholders and expand your network. Engage volunteers to set up a table to collect names and contact info, have conversations, and hand out information about your organization. (And don’t forget to thank people for showing up!) Once you bring those new individuals into the fold, then you can work them into your larger fundraising strategy and ask them for support.

We’d never tell you to pass up a chance to secure money for your nonprofit, but we’re confident that dedicating more time and people power to your big-picture, long-term fundraising strategy will result in a more predictable and sustainable future. Some of the basics include segmenting your donors so you have a clear understanding of where your dollars are coming from, making sure your donation process is simple and easy, and—perhaps most importantly—stewarding the donors you have.

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to fundraising, but we’ve seen a lot and have a good handle on what works and what doesn’t. If you have questions or concerns about your organization’s fundraising (or friend-raising!), we’d be happy to talk through them with you.

Contact us (Kacy or Keeley) to start a conversation!