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Nonprofit fundraising — 10 simple steps

Does your nonprofit depend on individual support and donations? These 10 tips are for you!

  • Develop a fundraising plan. Specific strategies for cultivating individual support and donations are essential, no matter how big or small your nonprofit.
  • Create a donor list. You might identify individual donors by reaching out to the local philanthropic community or tapping into personal networks of board members and staff.
  • Know your donors. Traditionally, older donors have tended to give more to religious institutions while younger donors focus more on youth-oriented causes. You might also research the giving history of potential individual donors through local media reports and the philanthropic "grapevine."
  • Build donor networks. Consider making affinity subgroups within the network, such as a group for supporters within a specific age range.
  • Consider seasonal pitches. The end-of-the-year holidays tend to be the most popular time for charitable giving — although younger donors tend to give smaller amounts throughout the year rather than a large year-end gift.
  • Provide volunteer opportunities. Donors who volunteer tend to give more than those who don't volunteer.
  • Plan a year-long calendar of events and activities. Think social gatherings, seminars and volunteer opportunities. You might make some of these "non-ask" events to help donors understand the organization before they're asked to contribute.
  • Seek adequate staffing for your fundraising operation. More people focused on fundraising — or dedicated to individual donors — may result in more donations.
  • Describe how donations are used. Provide regular case stories and testimonies to show the impact of donations large and small.
  • Think retention — and thanks. Make sure your fundraising plan includes strategies to keep donors engaged throughout the year and from year to year. Above all, remember the impact of a heartfelt thank you for any donation.



MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.



Nolo: Nonprofit fundraising methods: An overview by Ilona Bray

Society for Nonprofits: Pros and cons of fundraising methods



Baltimore-based writer and educator